I never much cared for the political analysis of Thomas Bryne Edsall, nowadays of the New York Times—especially his book Chain Reaction, which helped to launch today’s popular leftist narrative that conservatism is just racism and . . . well, just racism. I did meet him person once and found him more congenial and engaging than I expected.
Today in the Times he asks “Are Liberals Fund-Raising Hypocrites?”, and pretty much answers the question with an emphatic Yes. The article is at its best in noting the weak responses of the liberal money grandees:
Gara LaMarche, the president of Democracy Alliance, defended his members, who have been accused of hypocrisy. The charge, coming from both the left and right, LaMarche wrote, centers “on the assertion that progressive wealthy donors are spending a lot of money in elections when they also claim to be for getting money out of elections.”
LaMarche countered in an email that
there is a big difference between this and the Kochs and their ilk. Our donors are using the current political system to bring about laws and policies that would change that system in a way that gives their wealth less weight. Not to mention advocating policies that would often tax or regulate them more.
In contrast, political spending by the Kochs and their allies
is in effect a business expense — it coincides with and advances their bottom line financial interests. There’s a moral distinction here.
Edsall snorts at this:
LaMarche’s argument is politically risky. Claiming the moral high ground to assert that you can do something that your morally crippled adversaries cannot is one of the more effective strategies to alienate people.
He could have been stronger with this response: LaMarche and other leftists are essentially arguing: because we’re right and they’re wrong! Which isn’t an argument at all. It wouldn’t even pass muster on a grade school playground. Before long I expect they’ll start saying “Because 97 percent!” (Actually I’m wondering if the Climatistas didn’t adapt their slogan from Occupy Wall Street’s “99 percent” zombie chant.) Isn’t there at least a minimal duty to argue that the Kochs’ philosophy of classical liberalism is defective? Apparently not. Much easier just to assume your opponent is wrong, and go from there with the political equivalent of a tantrum.
Kudos for Edsall. I’m sure the Times is hoping he’ll retire soon.