Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Emergent Pattern

Those who were hoping that the RNC’s charges against MoveOn.org was just an isolated incident will be very disappointed. According to CNN The Bush campaign has decided to file a complaint with the FEC concerning the Media Fund, a group which is funding ads in key battleground states criticizing Bush.

Used once, one could call this a tactic. But twice? And so neatly timed to coincide with the beginning of the Campaign? That’s no coincidence- that’s a strategy.

Whatever the truth of the charges, they are still unproven. In this country we make a legal point of valuing evidence over opinion. So, the question is, how would the Republicans know about funding irregularities to begin with?

If they can't answer their question, then their charges can only be interpreted in light of their opposition to the political cause these organizations represent. And that brings up some unpleasant political memories, of a time when campaign finance was used to sabotage the electoral system.

Only this time, the weapon of choice is not the funds themselves, but the law intended to keep expression of political opinion open and unsuppressed by inequalities of donation.

Bush has been holding his 10,000 dollar a plate dinners for last two years or so. This is where the vast majority of the hard money donations of both parties comes from. If you want to see for yourself it's on the opensecrets.org Donor Demographics page.

The vast majority of the money, as the chart indicates is coming from donations between one and ten thousand dollars. This isn't farmer Bill, signing a five dollar check with his palsied hand and scoring one for the common man. On both sides of the aisle, it's the folks rich enough not to miss that amount.

MoveOn.org and the Media fund are both supported as means of maintaining political advocacy outside the campaigns themselves. Such activities should be limited in terms of soft money donations, but if they are supported legally should not be subject to legal and quasi-legal harrassment simply because they oppose the party in power. Such strategies are unworthy of our political system, a system that ensures that no political organization can win the game once and for all, and thereby permanently bypass the will of the people.

These tactics should seem shameful to conservatives who pride themselves on founding their support on grassroots efforts, because such attempts to squash other people's views out of the public forum can only be symptomatic of a political organization that does not trust the average person to make the right decision when presented with viewpoints within the Marketplace of Ideas.

If there is no real evidence of fundraising malfeasance in their hands, what else but fear of that choice could motivate the leaders among the conservatives to act in this way?

In a way, such tactics serve as a ironic vindication of George Soros' opposition to the president. George Soros, for those not familiar with the man, is the founder of the Open Society Institute, and a billionaire financier. He has been a tireless advocate for capitalism, market economics, and open democratic societies, putting his money where his mouth is throughout Eastern Europe and the rest of the world.

And he is a declared enemy of George Bush's administration. He's no stranger to controversy as this article ably relates. It also relates that many of the people on the other side of such criticism reveal more about their own character than than that of Soros.

I'm sure Bush thinks he's defending the cause of freedom by using all these different tactics to disavantage the Democrats. I'm sure he believes conservative government is what the nation needs. It's not his decision though. If the majority of Americans do not want conservative leadership, it is their right to reject it, no matter how strong the conservative's feelings on the matter are.

This is a president who has built a track record of hostility towards the press, who has effectively zoned protestors out of his sight, who has allowed his Justice Department to begin undercover investigations of groups that voice dissent against the president. The GOP successfully pressured a miniseries about President Reagan off the air. It harrassed MoveOn about a proposed commercial idea comparing Bush to Hitler, even though the people at the site, hardly fans of Bush, voted it down.

And now, at the start of an election campaign, they start this brouhaha. The timing is too convenient, the interest all too obvious. The willingness to use such tactics, legally or not, should be quite disturbing to anyone who values political freedom, and who does not wish an new, altogether fascist kind of tactic to become fair play in our electoral system.

For those who want to read some of George Soros's views, here are some links for those interested.

Towards a Global Open Society
The Bubble of American Supremacy

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at March 10, 2004 7:18 PM