February 8, 2014

WaPo’s Reid Wilson Throws a Pity Party: Dems ‘Have No Real Equivalent’ of the Koch Brothers

Leftist delusions are amazing things. One of them is that the financial deck is stacked against their candidates and causes.

Reid Wilson at the Washington Post attempted to explain it all on Friday. On the plus side, at least he didn’t try to pretend, as Evan Halper at the Los Angeles Times did in late December, that there’s no one donating to Democrats and progressive causes with the financial clout of the Koch brothers except billionaire and relative newbie activist Tom Steyer. But while Wilson recognized the existence of large Dem donors, he bemoaned the fact that they are supposedly not as well organized, and that their motives, unlike the Kochs, are pure. Really (bolds are mine):

Why there’s no Democratic version of the Koch brothers organization


… But for the Democratic professionals who actually run campaigns, the thing that frustrates them most about the Koch brothers network is that there’s no real equivalent on their side.

There are, to be sure, groups of Democratic donors who raise big bucks just like Republicans — the Majority PAC, the House Majority PAC, EMILY’s List, the Democracy Alliance. There are just as many individual Democratic donors who cut seven-figure checks, and who become boogeymen for Republicans, from Tim Gill to Tom Steyer to George Soros. But the coordination between big donors that the Koch network so ably facilitates just doesn’t exist on the Democratic side.

That’s because big Democratic donors and big Republican donors are motivated by different types of issues, and therefore give differently, according to Democratic strategists who deal frequently with high-dollar donors.

For the Koch brothers, electing the right candidate can mean a financial windfall. Republican candidates the Koch brothers back tend to favor fewer regulations on businesses and more fracking and right-to-work laws, to name a few. All of those issues benefit, to different extents, the bottom lines of the companies or stock prices or hedge funds associated with the mega-donors from whom the Koch brothers solicit big checks.

Social issues? Not so much. Organizations that spend the Koch brothers’ money may align themselves with conservative hardliners on abortion or gay marriage, but the brothers themselves — and most of their donors — are less concerned with social conservatism than they are with fiscal and regulatory policy. To them, political giving is an investment.

On the Democratic side, the opposite is the case. Heavyweights in the Democratic donor community pay the same tax rates as their Republican counterparts, and cuts to the capital gains tax or the higher brackets of the income tax benefit them financially, too. If fiscal issues were the only things driving their giving habits, Democratic donors would support the same politicians that Republican donors do.

But the motivations of Democratic donors revolve more around social issues. Democrats are more likely to be single-issue givers: Gill, who made his money in software development, is passionate about gay rights; he has donated heavily to pro-gay marriage initiatives and candidates. Steyer, the California-based financier and environmentalist, has made climate change a priority.

Gill, Steyer and others aren’t going to realize a profit if their chosen candidates win. They see their donations more in the spirit of philanthropy than investment (Please don’t send us hate-mail, we’re just making an analogy).

Don’t worry, Reid. You’re not worth the stamp — or even the tiny amount of bandwidth — which would be involved in a direct communication. And you’re not making an analogy; you’re making a direct comparison. Koch brothers: Greedy. Leftist donors: pure as the driven snow (of which there has been quite a bit this year, considering how “settled” global warming supposedly is).

What rubbish.

As to the Koch brothers, the benefits from the freer markets they advocate are equally available to anyone — including, conceivably, those who might outcompete them and put them out of business. That’s quite a contrast compared to the way far too many businesses use the politicial arena to advocate regulations which insulate them from competitors. The Kochs deserve admiration for not doing that.

As to the left, do we really need to explain all of the ways George Soros has profited from his “philanthropic” efforts? Do we really need to explain the government-think tank-media-crony phony capitalist revolving door? Do we really need to wonder how Bill Gates, so many high-tech CEOs, bankers, and Wall Street firms, always facing a hostile left-dominated bureaucracy and at least half the time also facing a hostile leftist president, “somehow” end up donating so much more to Democrats and leftist causes than to Republicans and conservative causes?

As to their supposed lack of organization, I had no idea how difficult it is to organize big-bucks fundraisers which generate millions at a time. That’s of course because it isn’t.

Wilson’s column should have been in The Onion instead of the Washington Post — not that there’s a great deal of difference between the two these days, except that the Onion is trying to be funny, while the Post generates hilarity while trying to be serious.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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