There is a serious cognitive disconnect in the ranks of the modern conservative establishment. It seems that their ability to shape a consistent message is hampered by their fixation on being the champions of negativity. They are so obsessed with being against things, they have ceased to make any sense at all.
Take, for instance, this article by the Washington Free Beacon, a pseudo news wire that is run by Republicans and closely associated with the Koch brothers. The boastful headline brags about having found “The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy Explained in One Chart.”
The allegedly secret chart that the Beaconites (or B-Cons) discovered was published by those brazen lefties at the little-known Washington Post (yes, that’s sarcasm). It illustrates a network of progressive organizations that have been vetted for contributions from wealthy donors by the Democracy Alliance, who serve as an aggregator of worthy causes.
The problem with the B-Cons complaints is that they are criticizing the Democracy Alliance for helping to steer funds to political enterprises – something that the B-Cons fully and fiercely support. So what is their message in condemning the Democracy Alliance? Does their wrath apply equally to their benefactors, the Koch brothers? Apparently not. This is how their sycophantic fluff piece begins:
“The Koch brothers—taking a break from such nefarious endeavors as spending money in support of their political positions and, worse, donating to hospitals—are going on the offensive with a campaign to expose the vast web of dark money spun by the Democracy Alliance.”
Yep, the kingpins of dark money are taking on the dark money of the left. How reassuring. I’m certain they’ll get to the bottom of it by distributing their chart to Republicans on the senate floor, as reported by the B-Cons. However, while they are attacking the left for what they themselves have pioneered, they cannot make a case for hypocrisy because the left has made it clear that their involvement in these affairs is decidedly reluctant. They oppose the destructive influence of unregulated, and in many cases anonymous, donoations from wealthy individuals and corporations. They have stated repeatedly that they are only engaging in the practice because, for as long as it is the law, they have to be able to respond to the rich wingnuts in kind. However, they would prefer that the laws be changed prohibiting all of this sort of money from politics.
In fact, on the chart that the B-Cons are so alarmed by are several organizations who have as their mission to remove money from politics. They include the Center for American Progress, Common Cause, Democracy for America, Public Citizen, and the Sunlight Foundation. There is even the Friends of Democracy, a Super PAC founded by Jonathan Soros (son of George) whose main goal is to eliminate Super PACs. In short, these progressives are only in it until they succeed in cutting it off for everyone. Nevertheless, the B-Cons see a nefarious plot:
“Democracy Alliance is able to obscure the identity of the donors included in its network through its strategy of having members make private donations [...] No donations are made by the Democracy Alliance itself.”
That’s right. They merely make available a list of progressive organizations to which independent members can freely choose to donate – or not to donate. And that is seen as an evil left-wing conspiracy. Contrast that with the Koch brothers who bankroll dozens of right-wing groups, mostly anonymously, and are beholden only to themselves and their own personal self-interest. The Democracy Alliance’s list consists of public organizations whose work in the their communities is easily documented. That is not, however, the case with the Koch brothers and the groups they finance. To the contrary, they work very hard to keep the details of their operations secret.
It is funny, in a horrifying way, to see the B-Cons disseminating this propaganda that is straight from the Koch brothers without ever disclosing their relationship. It is also characteristic of their rank dishonesty as they attempt to chastise the left for an activity that they support and engage in every day. Obviously shame is the only thing that the Free Beacon has less of than respect for the truth.