Open Thread: Billionaire-funded Leftists Protest Conference Held by Billionaires

January 31st, 2011 9:18 AM

Over the weekend, libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch convened a conference of like-minded businessmen and policymakers at the Rancho Las Palmas resort to discuss election strategy and the future of classical liberalism. Outside, a hodgepodge of lefty protest groups gathered to whine about the influence of money in politics. In a completely unsurprising show of hypocrisy, Soros-funded groups such as Common Cause and the Center for American Progress joined the ruckus.

The irony was not lost on conference participant Tim Carney, who wrote in Monday's Washington Examiner:

In other words, money from billionaire George Soros and anonymous, well-heeled liberals was funding a protest against rich people's influence on politics.

When Politico reporter Ken Vogel pointed out that Soros hosts similar "secret" confabs, CAP's Fang responded on Twitter: "don't you think there's a very serious difference between donors who help the poor vs. donors who fund people to kill government, taxes on rich?"

In less than 140 characters, Fang had epitomized the myopic liberal view of money in politics: Conservative money is bad, and linked to greed, while liberal money is self-evidently philanthropic.

Jane Mayer wrote in the New Yorker magazine, for instance, that the Kochs' anti-regulation, anti-bailout, low-tax agenda "dovetail[s] with the brothers' corporate interest." Of Soros, Mayer asserted flatly "none of his contributions are in the service of his own economic interests."

This is the Obama campaign's tune, too. While decrying Republican campaign contributions in an Obama fundraising e-mail, someone at Organizing for America apparently got self-conscious about the irony and tagged the e-mail with a subject line saying: "Our Donations Are Different."

Carney goes on to thoroughly debunk that tired sophism. "The moral difference is this," he concludes: "Only one side is trying to compel others to conform to its preferences."

How do you generally respond when ineviably confronted with the "Our Donations Are Different" line? It's virtually ubiquitous when debating liberals. What's your retort, or is it similar to Carney's?