It should come as no surprise to those who have been following liberal talking points for the past six months (at least) that liberal bloggers and left-of-center pundits would be all over the prank call a David Koch imposter placed to Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker. At least since Jane Mayer’s lengthy New Yorker “exposé” last summer on the free-market-loving billionaires, the Koch Brothers have been elevated to join George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin as ranking members on the approved left-wing list of right-wing demons. Stories about the call led Memeorandum throughout the day yesterday, multiplying with each passing hour, even into the night.
No matter that Walker didn’t recognize Koch’s voice thus showing as Ann Althouse put it, that “Scott Walker is not close to Koch“. This non-recognition, Walker’s very failure to accede to the imposter’s odd suggestions could not be allowed to wreck the narrative that the call showed Walker, as one of our critics put it, to be “the underling updating his boss.”
Their critics want us to believe that these nefarious rich white men are pulling the strings behind Republican politicians, indeed, the entire conservative enterprise, in order to advance their own interests while sucking the lifeblood out of the working man. The New York Times has now picked up on this latest meme from the left.
It seems these bloggers and pundits on the left want to make these “evil” billionaires the story instead of the ideas they promote. John Hinderaker offers an explanation for the left’s “all-out assault” on the Koch brothers:
Simply because they are rich–their company is one of the best-run and most successful in the world–and conservative. The Left is trying to drive them out of politics and, more important, to deter any other people of means from daring to support conservative politicians or causes.
(H/t Instapundit.) That’s part of it, but, I wonder if it could also be a failure of imagination, that some liberals just can’t even imagine that conservative businessmen would be in it for the principle of the matter. Last September, writing about the Mayer piece, the Washington Examiner‘s Timothy P. Carney observed that while lots of rich people support political candidates and causes,
only free-market money men get such scrutiny. Mayer cites the blogs ThinkProgress and ClimateProgress, the Web site Media Matters and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy without ever mentioning they are funded by billionaire financier George Soros.
Mayer did write a 2004 article on Soros, but she implies throughout that his political giving is motivated by a desire to make the world a better place rather than out of economic self-interest. Mayer uncritically quotes a Soros spokesman saying “none of his contributions are in the service of his own economic interests.”
Emphasis added. She simply can’t imagine that many conservatives (and most libertarians) believe you can make the world a better place by cutting the size of governments and limiting their scope.
It really does seem they are prejudiced against advocates of free markets, assuming malicious motives to their support of Republican candidates, conservative causes and libertarian organizations. Back in the 1990s, the media was all aflutter about Richard Mellon Scaife. He has been replaced by the Koch Brothers. In the liberal imagination, there just has to be a malign Mr. Moneybags manipulating the conservative movement.
Because it just can’t that advocates of small-government believe their policies will make the world a better place. It just can’t be. They’re meanies who only care for themselves.
UPDATE: In his trademark style, R.S. McCain offers a slightly different take than my own,
But it’s always something, you see? The Left can never accept the possibility that their policies don’t work, or that their agenda is genuinely unpopular, and so they require a demonized enemy — a hate-object — to explain their political failures.
I see it as a failure of liberals to imagine that conservatives, including rich businessmen, could support free market ideas in good faith. Stacy sees this as a failure of liberals to recognize their own errors. We both agree they seem to have this need for a demon, a “hate-object” as he puts it.
UP-UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds links another post on the matter and quips:
NICK GILLESPIE: Why The Evil Koch Brothers Must Be Stopped: They Support Drug Legalization, Gay Marriage, Reduced Defense Spending. Kind of an odd target for lefty demonization, but hey, you gotta find your Emmanuel Goldstein somewhere.