Soros v. Bush

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The bazillionaire financier and international do-gooder redoubles his efforts to kick George W. Bush out of the White in 2004. Reports the Wash Post:

"It is the central focus of my life," Soros said, his blue eyes settled on an unseen target. The 2004 presidential race, he said in an interview, is "a matter of life and death."

Soros, who has financed efforts to promote open societies in more than 50 countries around the world, is bringing the fight home, he said. On Monday, he and a partner committed up to $5 million to MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group, bringing to $15.5 million the total of his personal contributions to oust Bush.

Overnight, Soros, 74, has become the major financial player of the left. He has elicited cries of foul play from the right. And with a tight nod, he pledged: "If necessary, I would give more money."

Whole thing here.

Update: Forgot to plug Reason Contributing Editor Charles Oliver's trenchant critique of Soros's recent book, titled (what else?) Soros on Globalization.

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  1. Soros says the IMF, creats a “moral hazard” in international credit markets. So George, should we dump it? No way, he wants: the IMF to issue “Special Drawing Rights,” a special kind of reserve money. Developing nations would keep their SDRs as part of their foreign currency reserves to draw upon in times of need, but developed countries would contribute their SDR allocation to the provision of global public goods. (from the Oliver review) Proof here that Soros certainly doesn’t want to have to rely on the free market where his own money is concerned. Much better to have the tax payers of the world pony up and fund the IMF.

  2. “The only problem is the little guys keep giving their money to Bush, leaving the Dems with billionaires and celebrities funding their crusades.”

    You mean little guys like R.M. Scaife?

  3. thoreau,

    You’re right, more exactly, I should have said: “On balance, George Soros is a big enemy of liberty”.

  4. Rick-

    Fair enough. I didn’t know much about Soros beyond his stance on drugs. What you say makes sense.

  5. Anyway, Bush is going to rake in so much cash the dems need some billionares on their side to even it out.

    Do labor unions count?

    Seriously, though, one of the open secrets of campaign finance is that the Republicans have always raised more from lots of little contributors, and the Dems have always relied on a relative handful of deep pockets. By skewing the system toward lots of little contributors, the most recent violation of our First Amendment rights, excuse me, campaign finance reform, would give an edge to the Republicans.

    Assuming anyone will bother to follow the law in the first place. Which no one will.

  6. Re the method of funding, the money is going to MoveOn.org, what the article calls “a liberal activist group,” but as a subscriber (not sure anymore how I got on it), I can tell you they started out as an anti-war activist group in response to 9/11 (the idea was supposed to be, “9/11 sucked, but let’s move on rather than wage war and make things worse) but have since adopted a more general (and generic) left-wing shtick.

    What I find particularly interesting here is the process being employed. Soros is admitting he wants to oust Bush. And to do so he’s contributing to an independent activist group. Just the kind of campaign finance “loophole” you can’t squelch without fucking with free speech. Thus the irony for the left goes beyond merely getting backing from a super rich guy.

  7. If Soros were serious about wanting to bring down Bush, he’d finance a rabid pro-lifer/gay-basher to run as a third party candidate, thereby forcing Bush to run to the right to keep his core voters but, predictably, alienating swing voters.

  8. “I can tell you they started out as an anti-war activist group in response to 9/11”

    I believe they started as a response to the Clinton impeachment. They were against it, FYI.

  9. Update: MoveOn.org is referring to Soros and his partner as “two of the country’s leading philanthropists.”

    Also, the deal supposedly is that they’re matching half of whatever is raised “in the grassroots,” an arrangement they’re billing as “small donors working in partnership with the big ones [to] counterbalance the influence of rich Republicans.”

    You may now all wretch.

  10. Mark Borok,

    “I believe they started as a response to the Clinton impeachment.”

    Really? Are you sure? The name would make sense for that, but I know I first got on their mailing list after 9/11 and I coulda sworn that’s when they started. Oh well, whatever. They’re a broadly oriented left wing activist group now whatever got them started.

  11. Jack-

    I see a few problems with Soros financing a culturally conservative spoiler candidate:

    1) Any involvement by Soros would have to be covert. It would backfire if conservatives found out that this spoiler was funded by Soros as a “dirty trick.”
    2) The GOP base seems to be well-disciplined. Cultural conservatives who might be enticed by a candidate focusing on gays and abortion seem to have a high regard for Bush. He might not grant their every wish, but he treats them with respect and keeps them loyal.
    3) Depending on circumstances, foreign policy and national security might work in Bush’s favor and win him enough swing voters to render a spoiler harmless. Or, for those here who strongly disagree with Bush on matters of foreign policy and national security, I could say that public perceptions regarding those issues, coupled with the lack of a coherent alternative from the Democrats might win Bush enough swing voters. (For all of Bush’s flaws, at least he seems to know what he wants to do. Can the Dems say the same?)

    A Libertarian candidate might actually be more damaging. GOP voters with libertarian sympathies, people who are disappointed by his spending habits and not all that conservative on cultural matters, may be easier targets for a spoiler candidate. And Soros could donate to an LP candidate without seeming like a “dirty trickster”, because his views on drug legalization are well-established.

  12. Ah, for what it’s worth, there were apparently two different Move Ons that quickly merged after the second one was created, the first being an impeachment response and the second being a 9/11 response, so we’re both right, although you were more right! 🙂 (Info taken from MoveOn website.)

  13. So, has Soros contributed to the LP? Has he cut Harry Browne a check? Does anyone know?

    🙂

  14. “I believe they started as a response to the Clinton impeachment. They were against it, FYI.”

    In a truely ironic twist, this same Move On outfit came out against Ahnold in the recent California recall because he made “improper advances” toward some women.

  15. madman,

    Of course the Dems (at least the party establishment) love billionaires. Their policies are tailor-made to increase the profits of billionaires at the expense of small business and the consumer. They just use populist rhetoric to sell their corporatism to us “sovereign” schmucks. Same way the GOP uses faux “free market” rhetoric to sell THEIR corporatism.

    All this big government vs. big business crap is about as authentic as the good cop vs. bad cop in an interrogation room. And the average working American is the guy getting an broom-handle enema.

  16. There are two ways an extremely wealthy person can influence politics. One is to give his money to other people. The other is to use it to fund his own career in public life.

    George Soros is about to discover why mixing the two — mounting a public platform to announce the reasons you are funding politicians — won’t work. Few people would care if Soros were giving millions to groups committed to Howard Dean because he admired Howard Dean. Vast numbers of people would write off Howard Dean if it were known that Soros was supporting him because he thought George Bush and the Republicans were Nazis. And he evidently does.

    Say you are Howard Dean. Do you really want to spend time answering questions like “George Soros thinks George Bush is a Nazi. Do you?” “Do you believe America is a threat to world peace?” “Are you prepared to disavow George Soros, even though he has given millions to groups that support you?” “Would it be fair to say you have been bought by George Soros?” “What would George Soros want from a Dean administration?”

    George Soros could have helped the Democrats by writing his checks and keeping his mouth shut. Instead, everyone who receives his money will face unpleasant questions about whether they agree with his views, questions I would not be surprised to learn are being crafted at the Republican National Committee as I write this.

  17. good grief, at the risk of giving ammunition to Raimondo the nutball, the comments section here reads more and more like a garden variety GOP chat room every day.

    How anyone with anything remotely resembling
    l(L)iberterian sympathies could have anything but utter disdain for the Bush administration and, more generally, the current crop in control of the Republican party these days is truly, and utterly, baffling to me.

  18. right on Rufus… I don’t get why some Libertarians support Bush in way that is indistinguishable from GOP foot soldiers, downplaying his anti-liberty and free trade moves.

    I suppose the fast and dirty answer is the ‘lesser of two evils.’

  19. “Really? Are you sure? The name would make sense for that, but I know I first got on their mailing list after 9/11 and I coulda sworn that’s when they started.”

    Yes, I also got on their mailing list after 9/11, when I signed a petition of theirs to supply humanitarian aid to the Afghan civilians during the bombing. But I later read that they started in response to the impeachment thing.

  20. @Rick Barton: How would these Soros SDRs differ from those SDRs the IMF has been issuing since 1969 ?
    http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/sdr.htm

  21. “It is the central focus of my life,” Soros said…

    Call me crazy, but for a guy of Soros’s age, the central focus of his life ought to be grandchildren, vacations, and golf. I can understand having disdain for GWB, but making his downfall the “central focus” of one’s life strikes me as an unhealthy obsession.

  22. George Soros advocates a mixed economy because he sees problems with a pure free market. This is not libertarian, but it is not unusual. Even George W. Bush behind his rhetoric feels the same way – how else to account for steel tariffs.
    And George W. has certainly advocated use of tax money to benefit his cronies, as Soros advocates IMF to protect his investments.
    However, Soros has also put hundreds of millions of his own dollars into promoting open societies in East Europe, Africa and I believe Latin America. And Soros has funded medical marijuana initiatives as well, so he has done more on balance to advance liberty than many others have.
    For those of us who agree with Soros that President Bush is a threat to liberty and to peace, his commitment is welcome.
    The Financial Times today reports that a business risk assessment company in the UK has rated George Bush’s Foreign policy the main cause of risk for American companies overseas.
    So Soros may be helping business in his own way.

  23. >>All this big government vs. big business crap is about as authentic as the good cop vs. bad cop in an interrogation room.

    so give up and go to Galts Gulch then. But please my gnostic friends, I know you think the world is inherently statist and evil, but please insulting people that actually give a shit about his country.

  24. If he really wants to do some good, I say he should send me one of those checks. I’ll cash it, too.

  25. “It’s incredibly ironic that George Soros is trying to create a more open society by using an unregulated, under-the-radar-screen, shadowy, soft-money group to do it,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson said. “George Soros has purchased the Democratic Party.”

    Um…That’s a bit like the pot calling the kettle black.

    Substitue “Enron” for “George Soros” and this may as well be a statement by the DNC.

  26. Substitue “Enron” for “George Soros” and this may as well be a statement by the DNC.

    Except Enron and its affiliates and tools gave as much to the Dems as to the Repubs, and chose former Dems to lobby for special treatment as the axe came down.

    If you’re wondering why Enron vanished off the political radar screen, this is one reason why – everybody was dirty with Enron.

    As to why so many nominal libertarians tolerate Bush and the Repubs more than the Dems, it might have to do with the fact that about 95% of what comes out of the Dem’s mouths is statist, and only about 80% of what comes out the Repubs mouth is statist.

    The Repubs get the edge on two issues, neither of them minor – guns and taxes. The parties are about the same on every other front, as far as I can tell. The Dems voted for Patriot just like the Repubs, for example. Ditto the drug war, etc. ad infinitum.

  27. rufus,
    Attacking Soros for his advocacy of heavy international state intervention in the world economy is not to be equated with defending Bush.
    Also, the GOP members of congress tend to be much better then their Dem. counterparts. It’s not even close. See: NTU.org Also, if Raimondo is a “nutball” as you say, that would make Jefferson a raging lunatic. See Raimondo’s antiwar.com. Truth is where you find it.

    Gene Berkman wrote:
    “For those of us who agree with Soros that President Bush is a threat to liberty and to peace, his commitment is welcome.”

    Bush is a threat to liberty and peace
    but, if the heavy international regulations that Soros advocates come to pass, we will have MUCH LESS economic freedom and it will be very hard to get it back from the agents of international governance that Soros wants to empower.

    Michael wrote:
    “Rick Barton: How would these Soros SDRs differ from those SDRs the IMF has been issuing since 1969 ?”

    At minimum, Larger and more nations governments participating.

    Watch the Dems. Any of them with much principle at all will reject Soros. I won’t hold my breath on this one.

  28. Thoreau,

    You overestimate right-wing Republicans’ intelligence. (And I say that as a Reagan Republican!) You have to remember, these are the people who somehow failed to notice that Grey Davis was buying ads in the Republican primary race for the purpose of attacking Richard Riordan as too liberal. As long as Soros isn’t openly backing the candidate, I am sure he could dig up an evangelical Christian who thinks Bush is soft on gays and abortionists and those idol-worshipping Muslims. (Worldnet Daily columnists would be a good place to start looking.) That could shave a half percentage point or more off Bush’s vote total.

  29. Jack-

    Good point. Maybe Gray Davis could produce the ads and Soros could bankroll them. Run them in swing states.

  30. http://www.moveon.org/about/

    Joan Blades and Wes Boyd… shared deep frustration with impeachment and the lack of congressional leadership toward quick resolution… On September 18th 1998, we decided to do something. Three of us with background in Internet software worked on the website…

  31. >>All this big government vs. big business crap is about as authentic as the good cop vs. bad cop in an interrogation room.

    >>so give up and go to Galts Gulch then. But please my gnostic friends, I know you think the world is inherently statist and evil, but please insulting people that actually give a shit about his country.

    xyz,

    I’ve puzzled over this one for a few hours…still can’t figure out what you’re bothered about. I don’t think the original poster was dumping on USA; seems he was basically saying that there’s not much difference between the current left/right philosophy. Could you explain what got you so annoyed?

  32. I eagerly await the condemnation of Soros by campaign finance “reform” supporters.

    Oh, but they are Bush’s enemies, so it turns out that spending bazillions of dollars to influence an election is bad only if you spend it on the wrong side.

    This looks to me a hell of a lot more like a vast left-wing conspiracy than anything the right-wingers were ever able to drum up. Its so ironic it brings tears to your eyes.

  33. Soros should really be careful. Those who displease Bush have been known to “disappear” and if Soros can’t call a lawyer, all his money won’t help. If you think this is ridiculous, just ask all those being held incommunicado. Ooops, sorry. No one knows who they are or where they are

  34. Soros should really be careful. Those who displease Bush have been known to “disappear” and if Soros can’t call a lawyer, all his money won’t help. If you think this is ridiculous, just ask all those being held incommunicado. Ooops, sorry. No one knows who they are or where they are

  35. Bush has plenty of funding. He broke all records in 2000, and I’m sure he’ll break his previous mark in 2004. And as we all know, there shouldn’t be any limits to this kind of thing anyway.

  36. I suppose having a solid gold urinal isn’t enough of a thrill anymore. You’re not really rich until you can bring down a president.

  37. um, Todd, that was prez clinton’s saxophone…

  38. Well, I hope that Soros can use his millions of dollars to wrest the power away from the privileged.

  39. So Soros wants to “promote open societies.” I can’t imagine anything better he could do than to contribute millions to Bush, who has given about 50 million people who were living in completely unfree societies a chance for more openness, and wouldn’t mind freeing a few more.

    Soros reminds me of the nuts who thought electing Ronald Reagan would guarantee nuclear war when all it did was hasten the end of the most destructive system of government ever.

  40. Soros has a column in the new Atlantic Monthly that’s pure batshit. The man has lost his mind.

  41. Don’t forget, my fellow Libertarians, Soros is also a huge contributor to DRCNet and other anti-Drug War causes, so he ain’t all bad. Personally, I dislike Bush’s policies and I somewhat agree with much of the criticism levied against his administration, so the fact the Soros is a lefty doesn’t cause a knee-jerk snarky comment to flow from my fingertips.

  42. Should not Soros be free to spend his own money as he sees fit? As for free societies: you have got to be shitting me! We’re about 6 months away from atrocities being committed by OUR troops. (I just got back).

  43. rick: Soros’ freedom to spend his moeny as he chooses does not preclude him from ridicule/scrutiny regarding either the way in which he spends it or in the hypocracy with which he spends it.

  44. Jim – hmm. . . I wonder, is Soros a US citizen? (Not that that will necessarily help you). Maybe all his anti-drug war funding could be construed as funding terrorism.

    Seems like an interesting dude. Anyway, Bush is going to rake in so much cash the dems need some billionares on their side to even it out.

  45. dems need some billionares on their side to even it out.

    But the dems do not belive in billionares. They believe in the little guys. How ironic….

  46. The only problem is the little guys keep giving their money to Bush, leaving the Dems with billionaires and celebrities funding their crusades.

  47. Soros wants to increase IMF and World Bank funding
    to back up and bail out when necessary, his international investments. He decries the “vicissitudes” of the free market and calls for greater international governance. George Soros is an enemy of liberty.

  48. This is not gonna be a debate automatically won by the side with the biggest bag o’ bucks. I anticipate the excitement because the more bucks on both sides the better the debate will be.
    Doesn’t it behoove us to help Soros put his money where reasonable mouths are? I mean how frightened would Bush be if Bill Gates or Ross Perot set out to “get” him?

  49. The issue isn’t whether Soros should be able to blow his money on a losing cause, it is that we peons who happen to have somewhat wealthy friends are prohibited from combining and doing the same because of campaign finance laws. How does McCain explain this?

  50. I don’t think you’re prohibited. According to the article, it seems he is funding a bunch of non-party groups (think tanks and activist groups). I believe you and your wealthy friends can give as much as you want to those groups.

  51. It’s pretty easy to point to a particular stance taken by Soros and say he’s an enemy of liberty. And it’s pretty easy to point to some other particular stance taken by Soros and say he’s a friend of liberty.

    Fact is, people are complicated. Very few people are 100% pro-liberty or 100% anti-liberty. I know, everybody here is 100% morally and ideologically pure and pro-liberty. Obviously, we’re perfect (or something like that…), but that doesn’t mean that anybody other than us is 100% anti-liberty. Most people are a mix.

    But of course, all of us posting here are ideologically perfect.

  52. The 2004 presidential race, he said in an interview, is “a matter of life and death.”

    What a loon.

    On the plus side, this is pretty much going to kill “campaign finance reform” once the press gets wind of it.

  53. Brad S.,

    Your comments above are dangerously close to an accusation of stalking. On behalf of my client, George Soros, I demand that Hit & Run remove the comment, and that Brad S. cease and desist making such posts in the future.

    xyz,

    If I thought the world was “inherently statist” (whatever that means), I wouldn’t be arguing so strenuously against statism or for free market alternatives. It’s because I don’t believe that there is any technological imperative for statism or centralization, and I do believe that anything human beings want can be accomplished through voluntary cooperation, that I have hope.

  54. Do you HATE BUSH? Then you, are a traitor to America, ignorant of what is good and evil, and simply a tool of the Islamic religion of submit or die.
    You relish evil, or cheaters, liars, yet a man with balls who HAD EVERY AMERICAN ON HIS SIDE AFTER 9-11, will be re-paid for his leadership, by a bunch of whiny cowards who were gung ho, but once the tough got going, so did you.
    If all of you love the terrorist, please go live under them, they have started every conflict on our planet except (2), which two AMERICA started in order to wipe out the killers before they do our nation in, AH but what do you care? Hide in your money and fnacy words and liberal gibberish.
    You ALL should be ashamed as you ALL HAVE THE BLOOD OF AMERICANS ON YOUR HANDS FOR YOU SUPPORT FOR THE ENEMY, AND HATE AND NON-SUPPORT FOR OUR LEADER, and yes in war if you do that my “firneds” you are a TRAITOR IN MY HUMBLE OPINION. I will pray for you

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