Jonathan Chait

Soros Loser

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I've been writing a lot about the tendency among many liberals to muster outrage against Republicans after they've taken power, while lacking any capacity to muster energy to prevent Republicans from taking power in the first place. Apparently this attitude extends even to billionaire liberal financier George Soros:

“I made an exception getting involved in 2004,” Mr. Soros, 80, said in a brief interview Friday at a forum sponsored by the Bretton Woods Committee, which promotes understanding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

“And since I didn’t succeed in 2004, I remained engaged in 2006 and 2008. But I’m basically not a party man. I’d just been forced into that situation by what I considered the excesses of the Bush administration.”

Mr. Soros, a champion of liberal causes, has been directing his money to groups that work on health care and the environment, rather than electoral politics.

Right, and I'm sure if Republicans take control of Congress, nothing seriously bad would happen as a result.

To be sure, I'm not wild about the notion of extremely rich people wielding massive influence over politics. But given that this is the system that exists, I'd just as soon have the rich liberals get involved as sit out. And the front-running psychology behind this Soros quote is pretty interesting:

Asked if the prospect of Republican control of one or both houses of Congress concerned him, he said: “It does, because I think they are pushing the wrong policies, but I’m not in a position to stop it. I don’t believe in standing in the way of an avalanche.”

What does that even mean? Spending money on politics has a marginal influence. This is true whether you're intervening on the winning or the losing side. What possible reason is there to think you you either can't or shouldn't intervene in a losing election? I don't think there's any reason there. It's just a desire not to be associated with defeat.

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