Soros vs. Scaife

The Bush team has very deftly redefined the debate over his discredited Swift Boat Liars as a debate about soft money and 527s, and the media seem to be buying his line of bullshit. One name that comes up a lot in the debate is the sinister billionaire George Soros, who (as fully disclosed) has given a lot of money to Move On, an independent group which supports Kerry the way the Swiftboat Liars support Bush (albeit more honestly).

Republicans seem to think that Soros is a villain, and they use his name that way in speeches, but Soros is actually a good guy in a very big way. Like the Republican sugar-daddy Richard Mellon Scaife, he’s a billionaire, but the comparison ends there. Soros earned his money, whereas Scaife inherited his, and Soros, unlike Scaife, is mentally stable.

So let’s compare the two. Scaife’s one accomplishment in life has been the Clinton impeachment. He gave millions of dollars to various slanderers and to investigators who ultimately came up with very little that was solid, but his investments in publicity and propaganda succeeded in keeping the fake scandals alive and almost succeeded in toppling Clinton. He apparently (according to David Brock) had an unhealthy interest in Hillary Clinton’s supposed lesbian relationships, and one of the few reporters ever to succeed in talking to him left hurriedly after he called her a “Communist cunt” and threatened her.

But for all his looniness, Scaife has been a powerful force in American politics for well over a decade. A high proportion of America’s most noxious right-wing disinformation is produced on his dime, and most of the important contemporary conservatives of our time are deeply in Scaife’s debt.

Salon Scaife links / Washington Post on Scaife / Scaife foundations / Scaife bio

George Soros grew up very precariously in WWII Hungary (ruled by a Fascist allied with Hitler), and after the war escaped from Communist Hungary to live in London. He studied there under Karl Popper, his hero, but was not able to continue his studies and went into finance. He has been very successful, turning a few hundred thousand dollars into billions.

Over the last two decades, starting in Poland well before the Berlin Wall fell, he has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the Open Society Foundation, the purpose of which was to help the ex-Communist world to develop democratic institutions. Soros is anti-Communist, anti-Fascist, and pro-democracy, but he also fears the Christian nationalist free-market fanaticism which dominates the Republican Party.

Soros bio / Soros bio / Soros in Fascist Hungary (search “Soros”)

So his new project is to get George W. Bush out of office. The Republicans think that we should be ashamed of Soros’ involvement, but we should be proud instead.

Soros is a billionaire, but how can the Republicans possibly complain about that? When he compares the present moment to proto-Fascist Hungary, he isn’t just blowing smoke — he’s talking about something he remembers and was lucky to survive. We’re in very good company with Soros at our side, and (as you can see below) Soros’ Republican critics are in very bad company indeed.

Soros’ political activities / Soros’ Open Society efforts / Open Society Institute site / Defence of Soros (Eric Alterman, The Nation) / Defence of Soros (Matt Welch, Reason)

Soros’ Enemies:

Soros has enemies to be proud of: post-Communist dictators, neo-fascist nationalists, anti-Semites, Likudniks, LaRouchies, and miscellaneous wackos. Here are a few of the dozens of links I have seen.

Especially creepy guest attacks Soros on O’Reilly / Long, creepy American attack on Soros / Uzbek attack / Soviet attack and defence /Ukrainian attack / Macedonian / Serbian attack / Muslim anti-Semitic attack (Mahathir) / Likudnik attack I /Likudnik attack II — weird accusations / Wacko attack I / Wacko attack II / Wacko attack III / Freeper / Ukrainian attack / Anti-semitic attack I / Anti-semitic attack II