Stillwater News Press

Opinion

April 5, 2014

TAYLOR ARMERDING: Voters beware of the bogeymen and oligarchs

STILLWATER, Okla. — There was a time, not so long ago, when my liberal friends wailed at me in outrage over what they claimed was conservatives engaging in “the politics of fear.” Nothing could be worse, they said, than avoiding the “real issues” by trying to scare people.

This reached a crescendo in 2008 when President Obama was still just a candidate and liberals were convinced that every criticism of his statements, policy proposals or political philosophy was really just racist code designed to frighten voters.

Didn’t work, obviously. But the politics of fear is now very much a bipartisan thing. This year’s mid-term elections, still seven months away, are looking like they will be the campaign of the bogeyman, or woman.

It is not new; it has a long, tired, absurd history. Back in the ‘90s, it didn’t matter who various Democrats were running against because they would spend most of the time pretending they were running against Newt Gingrich, the increasingly unpopular speaker of the House. Republicans generally pretended they were running against Ted Kennedy, the late U.S. Senator from Massachusetts who was very rich and very liberal.

This year, Democrats are going to be running against a couple of guys who aren’t even in office – the billionaire Koch brothers. Republicans, no matter their home state, will pretend they are taking on yet another increasingly unpopular former speaker of the House, Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, of California.

If you believe all the things that are said, and will be said, about them over the next seven months, you’ll probably want to hide your kids – maybe even hide yourself – if you so much as see one of these people on TV. Who wants to risk being under the influence of such satanic forces?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a tough time getting through a comment on anything partisan without vilifying the Koch brothers. He has called them “un-American,” but that is apparently not good enough for those in the fever swamps of the Left, who have now taken to calling them and other rich conservatives “oligarchs.” You know, like the super-rich Russians who want wealth to rule the country. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

It is true that the Koch brothers are fabulously wealthy, thanks in large measure to their father building an oil refinery business. They are politically active, donating millions to conservative and libertarian causes.

But, how are they any different, other than political philosophy, from left-wing billionaires who are just as politically active? George Soros is a hedge fund billionaire who made part of his fortune shorting the British pound in 1992. For years he has donated millions to liberal causes and groups that support Democratic candidates. Tom Steyer, who made a chunk of his fortune from the oil business, is another. Al Gore, vice president during the Clinton administration, made some of his millions selling his cable TV station to Al Jazeera, the TV network built with Qatari oil money. Maybe donations from the rich ought to be limited to what the “average” American could donate.

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net.

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