Democratic donors are getting nervous

Published on Monday, 30 June 2014 22:59 - Written by

You know who must have it rough these days? Democrats with a little money. The left’s latest targets — in a barrage that will only increase as we get closer to the fall mid-term elections and to 2016 — are income inequality, big political donors, and in a strangely personal way, the Koch brothers.

So pity the poor rich Democrats, who wonder if they’ll be the next to be carried in the tumbrels to the guillotine.

At least one liberal activist tells them not to worry.

“David Brock has a message for liberal millionaires: Don’t sweat being called hypocrites,” the Politico website reported last week. “Brock, a former ‘right-wing hit-man’-turned-top-big-money-Democratic-operative, is part of a behind-the-scenes campaign to convince donors it’s OK to attack the Koch brothers for spending millions of dollars while doing the exact same thing for the left.”

Brock told liberal donors that their money won’t destroy democracy the way that conservative money will.

“You’re not in this room today trying to figure out how to rig the game so you can be free to make money poisoning little kids, and neither am I,” he said at a conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

His audience wasn’t really convinced, it seems.

“Conservatives reject the notion that rich liberals donate more out of their concern for society than do their conservative counterparts like the Kochs,” Politico explains. “But Brock’s pitch also isn’t sitting well with some major liberal donors and operatives, who worry the anti-Koch strategy could backfire big time. It has not yet been proven effective at motivating key Democratic voting blocs like unmarried women and minorities, and liberal critics also worry it risks undercutting more important issues, smacks of class warfare and opens themselves up to hypocrisy charges.”

But Brock’s claim is still better than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s contention that rich liberal donors don’t really exist.

“The decisions by the Supreme Court have left the American people with a status quo in which one side’s billionaires are pitted against the other side’s billionaires, except one side doesn’t have many billionaires,” he said in a floor speech.

(The Tampa Bay Times’ helpful Politifact column points out that of the country’s known 22 billionaires, 13 — more than half — give predominately to liberal groups and to the Democratic Party.)

But you know who got it right last week? MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. The liberal talk show host had some kind words to say about none other than the Koch brothers. A few months ago, O’Donnell was in a car accident with his older brother, and was taken to the hospital.

The first words I saw when I rolled into the hospital was the name David H. Koch. Yes, that David Koch,” he said. “You can be outraged by what the Koch brothers do with their money in politics and you can appreciate what they contribute to hospitals and medical research … And so, yes, I feel some gratitude to David Koch.”

Such words — and the Democrats’ continued demonization of money — must have wealthy liberals pretty nervous by now.