What Conservatives Fear

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Politico’s Kenneth Vogel has a piece today about American Crossroads, the mega-PAC founded earlier this year with assistance from Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie and originally dedicated to 100% public disclosure of donors. Unfortunately, it turned out that rich conservatives were a wee bit shy about about being publicly identified with actual conservative politicians, so they ditched the transparency hokum and spun off Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies — a group whose name is notable mainly for bringing to mind Voltaire’s quip about the Holy Roman Empire.1 After that, fundraising skyrocketed. 

But here’s the best part. Here’s what rich conservatives were supposedly afraid of:

“Whether it’s legitimate or not, there is this near-hysteria, this belief that the Democrats are going to come after us,” if donors disclose their contributions to GOP-allied groups, said one person who was asked to donate the Crossroads groups. “Everybody is truly afraid that the Obama administration is going to target them.”

This is what I was talking about a few days ago when I wrote about the difference between liberal and conservative craziness. Both sides have their loons, but can you imagine this happening on the liberal side? Even at the height of Bush hatred during the early years of the Iraq war, rich liberals never lived in fear that Bush was “going to target them.” It’s paranoid lunacy. I’m sure they thought that conservatives would fight back against them, but that’s about as florid as they got.

I dunno. There’s hardly a demographic in the country that’s safer from any effective kind of retribution than rich, establishment conservatives. But after a steady diet of Fox News I guess even they start to believe that Obama really is going to come after them with his Chicago style of thug politics. In reality, all they’ve gotten from him is an occasional bit of Wall Street bashing and some election-season tub thumping about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But reality really doesn’t matter much anymore.

1Namely that it was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. Likewise, Crossroads GPS is designed to extract money from rich businessmen for media buys, which is the opposite of “grassroots”; is interested solely in defeating Democrats, which is the opposite of “policy”; and was created for the express purpose of funding advertising for the 2010 election, which is the opposite of a “strategy.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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