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Soros Against Bush

Tom Friedman on Bush’s failures:

each time the Bush team had to choose between doing the right thing in the war on terrorism or siding with its political base and ideology, it chose its base and ideology. More troops or radically lower taxes? Lower taxes. Fire an evangelical Christian U.S. general who smears Islam in a speech while wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army or not fire him so as not to anger the Christian right? Don’t fire him. Apologize to the U.N. for not finding the W.M.D., and then make the case for why our allies should still join us in Iraq to establish a decent government there? Don’t apologize – for anything – because Karl Rove says the “base” won’t like it. Impose a “Patriot Tax” of 50 cents a gallon on gasoline to help pay for the war, shrink the deficit and reduce the amount of oil we consume so we send less money to Saudi Arabia? Never. Just tell Americans to go on guzzling. Fire the secretary of defense for the abuses at Abu Ghraib, to show the world how seriously we take this outrage – or do nothing? Do nothing. Firing Mr. Rumsfeld might upset conservatives. Listen to the C.I.A.? Only when it can confirm your ideology. When it disagrees – impugn it or ignore it.

My former boss and philanthropist George Soros has a blog. I’m happy that George Soros is actively involved in the campaign (see his recent speech here). But isn’t it a bit futile? And doesn’t Mr. Soros subject himself to personal attack? Putting full page ads in the WSJ and doing matching grants for moveon.org does make a difference in this election. But the money might be better spent building media watchdog groups and training bloggers/journalists and underwriting TV/radio shows. What about giving grants to 10 or so bloggers/political opinion sites so they can run it full time (Blogging is usually done by people on the side). Now with Bill Moyers, for example, the most thoughtful show on TV, is being reduced from one hour to half hour, an event that occurred after conservatives protested. What about grants to established journalists so they can learn a foreign language (like Arabic) of the country they are writing about? What about underwriting exchanges between American media groups and foreign media groups?

More: Soros is buying ads on the NYT website to promote his weblog; do billionaires have anything better to spend their money on?

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