Tom Delay fans run TV ads in Houston blaming the anti-Delay ads on my old boss!
According to factcheck.org, the group behind it had some Swift Boat connections. The pro-Delay ad seems over-the-top, though I have a hard time believing that viewers would believe anything spoken in defense of Delay these days. And now, hundreds of thousands of Houstonians who have never heard of George Soros now suddenly know his name; thanks Swift Boat guys!
I have no problem with fishy ads–it’s a free country after all, but the inconsistent treatment of political ads can seem appalling. Apparently, the local networks had real problems running the anti-Delay ads.
I find the demonization of George Soros to be hilarious. Yes, he’s a rich capitalist, but the conservatives have many of their own. Soros had principles and a sense of mission; he seemed above politics, and yet his intervention in the 2004 election seemed dramatic and (I feel) justified. If the Republicans Party were run by Bob Dole and his ilk, people like George Soros would not see any reason to become involved.
But Soros’s campaigns overseas were based on the assumption that America’s own democratic institutions are strong. But the 2004 election (and to a lesser extent 2000 election) revealed is how weak US institutions are, how easy it is for democracies to wilt under pressure and bend to those who shout the loudest. We are still a nation that lets it soldier crucify with impunity .
In 2001 when visiting a Ukranian girlfriend, I remember dismissing the significance of George W.’s election. I said, “Yes, of course, he’s going to screw up the economy: protectionism, unilateralism, injecting religion into politics, dismantling efficient agencies, let him do that. I don’t care. As long as he doesn’t get us in a war, I’ll be happy.” I was setting what I thought at the time was a low bar for success; little did I know how difficult it is for the Republican Party to avoid foreign entanglements.
Last night I ate dinner with some computer scientists who taught/worked at various universities. We were not really talking about politics. Most of us were on the same page anyway. One woman from Alabama told me how incredible she found the idea that the US will intervene in Iraq. People at the college just didn’t take the possibility seriously until it was too late. But we should never underestimate the power of a small group of people determined to achieve a political objective no matter what the cost.
In the meantime, I’m secretly hoping that Tom Delay stays in power. It will make fundraising a lot easier.