By: David Harsanyi
Who will the Democrats demonize next? The Girl Scouts? Rotary Clubs maybe?
We're running out of devils to distract us. Then again, the Obama administration's preposterous attack on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce does nothing to help Democrats and everything to reinforce the moderate voter's perception that the president's party has gone bonkers.
A recent ad by Democrats makes the charge—dutifully echoed through the blogosphere and by talking heads—that the chamber was part of a cabal out to "steal our democracy," accepting foreign cash and then using the funds to campaign against candidates on the left. Though, admittedly, they have no proof of any wrongdoing, Democrats have threatened that investigations will soon uncover this reprehensible criminal activity.
Inquiry to come postelection, no doubt.
"Stealing democracy," as you may know, loosely translated, means: Holy crap, Republicans are going to win an election.
You'll also notice that the insidious sway of outside political money always seems to blossom into a critical threat to the future of democracy about the time misguided conservatives start to get the upper hand on Democrats.
Yes, some critics are throwing a more nuanced accusation at the Chamber of Commerce. They assert that all money is fungible and thus it is irrelevant how the funding is separated within the organization. At the end of the day, foreign money helps the political arm of the chamber.
This argument holds a lot of credence. Money is fungible. So it will be interesting to hear how Democrats defend their support of government funding for, say, Planned Parenthood, which, one could point out, is also using fungible government dollars to regularly fund abortions. I believe that's illegal, as well.
But let's face it; no one is really buying the argument. Though, a perceptive voter might ask himself this: If the United States Chamber of Commerce—composed of some of the most moderate, milquetoast, government-friendly saps in the country—is now on the enemies list, who exactly does the president think is reasonable? If the crony capitalists aren't good enough for Barack Obama, who is?
Without these helpful attacks and the ensuing kerfuffle, most voters would never have known about the chamber's political activities. Now they may question why the Chamber of Commerce, which supports an array of left-of-center policies—tax hikes, health care "reforms," bailouts, etc.—is so interested in seeing Democratic candidates beaten in November. Why would the chamber want to replace these statesmen with nihilistic Republicans who promise to reject all federal bailouts?
And how many average American voters believe that the Chamber of Commerce reflects, in general, the positions of most mainstream businesses? Things, they may assume, must be worse than we thought.
Time magazine's Mark Halperin—not exactly Glenn Beck—recently wrote that the general perception by most Washington insiders is that "the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters."
Many of us have always thought the administration insular and arrogant, but never clueless. But, you have to ask yourself, why would Democrats run a campaign that reminds everyone that their opponents aren't exclusively tea party radicals and demon-Bush acolytes, but moderate groups of small and large businesses?
Politically speaking, election time is when you retrofit your positions. This stunt only proves this administration can't even feign moderation in the face of defeat.
David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his website at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.
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