The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

March 5, 2014

Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Harry Reid taking partisanship too far

JOPLIN, Mo. — Recent columns have highlighted climate change, income inequality and immigration as the three shiny objects the Democrats hope will distract a gullible public between now and the midterm elections.

Last week I learned they were blowing the dust off one more diversion — the Koch brothers, who head America’s second-largest privately held company, Koch Industries.

For those not versed in modern political demonization, the two Koch brothers, as defined by the left, are the most vile, greediest capitalists ever unleashed upon the American people.

Don’t believe it? You should. Why? Because Harry Reid is telling you to believe it.

Terrified that the Affordable Care Act and its tsunami of unintended consequences is going to return him to minority status, Reid took to the floor of the U.S. Senate this past week and declared that when it came to the ACA, “Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.”

After a groundswell of contempt forced him back to the Senate floor to “clarify,” a defiant Reid went off:

“What is going on with these two brothers (the Kochs)? You see, when you make billions of dollars a year, you can be as immoral and dishonest as your money will allow you to be. It’s too bad that they’re trying to buy America, and it’s time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers who are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine.”

This is the same Harry Reid who in 2005, when President Bush was starting a European trip, stated, “I think this guy is a loser” and then outdid that in 2007 when he sent the message of “this war is lost” to our troops under fire.

But if Reid wants to debate Americanism, I’m happy to do so. Here is a short comparison of his Koch brother “villains” with one of the left’s biggest benefactors, hedge fund titan George Soros.

Which is more American? Taking the company your Dutch immigrant father founded and growing it into a multinational corporation by providing services and value for your customers or creating your wealth from paper investments and stock bets?

Which is more American? Creating thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars’ worth of economic activity through growth or breaking the Bank of England with a hedge bet?

Which is more American? Donating hundreds of millions of dollars to institutions such as the Lincoln Center’s New York State Theater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center or putting millions into Herbalife stock?

Which is more American? Promoting political groups that call for constitutionally limited government and expanded personal liberty or sponsoring groups such as the Center for American Progress, which call for an even larger federal government than the $17 trillion indebted one we’ve already got?

This is not about defending the Koch brothers; they’ll be just fine. This is about the abuse of power and rank hypocrisy by a sitting U.S. senator. This is about taking partisanship beyond the pale. This is about behavior that is about as un-American as it gets.

When we’ve sunk to where it is acceptable for the Senate majority leader to single out two private citizens for ridicule simply for having political views the opposite of his, we are in deep trouble.

Geoff Caldwell writes on national and international affairs. He lives in Joplin. Contact him at gc@caldwellscorner.com.

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