What Conservatives Fear

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

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.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest