The mainstream media, and public radio in particular, made much of Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remark, mocking the idea that some people had become so dependent on the federal government that they could not bring themselves to vote Republican. And yet the Cleveland Plain Dealer and American Public Media’s Marketplace argue that those whose businesses received federal stimulus funds ought not donate to Republicans.
Marketplace‘s Jeff Horwich spoke to the Plain Dealer‘s Stephen Koff today, who wrote: From a Cincinnati garbage hauler to some of Ohio’s more prominent manufacturers, company executives lined up to get taxpayer money from the stimulus. Then they joined or rejoined the chorus of fiscal restraint, supporting candidates running on that platform including, in the case of some donors, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Koff’s article, as Horwich noted, picks up the charge of hypocrisy that Vice President Joe Biden hurled at Rep. Paul Ryan in their debate on Oct. 11, referring to the fact that Ryan opposed the stimulus but wrote letters on behalf of constituents who had sought stimulus grants. Koff also amplified the Obama campaign’s theme of attacks on GOP donors, which has frequently singled out private citizens for public attack and abuse.
Note that only Republicans are singled out–not Democrats, although eleven joined the vote against the stimulus in 2009. And Koff does not ask an equivalent question of Democratic donors–i.e. whether they donate to Obama despite opposing particular Republican policies from which they may have benefited–such as wealthy liberals who benefited from the Bush tax cuts and failed to return the difference to Washington.
Liberals who want the government to impose higher taxes are perfectly within their rights to hold onto their money regardless. And conservatives who oppose massive government spending are perfectly entitled to apply for federal funds, especially when not doing so might put them at a competitive disadvantage.
What Horwich and Koff are suggesting is not only one-sided, but deeply illiberal: that your right to dissent depends on whether you have received government benefits, in which case you ought not do so.
This is exactly the conformity the left wishes to enforce. Strategists such as Robert Creamer, for example, proclaim that implementing Obamacare will stifle complaints against it.
It is Democrats’ agenda to create a subservient class of beneficiaries that cannot speak out. And it is the media’s agenda–for some, apparently–to assist.
Image credit: American Elephants