Ed Kilgore is impressed with the flexibility of Mitch McConnell’s mind:
You have to hand it to Mitch McConnell. While other scandal-mad Republicans are off on a wild goose chase that could well end in 1998, McConnell’s focused on exploiting scandals to promote his very favorite cause, and his special gift to the corruption of American politics: hiding the identity of big campaign donors. His op-ed in today’s Washington Post aims at convincing us that conservative donors obviously need anonymity because they will otherwise be persecuted by Obama-inspired bureaucrats and union thugs.
In fairness, this has actually been the conservative party line ever since they did an abrupt U-turn after Citizens United and decided that disclosure of donors’ identities wasn’t something they approved of after all. From the very beginning, their claim has been that America’s right-wing millionaires need to keep their political affiliations private because otherwise liberals will hound them into….something. Even now, McConnell can’t really provide any specifics of just what would happen if donors had to make their donations public, and is instead reduced to muttering vaguely about Chicago thuggery, a “culture of intimidation,” and favoritism in awarding government contracts:
These tactics are straight out of the left-wing playbook: Expose your opponents to public view, release the liberal thugs and hope the public pressure or unwanted attention scares them from supporting causes you oppose. This is what the administration has done through federal agencies such as the FCC and the FEC, and it’s what proponents of the Disclose Act plan to do with donor and member lists.
I’ll give him this much: supporting political causes does indeed expose you to pressure from people who don’t like your causes. This goes both ways, of course, and conservatives are just as fond of boycotts and picketing and demagoguery as lefties are. The question is why McConnell thinks not just that speech should be free of government interference, but should also be free of any consequences whatsoever. The marketplace of ideas is weak tea indeed when no one has any idea of just who’s saying what.