Today's New York Times has an interesting story about a periodic meeting conservative über-donor David Koch organizes, where he and other masters of the universe plan how to advance the cause of "freedom," i.e. remove themselves from the burden of paying taxes and obeying regulations on things like the environment and worker safety:
A secretive network of Republican donors is heading to the Palm Springs area for a long weekend in January, but it will not be to relax after a hard-fought election — it will be to plan for the next one.
Ben Smith has an article in Politico that tells us quite a bit about what has happened in the last couple of years. The basic thesis is that in 2008, Obama actively discouraged donors from giving to the outside groups that were forming to help him get elected, and now he's paying the price. Here's an excerpt:
There are certain things we expect of politicians. They're supposed to kiss babies, and wear flag pins, and care deeply about whatever is most important to the person they are talking to at a particular moment. Also, when they get caught with hookers, they're supposed to slink off shamefacedly, never to be heard from again.
But it doesn't have to be that way, as probably soon-to-be-reelected Sen. David Vitter has shown us. Matt Yglesias makes the contrast with Eliot Spitzer:
If you're like me, you get pretty infuriated when you see some Republican candidate say that health-care reform is the greatest threat to individual liberty since the Nuremberg Laws, when that same person was unconcerned about things that constitute actual threats to personal liberty, like warrantless wiretapping. Well it isn't just the politicians. Look at this remarkable graph from Gallup (via John Sides):