Some conservative commentators have gotten all worked up over a Hungarian-American immigrant and successful currency speculator named George Soros. He started life in a Jewish family in Budapest as Georgy Schwartz, but his family changed its name to avoid persecution under the Nazi occupation during World War II.
Now a famous philanthropist who supports liberal causes, he has been demonized in recent years as a Communist, a terrorist sympathizer and the master puppeteer who pulls the strings behind the Obama administration.
European countries from Russian domination, it would be a stretch to believe he has become a Communist. As a philosophy student at the London School of Economics, he rather favored the Greek philosophers and not Karl Marx. Later on at a Wall Street firm, he became a disciple of Karl Popper — who developed an economics concept called “reflexivity,” which deals with market trends.
As director of a hedge fund, Soros used this concept to profit by more than $1 billion during the British government’s devaluation of the pound sterling. This act earned Soros the sobriquet: “the man who broke the bank of England;” however, thousands if not millions of others were trading their British pounds for other currencies at the same time. Soros simply did it in a hugely speculative way.
Soros donated a few thousand dollars to a lawyer to defend an accused terrorist with the excuse that even terrorists under the American justice system should have legal counsel. He also donated money toward Proposition 19, California’s attempt to decriminalize marijuana. A few million Californians also supported this effort, meant largely to save California from bankruptcy by providing the state with a new source of revenue. As for “pulling strings” at the White House, Oprah Winfrey seems to have more obvious pull.
Soros probably got the reputation of being a “puppeteer” by donating money to oppose George W. Bush. According to the Huffington Post, Soros donated $27 million to liberal get-out-the-vote campaigns during the 2003-04 and 2005-06 election periods, but he was outdone by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who donated more than $30 million to conservatives during 2007-08. Adelson’s contributions surpassed oilman T. Boone Pickens’ contributions of $4.6 million during 2003-04 and Houston real estate magnate Bob Perry’s donations of $18.5 million from 2003 to 2006. The latter contributors also supported conservative candidates and their causes.
It is probably Soros’ effort to defeat President Bush that has done the most to rile conservative commentators. In an interview with The Washington Post in November 2003, Soros said that defeating Bush was the “central focus” of his life. He further stated he would willingly “sacrifice (his) entire fortune” to remove President Bush from office “if someone guaranteed it.”
Soros gave $3 million to the Center for American Progress, $2.5 million to MoveOn.org and $20 million to Americans Coming Together. These groups supported Democrats in the 2004 election.
Soros also engaged in a multi-state speaking tour with the theme, “Why we must not re-elect President Bush.” His opposition to Bush may have stemmed from his acute anti-war feelings. Having survived war in Europe, Soros had strong opposition to the war in Iraq. He stated that after Sept. 11, we set “the wrong agenda for the world ... when you wage war, you inevitably create innocent victims.” Soros knew all too well about “innocent victims,” since as a youth he was given a job by the Jewish Council of Budapest to deliver lists of names of Jews who were to be sent off to concentration camps.
George Soros failed as a “master puppeteer” as George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, and California’s attempt to liberalize marijuana laws in 2010 through Soros-supported Proposition 19 also was defeated. He had also supported the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which intended to end “soft money” contributions to federal election campaigns; however, in 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that banned unions and corporations from paying for political ads in the waning days of campaigns.
In view of these failures at string-pulling, perhaps conservative commentators like Glenn Beck should look for another “demon” more worthy of their attention in 2011?
Dan Norvell’s participation in politics dates from 1960 in the mailroom of the Volunteers for Nixon-Lodge. He later worked part-time as a clerk in the offices of liberal Republican Sen. Jacob Javits of New York and conservative Republican Sen. Peter Dominick of Colorado.