Politics & Policy

The Bush-Soros Pick

The White House is in bad company in the Pennsylvania primary.

As President Bush visits Pittsburgh Monday to campaign for the U.S. Senate’s second-most-liberal Republican, he might ask Arlen Specter why he is associated with a group that billionaire Bush basher George Soros supports. The president also might ask the four-term senator why he can’t tell the truth about this matter.

As Jim Geraghty reported on NRO last week, Soros, a wealthy Manhattan financier, donated $50,000 to the Republican Mainstream Partnership (RMP). This contribution will help this group of self-described moderate Republicans bolster Specter’s effort to win Pennsylvania’s hotly contested GOP Senate primary against pro-market stalwart Congressman Pat Toomey.

Specter appeared on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program last Wednesday because, as the free-spending incumbent put it, “people are calling my offices in Pennsylvania and are saying that they’re surprised to hear that I would be in cahoots with George Soros.” Specter added: “I welcome a chance to be on your radio show to say two things. Number one, I got no connection with the Mainstream Partnership, and I got no knowledge of any contribution by George Soros to the Mainstream Partnership, and that’s that.”

While Specter never may have glimpsed Soros’s checkbook, he cannot honestly claim to have “no connection” to this group.

As the Republican Mainstream Partnership’s website clearly indicates, Arlen Specter is listed among its “Elected officials who are members of the Partnership.” Specter is nestled snugly between senators Olympia Snowe of Maine and Ted Stevens of Alaska, also RMP members. The website even has an in-depth biographical sketch of Specter, complete with the senator’s color photo.

The RMP’s website says that its members “include individuals who are interested in moderate Republican policies, focusing on governance and on finding common sense solutions to national problems.”

If George Soros were a moderate Republican, it might not be so significant that he is spending money to help Specter defend himself against Toomey’s tough challenge in the April 27 primary. As it happens, Soros has devoted some $12.5 million to defeat President Bush this November, mainly through American Coming Together and the Media Fund, two groups eager to send Bush back to Crawford, Texas.

“I have made the rejection of the Bush doctrine the central project of my life for the next year,” Soros said in the March 22 Boston Globe. “That is why I am ready to put my money where my mouth is.” As the OpenSecrets.org website shows, he also has drawn from his $7 billion fortune to assist prominent liberal Democrats including South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle, former presidential contender Howard Dean, and presumptive nominee John Kerry.

Soros’s June 6, 2000, donation of $100,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee didn’t make it any easier to elect Republicans to support President Bush’s agenda. For that matter, Soros’s $2,000 in gifts to Al Gore’s presidential campaign didn’t make it any easier for Bush to win the White House.

President Bush and his political advisers should ask themselves a question: Why is the president wasting time and political capital campaigning for George Soros’s pick in the Pennsylvania primary?

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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