Ugh, this article is a piece of work.
When we last noticed Time's John Cloud he was writing a blogospheric classic in the form of a Valentine to Ann Coulter (has it really been three years?), where the hate mistress was transformed into a public intellectual.
Cloud's latest is headlined, "The Gay Mafia That's Redefining Politics." It's basically a look at a group of wealthy and influential gay men, dubbed the Cabinet, who have teamed up to raise millions of dollars to give candidates running against anti-gay opponents, and to give to organizations and PAC's that are politically aligned with the men's agenda.
That strikes us as mildly interesting, but hardly blockbuster, material. But when Time dresses the story up and shrouds it mystery with words like "secret," "secretive," "stealth," and the "complex" "web of connections," even we had our interest piqued.
Alas, the breathless tone of the piece turns out to be pointless. And so are many of the claims Cloud makes in his effort to prop up the story as a tale of nefarious influences. For instance, why is the name of the right-wing's favorite lib bogey man, George Soros, sprinkled throughout the Time story even though Soros is not connected with the Cabinet and, based on Time's reporting, has not donated a dime?
And what's with "redefining politics" headline? The Cabinet is made up of liberals giving money to liberal candidate (esp. on the state level) and to liberal orgs. As much as we wish that constituted"redefining politics" in America, that claim strikes us as absurd.
And we're not even going to mention the idiotic, law-breaking "mafia" meme. Actually, we will mention it because Cloud goes out his way to darkly note (he even quotes a Skadden Arps attorney!) that none of the Cabinet's work or donations are "illegal." But why even bring that up? There's absolutely nothing in the article to even suggest there's anything illegal going on. Again; wealthy libs raise money and then spread it around. Where does the crime-breaking angle come in?
The truth is, Cloud has to address the issue of illegality because of the hush-hush tone he uses to dress up the Cabinet up as a menacing force.
In the passage where Cloud reassures Time readers about how the Cabinet's work is legit, he adds this caveat:
And yet as the National Review's Byron York has pointed out, Americans were horrified to learn during Watergate that Richard Nixon's friend Clement Stone had donated an outrageous $2 million in cash to the President's campaign. Cabinet members have spent at least five times that amount in various races in the past four years.
First, love how Time turns to the conservative National Review writer for an un-bias assessment of liberal political activism.
Second, the comparison between the Cabinet and Nixon's pal Clement Stone clearly makes no sense because Stone made headlines in the early 1970's when it was discovered, as part of the Watergate investigation, that the millionaire insurance salesman single-handedly filled Nixon's campaign coffers with millions and millions of dollars worth of donations.
He did that by donating money to hundreds of Nixon-created front groups--which funneled the money to Nixonland--as a way to get around the legal limits in place for presidential donors. (Corner-cutting donors also got tax breaks that way.) In other words, Stone for years was pretty much oblivious to the campaign finance laws of the time.
That's who Cloud uses as a comparison for the Cabinet, which, as far as the Time article reports, doesn't even give money to Democratic presidential candidates. Plus, Cloud provides zero proof that the Cabinet is using front groups to bypass established law the way Stone brazenly did. Yet Cloud eagerly quotes from a conservative in order to make the phony comparison between the two; a single donor who skirted the law, and a group of men who abide by it.
Like we said, this article is a piece of work.