Friday, September 01, 2006

Liberal hypocrisy no call for conservative smugness

Posted by Craig Westover | 3:29 PM |  

This is the day for Republicans with the opportunity to make some principled points, and blowing it. First it was Governor Pawlenty in announcing he wasn’t going to accept public campaign financing, and now this from the Kennedy camp.
Amy Klobuchar’s “Big Oil” Hypocrisy

Klobuchar Rails on Oil Companies While Lining Her Own Pockets
(St. Paul, Minnesota) – For nearly two years Amy Klobuchar has campaigned across Minnesota railing against oil companies saying they are, “ripping us off,” and “lining the pockets of their executives.” What Amy Klobuchar hasn’t mentioned is that while she talks about the evils of “big oil,” she is personally benefiting from those oil companies.

“Amy Klobuchar frequently says we need to ‘follow the money,’ well, when you follow the money of ExxonMobil it ends up in Amy Klobuchar’s pocket,” said Heidi Frederickson, Press Secretary for Mark Kennedy. “The problem here isn’t that Amy Klobuchar owns oil company stock, but the fact that she has been saying one thing to voters and doing another. This is another egregious example of Amy Klobuchar’s hypocrisy.”

Of the twelve largest mutual funds owned by Klobuchar, nine of them contain ExxonMobil stock. Further, the largest single holding in those twelve funds is ExxonMobil.

“It is time for Amy Klobuchar to stop saying one thing while doing another,” added Frederickson.
Hedia is on to something here, but hypocrisy isn‘t the end game. (My retirement fund has some nice government subsidized TVA bonds, and I don’t feel the least bit hypocritical. TVA is a good investment; I’ll take advantage of it.) However, if you look past the hypocrisy attack, then both Klobuchar and Kennedy are up for criticism.

Klobuchar is exhibiting classic liberal hypocrisy (not the first time) -- her public policy statements run contrary to personal actions that result in personal benefit. I’ll cut her a little slack in that anyone that owns a mutual fund probably has money in a company or two that runs contrary to his values. Nonetheless, if you’re going to rail against “Big Oil” in a Senate campaign, you probably should be a little more pure than the rest of us.

In having a portfolio of diversified mutual funds, Klobuchar isn’t much different than most of us middle-class investors. Those funds are important to us. That’s what’s going to supplement the miserable return on social security dollars. Klobuchar’s policies of redistributing wealth from companies like Exon through windfall profit taxes and by subsidizing its (alternative energy) competition is going to hurt those portfolios. We small investors are going to get dinged, not because Exon made a market blunder, not because we (or the fund manager) made a bad investment, but because Amy Klobuchar wants to change the rules.


Oops. Mark Kennedy also wants to change the rules. He wants to change the rules for oil companiens and send investors' dollars to ethanol producers, too. About the only difference between Klobuchar and Kennedy on energy policy is Klobuchar is gleeful about looting “Big Oil” and Kennedy is reluctant but willing.

It makes little difference if an investment is decreased by a hypocritical liberal or conservative abandoning principle for constituency politics. Both Klobuchar and Kennedy are hurting the middle-class they purport to be “working for.”