January 30, 2005


Soros Says Kerry's Failings Undermined Campaign Against Bush (Bloomberg, 1/30/05)

Billionaire investor George Soros, the biggest financial contributor to the failed effort to defeat President George W. Bush in November's election, said Democratic challenger John Kerry was a flawed candidate.

Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC, spent $26 million in last year's campaign that he said was undermined by the candidate he supported.

``Kerry did not, actually, offer a credible and coherent alternative,'' Soros, 74, said yesterday in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. ``That had a lot to do with Bush being re-elected.''

The comments by the Hungarian-born Soros marked his sharpest criticism of Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran who later spoke against the war and focused his campaign against Bush on the war in Iraq. Republicans gained four seats in the Senate, including the defeat of the Senate's highest-ranking Democrat, Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Republicans have 55 seats in the 100-seat chamber.

The Kerry campaign ``tried to emphasize his role as a Vietnam War hero and downplay his role as an anti-Vietnam War hero, which he was,'' said Soros. ``Had he admitted, owned up to it, I think actually the outcome could have been different.''

Soros said he also now questions ``what the Democratic party stands for.'' Democrats need to counter ``a very effective conservative message machine,'' he said. ``There really needs to be an alternative.''

Here's a radical idea: America prefers George Bush's vision to that of George Soros.

MORE (via Jim Yates):
Leftwing Billionaires Try to Sink US Economy (Richard Poe, 1/30/05)

Do you believe in coincidences? I don't. Former CIA division chief David Atlee Philips once said, "The intelligence profession does not exactly condition one to accept coincidence as an explanation for a sequence of events." The same can be said of blogging. When a bevy of public figures all begins reading from the same script at the same time, the alert blogger takes note. Consider the following.

On January 19, leftwing billionaire Warren Buffett told CNBC, "Unless we have a major change in trade policies, I don't see how the dollar avoids going down."

Well, we've all heard that before. Buffett's position is hardly new. He has repeatedly announced that he is "shorting" the dollar – that is, betting against the dollar in global markets – since at least 2002. George Soros has been shorting the U.S. greenback since at least 2001. Moreover – like Buffett – Soros has announced his anti-dollar position repeatedly in the media. These frequent public announcements on the part of Soros and Buffett appear to be aimed at encouraging other investors to follow their example.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has now joined the anti-dollar crusade. "I'm short the dollar," Gates told PBS interviewer Charlie Rose on January 29. "The 'ol dollar, it's gonna go down."

Gates is betting instead on the Chinese yuan. In September, he received permission from the Chinese government to invest $100 million in yuan shares and bonds. Gates praises China as a "change agent" in the world. "It's phenomenal. It's a brand new form of capitalism," he enthuses.

Not to be left out of the feeding frenzy, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has also been spotted swimming with the short-dollar shark pack. In a statement that appears to serve no conceivable purpose other than to help the Gates-Buffett-Soros axis win more converts, Hillary stunned an audience of Brandeis University alumni in Florida on January 24, 2005 when she said, "[T]he economy may be on the brink of collapse... I think the economy is standing on a trap door, and I don't know that we necessarily hold the levers."

If these machinations leave some readers befuddled, a review of recent history might prove clarifying.

Remember that George Soros famously broke the Bank of England in 1992, forcing a devaluation of the British pound. He also helped trigger the "Asian flu" – a general collapse of Asian markets in 1997 – by shorting the Thai baht and the Malaysian ringgit. One year later, Soros called for a devaluation of the Russian ruble in the Financial Times of London, thus kicking off a wave of panic selling that forced the Russian treasury into default.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 30, 2005 3:26 PM

Soros is so wrong about this that if I were a pinko conspiracy energumen I would posit that he himself was part of the VRWC.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 30, 2005 5:47 PM

It would be curious to look at Soros Fund's decisions while he is saying such utter foolishness. Soros has to have something on the ball to be as successful as he is, but it is clear that if he believes what he spouts about American politics, he is truly clueless.

John Kerry was a terrible candidate and his managers did the best possible job anyone could do. Casey Stengel said of the 1962 Mets, that you can't make chicken salad out of chicken feathers. The same was true of Kerry. It was a miracle of modern politics that it was even this close. And 52-47 ain't that close.

Had Kerry taken Soros' recommendation and emphasized his antiwar stance, he wouldn't have even gotten the nomination, and had he gotten the nomination would have lost every state with the possible exception of the People's Republic of Vermont. Americans have problems with the Vietnam War, whether it is on how the war was conducted or whether it was the right place at the right time. Outside of San Francisco, some of the dopier quarters of Hollywood, American college faculty lounges and the Upper West Side, pretty much nobody in America believes that the average soldier was a war criminal, as Kerry stated in sworn testimony before Congress. And most Americans served in that war or know people who did and know that those folks were ordinary, decent Americans and not war criminals. The same American public that ignores Abu Gharib and cheers the fact that we've locked up a bunch of terrorists for the duration in Gitmo would not take kindly to Americans being characterized as war criminals.

McGovern got wiped out by Nixon in 1972 when the question was fresher and Americans had more doubts about the Cold War than we do today. That Soros can make a statement that he believes that denigrating American soldiers would get someone elected to the White House indicates that he is either a boob or a liar. There aren't too many boobs on the Forbes Billionaires List.

Posted by: Bart at January 30, 2005 5:49 PM

Time spent thinking about exchange rates is time wasted.

The proof is in what the administration would have to do in order to get the dollar to rise. It would have to have the Treasury Secretary say, "We want the dollar to rise."

Posted by: David Cohen at January 30, 2005 7:02 PM

I thought the Yuan was tied to the dollar? If so, how can Gates invest in Yuan and benefit from a decline in the dollar?

Posted by: Bob at January 31, 2005 9:50 AM