Columnist for Harper's Magazine and former WSJ writer Thomas Frank joins 'The Real News Network' show 'Reality Asserts Itself' with host Paul Jay to discuss disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and his relationship with the Democratic Party.
THOMAS FRANK: Uniquely among American journalists, I had never heard of the guy before. And so I started reading up on him -- who is this guy [Harvey Weinstein] who has been accused of sexually harassing women in hundreds of cases -- dozens, many?
I'd never heard of his before so I start reading up on him, and you keep reading about his intimacy with leaders of the Democratic Party. He is always giving them money, hosting their fundraisers, hosting this good cause and that good cause.
And he sort of fit into a type of Democrat/liberal supporter that I am very familiar with.
Take a step back. In Listen Liberal I wrote about the Clinton Foundation, and what they do. I'm not talking here about the various accusations people made of them acting as a slush fund, or that sort of thing.
What I'm talking about is the way that they kind of act as a moral exchange for people who are quite bad. A lot of Foundations do this, okay. And so my argument is this is what liberalism.
PAUL JAY: the Saudis give them money--
THOMAS FRANK: Yeah, so you go to their events for a very high-octane goodness. Lots of celebrities, people who are celebrated for being good people. Highly, highly moral people. Often people who are only known by one name, like Bono or Malala. People who are saintly.
And there is a kind of exchange there, where those people are made to rub up against figures from American business. And businesspeople donate this money to all these good causes, and then the Clintons are the facilitators in the middle of this. They have a hand in each camp.
[One hand] in the extremely highly moral, saintly camp, and also in the really dirty awful ugly business world. And there is a kind of moral exchange that happens via the Clinton Foundation, and this is--
Harvey Weinstein really, better than almost anyone I know of, not only fits into that but acted it out when he first was accused, he was like: 'Oh? You're saying I do these bad things? OK I'll go after the National Rifle Association. I'll give money to good causes.'
That is what liberalism is. What was the word? The phrase I used in Listen Liberal -- virtue offsets.
It is like rich people buying carbon offsets, but they're buying liberalism offsets.
PAUL JAY: Karma offsets.
THOMAS FRANK: Exactly!
That is what it is. And it is a moral/financial operation that doesn't really depend on getting votes or winning elections, or anything like that. It is all about this exchange of karma. Buying the karma offsets.