Why Did SNL Attack Left-Leaning Benefactors? (Cherchez La Podhoretz?)

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This is weird. Last week American Thinker, one of countless neocon websites that are underfoot these days, ran a piece by Ed Lasky titled, "How Allies of George Soros Helped Bring Down Wachovia Bank," and blamed Wachovia's troubles on a deal it made to buy Golden West Financial, a savings and loan, for $24 billion two years ago, from Herb and Marion Sandler. Not a great deal: these days Wachovia is trying to sell itself to Wells Fargo for about 60 percent of that figure.

The financial stuff was just a pretext. "Who are the Sandlers?" Lasky asked; and he saved his venom for the Sandlers' munificent political activities. The Sandlers are on the left. According to Wikipedia, they've put money into Human Rights Watch, Moveon.org, Acorn, and ProPublica, a foundation that gives money to investigative journalists. Lasky mocks the Sandlers for having hurt the little guy through their thrift's sale, and says they're part of a "left-wing conspiracy" that's going to go wide if Obama is elected. Can't wait!

Anyway, here's the weird part. "Who are the Sandlers?" Exactly. They're under the radar. I'd never heard of them myself till a friend sent me Lasky's piece last week. Well on Saturday Night, the Sandlers were front and center on SNL in a  sketch about the financial crisis parodying a CSPAN press conference held by Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank. "The Sandlers" had a part in the press conference as a couple involved in "corrupt" and predatory loan practices. The piece captioned them: "Herbert and Marion Sandler: People who should be shot." Herb Sandler was played with a heavy New York accent. Now the real Sandler is angry. Yesterday he told AP that he's being "tarred."

The SNL sketch also went after George Soros, saying he now owns the economy. Rightwing bloggers are charged over what one calls the exposure of "the money behind far-leftwing causes and entities."

The Sandlers truly are a threat to the right. That's because leftwing donors are trying to change the water in the American aquarium, praise the lord. Some of these donors are imitating the right, in that they're trying to take over the levers of influence–paying for thinktanks and foundations to get ideas out that will bring about more progressive policies. (And if that writing is somewhat altarboyish and wooden, cut me a break; I need some leftwing jing.) I'm told the Sandlers were involved in some of the discussions about a lobby that would be an alternative to AIPAC. My canary says they have helped out J Street.

But I repeat: No one's ever heard of the Sandlers; and now they have.

So why is SNL lending its august center-left platform to a rightwing agenda? Here's one guess: Not long ago, SNL employed as an associate producer a woman named Ayala Cohen, the wife of John Podhoretz, the editorial director of Commentary magazine. Seems like Ayala's still with the show. Her rabbi dad teaches at Jewish Theological Seminary, and is a Zionist, of course, looks like an unreconstructed one, and once wrote an article on one of my favorite subjects: Jewish Camping. Now that's funny.

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