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Adelson Doubling Down On Gingrich – OpEd

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Sheldon Adelson is doubling-down on his fair-haired white boy, Newt Gingrich, with a second $5-million Super PAC gift given through his wife, Miriam.  If God forbid, Newtie wins the nomination I’d bet we can expect gifts in the $50-100 million range from Big Shel.  This gift, and the NY Times article to which I linked, make clear that Newt is largely a creature of Adelson’s money.  Without it, Romney would already be the Republican nominee.  With it, he spent millions tearing down Romney and boosting his own presence and visibility:

The Adelsons’ contributions on Mr. Gingrich’s behalf illustrate how rapidly a new era of unlimited political money is reshaping the rules of presidential politics and empowering individual donors to a degree unseen since before the Watergate scandals.

The wealth of a single couple has now leveled the playing field in two critical primary states for Mr. Gingrich, a candidate who ended September more than $1 million in debt, finished out of the running in Iowa and New Hampshire and, unlike Mr. Romney, has yet to attract the broad network of hard-money donors and bundlers that traditionally propel presidential campaigns.

Remember also, that when Gingrich ran for president in the past he was a lightly-regarded, laughingstock also-ran.  In these days of Supreme Court permitted “free money,” a back-of-the-packer can bring unlimited cash to bear and break through to the mainstream.  This causes a tremendous distortion in the political process.

I have no doubt that Barack Obama will have more than enough cash of his own to offset the Adelson “touch.”  But in other circumstances, otherwise freakish candidates like Gingrich could easily win primaries and even the presidency while have no real grassroots base or large donor pool.  Is this really what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they conceived the American presidency?

In case there is any dissension in the comment thread ranks related to my reference to Newt as a ‘white boy,’ know that I’m referring ironically to the deep ethnic hatreds roiling in Newt’s brain from Muslims to uppity (“food stamp”) Negroes to radical “alien-Alinsky” Jews.  Let’s make clear his clear preference for his white, Christian kind which does make some small allowance for good Not-One-Incher Jews like Reb Adelson.

The Times article notes that John Sununu (of Lebanese Arab descent), issues a direct threat to Adelson, saying that all the Republican financiers backing Romney would take revenge on him the next time he turned to them for backing to build a new casino.  That seems a hollow threat since money men are in the business of making money and if Sheldon can make them money he’ll have no problem finding financial backing.

But it is interesting to note the level of dismay Adelson is provoking in the circle of the Republican elite.  This is exactly where Adelson likes to be.  He’s already upset the Israeli political system by offering Bibi virtual financial carte blanche and hundreds of millions worth of free publicity via his Yisrael HaYom newspaper.  First, Adelson ensured a virtual permanent Likudist majority in Israeli politics.  Now he seeks to install a permanent ultranationalist pro-Israel U.S. government in the form of Newt Gingrich.

Let’s spin this fantasy out a bit farther.  Let’s say Newt gets the nomination along with another, say $100 mil from Adelson to spend against Obama.  Do you think the latter will make Bibi pay a price for this?  Not on your life.  Which is precisely what lies at the heart of the current president’s grave weakness when it comes to Israel.  He simply doesn’t have the stomach for hard-nosed politics that other truly great presidents have had and understood.  It’s why Obama can never be a great president and may end his second term being a somewhat mediocre one.

This article was published by Tikun Olam

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Richard Silverstein

Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.

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