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Adelson: ‘I’m Against Wealthy Influencing Elections; But if It’s Doable, I’m Going to Do It’

 “I’m against very wealthy ­people attempting to or influencing elections,” he shrugs. “But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades.

–Sheldon Adelson, Forbes

Sheldon Adelson’s interview in the upcoming issue of Forbes is breathtaking in its hypocrisy and disingenuousness.  Start with the quote above.  In it, he justifies spending more in the current Republican presidential primary campaign than anyone (except possibly Harold Simmons, who spread his giving among several candidates, unlike Adelson), by claiming that he’s only doing what George Soros has been doing all along.

Of course, Adelson omits the Republican megawealth which has poured into campaigns for years including names like Simmons ($14-million this year alone), the Koch Brothers, T. Boone Pickens, Bob Perry, and many, many others.  Soros did spend freely during a single election cycle, 2004, when he spent $24-million.  The fact that Bob Perry spent $5-million Swiftboating John Kerry that year may’ve have had something to do with that.

Sheldon Adelson Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich with political patron, Sheldon Adelson (Forbes)

Soros drastically curtailed his giving in the 2006 cycle to $3.6-million and in 2008 he spent $5-million.  In 2010, he wasn’t even in the Top 25.  So as usual with Adelson, his claims must be taken with a large grain of salt.

This is the money quote from his Forbes interview, which confirms the figure I threw out here recently:

 “It’s [media coverage] unfair that I’ve been treated unfair—but it doesn’t stop me. I might give $10 million or $100 million to Gingrich.”

Clearly, he’s not giving $100-million to Gingrich in this campaign, though I have no doubt he would if Gingrich won the nomination.  But even if he doesn’t, I believe Adelson may give up to $100-million in the 2012 campaign to whoever the Republican nominee is.

Adelson’s political views place him on the far-right fringe of the Republican movement.  In fact, he’d be right at home at a Tea Party convention, if he wasn’t put off by the anti-Semitism he’d hear:

“What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economywe’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives.

…I believe that people will come to their senses and not extend the current Administration’s quest to socialize this country. It won’t be a socialist democracy because it won’t be a democracy.””

It’s common for American Jews to be liberal on domestic issues, but right-wing concerning Israel.  With Adelson, at least he’s consistent.  He’s as far-right as you can be in terms of his domestic and Israel politics. Not that that’s particularly reassuring.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • yankel February 23, 2012, 3:18 AM

    As Israel claims to ground its land-grabbing policies on millennia old myths, it makes some chilling sense that Adelson & co should employ their ill-gotten, bottomless wealth to resurrect 19th century’s long discarded, groundless antisemitic myths.

  • Shabbi February 23, 2012, 5:28 AM

    For God’s sake Richard say something about Syria. It may not be the central focus of your thinking and writing but say something!

    • overlook February 23, 2012, 9:28 AM

      He won’t. The reason is quite clear. Discussing human rights violations and carnage performed by others conflicts with the narrative that presents Zionists as a form of ultimate evil.

      “7000 murdered in Syria? Not interesting. Let’s talk about a Jihadist’s hunger strike instead.”

      • yankel February 23, 2012, 10:19 AM

        (I’m sure Richard can fend for himself, but…)

        קשוט עצמך ואח”כ קשוט אחרים (“Improve yourself before improving others”) says the proverb.

        Richard is an American Jew (and an old style Zionist, btw) and as such associated, one way or another, with Israel.
        Israel being an American subsidiary, the leverage of Americans (in general and Jews in particular) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can’t be overstated. Their leverage on Syria is much smaller.

        Richard has far more contacts (ie potential sources) in Israel than he can possibly have in Syria. Moreover, American mainstream media is willingly publishing every available bit of information about Assad’s atrocious war on his people, while carefully observing a code-of-silence regarding everyday Palestinian suffering, thus necessitating every voice able to crack that silence.

        • shabbi February 23, 2012, 11:17 AM

          I wouldn’t expect re-orientation of focus; just a few words, Yankelee, just a few words.

          • yankel February 23, 2012, 9:40 PM

            If RS can contribute some otherwise unpublished relevant facts about Assad’s atrocities, if he comes up with a point of view not yet explored about the situation there, he has a moral duty to put them forward.

            To express one’s sympathy – while the whole media is doing just that – is only a matter of editorial choice.

          • sass February 24, 2012, 3:08 AM

            Maybe you should read the small print under the heading Tikun Olam
            Its only a few words but it answers your question

        • overlook February 23, 2012, 11:48 AM

          The US and the west can do a lot about Syria – tighten up the sanctions, apply more international pressure and actively provide humane aid to the refugees. In that respect, Richard can play a role in bringing attention to the crisis in Syria.

          I hold the position that some events are simply too significant to be ignored. To write about Abu-Sisi’s 1’st anniversary in jail on the same day that dozens of youths were slaughtered in Syria by Assad tells me that perhaps Richard isn’t genuinely interested in human rights in absolute terms, but rather uses human rights as a tool to promote his political agendas, namely to attack Israel.

          Presenting the simple fact that Assad is slaughtering his people mercilessly does not coincide with the agenda of presenting a reality in which Israel is an evil state unlike any other. Richard will speak of the “Gaza massacre” (which wasn’t a massacre at all), but will likely classify Assad’s massacre of thousands as “internal affairs” of Syria or the Arab world. He will breathe fire at an Israeli racist soldier who was condemned in Israel, but will not care when dozens of Arab youths are murdered by Assad.

          Tikun Olam? who are you kidding?

          • Richard Silverstein February 23, 2012, 12:01 PM

            If you publish another off topic comment you will be moderated. Read the comment rules. And if you don’t like my editorial choices write your own blog.

            Another comment violation is to characterize my views (falsely) on my behalf.

          • yankel February 23, 2012, 9:27 PM

            At any given time, some massacre’s taking place somewhere on this planet. This is no reason to give any particular oppressor (Israel included) a respite just because even crueller atrocities are committed by others.

    • Richard Silverstein February 23, 2012, 12:10 PM

      For God’s sake do a Google search to find out whether I have. BTW, this blog has nothing to do with Syria except when it directly concerns Israel. I realize getting an Israel-friendly boss in the post-Assad Syria is in yr interest, but not in the interest of Syria I’m afraid.

      • yankel February 23, 2012, 10:12 PM

        Unfortunately to Israel, a Syrian democracy is likely to be less tolerant to Israeli wrongdoing than a red-handed dictator primarily concerned with self-preservation.

        • Chatoyant February 25, 2012, 12:53 PM

          If Burhan Ghalioun, the head of the Syrian National Council emerges as the new leader, he has said he would end any special relationship with Iran, and seek relations with Israel.

          There doesn’t seem to me to be much reason to think that democracies are less tolerant of wrong-doing. Our present main examples of democracy, show that voters are not able to control foreign policy very effectively, even when the issues are so obviously of great self-interest, that the public is able to devote sufficient attention to them to form an opinion, rather than just adopting the one being cheered by the press. A slight majority of Americans had realized intervention in Iraq was a bad idea before the war, but were unable to stop it. In the present situation in Syria– France, England, and America seem to have worked for “regime change”, through training and possibly supplying opposition forces in bases in Turkey, not only without consulting their populations, but while denying that any such activities were going on.

      • Andy February 24, 2012, 11:38 AM

        You indirectly raise an important point, Richard. If al-Assad were a subservient-to-the-West autocrat à la Hosni Mubarak, would the trolls root for the Syrian opposition? Needless to say, they would not.

  • Bob Mann February 23, 2012, 8:12 AM

    Here you write that Adelson is “as far-right as you can be” in terms of domestic policies, but in an earlier post you wrote that Adelson “does not oppose abortion” and you also postulated that he supports legalizing online gambling. In fact, that earlier post of yours seems to indicate that the reason Adelson was helping Gingrich financially was to prevent Santorum, who was too conservative for Adelson on social issues, from getting the nomination.

    Something does not seem to add up between your two posts.

    • Richard Silverstein February 23, 2012, 12:06 PM

      Adelson not opposing abortion is a blip in his otherwise consistently far right views. His views on gambling are a product of material self interest, and thus not terribly consistent either. But he remains as far right as you can be before going off the deep end into something akin to authoritarianism or fascism.

      • Bob Mann February 24, 2012, 2:02 PM

        Thanks for the response. I’m still learning about this guy and what his goal is in the primary. It seems like he ought to be more comfortable with Santorum than Romney so I am not sure what his angle is here. Why not try to tip the scales to the most RW candidate – be it Santorum or Gingrich rather than making moves that appear to benefit Romney most of all?

  • Ron McCune February 23, 2012, 9:09 AM

    All of the Republican presidential candidates will inflame the Middle East and get America into more wars. Read my web page at http://www.mybetteramericaplan.com to see how the Republicans are bad for peace in the Middle East. It boggles my mind why Israel would want to support these Republicans because all they do is create more death.

  • dickerson3870 February 23, 2012, 10:31 AM

    Nice photo of Adelson and Gingrich. Does anyone know who the man in the middle is?

  • Piotr Berman February 23, 2012, 12:00 PM

    A discussion between ticketing maid and overlook: “Shouldn’t you rather worry about atrocities in Syria instead of persecuting good Jews for trifling parking violations?”

    Injecting Assad to the discussion on billionaires flooding political campaigns with money is equally logical.

    • yankel February 23, 2012, 10:23 PM


  • Fred Plester February 23, 2012, 12:06 PM

    An observation on “buying” elections for one political party or another, is that in the UK, monster political donations are pretty rare, and nearly always turn out to be made with money that isn’t strictly the donor’s money to give in the first place.

    And, yes, this does link to Israel, in the considerable shape of Robert Maxwell, who gave generously unto the Labour Party with his employee’s pension money. Since Maxwell’s not wholly untimely demise, both the Liberal Democrats and the Tories have had occasion to hoover up large sums of what turns out to be remarkably funny money.

    Much the same applies to sports sponsorship and prostitution: they hardly ever use their own money for this sort of purpose: this seems to be charge the French police are now levelling at DSK.

  • PersianAdvocate February 23, 2012, 8:53 PM

    I don’t blame him or anyone for doing what they are doing. I blame Scalia and Thomas for being sell outs to Barristers across the world. Justice drops the scale and bears the sword for those two foes of liberty and democracy. And don’t worry, she doesn’t need to see to smell those rats. Our biggest failure in Constitution was not providing people’s rights against a corrupt government built under a seeming benevolent framework. Within a few decades, the Supreme Court was stacked. Look at what happened in 2000. Can’t get shadier than that, my friends…

    But what does this mean? It means Adelson is now running for President and he has a spokesman, Newt.

    So, Adelson needs to know his enemy. He is encouraging Newt’s foreign policy and he should know this: Iranians are not just a country on a piece of paper. And I don’t mean they are just cattle sitting there for your slaughter either. If Newt Gingrich convinces the American public to kill Iranians, some Iranian out of the 200 million worldwide (not just the ones inside), and their friends, will come and uproot his entire family tree. Newt Gingrich’s too. That is how Iranians work – they will put justice into their own hands and it won’t be through acts of terrorism, it will be like the post-Munich assassinations done by Avner and his crew as condoned by then-PM Meir.

    The money, all of this, will mean nothing. A huge blemish on a shameful career. War is a short term gain. Industries that are built on death and ruin will be destroyed by death and ruin. Adelson needs to sow seeds so that fruit and flower bloom, or he is the walrus. Goo goo ga joob.

  • Ike Hall February 25, 2012, 5:49 PM

    “In fact, he’d be right at home at a Tea Party convention, if he wasn’t put off by the anti-Semitism he’d hear.”

    As much as I enjoy your writings, I sense a lack of experience regarding Tea Party gatherings. They are chock-full of Christian Zionists who think nothing is more important than the United States’ special wag-the-dog relationship with Israel. Trying to point out that the relationship is troubling for peacemaking efforts in the Middle East just gets one an earful of neoconservative blather.

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