Adelson Bankrolls Romney
If you don’t recognize him, this is the gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson at the opening of one of his casinos in Asia, the man who gave Newt Gingrich $21 million to run for president, and then shut him down when no one else could stomach the disgraced former Congressman (who was sorry for his betrayals and infidelities).
Adelson liked Gingrich because Gingrich shot his mouth off and was happy to offend Muslims. Adelson said, “I like people who make decisions …” and offered that Gingrich was not afraid to use the word “Islamo-terrorist.” Then in a nod to political correctness, he offered this bit of logic: Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim. It’s on this video
But then Gingrich turned out to be all talk, and Adelson turned off the juice.
Romney, was “like Obama” and didn’t want to make decisions or leave tracks, Adelson said. He never gave straight answers, Adelson said when he discussed Romney in the same video.
But now Romney has the Republican nomination sewn up and there’s Adelson, shoveling money in $10 million clumps at him. He told Forbes that his contributions might be $100 million in the campaign and beyond. “Limitless” was the word he used.
Sure, in an age when presidential campaign costs are pushing towards a billion dollars, donations of a couple million could get lost in the shuffle. But a contributor would still stand out at $100 million or more, and Adelson should expect a little influence. As I read about Adelson and watched the taped interviews available, it’s clear that the guy is smart — in a deal-making way — and it’s clear he’s focused on his profit and loss statements. He also says over and over, he’s a risk taker. I think he drove a hard bargain with Romney.
Now, think about the sophistication that all terrorists are Muslims, and think who gets to be involved in the selection of the next Secretary of State. Part of the reason Adelson likes Republicans is that he can extract extreme declarations about supporting Israel no matter what. The man even owns a newspaper in Israel that promotes the hardest hard-line, fanning the hostility between the Israelis and the Arabs and Iranians. Romney did his part on a visit to the Mideast, and he already collected two $10 million donations.
One of Adelson’s other issues is taxes. He’s miffed that he pays more in taxes than you do — that is, if you’re not Warren Buffett or Bill Gates. He calls Obama a socialist, betraying utter ignorance of the meaning of the word, and he’s counting on the Republicans to cut his taxes, and again Romney has already complied.
People studying Romney’s latest tax plan are talking about a tax increase for 95% of Americans, and a tax decrease for those in Romney’s league, all the way up to Adelson’s. Here’s the TMP report
Perhaps you think a vote for Adelson’s candidate will lead to jobs for you, your brother-in-law, your kid, think again. Adelson makes most of his money now overseas. But perhaps you’re thinking of relocating. The jewel of his empire is in Macau, the swashbuckling former Portuguese territory that was crowded with Chinese crime gangs. He, of course, says he has nothing to do with types like them.
He plays rough.
In recent days, he extracted an apology from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee by threatening to file suit over the committee’s enthusiastic rendition of a news story about accusations that Adelson’s casinos tacitly allowed prostitutes in the Macau casinos. These accusations are in a lawsuit brought by a former executive of Adelson’s Macau casino who was fired. Here’s the the apology story in the Washington Post and an AP story from last year when the charges were made in Nevada last year.
I wondered why the Democrats caved in. I imagine they probably have better things to do than fight Adelson’s battalion of lawyers for the next few years, but they might also remember, there was a time when Adelson was a Democrat, but switched when he was battling the unions representing casino workers in Las Vegas.
The dispute with his former executive wasn’t the first scrape he’s had with former associates, or his first libel action. He won a suit against the Daily Mail in London in 2008 and collected about £4 million. A good account of his life until 2008 was in the New Yorker. Maybe his time in court will be good practice for choosing the right Attorney General.
Another thing that’s clear: Adelson, who is 78 and needs a scooter chair to get around, still relishes the game. He’s got some charm in his interviews and usually photographs well (though if I were he, I’d get rid of my hair colorist.)