Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Can Sheldon Adelson Save Mitt Romney?

Last night, Kevin Drum mused aloud what many people have been saying for some time. Mitt Romney has really put himself into a pickle. However, there's someone here in Las Vegas who is still eager to rescue Romney's political career and sweep him into The White House.

“He’s the man of the hour,” said a Republican official who has visited him in Las Vegas many times. “Everyone’s trying to get in to see him —every candidate, every PAC director, every campaign committee, every super PAC guy. When you’re giving out money the way he is, everyone wants a piece of the pie.”

From three time zones beyond the Beltway, [Sheldon] Adelson has unabashedly shaped the presidential race: First, he prolonged Romney’s agonizing nomination campaign, single-handedly keeping Newt Gingrich in the race by writing $20 million in super PAC checks.

Now, he is helping ride to the rescue of the floundering Romney campaign: The outside groups will spend about $10 million a week on TV time in swing states before Election Day on Nov. 6 — roughly the recent level of spending of the Romney campaign itself, which has been buying about $1 million per day in ad time.

I guess if there's anyone who's an expert at propping up a flailing campaign, it's Sheldon Adelson. And apparently since he virulently loathes President Obama and is afraid of the ongoing investigation into his company's ties to organized crime in Macau, he's decided to go all in for Romney. And hey, since he's already spent $70 million (!!!) on Republican campaigns and Super PACs, what's a few million more for his dear friend Mitt Romney?

And why not keep giving if it means Adelson can keep alive a campaign that's all about expanding his wealth at the expense of the middle class and working poor? As always, Desert Beacon has the rundown.

The greater the income inequality, the more pressure on middle income Americans. What we should be seeking in this election are candidates who eschew the soaring — and highly misleading — rhetoric about “income redistribution;” and instead focus on which proposed policies are most likely to ease pressure on the American middle class.

If the policy proposed, such as the Paris Hilton Legacy Protection Act — to reduce or eliminate federal estate taxes, exacerbates the GINI index then it places greater stress on the middle class.

If the policy proposed, such as reducing the capital gains taxes paid by millionaires and billionaires, tends to increase the GINI index, then it places greater burdens on the middle class.

If the policy proposed, such as reducing the federal income taxes paid by millionaires and billionaires — especially those in the upper 0.1% of American income earners, puts a greater burden on the American middle class, then it is counter-productive. There really is no such thing as a free lunch, especially if we want to maintain our defense funding, unless the millionaires and billionaires can convince the middle class to pick up the tab.

And this is exactly what Mitt Romney and Congressional Republicans have been trying to do. And perhaps this further explains what Sheldon Adelson is now doing.

Think about it. The vast majority of Congressional Republicans, including Nevada's own G-O-TEA delegation, agree with Romney on seeking this kind of redistribution of wealth from the bottom and middle to the top. So perhaps especially with Adelson doubling down and tripling down on Romney's flailing campaign, this may actually free up other Republican & "Tea Party, Inc." donors to go with their gut instinct and "triage" Romney so they can preserve the "tea party" stranglehold over Congress. If they can't have it all, they can at least prevent President Obama from having anything (done).

So there's definitely an ideological component to Sheldon Adelson's unending loyalty to Mitt Romney, and there may be some purely wishful thinking involved, but there may also be some crass political calculation behind this as well. But in the end, it's really all about the money.

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