Billionaire Sheldon Adelson thinks he’s learned something from the 2012 GOP primary.
His sudden cash infusion into a Newt Gingrich SuperPAC in late 2011 helped finance the King of Bain “documentary” that made Mitt Romney’s private equity background an issue — in a Republican primary. This assault on the way Bain did business not only propelled Gingrich to a win in South Carolina, extending the primary, it provided Democrats the predicate to make an argument that Romney’s callous attitude — perfectly exemplified by his “47 percent” confession — was proof that the GOP nominee would actually gut the safety net while cutting taxes on the rich, as Paul Ryan’s budget promised.
Essentially, Adelson spent millions to help re-elect a Democrat.
The casino mogul says he wants to actually try to elect a Republican in 2016, and he has a plan. “He doesn’t want a crazy extremist to be the nominee,” Adelson associate Victor Chaltiel told The Washington Post. “He wants someone who has the chance to win the election, who is reasonable in his positions, who has convictions but is not totally crazy.”
“Not totally crazy” is the low bar set for the GOP presidential nomination, and who will decide on it? Sheldon Adelson, a man who said that negotiations with Iran should begin with the United States dropping a nuke on the Persian country.
But he wants to do it in the middle of a desert, so only the nuclear fallout kills people. See, that’s crazy. But “not totally crazy.”
Okay, it is totally crazy… if you aren’t a billionaire who has proven you will donate $93 million to Republican campaigns in one year. If you are that billionaire, you’ll be guaranteed an audience with nearly all the Republican Party’s presidential frontrunners.
“Not totally crazy” Republicans Jeb Bush, Governors Chris Christie (R-NJ), Scott Walker (R-WI) and John Kasich (R-OH) all visited Adelson at his prime spot in Las Vegas, the Venetian, this week for the “Sheldon Primary.”
“There’s going to be a lot more scrutiny,” Andy Abboud, Adelson’s top political advisor, said.
Not only will these candidates have to prove their not total sanity and willingness to go to war with Iran, they’ll likely have to stake their ground on crucial issues for the future of this nation, like online gambling, which Adelson hates — unless he’s profiting from it.
The timing of the Sheldon Primary is extremely convenient for Christie, who is in the process of exonerating himself after a scandal hit just as he was besting Hillary Clinton in 2016 polls. Now he’s trailing the former Secretary of State by double digits and is solidly in the middle of the GOP pack. But he hasn’t lost the support of his key billionaire supporter, Ken Langone — the Home Depot co-founder who has threatened to cut off the pope for talking about inequality and recently made at least one terrible Nazi analogy… that we know of.