The battle to wrest control of the Republican Party takes place in inches rather than feet. Grass roots conservatives watch in triumph as the quintessential K-Street, big business establishment Republican Eric Cantor lost his seat in Congress by a landslide, yet the battle is far from over. There will always be special interests seeking to use government for a leg up and there will always be some Republican politicians more concerned with their own advancement and power than principles.
Last month, a series of potential Republican presidential candidates, travelled to Las Vegas to genuflect before the 14th richest man in the world, Sheldon Adelson. While Adelson is a financial backer of the Republican Party he is no friend of liberty and the Constitution. Adelson is especially no friend of social conservatives.
He told he Wall Street Journal: “Look, I’m basically a social liberal, I know nobody will believe that.” To prove the point he proclaimed, “I’m pro choice." “You can take your own religious beliefs …and live your life with your own beliefs. But to make it a portion of the government’s policies?” The Wall Street Journal reported that he then shook his head and said, "Abortion shouldn’t be brought up as a political issue."
Incredibly, Adelson is a supporter of socialized medicine. He touts the Israeli system because it takes care of everybody. If one goes to Israel, he said, one chooses between four or five HMO’s. “You go in there you get all your health care from cradle to grave. When I learned about that [Israeli] system, to my own surprise I said, ‘Oh, I’m in favor of socialized medicine’– which is such a bad word here,” he said.
Adelson's respect for the Tenth Amendment appears as liberal as his views on abortion. He is the primary driver of legislation in Congress that would override state law and prohibit any state from legalizing Internet gaming. New Jersey and two other states have already moved in this direction and an Adelson funded coalition and army of lobbyists are pushing legislation to outlaw Internet gambling nationwide without any concern for the rights of states.
Let's not forget Adelson's also a cheerleader for amnesty. Though he touts strict immigration policies in Israel, even advocating building a wall around the country, he takes the opposite position for America. In a recent article in Politico, Adelson argued that Americans should ignore the law and our borders to allow a flood of illegals to enter the country because "we are human first."
What is most concerning about these statements is the reality that most Republicans candidates for president have already entered the Adelson primary. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and others all traveled to Las Vegas to plead for Adelson's support. Getting Adelson's endorsement means getting tens of millions of dollars sent in your direction.
The problem is the money clearly comes with strings attached. The strings aren’t necessarily driven by liberal ideology, but perhaps something arguably worse —cronyism. Adelson’s differing opinion on immigration for Israel and America is no doubt tied to his desire for cheap labor in the US and his online gambling ban is aimed at protecting his land-based casinos from online competition. These strings are putting Republicans uncomfortably at odds with their own record and rhetoric. Rick Perry's decision to abandon his long-standing support for the Tenth Amendment in order to support Adelson's attack federal gaming ban is a perfect example.
Sheldon Adelson's millions of dollars clearly make his crony pseudo liberal agenda tempting for some. One can only wonder how far it will go. How long will it be before Perry and other Republicans join the amnesty parade or abandon their support for the right to life all to earn the blessing of the billionaire?
Outside of Washington DC, the Republican base is seeking leaders who will take principled stands in the battle for the party. So winning the so-called “Adelson Primary” at the current cost he is demanding could end up being a pyrrhic victory for those playing. Even though they may have Adelson’s millions, there will be other candidates in 2016 who will most certainly ensure Republican voters are aware of their opponent’s crony dealings with Adelson. Even tens of millions of dollars won’t cleanse that stench.