Monday, November 5, 2012

Sheldon G. Adelson – Ugly and Offensive Right Up to the End

An Embarrassing Figure Speaks His Mind

One of the peripheral characters who regularly inhabit election cycles this year is casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson.  Mr. Adelson emerged from he palatial estates to back Newt Gingrich in the Republican primaries, and in the general election he is now strongly supporting Mitt Romney.  The Wall Street Journal editorial page, always open to the most reactionary of public speakers has turned over a section of the paper to Mr. Adelson so that he can express his views.

Here is Mr. Adelson, who is Jewish (like this author) explaining why he joined the Republicans.

It's the choice that, I believe, my old immigrant Jewish neighbors would have made. They would not have let a few disagreements with Republicans void the importance of siding with the political party that better supports liberal democracies like Israel, the party that better exemplifies the spirit of charity, and the party with economic policies that would certainly be better for those Americans now looking for work.

Now Mr. Adelson is entitled not only to his opinion but he is also entitled to express it whenever and wherever he can.  But notice that he claims the Jewish immigrants who came to this country would be Republican.  He calls their differences a “few disagreements”.  This ignores the fact that those Jewish immigrants brought with them their wonderful set of values, the belief in education, the belief that the fortunate owed something to those less fortunate, the belief in community and the strong belief in freedom of religion and freedom from prejudice. 

One of the “few differences” Mr. Adelson speaks of involve a minority of Republicans who would impose their religion on everyone else, who believe that anyone who does not follow their religion is doomed to eternal damnation.  This is not the view of the majority of Republicans, but it is a view that is tolerated within the modern Republican party.  Furthermore the values of ever bigger tax cuts for the wealthy paid for by the gutting of social programs is the antithesis of those immigrant Jewish men and women.

Mr. Adelson says that the Republican tax policy is not why he is a Republican,

So why did I leave the party?

My critics nowadays like to claim it's because I got wealthy or because I didn't want to pay taxes or because of some other conservative caricature. No, the truth is the Democratic Party has changed in ways that no longer fit with someone of my upbringing.

But it sure is awfully convenient that Republican tax policy would provide benefits for Mr. Adelson in the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars.

Conservatives, to their great credit have purged the movement of the ugly anti-Semitism that was part of their ideology for decades.  But their remaining values are totally outside of the core values of Jewish immigrants, leaving men like Mr. Adelson no reason to really join them except for the additional tax cuts he would receive, despite his claim  otherwise.  Sheldon G. Adelson is a sad commentary on American Judaism.

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