Adelson is punching bag for Axelrod, but Axelrod doesn’t dare mention Adelson’s big issue

Israel/Palestine
on 15 Comments

An email from guru David Axelrod of the Obama campaign to supporters today lands on Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire backer of Mitt Romney. But funnily enough, the email says nothing about Adelson’s #1 issue, the reason he helped host a fundraiser for Romney in Jerusalem: support for greater Israel. No, Axelrod says Adelson is supporting Romney on tax issues. So the Democrats are afraid to politicize the Adelson-enabled destruction of the two-state solution and alienation of the Arab world; afraid to touch any issue that could alarm rightwing Jews. “I honestly can’t think of a more straightforward contrast in this election,” says Axelrod about Adelson. Yes but not on Israel. The Dems are running to the right of Romney on such questions, even though they’d find a broad middle ground politically. (Thanks to Janet McMahon). Axelrod email:

Friend —

Sheldon Adelson, the conservative billionaire Las Vegas casino owner, has pledged to give up to $100 million — whatever it takes — to defeat Barack Obama.

We know it’s not out of love for Mitt Romney, so why part with so much money? As President Clinton reminded us last week, sometimes the answer is as simple as arithmetic.

So let’s do the math: According to a new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Adelson could see up to $2 billion in savings under Mitt Romney’s tax plan versus the President’s plan. That’s how much Romney’s policies would favor millionaires and billionaires.

If Mitt Romney wins — $2 billion more for Adelson. If Barack Obama wins, millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.

It’s a highly cynical but straightforward calculation.

Today, you can help write a different equation.

Donate $15 or more, and let’s make sure this election is decided by millions of Americans, not a handful of billionaires.

Here’s how it would work for Adelson in a Romney-Ryan administration:

    – Romney would keep in place the Bush tax cuts, and cut Adelson’s income taxes by an additional 20 percent. Adelson savings: $1.5 million per year on income he earns as CEO.
    – Romney’s plan eliminates taxes on foreign profits like the ones Adelson makes on his Asian casinos. Adelson savings: $1.2 billion.
    – Romney’s plan maintains the current low tax rate on dividends. Adelson savings: $120 million per year.
    – Romney’s plan removes the estate tax. Adelson heirs save: $8.9 billion.

I honestly can’t think of a more straightforward contrast in this election.

We don’t have Sheldon Adelson, and with all due respect, we don’t want him.

We’re relying on more than 3 million grassroots donors, who are giving an average of $58.

Donate $15 or more today and let’s win our way:

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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15 Responses

  1. MRW
    September 14, 2012, 3:26 pm

    Actually, it’s smart on Axelrod’s part. It’s the argument I would make. Dollars and sense. No one gives a shit about the Israel argument. It’s all airy fairy, Phil, until it hits their pocketbook. That’s why an Iranian war is so unpopular. Everyone knows it would be gas at $10/gal, affecting the ability to drive to work, and transportation costs for all food stuffs through the roof and affecting everyone, whether you eat at home or out. I have friends who have a lot of trouble feeding their kids right now. It breaks my heart; I ache at their efforts to hide it from me out of shame. (You be the father of three, with a wife, who earned $250Gs in 2008 and now you’re making $10/hr.; he’s just glad he’s got a goddam job.) That’s why I keep saying that if Israel strikes Iran, and all this happens, you can take anti-Israel and anti-Jewish to the bank.

    NYC, DC, and Atlanta are clueless about the desperation out here. Clueless, heartless, and failing to understand how consequences work. They confuse them with results.

    Axelrod hit the right tone. And the right issue.

    • Krauss
      September 15, 2012, 2:02 am

      I disagree. On this you’re totally, utterly wrong.

      Yes, most people care about pocketbook issues, but Adelson supports a disastrous war with Iran which would tank the world economy and just about all experts state that such an attack would only delay – not prevent – the Iranians.

      And the consequences would be disastrous for America’s middle class.

      But Axelrod doesn’t dare raise the issue because the donors within the Democratic party would go ballistic. Even the National Jewish Democratic Council backed off from it’s Adelson attacks after pressure.

      But if Axelrod broached the topic, he would become vulnerable to question from the press about right-wing/pro-settler donors like Haim Saban, Pritzker and others within his own party(Just kidding! The media would never ask those questions).

      So the press wouldn’t go after him, but his donors would.
      Raising the issue of a war with Iran and how it’s disastrous economical effects would butcher the already limping American middle class is absolutely a genuine topic to raise and it would be easy to garner attention from people.

      The only problem is that Axelrod knows that the issue of Israel/Iran is verboten in campaign fundraising drives as you get the lobby on your back right away.

      So, yes, it’s politically astute to avoid the topic based on the constraints that he currently operates under, but the issue is absolutely a good way to raise money because an Iranian war would mean instant recession and Adelson is pushing for it, out of Likudnik concerns for Israel.

      Yet Axelrod is afraid to raise the issue because of the inevitable backlash and fears from the lobby that the issue would further erode support for Israel(they’re right) and further increase opposition to an Iranian war(they’re right again).

      You’re missing the point of Phil’s post here.

      • MRW
        September 15, 2012, 8:35 am

        No I’m not missing it, Krauss. I agree with all you say. But Axelrod is personalizing it with the ‘fat cat is running the show’ argument, and counting on general voter rage at ‘entitlement because you’ve got money’.

        You’re educated. You pay attention to this issue. You know the nuances. Just like every smart commenter on this board. But Joe Six-Pack doesn’t. You know as well as I that bringing up Israel with respect to Adelson, and all that devolves from that including the Iran war, would invoke the delegitimization harridans and control the message. Especially if he did it on a national scale. But Joe Six-Packs, also, aren’t that dumb. They know who’s howling for war with Iran and why. Netanyahu is in the news every day now reminding them of it. N’s frustration is showing. He’s got eight weeks to get Romney elected. He’s making mistakes.

        So what’s worse to Joe Six-Packs vis-a-vis Adelson, whom they barely knows or could even identify? Being a barn-burner for Israel, or trying to game the US system to get a $1.2 billion tax break?

    • Mooser
      September 16, 2012, 12:47 pm

      “(You be the father of three, with a wife, who earned $250Gs in 2008 and now you’re making $10/hr.; he’s just glad he’s got a goddam job.)”

      Thank God a person making $250,000 can put a lot of cash in the bank. It hardly earns any interest, but at least it’s there, to help tide you over harder times.

      BTW, didn’t Romney just say $200,000-$250,000 was a “middle-class income” in the US?

  2. Ctwosides
    September 14, 2012, 3:30 pm

    I received this same notice this morning and was struck by the same issue of Axelrod’s leaving out ADELSON’S primary reason for backing NEO CON Romney. Not one word about ADELSON financing both Netenyahu and Romney’s election campaigns, not a word about ADELSON financing a free newspaper in Israel that is a mouthpiece for Netanyahu, The LIKUD PARTY, the NEO CON desire for war with Iran and the SETTLEMENT EXPANSIONS.

    Seems to me that Axelrod, Immanuel, and others of Obama advisors (previous and current) as well as cabinet members do themselves lean toward the NEO CON’s and the LOBBY AIPAC. If they don’t why would they be so blind to what Americans whether Jewish or not, are in poll after poll saying that they’ve had enough of both the NEO CON’s, their warmongers and the LOBBY AIPAC.

    Mr Weiss I think you ought to consider strongly forwarding Mondoweiss to all of Obama’s advisors and cabinet members, the Democratic Party leaders, as well as to all of Congress and the Senate. These blind followers of the Lobby AIPAC need to be made more aware that there are a majority out here in America that they aren’t listening to. Would that be so crazy an Idea ?

  3. David Doppler
    September 14, 2012, 4:51 pm

    “We don’t have Sheldon Adelson, and with all due respect, we don’t want him.”

    I think it’s a clever way to say more to Jewish and other better informed supporters, without having to broach the subject of essentially taboo topics, like why are the Likudniks, NeoCons and AIPAC trying so hard to take us to war in Iran, while accusing those who dig into the reasons critically of being Anti-Semites? Which opens such a can of worms for the uninitiated as to demand 10,000 words of explanation, or a daily review of Mondoweiss for the last many years.

    The Likudniks have sought to manipulate America in this fashion, a rapidly growing number of non-Jewish Americans are aware of and offended by it, but not yet ready to openly engage in such criticism. Axelrod is celebrating the freedom to attack anyone, even someone widely known to be a Jew for whom Israel is his one issue, for using his wealth to buy influence to protect and enhance his wealth. The Neocons are saying loudly they cannot understand how any Jew can support Obama, and Axelrod is saying most Jews still support Obama and are offended by Adelson and the Neocons. Obama is “wicked smart” to use Phil’s phrase, and, while not much of a fighter, is nonetheless throwing some effective punches, while parrying effectively, against Netanyahu’s crude bullying, and Romney’s crude campaigning. His mastery of nuance is a strength. I suspect he’s using that strength to use only the minimun “force” necessary to win re-election. This is a pretty good shot, in that context.

    • Krauss
      September 15, 2012, 2:04 am

      I wish you’re right but I think you’re reading too much into it.
      The main problem with Adelson isn’t his policies.

      Dems have since long been happy to take donations from the Wall St crowd – Obama in 2008 was no different(has Axelrod forgotten that?).

      The main issue here is that Adelson is playing for the wrong team.

  4. Kathleen
    September 14, 2012, 4:51 pm

    Paul Pillar has a zinger up “Netanyahu’s Arrogance” up at National Interest

  5. Keith
    September 14, 2012, 4:54 pm

    PHIL- Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! From Mondoweiss all we see is Adelson and Israel. Now, from Axelrod all we hear is Adelson and tax breaks. So now we see that Adelson has at least two core concerns. And you know what? When the dust settles, the actual policy (facts on the ground, not rhetoric) of either one as President will be remarkably similar. Actually, it could be worse for Obama as he has no opposition to his war mongering, neoliberal ways. I personally think Obama will win and in appreciation will give his base a royal screwing, even worse than what he did during his first term, which is to throw the 99% under the bus. Protests? The police have been militarized, the laws have been enacted, and the prison-industrial complex is waiting.

  6. ColinWright
    September 14, 2012, 5:20 pm

    Ctwosides says: “…These blind followers of the Lobby AIPAC need to be made more aware that there are a majority out here in America that they aren’t listening to. Would that be so crazy an Idea ?”

    It’s worth a try — but don’t count on too much. Most of these guys would be afraid to take the chance even if they saw the point.

  7. traintosiberia
    September 14, 2012, 10:23 pm

    This is about career that Axelrod knows Goldberg will deny with his horns to anybody spilling the Israeli beans of Sheldon or Saban.

  8. Ranjit Suresh
    September 15, 2012, 12:33 am

    David Axelrod, by his silence on the issue driving Adelson, is making one thing crystal clear: there is one sphere of politics for Americans as a whole and another level entirely for the leading members of America’s Jewish community. Obama was thrust to prominence by figures in Chicago politics like Abner Mivka, Betty Lu Saltzman, and Axelrod himself. Of course Israel is the issue in Adelson’s support for Gingrich and then Romney. And of course it’s a central issue in Obama’s reelection campaign as well.

  9. Frankie P
    September 15, 2012, 1:06 am

    @Ranjit Suresh: “David Axelrod, by his silence on the issue driving Adelson, is making one thing crystal clear: there is one sphere of politics for Americans as a whole and another level entirely for the leading members of America’s Jewish community.”

    Right On! The surprising thing about it is that Phil Weiss acts as if this is surprising. “funnily enough, the email says nothing about Adelson’s #1 issue…support for greater Israel” Our Mondoweiss “guru” (just kidding, I don’t think Axelrod’s a guru either) should know we would only be surprised and shocked if Axelrod DID say anything critical of Adelson’s support for greater Israel. Phil still likes the imaginary right / left divide among American Jews when the issue is Israel. Shout out to Mooser: has anyone gotten back to you yet on your plea for the names of Jewish congregations who are speaking out about curbing Israeli land grabs and oppression of the Palestinians? I think you asked for this information three weeks, two days, and seven hours ago. Why the silence? Where are the responses? Oh, still waiting.

    • Mooser
      September 16, 2012, 1:16 pm

      “Shout out to Mooser: has anyone gotten back to you yet on your plea for the names of Jewish congregations who are speaking out about curbing Israeli land grabs and oppression of the Palestinians? I think you asked for this information three weeks, two days, and seven hours ago. Why the silence? Where are the responses? Oh, still waiting.”

      Well, for one thing, whenever a congregation or Rabbi does speak out on it, I’m sure, very sure, it will be covered at Mondoweiss. As it already has been. But so far, as far as I know, these, let’s call them, in a nod to our Christian friends “non-conforming” congregations aren’t yet organised into a group for concerted action, or at least spiritual relief for non-conforming Jews. Things must be getting pretty tiresome at Zionist Synagogues about now. What with Adelson and Meet the Press (where Dick Gregory anointed Netanyahu as “the leader of the Jewish people)
      And again, if anybody so much as stumbles in that direction, Mondoweiss will cover it. If not encourage it.

      Yeah, I can see it now. Shabby, storefront synagogue (instead of historic or custom built buildings) probably shared with a Baptist congregation of one kind or another, two balebatisheh yiden go past, one makes a sour face and says “Oy, the nons they should all wake up with a checkpoint in their stomach!” “Yes” the other nods, “it’s a rough neighborhood”

      Wait a minute, do people still say Oy like they used to? Oy, my mind wanders too much on Sunday mornings.

  10. manfromatlan
    September 16, 2012, 12:19 pm

    Don’t want to go on about Israel and ‘the Jews’ because even that debate has become sterile. We worry about whether Israel will attack Iran (highly unlikely) but still carry on a left vs right dialogue.
    At what time do we get to reform our own political processes? As someone whose politics falls right between Ralph Nader and Ron Paul, I ask when do all these Greens, Libertarians and regular Americans who see the problem for what it really is create a third American political party? It will take years, but that is what we need to do.

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