Thursday, May 8, 2014

Harry Reid: Leave Sheldon Adelson Aloooone!

The Democratic Party--particularly Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid--has been using the Koch brothers as the enemy du jour lately. The Kochs deserve the criticism heaped at them because they are behind many socially, economically, and environmentally destructive policies. However, Democrats too often focus on the plutocrats rather than the plutocracy, the symptoms rather than the disease.

A great example of this disconnect is Harry Reid's defense of Sheldon Adelson. The following comes from NBC's First Read:
Perhaps the most striking exchange in an interview one of us had with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was his insistence that there’s a difference between the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson. Talking about the Koch Brothers, whom he routinely criticizes on the Senate floor, Reid said: “Understand these are the two richest people in the world. And they are in it to make money. That's their whole goal here -- to add zeroes to their billions.” But then when the conversation turned to Adelson, who gave Republican groups nearly $100 million in 2012, the Senate majority leader said: “I know Sheldon Adelson. He's not in this for money. He's got money. He's in it because he has certain ideological views. Now, Sheldon Adelson’s social views are in keeping with the Democrats on choice, on all kinds of things. He just got a beef with organized labor a few years ago. And he previously was a Democrat.” Wow. Do remember this about Nevada politics: There is sometimes one-party rule in this state, and that party is run by the folks who own the Vegas casinos.
(emphasis added) 

A billionaire has a "beef" with organized labor that's not about enriching himself? Give me a break.
Sheldon Adelson would have gotten a $2 billion tax break under Mitt Romney's tax plan. That's a fine return on investment of which Adelson would have been well-aware.

Reid's comment also implies that plutocrats are okay when they agree with Democrats on social issues. But a plutocrat who supports reproductive rights and marriage equality is still a threat to the well-functioning and founding principle of a democracy.

I also cannot help remembering the fact that Adelson, whom Reid is defending, has said that his main political aim is to destroy the Democratic Party:
“He called me into his office after I announced and he said, ‘Why don’t you become a Republican? If you become a Republican, I’ll support you, help with your campaign,’ ” Berkley recalled. “I said, ‘Sheldon, I can’t be a Republican. I’ve held elected office as a Democrat, my grandparents came off the boat as Democrats. I can’t do that.’ And he said, ‘I’m going to destroy the union. The only way to destroy the union is to destroy the Democratic Party. If I destroy you, I gave you a chance to change.’ … It turned into a horrible, brutal, very personal thing.”
But money talks. And when money starts talking, most politicians shut up and listen.

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