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Jim Hightower
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Thursday 2 February 2012
“After the Citizens United edict, Adelson can go all in to push his willing servant into the White House.”

Newt Gingrich: The Spawn of Citizens United

Wow, January's gone already — time really flies when you're having Republican presidential primaries! And what better time than Groundhog Day to poke into that warren of feral Republican ideologues and see what the heck is going on.

Already, four of the GOP contenders have had to drop out — Michele Bachmann because she was just too wacky, Jon Huntsman because he was too sane, Herman Cain because he was too exposed and Rick Perry because he was too dimwitted.

But the greatest surprise is the sudden surge of the Adelson campaign. Little-known until now, Adelson was the big winner in South Carolina, came from nowhere to a second-place finish in the Florida primary, and looks to have the political kick needed to go the distance.

Never heard of Adelson? It consists of the married duo of Sheldon and Miriam, neither of whom are actually on any ballot. Rather, they are running on the Money Ticket.

Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas is a global casino baron who holds a $21 billion personal fortune. He has long been a major funder of far-right-wing causes, and this year he is placing an extra-big bet on his old political consort, Newt Gingrich. When Newt's presidential bid nearly flatlined after his electoral collapses in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sheldon rushed in with emergency CPR — Cash-Powered Resuscitation. This one rich guy wrote a $5 million check to "Winning Our Future," Gingrich's Super PAC. Sheldon's money was injected directly into toxic attack ads against Mitt Romney in South Carolina's primary, jolting Newt's campaign back to life.

Gingrich still lacked the financial vitality to match Romney's media buy in Florida's pricy primary, however. No worries, though — Miriam Adelson stepped in to infuse Winning Our Future with another $5 million jolt of CPR. The Gingrich campaign, you see, is a vessel for the Adelson campaign, and word is that this one power couple is prepared to spend another $10 million to make their boy the GOP nominee, with more to come if he's the one to run against President Obama.

Just before this week's vote in Florida, Newt plunged head-first into the deep end of America's pool of political cynicism by telling a Tampa crowd that he's different than Romney because "I love people power, not money power." Sheesh — he wouldn't even be in the race without the money power of the Adelsons, who've turned "Winning Our Future" into "Buying Our Future."

How can one couple cause such a political distortion.

Aren't there limits? Used to be. But in its Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court upended our democratic elections by decreeing that corporations and uber-wealthy individuals can dump unlimited sums of cash into campaigns to elect their favored candidates. Astonishingly, Justice Anthony Kennedy declared in his majority opinion that such a gusher of special-interest money would not "give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption." Who knew so much political naivete could be cloaked in a single judicial robe?

Earth to Justice Kennedy: Sheldon Adelson is a product of your cluelessness about how real politics work. He's not pouring millions into Newt because of some vague sense of civic responsibility but because he wants a president who'll serve him and his right-wing ideology. Adelson knows he can count on Gingrich because he bought him years ago.

The billionaire and The Newt bonded in the mid-'90s over their shared fondness for crushing labor unions. Adelson pushed a state law to crimp union rights, and Gingrich, then the House speaker, not only endorsed Adelson's legislation, but he also backed a tax break in Congress for casino owners.

In turn, Gingrich received campaign cash, funding to support him after being drummed out of office in 1998 for corruption, free rides on Adelson's corporate jet — and now, an open spigot of cash for his presidential run. In the past, the biggest personal check that Gingrich could've taken from his casino sugar daddy was $5,000. After the Citizens United edict, however, Adelson can go all in to push his willing servant into the White House.

How much money does it take to "give rise to corruption"? Well, 10 million bucks smells corrupt to me. But that won't be the end of it, since Kennedy and four other justices (none of whom have ever run for office or been in a campaign) voted to legalize unlimited spending to corrupt our elections.

It's a disgrace to let money rule America. To overturn Citizens United, go to www.united4thepeople.org.

Copyright Creators.com


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ABOUT Jim Hightower
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

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8 comments on "Newt Gingrich: The Spawn of Citizens United"

Riconui

February 10, 2012 11:47am

Well, that's the quid. Wonder what the quo is. With soul deprived sacks like newt, I'm kinda thinkin' it won't be too hard to figure out. Now if I could just come up with enough "speech" to pay next months rent.

American Bolshevik

February 02, 2012 8:18pm

The corporations and the wealthy have always owned the politicians in both parties (except for the occasional ones like FDR and JFK who were wealthy in the own right). The Citizens United decision has rendered this blatant, and that is the one good thing about the decision. Electoral politics is a farce. Let's take it to the streets!

spindoctorjimbo

February 03, 2012 11:17am

We should network this in my opinion. So far, though, not a peep has come back to me from anyone here at "Nation of Change."

Maybe if I keep posting. I'm ready, willing, and able. Solidarity Forever!

Thanks, keep me posted, and

Ciao for now,
Jimbo

Phil Balla

February 02, 2012 4:10pm

Oh, Jimmy Hightower Boy -- Citizens United is THE LAW -- gotta salute it!

All these rich dudes, and dudesses -- they're just good Americans. They, too, went to schools where nice departmentalism shears the human off everybody, so each going-into-student-loan-debt unit may properly learn the careerist orthodoxies of each specialization.

Good Americans know it's $$$ that makes that quaint thing, the "person," more happily into the consumer units that get their easy, instant identity just by buying the correct stuff. And advertising happily tells everybody which stuff suits which demographic. It's all fun, easy, instant -- and all it takes is $$$.

So please, Jimmy Hightower Boy, let's all be properly patriotic -- and LEGAL -- with respect for the black-robed dudes (no dudesses) who steroided up everything the biz schools, the law schools, Congress, the Wall-Street-protectin'-White House, and all Corporate America want.

NHsolarguy

February 02, 2012 3:37pm

Even with the $10M in cash infusion, Gingrich still didn't do great in Florida. And Romney has his own cash sources and SuperPacs. I don't like the Citizens United outcome, and think it should be reversed, but I think it will also be overcome by people power eventually.

Let's just hope that these rich people spend all their money on the primaries, and are tapped out by the time we get to the general election. Lots of press about who spends what will also help level the playing field. Most of these companies that are putting money into the elections are public companies, they've got to declare the spending somewhere, and eventually it will become public knowledge.

NHsolarguy

February 02, 2012 3:34pm

Even with the $10M in cash infusion, Gingrich still didn't do great in Florida. And Romney has his own cash sources and SuperPacs. I don't like the Citizens United outcome, and think it should be reversed, but I think it will also be overcome by people power eventually. Let's just hope that these rich people spend all their money on the primaries, and are tapped out by the time we get to the general election. Lots of press about who spends what will also help level the playing field. Most of these companies that are putting money into the elections are public companies, they've got to declare the spending somewhere, and eventually it will become public knowledge.

jussmartenuf's picture
jussmartenuf

February 02, 2012 3:30pm

Jim,The Adelson daughter also kicked in $100 grand.But don't stop there. Why don't you expose the Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons who has given $5 million dollars personally, plus $2 million through his company Contran to Karl Rove's super PAC Crossroads, plus another $1 million to the Rick Perry Super PAC. That is $8 million bucks Simmons has trashed to destroy our democracy. I never read where he gave one red cent to a charity and it is well publicized that Perry gave him political favors.And how about Bob Perry the Houston home builder that has given millions to Perry and was responsible for the lying swift boat garbage in 2004.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/31/us/politics/super-pac-dono...

spindoctorjimbo

February 02, 2012 1:24pm

Hey, Jim!

Your flair and wit are on display here for all to see. And you clearly articulate the attack on democratic potential--notice that I did not say Democratic potential--that the Supreme Court unleashed in its "Citizens United" decision.

That said, however, this humble correspondent has to doubt that this analysis goes nearly deep enough. The entire funding process of United States elections rigs the game in favor of wealthy candidates, or candidates like Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich, who are the darlings of one group of moneybags or other.

Though one such as this humble correspondent would certainly cheer the evisceration of the "Citizens United" decision, such a one would also have to request a more thorough 'house-cleaning' were such a one to want more than a slightly diminished version of 'more of the same.' And quite clearly, 'more of the same' is not what we need.

On the contrary, what we need is something entirely different. Let the call go out to citizens and their leaders in their own communities: what we need is a Citizens Congress to consider reconstituting the operating protocols of the United States.

Before such a big step, we'd need a period during which we increased our capacity to analyze and understand the fix that we've gotten ourselves in. This might require a refusal to play the role of victims. It might require the insistence that the people cannot lead the way by voting, but must participate more fully and actively, on a daily basis, in the tough work of politics.

What I'd suggest is a roving seminar that looks deeply into Federalist Paper #10. If you haven't read it recently, a close perusal would yield some amazing dividends. It lays out the genius of James Madison, foreseeing the potency of the DemoPubliCratiCan two-party chimera, in keeping people from ever taking charge of their own futures.

We need to repeal that, as well as "Citizens United."