Sheldon Adelson

After last night’s bitter defeat, Newt Gingrich is vowing to stay in the presidential race for a long, long time (“six to eight months” he said in Florida yesterday). Of course, that’s what candidates usually say just before and immediately after bitter defeats (see Jon Huntsman’s “Ticket to Ride” sound bite after finishing a poor third in New Hampshire), even if they have every intention of cutting a deal with a better-positioned candidate and getting off the campaign trail.

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In that moment just before New Hampshire, when it was briefly possible to imagine Jon Huntsman fighting deep into the primaries, New York magazine’s John Heilemann made an astute observation. He pointed out that Huntsman’s real audience on election night wouldn’t be the country or the voters in other early states or even the political media. It would consist of exactly one person: Jon Huntsman Sr., the billionaire chemical magnate who, if the mood struck him, could take out his checkbook and completely upend the race. “An investment of, say, $10 million — a rounding error on the Huntsman Sr.

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Mitt Romney is in the top .0025% of American income earners. That makes him poorer than Warren Buffett, George Soros, Sheldon Adelson, probably even than Jon Huntsman, the father of the junior Jon Huntsman, who, with all his money and a very decent record, scored virtually nothing in the Republican presidential sweepstakes. So the question about Romney is whether the electorate will resent his wealth or take it as an index of initiative, imagination and hard work. Also, I suppose, a real drive to be rich. No, not just rich, but downright wealthy, super-wea

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Sorting out cause and effect in political campaigns is not always simple. Some people look at John McCain’s nomination in 2008 and Mitt Romney’s success in Iowa and New Hampshire this year and see highly fortuitous demolition derbies.

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Radley Balko at Reason again leaps to the defense of the Koch brothers. The question at hand is whether liberals are irrational to regard the Kochs as right-wingers and ideological adversaries. I argued that liberals are not irrational to think this way, since the Kochs heavily support Republicans in their political giving, and even their "battle of ideas" donations have a right-leaning tilt: Gillespie's implication is that, if you're horrified by the Bush administration's civil rights record and supportive of gay marriage, the Koch brothers are for you. In fact, they're not.

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Schadenfreude

I can't believe there wasn't more gloating on the liberal blogs yesterday about this story (emphasis added): The recent collapse on Wall Street appears to have found another victim: the independent political groups aiming to make an impact on the 2008 elections.... [F]undraising consultants say the economic collapse ultimately slammed the door.

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The Washington Post reports that Freedom's Watch—the new conservative non-profit funded by billionaire Sheldon Adelson—could spend as much as $250 million in the 2008 elections. (To put that in context, MoveOn spent just $21 million in 2004.) And the group's already making a splash: Adelson personally wrote an $80,000 check to Freedom's Watch on Dec. 7, according to Federal Election Commission documents, just four days before the election that gave Republican Robert Latta the House seat representing the district around Bowling Green.

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