The Gamblers: Voucher Gambler Paul Ryan Meets Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas Today

Concerning Paul Ryan’s activity today, this is in the NYT:

Paul Ryan . . . traveled to Las Vegas to meet with Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul who has pledged to spend up to $100 million to defeat the president.

Wow. To kiss the gambler’s ring, presumably. The irony is rich here. Paul Ryan wants to gamble senior security on a voucher program for Medicare even as he meets with a gambling mogul.

And do you know what Sheldon Adelson wants to gamble on especially? Iran. He wants a preemptory strike on its nuclear program. It’s his signature issue. It’s why he’s pouring money into the American presidential race.

Lots of gambling going on.

Here’s a bit of background on Sheldon Adelson from the Financial Times earlier in the year:

Then there is Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas gaming mogul, whose $10m donation to a “super-political action committee” has kept Newt Gingrich in the Republican race. Mr Adelson, who is worth an estimated $22bn, has said he would fully support whoever was the Republican nominee. There are no limits on what Mr Adelson can spend to influence the general election. The Obama campaign is still informally hoping to raise $1bn – less than five per cent of Mr Adelson’s wealth.

In contrast to most Americans, who know of Mr Adelson through his super-Pac largesse, Israelis see him as one of Mr Netanyahu’s closest allies. Mr Adelson owns Israel Hayom (Israel Today), the influential daily newspaper, which is a strident Netanyahu supporter. “Netanyahu is a Republican,” says Daniel Levy, a former adviser to Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister. “Sheldon Adelson is his friend.”

Mr Adelson’s impact on the Republican debate has been direct. On most issues candidates have been driven by grassroots sentiment. On Iran, Mr Adelson leads a smaller electorate. It does not come in pastel shades. “If Obama is re-elected, Iran will get a nuclear weapon,” says Mr Romney, who last week had what was described as a friendly meeting with Mr Adelson. “If you elect me Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.”

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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7 Responses to The Gamblers: Voucher Gambler Paul Ryan Meets Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas Today

  1. Staffan says:

    You make it sound like it’s a bad thing if Iran doesn’t get nukes. Besides, Romney isn’t the only one with a sugar daddy. To my knowledge Goldman Sachs has a lot worse reputation than Adelson. They have a large responsibility in the global financial crisis.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      I don’t want Iran to get nukes either, but I also don’t want a casino mogul overinfluencing U.S. foreign policy. The reality is that we live in a plutocracy–the rich have taken over the country in such a blatant fashion that it’s quite depressing. I gave perhaps a thousand dollars to Obama in 2008–but not one penny this year. No point. The rich have it covered.

      But I trust Obama a bit more than Romney-Ryan to provide some occasional pushback to monied interests.

      And my point above is that gambling is characteristic of the right on key issues that ought to give us pause. Whether it’s on Medicare or Iran, Romney-Ryan show an inclination to take big risks. I trust Obama to work the diplomatic route as far as possible in foreign policy before starting a war; I trust him to get us out of Afghanistan by 2014; I trust him to balance harm to seniors and the poor against tax cuts to the rich.


      • Staffan says:

        It’s true and interesting that the right-wing politicians are gamblers. The often come from business and businessmen are more sensation seeking than the average person. They seem to enjoy climbing Mount Everest and losing a couple of fingers. Which makes it all the more hard to understand why genuine conservatives or right-wing authoritarians would vote for someone like Romney. Perhaps they only see him as the anti-Obama.

        Although in the case of Iran it seems like diplomacy would be risky as well since Iran can just keep the dialogue going until they have their nuclear arsenal.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        I’m ambivalent about Iran, but I don’t want people in office who are cocksure and unambivalent about what to do. High RWAs (right-wing authoritarians) always seem to know EXACTLY the right course (and it tends to go straight to violence or callousness of one sort or the other). I want vulnerable and thoughtful people in office.

        As for Ryan, he comes from a wealthy family and has never made a payroll, but he’s happy to risk other people’s lives and money. And Romney didn’t serve in Vietnam, didn’t protest it, didn’t protest for black or women’s equality. He’s never risked himself with average Americans on anything–nor has Ryan. It’s two Americas for them. Obama didn’t come from wealth. He and Michelle were both struggling when they started out. And I like that Obama, in his youth, read a lot of literary fiction and philosophy and is a reader.

        I think Obama’s instincts are to notice who is getting trampled in difficult decisions. And cultural issues matter. I don’t want gay rights set back–or women’s rights–by Romney-Ryan. And I’m hoping that Obama, no longer facing reelection, might actually take on the banking interests a bit. (But that last one is probably a pipe dream.)


  2. Staffan says:

    What I’m getting at is that people vote for politicians that are similar in personality to themselves. Like you like Obama because he is an intellectual and compassionate person. But RWAs are not risk-takers. They are not big business. They are often small businesses owners who are facing a daily struggle to get by. They don’t have any politician to identify with.

    • Santi Tafarella says:


      I don’t buy the idea that small business owners are naturally conservative. I live in California, and I get the impression that an awful lot of small business owners are hippies selling offbeat stuff (opening vegan restaurants, etc.).

      They might be libertarian economically, and want their taxes kept down, but culturally it depends on where you live (I suppose).


  3. says:

    Don’t forget about coupons in the coupons in the community newspaper.

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