President Barack Obama is now campaigning and fundraising directly off attacks on the wealth of conservative casino magnate and prominent Jewish philanthropist Sheldon Adelson. Adelson’s good works enjoy bipartisan support–so much so that Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, who supports Obama, recently blasted Democrats’ attempts to accuse Adelson of using “dirty money” to support his super PAC donations.
Democrats have made Adelson a target throughout the 2012 campaign, singling him out for abuse, along with other private citizens who have donated to Republicans. Recently, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had to apologize for, and retract, a false accusation that Adelson was giving “Chinese prostitution money” to Republicans. That has not stopped the Obama campaign, or Democrats, from pursuing him, however (nor did it stop Adelson from fighting back by filing a libel suit against the NJDC today.)
On Monday, the Obama campaign sent a fundraising email to supporters that included a graphic (above) targeting Adelson’s wealth, comparing his pledge to a Super PAC with donations to Obama’s campaign. It is a misleading comparison, unless the campaign is fundraising (illegally) for Obama’s own Super PAC. Regardless, it is holding Adelson up as a symbol of profligate wealth–as if Obama’s Super PAC is bereft of wealthy donors.
The same day, it was reported that the Department of Justice is pursuing accusations that Adelson’s casinos may have broken federal law by failing to report transactions by individuals who later turned out to be criminals. The DOJ investigation may or may not be politically motivated. Certainly Attorney General Eric Holder has done his best to turn the department into a political arm of the Obama administration. Certainly, the timing of the DOJ investigation and the Obama campaign’s message is more than suspicious.
In addition to sending an intimidating signal to donors, or potential donors, to the other side, the Obama campaign is attempting to make Sheldon Adelson into a villain by any means necessary. Among others, it is benefiting from the efforts of comedian Sarah Silverman, who recently simulated sex with a dog in an attempt to ridicule Adelson, as well as FOX News commentator Bob Beckel, who recently used the slur “diamond merchants” to describe a Romney fundraiser in Israel involving Adelson and his wife.
Attacks on major donors to the other side–including Jewish donors–are not necessarily new. In 2008, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’s presidential campaign briefly raised money off attacks on the role of billionaire George Soros in funding a $40 million outside attack ad campaign against him. The difference with the Obama effort in 2012 is threefold: the vehemence and persistence of the anti-Adelson campaign; the link with a DOJ investigation that may be politically motivated; and the fact that Adelson, unlike Soros, is deeply involved with pro-Israel causes and with philanthropy within the traditional Jewish community.
In addition to Adelson, the Obama campaign has also picked up far-left attacks on the Koch brothers, using them repeatedly as punching bags, often for fundraising purposes. It has also highlighted other Republican Super PAC donors on what critics are calling Obama’s “enemies list”–and at least one, like Adelson, soon found himself to be the target of investigation by federal agencies such as the IRS and Department of Labor.
Breitbart News’ Tony Lee points out that the Obama campaign–which delights in false accusations of racism against others–is open to charges of antisemitism in its campaign against Adelson, focusing on his wealth and sending a “dog whistle” to the anti-Israel left. Regardless, Obama’s Chicago-style tactics are thuggish and unworthy of a free, open, and democratic society.