The Obama campaign is in an utter tizzy about the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Yesterday, they sent out an email asking “why the hell” Romney would pick Ryan, and speculating that it was because Ryan was a corporate patsy who would serve the interests of back room fat cats. Today, they’re making that argument complete with a supremely offensive attack on Ryan’s visit to Las Vegas – and, in particular, his upcoming visit with Republican donor Sheldon Adelson:
Today, just 72 hours after joining the GOP ticket, Paul Ryan is making a pilgrimage to the Sands’ Venetian casino in Las Vegas to kiss the ring of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who’s already donated more than $35 million to Republican groups in this election.
That’s the same Sheldon Adelson who gave $15 million to help Newt Gingrich against Mitt Romney in the primary, and said he may give $100 million — basically, whatever it costs — to defeat Barack Obama.
We’re starting to get a glimpse of how Romney plans to cash in on his vice presidential pick. Before Ryan’s even been fully introduced to the American people, he’s attending a private fundraiser in Vegas with the top super PAC donor.
We’re doing this differently, with ordinary people chipping in whatever they can afford — but it’s going to take a lot more of us to match them. Will you donate $3 or more today?
Deputy Campaign Manager
Obama for America
This isn’t just a rip against Adelson, which has become the Democrats’ favorite pastime – or perhaps their second favorite pastime, next to attacking the apparently omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent Koch brothers. This is deeply offensive language – it’s religious language. Ryan isn’t just visiting Adelson – he’s “making a pilgrimage” to Vegas. A religious pilgrimage, you might say. And what’s more, Ryan, a Catholic, is going to “kiss the ring” of Adelson. The implication: Ryan worships money. Or, in this case, a rich Jew. The language is purposefully written to mirror the idea of pilgrimage to Rome to kiss the ring of the pope. Only Rome is now Vegas, and the pope is a wealthy Jew.
The email itself is false, of course – the idea that Ryan hasn’t been introduced to the American public is bloviation of the highest order. Ryan has been tooling around the country introducing himself repeatedly, while President Obama has been sending out his surrogates to pick up big Hollywood checks. We already know more about Paul Ryan’s background and beliefs than we do about Barack Obama’s after four years of his presidency.
But that isn’t the point of the email. The point is to demonize Adelson with religious language, and to turn Ryan into some sort of Judas willing to sell Americans down the river for 30 pieces of silver. If this isn’t a borderline anti-Semitic dog whistle, it is at the very least wildly irresponsible and disturbing language.