Stillwater News Press

Opinion

April 4, 2014

PAT BUCHANAN: Is Republican Party’s Middle East policy up for bid?

STILLWATER, Okla. — For four days last week, a quartet of presidential hopefuls trooped to Las Vegas to attend the annual gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Impresario: Sheldon Adelson, the Vegas-Macau casino mogul whose fortune is estimated at $39 billion – 8th richest man on the planet – and who dumped $92 million into the election of 2012.

Adelson kept Newt Gingrich alive with a $15 million infusion of ad money, gutting Romney, and then sank $30 million into Mitt’s campaign.

This time Sheldon wants to buy himself a winner.

Ari Fleischer, press secretary to Bush 43, and a member of Adelson's RJC fiefdom, put it plain and simple: “The ‘Sheldon Primary’ is an important primary. ... anybody running for the Republican nomination would want to have Sheldon at his side.”

One such man is Jeb Bush, son and brother to presidents, who was the prize bull at Sheldon’s cattle show. Daniel Ruth of the Tampa Bay Times speculates on Jeb’s motive in showing up:

“Would you slink into Las Vegas to schmooze gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson who regards GOP presidential nominees as if they were trophy heads mounted in his den, if you had no interest in the White House?”

The 2016 presidential hopefuls “are falling at his feet,” said a veteran Republican strategist of the 80-year-old oligarch. Each of those who came – Bush, Chris Christie, and Govs. Scott Walker and John Kasich – apparently auditioned, one by one, before the godfather.

In 2016, says Adelson's top political adviser Andy Abboud, Sheldon's “bar for support is going to be much higher. ... There’s going to be a lot more scrutiny.”

Victor Chaltiel, a major donor and Adelson friend who sits on the board of Las Vegas Sands, tells us Sheldon “doesn’t want a crazy extremist to be the nominee.” Adds Shawn Steel, a big California GOP money man, Sheldon is a “very rational guy.”

Perhaps. But last fall at Yeshiva University, this “very rational guy” gave this response to a question from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on whether he supports U.S. negotiations on Iran's nuclear program:

“No. What do you mean support negotiations? What are we going to negotiate about?” So, there’s an atomic weapon, goes over ballistic missiles, the middle of the desert, that doesn’t hurt a soul.

“And then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.”’

This is someone Republican presidential candidates must appease, if they don't want tens of millions in attack ads run against them?

Is this what Republican presidential candidates must do now?

Kowtow to this fattest of fat cats who wants to buy himself an American war on Iran?

Is that what has become of the party of Reagan?

Patrick J. Buchanan is a commentator and columnist.

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