Can Sheldon Adelson be the Conservative Answer to George Soros?

April 25, 2012 9:24 am 0 comments

George Soros.

Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson recently made another super PAC donation of $5 million. This time the recipient was the GOP establishment run Congressional Leadership Fund, and the gift brought his family’s total super PAC contributions this election cycle to over $21.5 million.

In a February interview with Forbes Magazine, Adelson implied that his activism was in part spawned by a rival on the far opposite side of the political spectrum; financier, post-American globalist, patron of myriad liberal causes and anti-Israel groups, George Soros. “As long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades,” he said.

On the surface, the two behemoth givers appear to be mirror images of each other. Both Jewish, of European descent, born just three years apart and listed 8 spaces away from each other on this year’s Forbes Billionaires List, each with fortunes estimated at more than $20 billion. A Fundrace search covering the current election cycle shows $103,000 in contributions from Soros, solely to Democratic candidates and $117,400 from Adelson exclusively pledged to Republicans. According to some estimates the 2003-4 and 2005-6 record Soros set in investing $27 million in liberal get-out-the-vote and media campaigns was topped by Adelson in the 2007-8 cycle in which he spent over $30 million.

When it comes to super PAC’s however, the contrast between the two men’s respective modus operandi couldn’t be starker. Whereas Adelson has splurged, Soros has remained on the sidelines and according to Jane Mayer writing in the New Yorker, “an informed source placed the probability that Soros would donate to a pro-Obama Super PAC at no more than ten per cent.”

It is true that Soros’ lack of engagement may be influenced by other factors, but this marked dissimilitude also appears to be indicative of the polar extremes by which the two men view the ‘exercising of influence,’ and there is much that Adelson can learn from his Hungarian counterpart.

Soros is a thinker and consummate strategist. He has authored 9 books, and stated that when starting a private investment firm in 1973, he hoped to earn $500,000 after five years to support his ambitions as a writer and philosopher. Since 1979 his funds have distributed $8 billion to liberal causes through his Open Society Foundations, described by the New York Times as “a sprawling constellation of more than 30 organizations that operate in places as diverse as Baltimore, Jakarta, the Kremlin and Congress.”

Soros understands well the power of media influence and has placed a high priority on acquiring it, but he has also demonstrated an understanding of its subtlety. While he is not the outright owner of any media outlet of note, his influence extends to over 30 major news organizations and, according to the Business and Media Institute of the Media Research Center has included funding of over $48 million. Vehicles for this influence include groups such as ProPublica, Media Matters, The Center for Public Integrity, The Center for Investigative Reporting, The Columbia Journalism Review, the Organization of News Ombudsmen and the Investigative News Network.

Adelson is an American patriot and is certainly no fool, but his approach is at times more impulsive and gung ho. His most ambitious political projects were risky and are now largely defunct or close to it, most notably the advocacy group Freedom Watch founded to counter the influence of Soros and others, and the current presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich. When asked by Forbes about his political plans should Gingrich’s campaign fail he said, “I just haven’t decided that yet and will wait to see what happens,” further indicative of his lack of strategic planning.

A champion of America’s pro-Israel community his philanthropic successes include the founding of the pivotal Birthright Israel program, the building of an educational campus in Las Vegas and investments in medical research. He owns the most circulated Israeli daily Israel Hayom but has no media interests in the United States. To put things in perspective, the world’s most read online news outlet, the Huffington Post was founded and financed to the point of its sale to AOL with less capital than Adelson has donated to super PACs so far this season. In truth Adelson is a newcomer to a game Soros has been playing for over 30 years.

The super PAC option is an investment in firepower, a shock and awe, short term strategy. Soros however understands the long term viability and effectiveness of building a well networked ‘insurgency.’

If Adelson is to be potent in his efforts to counterbalance Soros’ meddling, he needs to consider a radical remaking of his strategy. First and foremost he would do well to seek and employ the assistance of those able partners and capable foot soldiers that share his ideals and have walked the road before him. Grassroots groups would unite behind his infectious bravado and he can leverage his giving to direct their efforts in concert. Together with additional investment in cutting edge media platforms, watchdogs and journalism programs he would be well on the way to establishing a lasting infrastructure of inspired influence.

The author is the Editor of the Algemeiner Journal and Director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed at defune@gjcf.com.

The Algemeiner is the fastest growing Jewish newspaper in America. Your one stop source for all news, commentary and analysis from Israel and Jewish communities around the world. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.