Sheldon Adelson’s Umbrella
This week yet again, billionaire Sheldon Adelson has come under attack in the pages of many news outlets; now it is about his new campaign to target Jewish voters in swing states including Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and win them over to the Republican party.
There is such a media infatuation with this well established, successful, self made man who is doing what any active political advocate does; educating voters to see his point of view. In today’s world, money affects politics on both the left and the right, and the same applies all over the world. But perhaps his work has caused some liberals to express concern because finally there is someone on the right side of the political spectrum standing up to them with force to be heard.
Like many Jews, Adelson votes on a variety of issues – not just Israel – He grew up with modest means as the son of immigrants. He dropped out of the City College of New York and built a successful business. As his wealth increased, he turned to the Republican Party, considering that it was not fair to be paying higher taxes just because of his achievements. I too see it as he does – I am a product of the NYC public school system, I have worked hard to build a business, and according to government classifications am “rich”, but I have also made many sacrifices to get to where I am.
Adelson is surely reflective of the changing Jewish American experience, whereby many in the Jewish community are becoming more connected to their traditions. He also represents those members of the Jewish community that feel that government today is putting too much strain on the hardworking entrepreneur. Local and national authorities are taxing energetic people who sacrifice every day to create opportunities for themselves, and for others who benefit from the jobs they create and other opportunities as a result.
Much of the mainstream media’s fascination with Adelson is that he embodies the rare, proud, tough Jew, a “Republican-Conservative” putting his money where his mouth is and standing up to say, “I am Jewish, proud and don’t give a damn what anyone has to say about it.” It’s refreshing and inspiring to see. The media is so used to seeing Jewish influence on the left, and Adelson surprises and frightens them.
Adelson is simply doing what his longtime friend, Fred Zeidman said months ago he would do “…devote his energy and money to the overriding issue, which is beating Barack Obama.” In a world where so many wealthy Jews follow the “Torah of Liberalism” as Norman Podhoretz calls it, what could be better than a man dedicating his time and money to help build a strong America as they believe is best? Adelson and others, like Dr. Irving Moskowitz are working to make the world better for all who believe in an economically, physically and intellectually strong America – and in putting their money where their mouth is. The are practicing pure, American ideology.
Other ethnic groups in the country moved rightward as their socioeconomic position improved. Not the Jews – As the late Milton Himmelfarb wrote in the June 1973 edition of Commentary magazine, in an article entitled, The Jewish Vote (Again), “Jews earn like Episcopalians, and vote like Puerto Ricans.” Himmelfarb meant that even high earning Jews vote like poor recent immigrants. And this too will change.
Max Nordau, a 19th century philosopher has been oft quoted as telling the Jewish leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky that “the Jew learns not by way of reason, but from catastrophes. He won’t buy an umbrella merely because he sees clouds in the sky. He waits until he is drenched and catches pneumonia.”
America is heading in a catastrophic direction – it is pouring with rain – and Adelson should be lauded for what he is doing.