What would Alexis de Tocqueville think of democracy in America in 2014? How would Thomas Jefferson describe it? I doubt that either man would know what to make of the fact that one mind-numbingly greedy gnome might have the power to anoint the next Republican nominee for president.
If you think that’s an exaggeration, you weren’t watching the news last weekend when a small group of Republican governors, and ex-governor Jeb Bush, went a-courtin’ multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson at a Republican Jewish Coalition event. It was an extraordinary display of groveling. Even my friend Swamp Rabbit, who can drink a bottle of Wild Turkey and not even belch, was retching as he read a Politico story that explained why the potential presidential candidates were jousting to win the casino magnate’s shriveled little heart:
…The new big-money political landscape — in which a handful of donors can dramatically alter a campaign with just a check or two — explains both the eagerness of busy governors to make pilgrimages to Las Vegas, and the obsession with divining Adelson’s 2016 leanings.
All manner of national media flocked to Adelson’s Venetian casino and resort hotel, which hosted the RJC meeting. But reporters were kept away from Adelson by coalition staff, as well as casino and personal security, and his team turned down interview requests, including for an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
As Adelson whizzed around his Venetian kingdom on a motorized scooter during the retreat, he was often trailed by GOP operatives, politicians and fellow donors eager to assess his state of mind, advise him on what he should do or just lavish him with praise and gratitude…
The governors seemed to be vying for the Most Obsequious Reactionary award as they took turns making speeches. John Kasich repeatedly referred to Adelson as Sheldon, as if the two men grew up in the same ‘hood, back in the day. Scott Walker, showing he could be as big a whore for Adelson as he is for the Koch brothers, told the RJC crowd that he lights a menorah during Hannukah and named one of his sons Matthew because the name means ‘gift from God’ in Hebrew. Chris Christie made the faux pas of the weekend by telling Adelson and his fellow Zionists about a scary helicopter ride he took over Israel’s “occupied territories.”
Christie’s remark reminded me of a classic Monty Python skit: Oscar Wilde, at a dinner party with the Prince of Wales, runs out of aphorisms. He says, “Your Majesty is like a stream of bat’s piss” and then has to come up with an explanatory line to get back in the royal’s good graces. Too bad for Christie that no one was there in Vegas to provide a witty follow-up that might have kept him in the race for Adelson’s money.
“The fat man is on a serious losin’ streak,” the rabbit said of Christie, stating the obvious. “He’s a lot better at bullyin’ than he is at suckin’ up.”