Tags: | Sheldon | Adelson | Newt | Gingrich

The Genius of Sheldon Adelson

Wednesday, 15 Feb 2012 04:26 PM

By Doug Wead

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First the word was that Sheldon Adelson had met with Mitt Romney and was going to cut his support to Newt Gingrich. And now the story is he may dump in another $10 million to help get Newt elected.

My guess is that the latter is more likely to happen.

Sheldon-Adelson.jpg
Sheldon Adelson may pump another $10 million into the Gingrich campaign.
(AP Image)
Adelson's support of Gingrich is as American as a hot dog and as Italian as his luxurious Venetian hotel and resort. It is American to support the candidate you believe in and it is Italian to put your money where your heart is.

The billionaire's large donations to Newt Gingrich bring to mind the strategies of Nicolo Machiavelli, the 15th century Italian political genius.

At first glance Adelson's moves seem risky, after all, Mitt Romney is the official front-runner. But the casino mogul obviously knows the odds are in his favor.

Machiavelli taught that in a transition, when there are multiple rivals to the throne, one should quickly commit to one of the claimants. Actually, any one of them will do. And commit fully. If your candidate becomes king he will bring you to his bosom.

Hey, you were an early supporter. But if a rival wins the throne? Well, he too, will bring you to his bosom. For in his fear of losing the contest he will have exaggerated your importance to his rival and will vow to never again let you support another prince again.

The better Newt Gingrich does the smarter Adelson looks. And ironically, the more money Adelson pours into the Gingrich campaign, the more powerful he becomes not only with Gingrich but with Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul or Barack Obama if they win.

As George Schultz once said, "In Washington, loyalty is the coin of the realm." The more loyal Adelson is to his candidate of choice, the more attractive he becomes to all of the others.

As a committed supporter of Ron Paul, I admit that we have had some big donors to our Super PACs as well. I have read about them in the press.

But Ron Paul is running to diminish power not to take it, which attracts a different type of donor altogether.

My guess is that this whole Super PAC business will be shut down next time and there will be no more Sheldon Adelsons. He is seizing the moment as it appears and whatever happens he is a winner.

How else could someone become an overnight player in this trillion-dollar world power game?

And how else could someone do so with such a small investment? Can you really be at the right hand of the president of the United States for a few million? Others will spend a lifetime and commit tens of millions and not even be granted the title Mr. Ambassador, let alone "First Friend."

It should be no surprise that a Las Vegas genius was the one to figure all of this out. Place your bet on any horse and the house still wins.

Doug Wead is a presidential historian and a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign.

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