Presidential Election: Republican hopes still hinge on casinos
Three amigos? Nah, these guys barely know each other. Hardly BFFs.
Big Three? The Celtics have the copyright on that one.
Three Stooges? A little closer, but that one doesn’t quite work either.
There seems to be no accurate way of describing the weird political union of Mitt Romney, Donald Trump and Sheldon Adelson, who have somehow found each other and bonded during the Republican Party’s efforts to kick President Obama out of office this November.
In normal times this ménage a trios would seem to have little in common.
Romney is a moderately big wheel in the Mormon church, which regards gambling as a jogger would regard the sudden appearance of a rattlesnake. Adelson has become one of the richest men in the world after building a casino empire that spans much of the world. And Trump wears expensive suits, paid for with profits at least partially gleaned from his ability to game the system in building and selling several casino properties in Atlantic City.
But with money – big money – being the mother’s milk of American presidential politics, Adleson and Trump have found a home in the Romney campaign, and each in his own way will help Romney try to unseat this sitting president.
The best part for Romney is it won’t cost him a thin dime. All he’ll have to do is compromise his principles and dignity. That’s never been a problem for Mitt in any of his previous campaigns.
Adelson is one of the few casino bosses to come out against legalized online gambling, but Romney is already on board on that issue. The former Massachusetts governor is on record as opposing legislation and regulation of Internet play. Check that box.
Any checks Adelson writes to Romney campaign affiliates might as well be from an account in Tel Aviv, because to Adelson it’s all about Israel. The deal goes down like this: Adelson cuts a check to a pro-Romney political action committee and the number has six, maybe seven, zeroes on it. The PAC then makes television ads that cut Obama a new one. When Romney gets around to debating Obama, sometime in September or October, the Republican will talk about how important it is to support Israel, which tells Israel that the United States will wash its hands if the Israelis want to take out Iran sometime in early 2013, after Romney is in the White House. And Adelson will in effect be getting his money back because the United States will probably bump up its military assistance to Israeli, even if it decides not to go postal on the Iranians.
Win for Romney, win for Adelson. Spin, dry, and wash again during the next election cycle. And Romney will pay for it all by firing some hapless government workers that Republicans say just get in the way of progress anyway.
Adelson’s relationship with Romney is a quid pro quo, but the Trump-Romney union borders on unspoken blackmail and speaks to the darkest elements in the Republican Party and The Donald’s desperate attempt to remain relevant.
If the presidential race was the movie Caddyshack, Trump would play Rodney Dangerfield’s character – a nouveau-rich real estate developer (how ironic is that?) – and Romney would be club president Ted Knight, tolerating Dangerfield’s obnoxious behavior only because of Dangerfield’s money. Romney figures that if you’re in the club, you’re one of us. So while the presumptive nominee disagrees with Trump when The D makes obviously false statements about Obama not having been born in the United States, that’s hardly cause to be brought up in front of the country’s club’s membership committee.
Trump’s own clown campaign for president had all the resilience of a dead cat when Obama showed his birth certificate. However, the crazy wing of the party merely circled the wagons, claimed the paperwork was phony and continued to bray that the pot-smoking, Communist-loving, Marxist, Fascist, America-hating, Obama could not possibly have been born in the United States.
It is to these people to whom Trump still speaks, and Romney - hardly concerned about the mental health of the people who plan to vote for him – needs them on Nov. 6. “I need to get to 50.1 percent,” Romney noted dryly in explaining why Trump is still part of Team Romney. Someone should explain to Romney how the Electoral College works, but at least Romney is smart enough to realize that throwing the unpredictable Trump to the curb could have negative consequences with the Anyone But Obama cabal. What does Trump get? A place at the table and his name in headlines, which is all he’s ever wanted. No charge.
Polls have the election at pretty much a dead heat, but the people willing to put their money down on Intrade.com have the president with a healthy advantage, 53.5 to 42.5 percent, so maybe Romney knows what he’s doing when he keeps Trump and his pan-banging birthers along for the ride. Every vote counts. Even Ted Knight’s character in Caddyshack had to swallow hard every now and then, and Romney has shown time and time again that he has no problem with groveling.
So Romney, Trump and Adelson march arm-in-arm toward what has already become a bizarre presidential election, and we still haven’t come up with a name for them.
Perhaps Two and a Half Men, considering Romney and Trump are over six feet and Adelson, well, isn’t? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Two Men and a Baby?
Lots of possibilities, but none seem to quite fit.