The Hightower Report
Thanks a lot, Sheldon
Putting the 'Rich' in 'Gingrich'
The rich are different from you and me, but the really, really, really rich are also different from the merely rich.
For example, the rich can buy caviar and Champagne, but the triple-R rich can buy entire presidential campaigns. Take Sheldon Adelson, the moneybags who's pumped $11 million so far into Newt Gingrich's right-wing run. He has single-handedly kept Gingrich's White House ambitions alive – without this one guy's money, the Newt would've been long gone. Thanks a lot, Sheldon.
But Adelson can easily afford to roll the dice on a far-out candidate. This global casino baron hauled in $3.3 million in pay last year. Not for a year – that's what his hourly take was. In other words, his $11-million bet on Newt, which altered the Republican presidential race, was nothing – less than 3½ hours of one of Sheldon's workdays.
Even Rick Santorum, who's so far to the right that his left brain has entirely atrophied from lack of use, is actually in the running for the GOP nomination. He insists that people are flocking to him because of the power of his ideas. Sure, Rick – and the power of Foster Friess' money.
This little-known Wall Street multimillionaire has long been a partner in the Koch brothers' plutocratic cabal and a steady funder of right-wing Christian politics. Friess modestly claims that God is "the chairman of my board." I doubt that, but Friess is definitely Santorum's guardian angel, having kept his campaign of wackiness afloat with untold infusions of cash. When Friess was told that Santorum's recent caucus wins would prompt Mitt Romney's triple-R richies to counterattack, he was thrilled. I think that "is so exciting," he warbled.
So there you have it – American politics has developed into a game for the fun and profit of a few superrich narcissists.
For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.