There’s the campaign for GOP nomination and one behind it. There’s the official one which may well nominate Mitt Romney and the campaign to see who can best influence him as Phillip Weiss describes on his website Mondoweiss after Newt Gingirich’s campaign received an emergency lifeline of $5 million from Las Vengas casino baron Sheldon Adelson to keep his campaign going:
“...On what basis can anyone say that Adelson’s game here is Israel when he might as well give his money to Mitt Romney? It would have the same effect. What’s he gain by throwing $5 million away at Gingrich, which can only damage Romney?
The answer in a word is leverage on Romney. The Republican process is now a war over Romney’s policy positions; and the neoconservative fear is that he will be tugged left by Ron Paul’s movement inside the party. So Adelson is applying a counter-weight by giving money to someone who is to Romney’s right on Israel questions. Anything that brings down Ron Paul’s vote will advance neocon policymaking inside the Republican party.
Notice that Paul is working that leverage. He made nice to Romney lately, defending him yesterday on the Bain Capital criticism, and pretty much promising not to run as a third party candidate. Last night Al Sharpton expressed fear that Ron Paul would get to determine a President Romney Supreme Court pick.
In other words, the game now is how much influence Ron Paul will have.
A second aspect of the leverage game is Adelson being coy with his millions. Romney wants those millions for his campaign against Obama. But by giving a smallish-for-Adelson contribution to Gingrich (he had promised $20 million back in December, Politico tells us), Adelson is holding out. He knows that he who holds out longest has the most leverage. He may play this game with Romney for a while….
And it isn’t only Newt Gingrich receiving such support from wealthy individual, western and yes Jewish financiers. The SuperPAC which backs Rick Santorum gets most of its money from one Foster Freiss, a Wyoming based investor according to Michael Isikoff:
“Freiss, who is based in Jackson Hole, Wyo., is the founder of an investment fund called Freiss Associates, which includes on its website a quote from a Business Week article touting him as “the longest surviving successful growth stock picker.”
He has a long history of backing Santorum, having donated $250,000 to a conservative group, Softer Voices, that ran ads on behalf of Santorum during his unsuccessful 2006 reelection campaign. He also has been a major donor to other GOP and conservative causes over the years, having given $250,000 to the Republican Governors Association last year as well as pumping a reported $3 million into The Daily Caller, a conservative website run by former MSNBC anchor Tucker Carlson.
Freiss said one of the main reasons he is attracted to Santorum is his positions on national-security issues. “He’s incredibly versed in one of the No. 1 issues of our time — and that is violent Islamic extremism,” he said. “And, as a result,” he contended, “he’ll be able to appeal to the Jewish vote, which last time went 68 percent for Obama.”
Understand that Presidential campaigns don’t end when a candidate loses a primary. They end when they run out of money. Both Adelson and Friess know they’re not backing winners but since they both have so much money they could burn fire places with it if they wanted that it really doesn’t matter. What matters is what Weiss himself said, leverage. Their money is keeping Gingrich and Santorum’s campaigns going by buying the TV time which would otherwise bankrupt their official campaigns. And by keeping their campaigns going they prevent the race for the GOP nomination from becoming one between Paul-Romney in which they would have no influence. In this way, they believe they will still have Romney’s ear when it comes to the party platform and the vice-presidential choice, more than Paul would even have with a few hundred delegates.
That’s why the campaign will still be important even if Romney wins in South Carolina and Florida in the next three weeks and is the presumptuous nominee. The future of the party and what it stands for is at stake. Both the neocons and the Paul forces know it which is why they won’t “drop out” the way a Rick Perry or Jon Huntsman will by the end of the month.