Progressive Revival

Jack Abramoff’s in prison…Ralph Reed is disgraced…what’s a poor Republican to do when they need access to casino money to fund their most outrageous attacks on Democratic opponents?  Answer:  Turn to Vegas Casino Billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his shadow 527 group, Freedom’s Watch. 


Sheldon Adelson, who made his billions in casinos where the deck is always stacked against the little guy, is now transferring that philosophy into the political world.  Because Democratic candidates must abide by campaign finance regulations, they can only take donations in small amounts.  The average budget for a successful Congressional campaign in ’06 was around $1.5 million.  A 527 like Freedom’s Watch, on the other hand, has no donation limits and does not have to even report who its donors are. 


Enter Sheldon Adelson, his 527’s billion dollar media budget, and an advertising strategy that has never heard of the 9th Commandment.  Suddenly popular Democrats who are leading in the polls and outpacing their opponents in donations from voters are facing Adelson’s attack machine that can saturate the airwaves with lie after lie and do so at buy levels no Congressional campaign can possibly compete with. 


Especially in larger and rural markets where it’s harder for the local press to fact-check and call out the lies, the Democrats are forced to spend their time and money setting the record straight with voters instead of talking about their vision and hope for the future.


In AL-02 for example, where popular Montgomery mayor Bobby Bright is currently up by 10 points in his race for that open seat, Freedom Watch has started flooding the airwaves with flat out lies about his record, his character, and has even attacked his faith. 


It is clear that Adelson will continue to use his ill-gotten gains for shadowy purposes.  The question is whether we will allow his billions and Freedom’s Watch’s lies to buy elections.  The press needs to call out these tactics and make sure that voters understand who is behind them…and all Americans of good will need to respond by giving to the races that are being targeted by Adelson to help them fight back.  There is just too much at stake in this election to allow a casino baron to single-handedly pick off our most promising candidates.  


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