Former NYT Reporter on GOP Donor Meeting: 'It’s Hard to Imagine a Political Spectacle More Loathsome'

March 31st, 2014 6:18 PM

New York Times political correspondent turned left-wing editorial writer David Firestone unleashed a fiery attack on a GOP donor in an inflammatory post Monday afternoon: "The Line to Kiss Sheldon Adelson's Boots."

The very thought of Republican politicians speaking at a Las Vegas meeting of an Adelson-backed lobbying group made Firestone want to retch:

It’s hard to imagine a political spectacle more loathsome than the parade of Republican presidential candidates who spent the last few days bowing and scraping before the mighty bank account of the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. One by one, they stood at a microphone in Mr. Adelson’s Venetian hotel in Las Vegas and spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition (also a wholly owned subsidiary of Mr. Adelson), hoping to sound sufficiently pro-Israel and pro-interventionist and philo-Semitic to win a portion of Mr. Adelson’s billions for their campaigns.

One reason for Firestone's ire is that casino magnate Adelson "dispensed nearly $100 million to his favored candidates in 2012," including $20 million for Newt Gingrich.

Firestone had previously criticized political spending by left-wing billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, who is trying to boost Democrats with the "global warming" issue. But in that case Firestone wrote more in sadness than in anger, and seemed most concerned that Steyer would only encourage right-wingers like the Koch brothers and "vastly richer conservative forces" to spend more:

But Mr. Steyer’s money can’t begin to compete with the forces on the right. The Koch network alone raised $407 million in 2012, and pro-environment spending from the left will only prompt more from the vastly richer conservative forces.

Besides mocking the alleged pandering of GOP politicians, Firestone on Monday worked in his pro-Palestinian opinion about Israel's "occupation" of the West Bank.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey also described his trip to Israel, but then did something unthinkable. He referred to the West Bank as the “occupied territories.” A shocked whisper went through the crowd. How dare Mr. Christie implicitly acknowledge that Israel’s presence in the West Bank might be anything less than welcome to the Palestinians? Even before Mr. Christie left the stage, leaders of the group told him he had stumbled, badly.

And sure enough, a few hours later, Mr. Christie apologized directly to Mr. Adelson for his brief attack of truthfulness.

And you'll never guess which brothers, despised by the left but pervrsely loved by Democratic fundraisers, make a cameo appearance in Firestone's feverish rant.

...The ability of one man and his money to engender so much bootlicking among serious candidates, which ought to be frightening, has now become commonplace. Why talk directly to voters when you can get a billionaire to help you manipulate them with a barrage of false television ads, as the Koch brothers are doing with Republican Senate candidates around the country.