Adelson’s Jews-For-Romney Gambit

Hardly a week goes by without news of some big check being written by Sheldon Adelson to a pro-Romney Super-PAC. This week’s edition, reported by Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times, is that the Vegas/Macau mogul is bankrolling a Jewish Republic Federation ad effort to peel off Jewish voters based on “buyer’s remorse” among those backing Obama in 2008.

The idea is modest: turn a small percentage of Jewish voters in close states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and of course Florida, and it might be enough to tip them to Mitt. The ad campaign is timed to coincide with the spectacle of Romney’s upcoming reunion with his old management consulting buddy Bibi Netanyahu. The effort has an initial budget of $6.5 million, and I’d guess a lot of that is coming direct from Vegas.

Well, a vote’s a vote, and you never know what will turn out to be critical in a close state in a close election. It’s unlikely, however, that the ad campaign’s attacks on Obama’s Middle Eastern policies are going to come as any major news to Jewish voters, which is the point made by J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami:

“Every single number indicates there is simply no such thing as a Jewish problem for the president,” Mr. Ben-Ami said. “The people who vote only on Israel didn’t vote for Obama last time and know who they are voting for already.”

All in all, Team Obama is probably pleased Adelson is pouring money into his pet cause of creating a larger Jewish Republican vote than into something more multi-faceted. But then I doubt he’s finished writing checks.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.