Tokens of Appreciation for Lindsey Graham

Boy, doncha figure this little news item from McClatchey’s William Douglas caused some freakouts in Republicanland yesterday:

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s ‘Security Through Strength’ presidential exploratory committee will get a cash infusion next month from a fundraiser co-hosted by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and other top Republican Party donors.

Adelson, who contributed nearly $93 million to conservative groups and political action committees in 2012, is one of 33 wealthy co-chairs for the March 3 Graham ‘luncheon and policy discussion’ at the Capitol Hill Club. The event coincides with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech to a joint session of Congress.

Turns out Miriam Adelson is a co-chair, too.

But today, Bloomberg Politics‘ Julie Bykowicz explains it as a trifle:

In all, there are three dozen co-chairs, each of whom will give $2,700 to the Graham group. Among them: Wayne Berman, a lobbyist who will back Florida Senator Marco Rubio if he runs for president, and Seth Klarman, a Boston-based investor who last month hosted an event for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Berman said he is unequivocal in his support for Rubio and is giving to Graham’s group only because “he has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies, and I appreciate that.”

It’s also worth mentioning that Adelson has held a Senate fundraiser for Graham on his own, raising eyebrows when ol’ Lindsey subsequently introduced a bill to ban internet gambling, a cause perhaps third to Adelson in importance behind his perceptions of Israel’s safety and his desire to eject Obama’s people from the levers of control at the Justice Department.

So we should probably look at the Adelson family’s involvement in the fundraiser for Graham’s presidential explatory committee as more of a tip than a indication of special favor. After all, you’re not talking real money with Sheldon until you hit seven or eight figures, and even then it’s pocket change.

Moreover, the vast number of people cosponsoring this event who are associated with other 2016 candidates probably shows that Lindsey’s prospects are regarded so lightly that rivals won’t be concerned if their patrons throw a few bucks his way. Let him have his vanity project for a while, and then go back to the Senate while the real players play.

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.