BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It's make or break time for the disgraced former Speaker as he aims to dismantle the Romney campaign with a massive ad buy and new film charging the former Massachusetts governor with being a ‘predatory capitalist.'
Money from the multi-billionaire Las Vegas gambling czar, Sheldon Adelson, will allow Newt Gingrich to be Newt Gingrich again. The huggy-bear Newt, whose campaign counseled a GOP version peace, love, and understanding, has, now that he suffered a blistering (and successful) attack by Romney's super PAC Restore Our Future in Iowa, has reverted back to the graying, grumbling, irritable, take no prisoners Grizzly that America has come to know.
It appears that a major donation from Adelson will allow Gingrich's super PAC, Winning the Future, to launch a major frontal attack on Mitt Romney, as the Republican Party's presidential nominating process heads to South Carolina.
As Rachel Tabachnick recently pointed out at Talk2Action, "a $3.4 million dollar ad purchase will flood the state with attack ads and a half-hour film describing the impact of Romney's Bain Capital on workers and communities." If there's anything Newt and his wife, Callista, have become familiar with over the past few years, it is filmmaking, as they've produced and marketed a number of videos.
At the "King of Bain" website, sponsored by Winning the Future, Team Gingrich asserts: "Capitalism made America great - free markets, innovation, hard work - the building blocks of the American Dream. But in the wrong hands some of those dreams can turn into nightmares. This film is about one raider and his firm and how they destroyed that dream for thousands of Americans and their families - Mitt Romney and Bain Capital."
The trailer for the film, titled When Mitt Romney Came To Town, looks like members of the Occupy Movement or the Democratic Party could have produced it. The only thing missing is Bruce Springsteen's "The Ghost of Tom Joad" playing in the background.
At the outset of the trailer, a narrator declares: "Capitalism made America great. Free Markets, innovation, hard work: the building blocks of the American Dream. But in the wrong hands, some of those dreams can turn into nightmares. Wall Street's corporate raiders made billions of dollars ... their greed was only matched by their willingness to do anything to make millions in profit. Nothing was spared, nothing mattered but greed. This film is about one such raider and his firm. Mitt Romney became CEO of Bain Capital the day the company was formed. His mission: To reap massive rewards for himself and his investors."
"Romney took foreign seed money from Latin America, and began a pattern of exploiting dozens of American businesses."
The trailer intersperses poignant testimony from displaced workers.
The Narrator: "This film will highlight just four of Romney's many targets. Four businesses and the thousands of employees that worked there. ... A story of greed, playing the system for a quick buck. A group of corporate raiders led by Mitt Romney. More ruthless than Wall Street. For tens of thousand of Americans, the suffering began (pause) When Mitt Romney Came To Town."
Tabachnick reported that excerpts from the film that she had seen, "indicate[s] an abrupt reversal from the trickle down, ‘rising tide lifts all boats' ideology that the GOP has been marketing for decades. It is also a dramatic shift from Gingrich's own messages to Pastors Policy Briefings and in the related United in Purpose/Champion the Vote's DVDs which feature him."
Tabachnick asks: "Will going after ‘predatory capitalists' be a new strategy for the GOP, or will Gingrich's nuclear option against Romney damage the party's core messaging?"
While Gingrich's Winning the Future is headed by Rick Tyler, who was formerly the head of another Gingrich enterprise called Renewing American Leadership (ReAL), Sheldon Adelson's money is making the engine run.
The multi-billionaire owner of casinos in Las Vegas and Macao, also owns Yisrael Hayom, an "unapologetic booster" of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Boston.com's Alan Berger. The paper, which is distributed free, is one of the largest circulation newspapers in the country.
Adelson was a major funder of the now-defunct Freedom Watch, which spent millions in Congressional campaigns in 2007 in support of keeping troops in Iraq. In 2008, Adelson was a top bundler for Republican nominee John McCain, raising more than $200,000 for him, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Although he had given Gingrich's American Solutions more than $7 million dollars in the past, Adelson seemed reluctant to commit big money early on. Perhaps he was hoping that one of the so-called Republican Party flavors of the week - Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry - would have enough clout to unseat Romney.
Politico's Maggie Haberman reported that former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a vigorous backer of Romney, "lambasted" Adelson during an appearance on Fox News. ""Does he think people don't remember when you attack them and pay for the attacks in the primary? Especially when one of the parties receiving that attack is the same investment community that he likes to go to finance his expansions," Sununu said. "There's just no common sense in this process, and you kind of feel sorry for people that aren't that bright."
Adelson's donation to Gingrich is making Republican Jews uneasy, Ron Kampeas recently reported in a piece for JTA: "Romney and Gingrich both have deep ties in the Jewish Republican community. Romney's funders include Mel Sembler, the Florida shopping center magnate, and Fred Zeidman, a Texas lawyer. Gingrich has a long and abiding friendship with Adelson, ..." However, most Jewish Republican activists interviewed by Kampeas felt that the dueling donations will not deter Jewish Republicans from working together to oust President Obama.
As Richard Silverstein pointed out at his blog, Tikun Olam: Make the World a Better Place, "As far as I'm concerned, I can die now and go to blogger heaven, satisfied that my sense of political irony can't be bested by any future headline that would compete with today's news that ... Adelson is funding a $5-million TV ad campaign on behalf of ... Gingrich that will target ... Romney as a ‘predatory capitalist.' If you were Andy Borowitz, Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart, what better comedy could you expect? You might as well hang up the cleats and retire. It doesn't get much better than this."