Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sarah Scissormind: A comedian’s unusual proposal

SHELDON ADELSON has a new, uh, admirer. Close observers of the 2012 presidential campaign recognize the name of the casino overlord and multibillionaire who has famously pledged to contribute $100 million to Republican efforts to defeat President Obama in the fall (this after already dropping earlier millions to campaigns for the same purpose).

Even though Adelson’s entitled to spend his vast wealth any way he sees fit, there’s been pushback against his flood-the-zone style of campaign donation. PBS NewsHour reported on July 16 that Adelson is now under investigation for possibly violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, by making GOP SuperPAC contributions that may have come from revenue from his overseas casinos, including properties in Macau. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain suggested much the same thing to The New York Times back in June.

The Jewish Council for Education & Research, a SuperPAC that supports Obama’s re-election, has organized a petition drive, seeking citizen signatures to help “keep Adelson’s money out of politics.” It’s just one tool in the JCER toolkit; on its Web site, the organization says it “uses humor, viral video, celebrity, and social media to break through the election year clutter and reach millions of voters.”

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It’s apparently in that wide-open spirit that JCER has joined forces with comedian Sarah Silverman in developing Scissor Sheldon, a Web site where Silverman now makes her own unique contribution to political activism.

The details of Silverman’s input are a stark departure from other protests against Adelson, whose personal wealth is estimated at just shy of $25 billion. In a YouTube video on the Scissor Sheldon site, Silverman offers to directly engage Adelson in a highly personal “proposition” intended to stop his runaway Republican campaign spending (or at least change its course). The specifics of that proposal deserve to be discovered straight from the comedian’s mouth:

Never mind the fact that Adelson, a happily married man, won't take Silverman up on the offer. It takes a certain, well, chutzpah to make the offer in the first place. This presidential election is clearly an all-hands-on-deck occasion. Since the stakes in the outcome couldn’t be higher, nothing’s out of bounds. There’s maybe no better proof of that ... than this.

Image credits: Silverman, JCER logo: Jewish Council for Education & Research.

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