Ron Paul Is Critical of Restore America’s Wire Act in US News & World Report Article
Ron Paul, former U.S. representative from Texas and current Libertarian lobbyist, wrote an op-ed article for U.S. News & World Report this week which said any Republican presidential candidate who supports Restore America’s Wire Act will fail in the polls. Rep. Paul, whose son is Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, said GOP support of an anti-gambling bill would lose votes in the younger generation.
In his article, Ron Paul wrote that any candidate who supported Sheldon Adelson’s RAWA “is bound to come up lemons“.
It is Paul’s contention that the many members of the younger generation are disenchanted with President Obama, so the Republican Party could win over many more youthful voters if they offered evenhanded, well-considered policies. He claimed millennials are alienated by the GOP hypocrisy, when they claim to back individual liberty, but then try to use the government’s power to ban activities like gambling.
Ron Paul’s Opposition to RAWA
Ron Paul has been critical of Restore America’s Wire Act since it was first proposed to the US Congress in 2014. RAWA is a manifestation of Sheldon Adelson’s desire to overturn a 2011 US Justice Department opinion on the UIGEA. If Adelson succeeded, he would ban online gambling in all 50 states. Early on, the Las Vegas casino mogul said would spend “whatever it takes” to ban online gambling.
Three U.S. states–Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware–have since passed online gaming regulations and have legal iGaming in their states. Since then, iniatives to legalize Internet gambling has been proposed in California, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Louisiana, and Washington. J.P. Morgan has estimated that the online gambling industry will include 15 states by the year 2020, at which times the financial institution believes the niche will be worth $2.7 billion a year.
Cites Talks with Millennials
The former Texas representative, who was the inspiration for the Tea Party, wrote that his talks with millennials had convinced him he is right on this issue. Paul wrote that he finds the millennials “alienated by the hypocrisy shown by too many conservatives who claim to favor individual liberty, yet support legislation like the iGaming ban because they disapprove of gambling.”
In particular, Ron Paul named two particular presidential candidates–Sen. Lindsay Graham and Sen. Marco Rubio–for their bold support of Restore America’s Wire Act. He said they are guilty of “supporting legislation that combines an unconstitutional assault on individual liberty with cronyism.”
The article by Paul also alluded to Sheldon Adelson, without mentioning him by name, when it said RAWA is the invention of “one billionaire casino mogul“.
Sheldon Adelson and Youth Gamblers
Ironically, Sheldon Adelson also invokes the younger generation when he discusses RAWA. Adelson claims he is trying to protect youth gamblers from online gambling. Citing his grandchildren’s seeming adeptness with smartphones and tablet computers, Adelson claims online gaming sites cannot tell the difference between an underage gambler and a legal one. He ascribes to teenagers the skills of a hacker in circumventing their parents’ passwords and identity verification software, while assuming their naivete in spending large sums of money at an online casino.
Ron Paul does not seem to buy the argument. In a November 2014 article, Ron Paul suggested Adelson wanted to squelch competition for his land-based casinos by obtaining a 50-state ban on Internet gaming. It is hard to take Sheldon Adelson at face value, because no one in history has made more money from gamblers’ misfortune than Sheldon Adelson himself.
Hawkish Foreign Policy
Online gambling is not the only issue the former Texas congressman and Sheldon Adelson hold diametric opinions about. Ron Paul received big applause in 2008 and 2012 when he suggested the United States should seriously limit its foreign policy commitments. He believes the US should closed most of the military bases it has in the 100 or so countries it projects power into worldwide, which is anathem to Sheldon Adelson.
Rep. Paul said that Adelson uses his money to “promote a hawkish foreign policy“. The Las Vegas Sands Corp. chairman is known for his support of Israel, whom he says should launch air strikes against Iran. Adelson owns several media outlets in Israel and is friends with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In 2014, a cyber-attack on the Las Vegas Sands player database is alleged (by the FBI) to have been the handiwork of Iranian agents, who were retaliating against Adelson for his public condemnations of them.
Criticism for Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham
The former US representative went one further, though. He suggested in his U.S. News & World Report article that Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio support Adelson’s policies in order to get political donations from him. The LVS chairman spent nearly $100 million on GOP causes in the 2012 election cycle. Many believe he’ll spend more in 2016. Ron Paul wrote that Senators Graham and Rubio are “some of the biggest hawks in Congress“, and suggested their support for militant policies were their way of kowtowing to Sheldon Adelson’s whims.
One should not see such speculation as personal attacks. Ron Paul is taking a principled stand against the power of the central government, which has been his modus operandi throughout his long career. He said RAWA would be “a new excuse to spy on all of our online activities“.
The Tea Party founder also said that a conservative state intruding in its citizens’ private lives is “just as unconstitutional, and as dangerous to liberty, as a liberal one.“
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