The real American Idol took place in Las Vegas last weekend where the judge, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, listened to the contestants sing their hearts out. It all took place in Adelson’s airplane hangar and if that doesn’t sound elegant, well, you just haven’t been. Adelson will probably get to pick the Republican candidate for US President next time around. In the last election, he sprinkled nearly $100 million on candidates who claimed to be spending averse, Israel friendly, and otherwise willing to do his bidding. But he doubled down too early on moon colonizer Newt Gingrich in 2012, and Newt–despite surprising staying power–finally crashed to earth. This time Adelson’s vetting a little better, because as any casino owner will tell you, gambling is stupid.
Just like in that other Idol, the people get to vote too, but it’s the judges who move the needle. Governors Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin all sang, er, spoke. Julie Bykowicz at Bloomberg reports that Tim Phillips was there, too: Phillips runs the conservative Americans for Prosperity org funded by the Koch brothers. (The Koch brothers are also judges on the show.) Christie, already scarred upon arrival by the George Washington Bridge scandal (a bridge named after a man who couldn’t lie, at that), seemed at home in the bridge-less desert, until he mentioned Israel’s beautiful “occupied” territories, which he once flew over. “Occupied” is not a term we use around here, Mr. Christie, he was duly informed. Time for some traffic problems at the podium? No, Bush and the other governors were able to articulate their visions for a bright American future in the airplane hangar without any interference from the NJ governor. Sheldon Adelson thought about letting the audience phone in their opinions at one point, but then he sees the kinds of decisions they make at the blackjack tables.