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Editorial: Obama Smokes More Vegas Crack

By JohnH on Wednesday, 3rd February 2010 2:42pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 13


Unless you've been living under a rock, ignoring Trippie winner Steve Friess' twitter feed, or just don't care enough to click on those Yahoo article links, you've probably heard that President Obama went off teleprompter and inadvertently insulted Vegas this week.

Fallout from the event has ranged from Harry Reid and his Congressional colleagues condemning the statement and the president for making it--actions that got Reid an apology on that neat and pretty White House stationary--to everyone's favorite former mob lawyer mayor and functioning alcoholic saying the president has a "psychological hang up" about the city.

The question we have to ask ourselves, though, is whether or not the President's comment had any truth to it.

And while the kids play cardboard pirates, Mommy and Daddy drop the house payments and Junior's college money on the poker slots."

That, my friends, was not President Barack Obama's remark. Rather, that was one of Sam "Ace" Rothstein's lines from the final scenes of Casino. The character saw truth in it and I'm sure that Frank Rosenthal would have concurred. We should all concur.

Forget that the president used this as an example as to how people and the government should be tightening their respective belts. The thing is, people do this shit when they come to Vegas. That's what makes the place so much fun. You never really know if that guy sitting next to you is Charles Barkley or if he's some schlub who's trying to double his house payment.

This is what the entire "What Happens Here, Stays Here" campaign was about and it's what the city will continue to be about. It just adds an extra dimension of both excitement and sadness to the place. It's what makes Las Vegas, for all of its beauty marks and warts, an amazingly interesting place to go.

Is it a sad commentary on our society? Perhaps. Is it the truth, though? Do people do it and are they going to continue to do it? Of course.

Now, let's examine why we're seeing the fallout from a statement that does make a point and that does contain an iota of truth to it.

We all know why Harry Reid would condemn such a comment. The man's facing dismal approval ratings in an increasingly important election year and has to latch on to whatever will increase his popularity in the state. Demonizing the comment makes him more popular with his constituents and helps to distance him from the president and what some people consider his controversial and unpopular agenda.

The same can be said of Shelley Berkeley. As a member of the House, she's up for reelection this year and probably has the same justifications for attacking the remark as Reid does.

But what about Oscar Goodman? As the mayor of the city, it's easy to see why he'd get so riled up over it, but come on, you stick enough gin in his mayoral coffee mug and he'll get riled up over green lizard people sitting in a hotel lobby anything.

Finally, I'm not saying we shouldn't be outraged by the remark. I felt offended by it and I think it's rather unfair that the President has more than once treated Vegas more like an AIG executive than one of American's favorite tourist destinations. However, there was truth to the statement and, let's be honest, a lot of the outrange over it has been manufactured by people who are more interested in their electoral prospects than the image of the city.



Comments & Discussion:

As I suggested over at The Strip's blog, Reid and Shelley also receive funds from the Strip conglomos here, which probably colours their judgment just a little bit.

Heck, the Wynnster was glowing about how Reid was going to save us all from quasisocialism practiced in all other modern nations when he was going out in a Tea Party state of mind.

I hate Obama. But then again I hate the government as a whole more than anything else. I'm not ranting on that.

Let's shut down the casino operations so we can get some more of corporate America out of debt. Let's just shut everything down that's fun, and bail out all these fat fucks that put us here to begin with. Last time I checked the casinos didn't give mortgage loans to anyone that wanted one. (You know how hard it is to get a casino marker?)

"Hi, Yes, my credit score is 500. But I would like this $250,000 house. I know I'm $10,000 in debt already and only bring home $2,000 a month, but I can afford it."
Bank: "OK! Here you go!!"

Then the banks..."OMG, what happened? We collapsed? These people said they could pay us back!"
OBAMA: "No, they can't, but I can. Here's $700 Billion. I know there are other things I should spend this money on, but you can have it. NEXT!!"

Rockchick: The TARP money, though unpopular, is being paid back. For one thing, banks that are holding onto the money are faced with restrictions and regulations on things like executive pay, so they want to give back the money as soon as they're able to. The government will (or has) in the long run actually walk away with more money than they actually gave.

Not even all the banks really needed the money, but some did, and Fed Chief Bernanke found out with the example of Bear Sterns that the government simply cannot loan money to one bank or it still just collapses because everyone thinks "this place can't survive with the government propping it up" and runs away. So they basically forced money on all banks, including those that didn't need them, so nobody could tell who was in danger of failing.

The PBS Frontline episode "Inside the Meltdown" talks about all this in detail, and is watchable online, but that's more or less the basic gist of it.

Also, the TARP money was distributed under the Bush Administration. Under Obama, people were outraged about the executive bonuses so he started putting strings attached until the money was returned.

I know there's a lot more to that than what I posted. I know some of the banks have to pay that money back, I was just being a smart ass. I really just don't like the government or anything they do. I've never asked for help from them and will never get to a point in my life where I'm so low that I have to depend on the government for income and food to live on.

Putting aside Obama telling the U.S. citizens how they should spend their money:

Singling out Las Vegas was uncalled for. You can blow your money in any vacation spot. Charter fishing on the gulf coast, a nice hotel suite, meal and show in New York, you name it. Saying "spending college savings on a vacation" or similar would have been fine. He singled out Las Vegas on conjunction with blowing money.

I'm with the mayor: Obama has something stuck up his ass when it comes to Las Vegas.

Also, you give Reid far too much credit. He's been the most silent of everybody. Goodman and Berkley got in front of cameras and went on a rant. Reid could have come out in front of the cameras and said "While I'm committed to working closely with The President on health care reform, job creation, green energy, et. al., his continued remarks about Las Vegas are uncalled for. We have 13% employment... (and fill in the rest with Shelley's rant at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvhrZnYE6Gc ).

Reid can't even get Nevada its share of stimulus money or foreclosure help. Forget about a train to Victorville... we don't even have Amtrak service. We don't even have a four-lane highway all the way between here and Phoenix. And now Reid wimps out with a mild retort to very damaging comments (and I say that based on the canceled/moved conventions that Obama's previous remarks caused).

I'm with Goodman. He spoke for me.

Hey - just wanted to chime in to say that this was NOT an off-TelePrompTer moment. It was actually in Obama's text and was distributed via email to reporters after the fact. So, again, while I disagree with MikeCH and I think it's actually an unfair and potentially harmful dig, I'm more fascinated by the fact that it wasn't Obama freelancing, it was Obama's staffers evidently completely clueless about the firestorm that would erupt and the political realities of that for Reid and others. We can debate whether Obama was technically right or not, but it's just politically idiotic for him to have said this at all given the history and the importance of Nevada and Reid to his administration.

People need to get real, he obviosly said it not as a specific jab at Las Vegas, but simply used the city and brand of "Vegas" as an easily understood reference for free spending. For God sake, this is a town that has marketed itself as a decadent, adults only, money blowing destination for the last several years! You think any political figure is going to "endorse" Vegas? If anything people should be happy the taboo marketing of Vegas has been successful enough for the president to use it as an example. And who is taking vacation advice from random quotes in Obama speeches anyway?

What Obama needs is a nice run at a craps table.

As for Oscar Goodman, I think you may have had his description mixed up with Gary Busey.

I wonder what sort of response he would've of gotten if he had used Disney World as an example instead. I think Vegas is just easier to pick on because of its vices.

I'm amazingly surprised that no one has connected it to Rush Limbaugh's week-long stay here (which also turned into a Fox News interview series here with him).

Limbaugh comes out and gets a pretty significant amount of attention (above whatever pro Vegas sentiments that may have gone out on his show... I'm not up early enough to spot-check his show for what he is saying).

This could have easily been a slap at Limbaugh that Obama's staff figured would otherwise to under-the-radar. A slap at one of Obama's biggest critics who was here getting prime media attention... just to look at hot women.

Not saying I believe that is the case. But I am very surprised this angle has not been mentioned... anywhere.

@MikeE It's because Disney World is majorly frequented by foreigners. They outnumber the American tourists there so no one cares (and Disney sucks balls)
The Vegas thing though....didn't CityCenter just create a bazillion jobs? Wasn't that building all LEED Certified? Isn't that one of the things Obama is for? The creation of jobs and saving of energy?

I read the comment not as a dig on Vegas, or gambling at all, but as a veiled insult to the stupid fucks that go out and gamble the money they don't have after buying houses and cars they can't afford.

Vegas doesn't make any of these retards (no offense to the retarded out there) take trips to throw their money away. They do it of their own free will. Maybe Obama's comment was an attempt at trying to get these idiots to realize how fucked their priorities are since he can't outwardly call people fucking morons.

I love Vegas, and while I like to go there 3-4 times a year, I would much rather pay rent, buy food, and keep the house warm so my kids don't have to wear coats inside. I'm not going to put $5,000 on my credit card just so I can take a trip and end up not being able to clothe my kids for school next year.

Srunt, great post.

RockChick, you HATE Obama? What has he ever done to you? And you "will never get to a point in my life where I'm so low that I have to depend on the government for income and food to live on"? Really?? What a bold statement. And do you really think that the thousands that need assistance wanted otherwise?

johnH, "extra dimension of both excitement and sadness"-totally nailed how I feel about Vegas. Perfect.

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