Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Why should Obama apologize for implying that a Las Vegas vacation is about gambling?

Las Vegas Mayor calls President Obama a "slow learner"

At a "townhall" meeting about the federal budget in Nashua, N.H., on Tuesday. President Obama said this:

"This isn't how responsible families do their budgets. When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. And it's time your government did the same."

Based on the offended outcries from Sen. Harry Reid and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, among other Nevada notables, you'd think he said that you'll catch a horrible disease by going to Las Vegas! The Mayor was especially nasty, saying that Obama "has a real psychological hangup about the entertainment capital of the world," that Obama doesn't understand what Vegas officials are trying to do with their "economy." And he called the President a "slow learner" (see video above). (By the way, isn't "slow learner" the same thing as "retarded"?)

I'm disappointed that the President has already issued an apology of sorts, saying in a letter to Reid that he didn't really mean anything "negative" and that "there is no better place to have fun than Vegas, one of our country's great destinations."

I understand that "the entertainment capital of the world" is having a tougher time than many other cities in the current recession -- but isn't that the price to be paid for building your "economy" on legalized gambling and whoring?

As Obama implied correctly, when times are hard and money is tight, you don't "blow a bunch of cash in Vegas." If you do, you're either a gambling addict or just plain stupid.

Really, what does anyone go to Vegas for? It has no ocean or lakes or beach of any kind. You can't boat or sail or fish or swim (except in casino-hotel pools) in the summer or ski in the winter. It's cultural attractions are, at best, kitsch. Embarrassingly, ccording to the city's own tourism website, you can take in "area" attractions a mere 300 miles away, take the kids to see the Pinball Hall of Fame, or visit such "free attractions" as this botanical splendor at the Bellagio (preferably on your way to the hotel's 116,000-square-foot casino).

Sure, Vegas has a lively night life, with name celebs performing in vast rooms at the big hotels. But take away the gambling, and could anything else in Vegas -- even the legal prostitution -- survive?

Of course not. The place is a gamblers' paradise, and it's no surprise that its gambling business was started by gangsters and built into a big business by more gangsters.

It's all very legal and legitimate, now, of course, but that doesn't make it a good thing. Obama should stick to his guns -- and tell Mayor Goodman to go fish.

What do you think? Post a comment.


  1. I agree totally with you. Some people are just using ANY excuse to ride the "Bash Obama Bus". Mayor Goodman...get over it. Plenty of people will still "blow a bunch of cash in Vegas."

  2. John Burke has no idea what he is taking about. His obtuse comments and lack of knowledge is laughable, but typical. At least ignorance is bliss.

  3. This is the city with "What Happens Here Stays Here" and they are all offended by Obama's remark? Puh-leeeze! No, he should not have apologized. Absolutely not.

  4. Well, even though Oscar Goodman has a point about Las Vegas going down if tourism is taken away from it, I'm pretty sure everyone agrees that gambling isn't something you do when there's a serious nation-wide crisis going on. As for tourism in Vegas, I doubt that foreigners will stop from visiting just because there's recession in the US. There're also a lot of rich professionals going to Vegas for their vacations - from lawyers, to dentists.

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