All the media is reporting, as if it were of great importance, that, as USA Today put it, “President Obama is in trouble – again – with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman” and many others. What did the President dare utter? “You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. It’s time your government did the same.”
Apparently, it is a sin to criticize Sin City.
Putting aside the disingenuousness of the President in making such a remark – since he has not made any tough choices yet regarding the budget (and probably will not anytime soon) – I think he is getting a bum rap.
Las Vegas has a reputation for high-stakes risk-taking. The businesses in Las Vegas like that reputation; they profit hugely from it. The reputation also reflects reality.
Las Vegas cannot benefit from such a reputation while also complaining about its natural disadvantages. One of the many disadvantages is that public figures, and many private ones, will sometimes use Vegas as an example of (hold onto your hat!) high-stakes risk-taking.
I also like to have my cake and eat it, too, but I try not to advertise it.
Oh, but presidential criticism will hurt Las Vegas’s economy, which is already suffering. Perhaps. Frankly, I doubt it. The president only reinforced what Las Vegas advertises in its own commercials. But let’s assume the remark will cause Las Vegas to lose money. Is money all there is? Should we not criticize certain ways of making money, simply because those ways are legal? Is it unfair for conservatives (and others) to condemn prostitution? What about state lotteries? The economy is bad; that doesn’t mean we abandon all principle.
Conservatives – and everyone else, for that matter – should be on Pres. Obama’s side. In fact, we should be so much on his side that we feel obliged to point out that he is not living up to his own standard. With his outrageous spending and vast, ill-considered proposed programs, he is, in fact, acting like a heavy-betting, dice-rolling, fast-living Vegas gambler.
In any case, I can’t feel sorry for Las Vegas. The city has had tremendous success promoting itself as the place for big gambling and big indulgence. If, every now and then, someone points out the obvious, using Vegas as an example of what the city itself claims it is, it is laughable to complain.
And who knew all the wise guys in Vegas had such thin skin?