Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Truth Hurts

Las Vegas NV mayor Oscar Goodman is still stinging from President Obama having singled out that town as an example of what not to do if money is tight, so much so that the mayor has refused an invitation to meet with the president while he’s in town. The president simply said, and I say this as a non-supporter of Mr. Obama, that we must all set our own priorities according to our own means and needs: don’t spend a weekend in Vegas if you’re saving for your kids’ college. What’s wrong with that?

What is wrong with that is that Vegas depends heavily, if not entirely, on tourism and gambling, and apparently Mr. Obama has referenced Las Vegas and perhaps Reno more than once in speaking about priorities. For you and me, it is important that we save our money. For Goodman, it is important that we come to Vegas and spend our money - and then leave with empty pockets.

Come on, America. There is plenty with which to take issue against President Obama but when he’s right, he’s right. Give him a little credit. Maybe he’s not a gambler. Maybe he and his wife are as successful as they are because they do not take unnecessary or foolish risks. Maybe they recognize that with limited resources, there are limited choices. Maybe Mr. Obama’s point would not have been lost had he simply said something like, ‘there are less expensive vacations and get-aways than gambling junkets’. Then again, the president would then likely have over-torqued the screws of more than one city mayor since gambling has become so pervasive in this country.

So what? Those who do not have money to burn are indeed fools if they take their limited resources and lay them on a craps table (surely there is a relevant reason why it is called “craps”) or buy lottery tickets. They have that freedom, that right to do what they please with what they have, however much or little they do have, but maybe sometimes we all need to be kicked in the teeth when we become so overwhelmed with our own brand of stupid that we cannot see how ridiculous we can sometimes be when we forget that with “rights” come “responsibility”.

I’m not crazy about the choices Mr. Obama has made as president and I’ve lost all confidence in this administration (not like there was much to lose although I try always to be at least hopeful) and this Congress. This does not mean that the president cannot sometimes say something worth listening to: if you do not have it to blow, don’t blow it!

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