Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is having a real go at President Obama over remarks he made in a speech yesterday, saying he’ll “give him the boot back to Washington and to visit his failures back there.” The subject of Goodman’s ire is that, for the second time, the President mentioned Las Vegas as a place not to blow your money if you can’t afford it.
The President has a seemingly unlikely defender in the person of Ed Morrissey, one of the most influential conservative bloggers in existence. Are the President’s pleas for bipartisanship breaking through?
Well, I said “seemingly unlikely” for a reason. Although Ed is a true unblue conservative, he’s also one of the most reasonable bloggers on either side. Whether by design or not, this level-headedness lends added weight to his stronger criticisms.
In this case, he offers a simple, clear defense of the President’s remarks:
I find myself in the odd position of defending Obama on this score. His speech contained very clear conditionals (emphases mine):
When times are tough, you — 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 on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.
Well … yeah. Maybe Obama would have been better advised to keep it generic by saying “in the casinos” rather than “on Vegas”, but otherwise, this is only remarkable for its banality. You’d hear the same kind of advice from your parents, and probably would have rolled your eyes at its obvious nature.
Ed is so reasonable, however, that he doesn’t tell Mayor Goodman to get a tissue and grow up, instead correctly recognizing the wisdom of Goodman’s response.
Just as obviously, Las Vegas doesn’t need any more negative connotations on its gambling business in this tough economy. In that sense, it’s difficult to blame Goodman for overreacting after last year’s Obama scolding, which really was ill-informed.
I have to disagree with Ed about last year’s remarks. The President said that recipients of taxpayer bailouts shouldn’t take trips to Vegas or the Super bowl on the taxpayer’s dime. Goodman’s best point then was “The assumption that all meetings, event and incentive travel are wasteful is wrong.”
Wait, no, that was a horrible point. I’ve been to Vegas. On business. Trust me, the Holiday Inn in Schenectady is cheaper and more productivity-encouraging. If Ed won’t say it, I will: Grow up, Mayor Goodman.
Finally, Ed even scolds Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for piling on. He also tells Mediaite:
Mayor Goodman had a legitimate beef about President Obama’s remarks last year, but there wasn’t anything offensive in Obama’s observation this week that people saving for a college education would be ill-advised to blow money at a casino. Harry Reid’s insinuation that Obama would prefer the money get spent somewhere outside of the US shows that Reid didn’t bother to listen to the context of Obamas’ remarks, and engaged in his usual demagoguery instead.
Here’s the clip of Goodman’s remarks:
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