Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Obamaslam Day Deux

The colorful U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-The Strip, took to the House floor today to continue the pummeling of The One, who wrote a twisted and sure-to-be-inadequate response to the uproar over his comment about Vegas yesterday. She had gotten her licks in in my AOL News piece on the topic, too, but one line of argument in her House screed was a little strange. Watch:

See, I'm not sure that this argument -- "wholesome family entertainment" -- is going to win the day, are you?

The drama has had some odd results. I totally loved Review-Journal political scribe Spillman's opening paragraph and found the Las Vegas Sun's J. Patrick Coolican was perhaps the MSM's most sober observer. Yet in offering a piece already asking whether the President was actually wrong in suggesting people shouldn't blow money in Vegas if they're saving for college, it seemed Coolican was missing the point. This wasn't about the wisdom of Obama's notions, it was about Obama's now-repeated abuse of Vegas as an example of profligate activity and the stunning lack of political savvy that it took to step in this particular morass again. The latter suggests startling malpractice on the part of Obama's crew.

The last time this came up, the context was different -- he was referring to Vegas because there had been a specific controversy about a bailed-out bank taking an extravagant junket here -- but this time, he could've said just about anything and chose Vegas. Why, for instance, didn't he say, "You don't buy tickets to the Super Bowl if you're saving for college" or "You don't go to Disney World if you're saving for college" or "You don't go flying your wife to New York for dinner and a show if you're saving for college." The ESPN, Disney or Broadway fandoms would've, absolutely, been up in arms? And none of them are suffering as Vegas is.

The drama also resulted in some strange bedfellows, specifically Jon Ralston actually agreeing with Mayor Goodman. Alas, Ralston had to let his snark out somewhere, so he Tweeted a slam against the Review-Journal's website for linking prominently to Sherm Frederick's blog post regarding the Obama-Vegas flap. The great irony of that dig was that on that very morning, Ralston's own newspaper, the Las Vegas Sun, sprawled a bright, huge banner atop its front page where the biggest news of the day belongs that heralded the newspaper's gratitude to Sen. Harry Reid for killing the Yucca Mountain dump.

Sure, there are differences and here they are: The LVRJ.Com crew are incompetent and idiotic and that's well-established but that decision was no doubt made by some flunky somewhere on the fly. And even if Sherm himself called ol' Al to get that treatment, it just fits a longstanding pattern of vanity that is not surprising. Maybe he was hoping to stutter on Fox again. Who knows.

The Sun's print edition, on the other hand, is a planned effort by Pulitzer winners that comes together over the course of a full day and involves meetings and debates. If I was going to choose one to crucify for journalistic malpractice, it would have to be the team that decided that the Sun's obvious effort to provide a nice campaign-ad visual for an embattled Harry Reid was the most important thing happening that day.


mike_ch said...

This is going to have to be one of those Tough Love posts.

First of all, "The One"? (a popular conservative phrase) Seriously? Burned Hillary Supporter, much?

Berkley doesn't have the uphill battles to fight for election that Reid is facing. So why, then, is she putting herself out there on this one? The answers, it turns out, are right here.

MGM Mirage: $30,350
Wynn Resorts: $22,600
Harrah's Entertainment: $19,100

She's saying all this so her donors get their money's worth.

Finally, I don't think "the ESPN, Disney or Broadway fandoms" would be upset if Obama used one of them. The politicians of Florida or New York might use it for the same grandstanding we're seeing here, but fans don't care. Only politicians and media looking for a story seem to particularly care.

Furthermore, we have gone through great effort to establish this city as some kind of ridiculous concept, playing on how ludicrous the nature of business is here compared to the rest of the nation. The LVCVA has spent plenty of tax dollars running national campaigns portraying Vegas as some kind of incredible money splurge, and product placement in films like Ocean's and The Hangover have helped push that Indulge Your Fantasies angle that they like to market.

Side effect? We're looked at by the rest of the nation as an easy target for wasting money and living beyond our means. So, let's not pretend that our farts don't stink, eh?

And finally, Orlando IS suffering just like we are, their numbers are higher than ours last year but that's somewhat inflated that they were Giving The Store Away much sooner than our businesses were.

In fact, the entire state of Florida is looking a lot like a tropical version of our own dysfunctions.

But hey, if Nevada politicians want to keep giving unsolicited advice to the President about what he should say, maybe he should give them some unsolicited advice on avoiding corruption.

atdnext said...


Thank you. It's sad to see all this hot air over nothing. And really, this "scandal" is over nothing!

Usually, I LOVE Shelley Berkley and her straight talk. (heh.) But today, this was so over the top that I wondered if she was reading from a script meant for Oscar Goodman.

IMHO, Desert Beacon hit the nail on the head on this. We can't have it both ways. We can't market Las Vegas as "Sin City", then whine and complain when people outside Nevada make negative connotations with Nevada (like overspending, debt, and overall financial mismanagement).

While I do think President Obama could have used a better analogy (especially considering the Reid and Titus races here), his overall point about setting priorities and saving money stand. And maybe if Nevada were to follow this sound advice and find more stable funding sources in addition to gaming, we wouldn't be such the hot mess we've become now.

Michael said...

Have to agree with mike_ch here. When LV wants to work to diversify some of it's economy, maybe being associated as with excess won't sting quite so much.

Anonymous said...

"The ESPN, Disney or Broadway fandoms would've, absolutely, been up in arms?"

Actually, Disney owns ESPN and has Broadway shows. Thus, this example shows how anti-business the Obama Administration is. People in the travel and entertainment business have real jobs. Let's not ruin the industry on account of Obama's ambitions because if he gets his way, more will be unemployed.

And Hawaii is unhappy with Obama's trashing of Vegas. They feel its the same thing.

BTW, The One was used by Obama's own fans.

"Winfrey tells Iowa crowd: Barack Obama is 'the one'"