Clinton, Obama Proclaim Admiration and Love for Gambling, Casinos
In their struggle for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have collectively uncovered an obvious truth politicians find it all too convenient too ignore: by and large, the vast majority in the U.S. prefer the right to gamble if they so choose.
Once in office, elected officials sometimes decide to vote for what they think they know is best for the electorate, not what the people have expressly said they wish (see politically correct left, evangelical right). Other legislators have favors to return to the special-interest lobbyists that funded their campaigns.
But, when fighting for every vote, the candidates must sometimes acknowledge the will of the people, and so Obama and Clinton find themselves in an argument over who admires casinos, gamblers, and the gaming industry more. In response to perceived slights by the Las Vegas Culinary Worker's Union, a Clinton spokesperson issued statements to show Clinton's approval of the gambling businees of Vegas.
Jan Jones stated on Friday about gaming, "What we have found in every instance, when you create an economic engine that drives job creation, encourages capital investment ... you have an industry that builds community ... and provides livelihood." Jones is the co-chairperson of the National Women's Business Council of the Clinton campaign, and also coincidentally a senior executive at Harrah's Entertainment, the casino giant.
Jones suggested Cklinton was more friendly to gambling than Obama, referring to remarks Obama made while a member of the Illinois Senate. At the time, Obama lauded the Illinois Governor's rejection of casino gambling as a method to cover budget deficits. Obama mentioned the potential social damage in his 200003 comments.
But Obama has also realized that the freedom to choose whether to gamble is important to voters, and he replied to the Clinton charges that he admired the economic model of Nevada gambling, and his comments were not anti-casino, just specific remarks concerning the Illinois riverboats and their lobbying methods.
Throughout the country politicians have been elected by supporting gambling initiatives; from Beshear in Kentucky to Patrick in Massachusetts to the Democratic race, it can clearly be seen that allying oneself with casino interests brings votes. Once this point is conceded, government's real opposition to gambling and its inevitable final form, internet casinos, becomes not a moral stand but a financial one.
Illegal operations like the numbers racket are painted as bad; state-run lotteries are good, never mind the much superior odds of the numbers game. Like the war on drugs, the problem is one of taxation; gambling that can't be taxed must be bad. One can only hope it doesnt take forty years and billions upon billions of dollars, like the war on drugs, for the government to accept what its own citizens want: freedom of choice.
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|Posted by: Tom Larkin||When: 01/23/2008 10:23:25 PM EST|
|What was Barack Obama's position on Casino gambling when he was an Illinois State Senator?|