Vegas Shocked Obama Called It "Frivolous." Really?

BlogHer Original Post

"When times are tough, you tighten your belts," Obama said Tuesday in a town hall meeting in Nashua, N.H. You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage," Obama said. "You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices." -- LA Times

"He didn't learn his lesson the first time, but when he hurt our economy by his ill conceived rhetoric, we didn't think it would happen again, but now that it has I want to assure you, when he comes I'll do everything I can to give him the boot back to Washington and to visit his failures back there." --Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman via KTNV

Wow, there's lots out there saying Obama needs to lay off Vegas. But could we get a little common sense here? People, we're talking about Vegas. Sin City, the land of casinos and strippers and "I'm sorry, you can not drink that beer on this bus young man." We're talking one armed bandits and show tix at 100 bucks a pop. We're talking shopping mall after shopping mall, Versace and Dolce and Gabana and excess and expense and insanity. This is the stuff that makes Vegas what it is. A frivolous disregard for practicality. A monorail that doesn't serve the strip. Stretch limos and strippers and rolling billboards for "special" services. Does anyone who's not in the tourism driven economy of Vegas REALLY think blowing cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college is a good idea? Really?

The President keeps using Sin City as an example of dumb spending. Which is upsetting the people of Vegas, who need your dumb spending, irresponsibility and drunken plans that start with the word "dude," in order to survive. -- Gawker

I'm well aware of the importance of tourist dollars on the economy and I'm well aware that Vegas is one of the places that's tremendously dependent on those tourist dollars. Add them to the list with Hawaii -- also defensive about their native son's supposedly anti-Hawaii remarks in the past.

Senator Harry Reid was feeling the sting of Obama’s remarks when he issued this response this afternoon: “I just spoke to the White House and told them that while the President is correct that people saving for college need to be fiscally responsible, the President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money,” Reid said.--Las Vegas Weekly

Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) – Issued statement saying “Enough is enough! President Obama needs to stop picking on Las Vegas and he needs to let Americans decide for themselves how and where to spend their hard-earned vacation dollars.”-- PhocusWright Connect

My politics are pretty transparent here, and while it might be fun to compare Obama's call for frugality with the GOPs recent retreat in Hawaii, I'm going to step away from that and ask: What's Vegas for? Is Vegas is a gamblers paradise in the desert, a retreat from responsibility. It's glittery neon and high-rise hotels and a remarkable devotion to facade. It's lost weekends and lost wallets and hey, what else can you lose in Vegas? It's a temple to everything that is the opposite of responsible planning. And hey, if you decide to blow your vacation dollars there, it's absolutely your choice because it's your money. The President's words aren't going to stop you. The President's words aren't going to change Vegas' image overnight, either. They've worked for nearly 100 years to be the land of the quickie marriage and divorce, of the exciting win and crushing loss, that glowing spot on the horizon where Disneyland meets Gomorrah. Is Vegas really mad because the President implied that she's frivolous? Really? Vegas, have you seen yourself lately?

Just for a little perspective, Neo NeoCon interprets the whole thing differently and has, I have to admit, some valid points.

But the more important point is that the economy of Las Vegas and Nevada depend to a large extent on tourism, and to discourage that activity it is to economically depress the state further. And anything that depresses one state depresses the country as a whole. Obama’s remarks could also be construed as discouraging vacationing and tourism in general.--Pajamas Media

Pam blogs about travel and other adventures at Nerd's Eye View. She's not crazy about Vegas, but has an open mind.

Nerd's Eye View


In order to comment on, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.