Sunday, August 24, 2008

McCain's craps addiction

By Libby Spencer

Shades of Bill Bennett. It seems McCain has a gambling habit and he loves to play against the odds. Reminds me of Cheney and his One Percent Doctrine.

Word has it McCain "tends to play for a few thousand dollars at a time and avoids taking markers, or loans, from the casinos, which he has helped regulate in Congress." He has only recently stopped shooting craps and even then, only at the insistence of his handlers.

In the heat of the G.O.P. primary fight last spring, he announced on a visit to the Vegas Strip that he was going to the casino floor. When his aides stopped him, fearing a public relations disaster, McCain suggested that they ask the casino to take a craps table to a private room, a high-roller privilege McCain had indulged in before. His aides, with alarm bells ringing, refused again, according to two accounts of the discussion.

Of course, when you're as wealthy as McCain, I guess losing thousands on a roll of the dice isn't a such a big deal. In sharp contrast, Obama favors low stakes poker.

But he always had his head in the game. The stakes were low enough — $1 ante and $3 top raise — to afford a long shot. Not Obama. He studied the cards as closely as he would an eleventh-hour amendment to a bill. The odds were religion to him. Only rarely did he bluff. "He had a pretty good idea about what his chances were," says Denny Jacobs, a former state senator from East Moline.

Kind of a perfect metaphor for this election. Your choice is between a reckless guy who shoots crap and doesn't give a damn about the potential losses or a careful card player who's willing to take an educated risk, but only when he has a good hand. The safe bet in November couldn't more obvious. [via Tim F.]

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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  • Imagine what a big deal the GOP Smear Machine would be making of an Obama gambling addiction. You can see the ad: "Barack Obama has gambled away tens of thousands of dollars of his own money. Do you trust him not to gamble away your future?" Something like that. It'd be a big deal.

    And you can imagine the ad the LBJ campaign would run: "McCain/Goldwater is a gambler" Cut to stock footage of dice on a craps table, people playing poker, a roulette wheel. "What will he gamble with his finger on the button?" Cut to a finger on a button, a mushroom cloud. Fade to black.

    Obama can't be the one to bring up McCain's gambling habit (addition), of course, but his surrogates need to be out there making sure voters get the message. McCain talks up his experience and character, feeding his own mythology, but he's an enormous risk given not just his policy positions, which put him squarely with Bush and the neocons, but his temperament.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 1:33 PM  

  • Dicey post, Libby. ;-)
    Hubby loved it.
    Do you suppose this truth can be told and believed? Sure hope so.
    Thanks for bringing a smile to my Sunday afternoon.

    By Blogger Carol Gee, at 7:05 PM  

  • I did what I could with it. I posted it everywhere and you're right, that if the situation was reversed, the GOPers would use it in a minute.

    Carol - it was a little heavy on the cliches but who could resist? Glad it brought a smile.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 7:12 PM  

  • I appreciate the metaphor, but as for Vegas odds, the Craps table pays better that the Poker Room everytime.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:45 AM  

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