What President Obama meant when he spoke of Las Vegas
With all the huffing and puffing that’s followed the president’s remark about blowing cash in Las Vegas, nobody has stepped back to examine the context. President Obama’s meaning and motive have both been misconstrued.
Obama was offering the family budget as a metaphor for the federal budget. He was talking to a gathering of “regular folks,” to the extent that any town hall where the president appears consists of regular folks. To highlight his new agenda starring the middle class, Obama tried to draw upon the lexicon, the experience, and the aspirations of the middle class. At least as they’re perceived in Washington, D.C.
The president said, “You don’t go buyin’ a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage.”
This was purposeful. He didn’t say “You shouldn’t buy a yacht if your stock options are down by 60 percent.” Nor did he say, “Don’t buy a kayak if the lease on your Prius has a large balloon payment.” He said boat.
Next, the president said, “You don’t blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.” Obama seemed to be suggesting that if you aspire to buy a boat instead of a yacht or a kayak, then Las Vegas must be your idea of a vacation splurge, not Martha’s Vineyard, or Sedona, or Aspen.
In Washington, they don’t know that Las Vegas is brimming with sophisticated discos, and restaurants with single-syllable names where the plates are square, not round, and the desserts are decorated with cross-hatched butterscotch-amaretto sauce, and burnt orange peel curlicues.
Moreover, in Washington, where there is no middle class, “middle class” is ill-defined. Nobody in Washington has a great deal of day-to-day interface with the middle class. That’s all. The president (and/or his speechwriters) didn’t mean to offend. If Obama is willing to forgive Harry Reid for letting slip with some ill-considered, pre-civil rights era remarks about race, Nevada should forgive Obama for letting slip with some outdated ideas about Las Vegas and the middle class.Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized