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When the story broke that Bennett had lost up to $8 million playing slot machines and video poker in Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos, another prominent conservative website quickly began concentrating on damage control. They ran multiple prominently featured articles for a number of days, focusing on blaming the messenger and accusing the mainstream media of once again using a double standard when they report unflattering revelations about the private lives of conservatives. It’s a tactic usually associated with the left: When confronted with facts you don’t like, change the subject and go on the attack.
Sure the left has been unfair to Bennett, but so what? The media spin by the left and the right will ultimately have little effect on Bennett’s reputation and future prospects. The reason for this is that the facts of the matter are very simple. Anyone with a minimal capacity for making value judgments can easily decide what they think about Bill Bennett losing $8 million playing slots and video poker.
What annoys me most about Bennett’s gambling habits is the massive waste involved. He could have spent the money on any number of good causes, such as giving it to me. Or, as other preferable alternatives, he could have used it to buy a yacht or built for himself a Barbra Streisand-type compound with three different houses for him to live in. But instead he gives it away to that most undeserving class of people, Vegas and Atlantic City casino owners.
There is a type of compulsive gambler who gets a lot excitement from ostentatiously losing large sums of money in casinos. It demonstrates to those witnessing the act that the gamber is a big-time operator who has made his pile, and losing five, six or seven-digit sums on a few bets or pulls of the lever is a matter of small consequence. I suspect that the lure which brought Bennett back again and again was the VIP treatment from the casino operators which his spendthrift gambling earned for him.
My personal experience with playing slot machines is limited to using up $30 worth of freeby casino tokens I got from motels. I soon concluded that playing slots is the most boring alleged entertainment I have indulged in. It makes bingo seem like high drama. And to make it worse, playing slots entails hanging around crowds of the kind of people who play slot machines. Conversation, anyone?p>What we now know about Bill Bennett that we didn’t know before is that $8 million spent on being treated like a big shot buys him more satisfaction than $8 million spent for a yacht. br> — John Combellick br> Oshkosh, WI /p>
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