Opinion: Mayor Goodman defends misunderstood Vegas against bully Obama

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In case some haven’t noticed, Las Vegas has a global reputation as a place where millions run off to do things out of the sight of anyone who knows them. But just look at the place. What, besides neon breasts and $10 beers, would suggest anyone other than each individual patron was paying the tab?

Las Vegas’ image is an exaggeration fueled by media stereotypes, self-serving politicians and multimillion-dollar ad campaigns. Seriously, why would any Cedar Rapids Rotary Club member care if his familiar pickup truck was spotted there outside the Re-Nude Kit-Kat Club? So why go to Vegas?


Thus, it was perfectly puzzling earlier this week when that wild ‘n’ crazy guy Barack Obama started going off on bailed-out bankers overly-bonusing themselves and said:

‘You can’t get corporate jets, you can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime.’

The president of these United States objecting to people cheating on expense accounts or balance sheets to taxpayers’ detriment? Where does he get off demanding accountability in modern America at a time when everyone needs to rip off as much as possible from anything in sight? Like Obama’s never filched a White House towel!

Thank goodness, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman (shown above conferring with aides) was on duty to blow the whistle on this Illinois guy who talks so unreasonably reasonable only after getting union votes from Clark County hotel workers.

‘That’s outrageous,’ Goodman said. ‘And he owes us an apology. He owes us a retraction.’

Thanks to his high approval ratings, Obama may have been over-confident, thinking he could handle Iran’s tough-talkers. But he forgot about the backyard.

‘What’s a better place, as I say,’ Goodman said, ‘than for them to come here?’ As ubiquitous Nevada writer/TV host Jon Ralston often observes, Goodman is normally the shy, reclusive type.

But unless cable channels come up with a plane crash or missing cheerleader pretty quickly this morning, you may notice the mayor in coming hours all over TV, which can only take so much black-and-white Abe Lincoln stuff in one day.

Look, Goodman controlled himself. He didn’t whisper, Tony Rezko. He didn’t point out that Obama’s White House Super Bowl party was taxpayer-financed. Clearly, Goodman is merely a man defending his city’s honor against false charges and urban myths. He’s no small-city politician manufacturing a fight to get priceless millions in free publicity perhaps for his future campaign donors.

Thank goodness Nevada has Democratic Sen. Harry Reid. Yes, sure, he’s from Searchlight, which is small potatoes. But the veteran Reid handled the Rod Blagojevich-Roland Burris empty Obama Senate seat business so smoothly and adroitly last month that he’ll probably step in as mediator and deliver Obama for a quick Las Vegas visit this spring sometime.

Reid has his own reelection campaign next year. And Republicans would love to knock him off as they did in ’04 to the last Democratic Majority Leader, Tom Daschle. But that’s got nothing to do with anything.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credits: NBA / Getty Images (Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman confers with unidentified aides); (A Las Vegas neon sign).