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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Republcans Are Casinos' Biggest Supporters

The latest Siena College poll - released a few days ago as I continue to lag unacceptably behind in posting - shows that New Yorkers still support expanded casino gaming, though not by all that much, especially compared to support for other of Governor Cuomo's initiatives.

The poll found that the governor’s plans to create a commission for teacher evaluation and improvement holds the broadest support – about 82 percentage points.

Similarly, Cuomo’s call for an overhaul of campaign-finance laws is favored by a margin of 74 percent to 20 percent.

Private investment in return for the rebuilding of infrastructure also polls well, with 73 percent support the notion.

Expanding casino gambling in New York is more lukewarm, but still has a majority of support, by with 53 percent to 42 percent backing a constitutional amendment. [Capital Tonight]
Not overwhelming, but at least it fared better than the ridiculous convention center at Aqueduct, which the poll respondents correctly read through. (Or did they? The governor is probably correct in his contention that respondents presumed that the government was going to pay for it.)

The New York Gaming Association responded with a statement reaffirming that "once again that a majority of New Yorkers support of enhanced casino gaming."
The New York Gaming Association continues to advocate on behalf of the state’s nine racetrack casinos for enhanced gaming in a socially responsible and economically sensible manner.
And there's that now familiar "socially responsible" theme that we'll be hearing ad nauseum from this group. And everytime I hear it, I'll call it out for the BS that it is. If slots offered from 8AM until 4AM seven days a week is somehow 'socially responsible,' that what exactly constitutes irresponsibility? Casino games offered online? Well, that's another matter for another time.

What I found really surprising about the poll results, at least initially, was the breakdown by political party affiliation. Democrats narrowly favored expanded gaming by 49% to 46%. However, Republicans support the idea by a margin of 58-36! Huh? How can that be? The party of family values, marriage between a man and a woman (or women?), and in general imposing their ideas of morality upon all of us, in favor of casino gambling, and overwhelmingly?

However, after thinking about it a bit more, it all makes perfect sense. For one thing, it's an easy answer for a party that looks to cut budget deficits while slashing taxes for high income earners. Whatsmore, the notion of big corporations enriching their wealthy owners and shareholders via an activity as similar to a highly regressive tax as unfettered gambling is surely quite appealing to the GOP. Y'know, we see those scenes in casino ads of affluent-looking types whooping it up all the time, but the reality that I've seen in my limited time spent walking through them (on the way to gamble at the track) is quite different. Sure looks like strictly a working class activity to me. I dunno, maybe the rich folks come out on Saturday nights.

Speaking of rich folks, boy, was I wrong a few weeks ago when I virtually counted Mitt Romney out. Sure, he's in trouble in South Carolina, badgered by negative ads and by the fallout of his own unwise words and actions (or inaction, as in the refusal to release his taxes. Man, I can't wait to see what's in there if he ever gets around to it). But the lunatic fringe vote is split between Newt and Rick Santorum, and his organization and money bodes extremely well for primaries and caucuses ahead. In any case, we'll sure be seeing a lot of this clip in which he casually dismisses with a laugh his income from speaking engagements - said to be some $374,327.62 - as "not very much." Watch:

As I've said before, the Occupy movements have brought the issue of income inequality squarely into the forefront, and this guy, with his millions and his 15% tax rate and his "you wanna bet $10,000" and his dismissive attitude towards a sum of money that would make most all of us extremely happy, is just out of step. What's more, he's shown on more than one occasion that he can't take the heat. The other GOP candidates may be nuts, but this guy is a clown who is sure to make big mistakes once he gets on the big stage with an incumbent who may have a flawed record, but who is unlikely to beat himself.

Yeah yeah, I'll write about some horse racing soon.


Jim O said...

[[Sigh]] Ok, Alan, I'll explain.

There are social conservatives (SC) and economic conservatives (EC). Both tend to register Republican, since the Democrat Party is hostile to both. But here in New York, few GOP'ers are of the SC variety. We ECs say, "leave us alone, government; if we want to do something, whether it's betting or something else, none of your business."

SCs (e.g. Santorum, and the Mormon Romney) actually tend to be economic liberals (as their records while in office indicate). But they hate the economic activity called gambling for moral reasons.

I say something like this about once a year or so. You have a fabulous blog - absolutely a must-read for NY horse players. But your condescension towards conservatives/ NY Republicans is both irritating and poorly -informed.

Anonymous said...

Lunatic fringe vote.Didn't you vote for Obama in 2008?

Can you say Solyndra?

When you see $5 gallon gas this summer things won't look so good for your man.

Can you say Keystone pipeline?

steve in nc said...

Jim, having lived in NY, I know the political distinction you are making is relevant up north. But now I live less than an hour from the South Carolina border.

And after a dozen or so years in the South, I feel pretty comfortable saying that the distinction between ECs and SCs is much less important because most conservatives here are both.

If you want to get on the Republican line on the ballot here, you have to oppose taxes and gay marriage. Loudly. Repeatedly. Vehemently.

But I mostly do like your post because you sound like an old old school kind of Republican, the kind who knew how to disagree respectfully.

The kind who respected the outcome of elections and so didn't hold hostage every piece of legislation and minor Presidential appointment when in the minority. Who didn't exclusively appeal to fear and hate. Who wasn't anti-intellectual.

Which brings me to a critical question: Do those who practice climate change denial (I hope you're not among them) fall into the SC or EC camp, or, as it seems to me, both?

I ask because, just as it is hard for me not to feel condescending toward people who, despite carbon dating evidence, still believe the Earth is only thousands of years old (many SCs here), it is also hard not to feel condescending toward all those Republican SC and EC non-scientists who reject the overwhelming consensus about global warming that does exist among scientists.

I can understand and respect libertarians like you who hate taxes and want to reduce the role of government, even if I do disagree with you.

But to me the GOP has become a flat earth society. How can you stomach affiliating with a party where opposing equality for gay people and denying climate change are prerequisites for the nomination?

Brock Sheridan said...

Here in Texas, the Republicans have been the greatest roadblock for racing since before pari-mutuel was legalized in the late 1980s. Perry has been a "no expansion of gambling of any kind" since he became governor when W. left to become president.

Anonymous said...

Canada Pledges to Sell Oil to Asia After Obama Rejects Keystone Pipeline

Dan said...

I really love watching the Republican debates & they must have forgot that Bush was in office for 8 years- They act like the last president before Obama was Clinton. The Solyndra loan process was started under the Bush admin but okay the company lost the taxpayer 500 million.

How about Bush's Iraq war over 10 years? 1 TRILLION dollars.

Get over your scare tactics about $5 gas. Trump was saying the same stuff last summer. The US exported more oil last year than we imported- this is a FACT look it up.

jk said...

NY politics is very simple. Pols are controlled by the public employee unions. Therefore Cuomo will tax the rich (millionaires tax) and tax the poor (slots) to pay for public employee salary increases and early retirement pensions. On deck is hydrofracking.

Anonymous said...

Canada Pledges to Sell Oil to Asia After Obama Rejects Keystone Pipeline

You put the above headline with $5 gas and Obama has big trouble.

Gas was about $1.80 when Obama took office.

Dan said...

Hey oil lover- You forgot that in January 2009 gas was lower because the US economy was on the verge of a great depression & losing over 700,000 jobs per month. Gas in the summer of 2008( a few months earlier) was $4.40 per gallon.

You like numbers so much. What was the Dow Jones on 1/20/09? It was about 7900. Its now 12,685.

SaratogaSpa said...

Mitt has problems when is asked about his tax returns and can't give a straight answer.

But honestly does anyone think any of the candidates or the current sitting President Obama are poor, or even middle class? They are all rich, including Obama who made millions off of his 2 books. Good for him, he deserves it. Do we really want to elect a adult man or woman over 40 who has not figured out how to make money?

Figless said...

It doesnt matter what NY'ers think about legalized gambling.

In NY the biggest opponent to legalized gambling has been Shledon Silver, and his democratic buds in Albany simply because they were legally bribed by the AC Casinos.

They may claim to be on board now but do not underestimate their ability to stall this process should enough contributions find their way into their coffers. All you need to do is look at the 10 year wait for VLTs to see how much damage these crooks can do.

Managing to get a Constitutional Amendment passed is only the first, and least important step in the process. Once passed, it will be a free for all at the feeding trough, and we wont actually see a casino for a long, long time.

Dan said...

Does anyone remember why MGM walked away from the Aqueduct VLT deal? I know they have plans & the environmental reviews but they walked away. I forgot the details here.

Anonymous said...

Good question. Why did MGM walk, ultimately in early-mid 2007? Maybe a VLT only parlor did nothing for them? The NYRA federal indictment and subsequent deferred prosecution agreement with the feds may have been too negative to overcome? Maybe just busy getting into new markets around the globe? Who knows.

Teresa said...

MGM got sick of NY politics and delays.

Robert: lots of people over 40 know how to make money. But in a political system in which the only viable candidates are super-wealthy, most of whom have absolutely no idea what it's like to not be able to pay the rent or who live in fear of a car breakdown or a minor illness because there's just no extra money for the unexpected, you can't expect people to feel like their interests are being represented.

And given that the entire dialogue around fiscal policy in this country--from both Democrats and Republicans--revolves around how to keep more money in the pockets of the wealthy, you can't blame them.

Anonymous said...

Alan talks about rich republicans while his man of the people Obama raises 1 billion for his campaign from super rich wall street types and super rich Hollywood. Alan is a hypocrite. Steve believes in the made up "Global Warming" data. Hey Steve - the data has been debunked. Global Warming was a money making scheme started by the Al Gore Mob.