[ Wednesday, May 07, 2003 ]

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to not bet the children’s milk money

Does Las Vegas have a slot machine that repeats the phrase “hypocritehypocritehypocritehypocrite” instead of ringing?

Probably not.

Atlantic City probably does not have one either.

Maybe it is something slot machine designers should consider. They can call it the Bill Bennett Milk Money Jackpot. It could feature a cartoon picture of him, clutching one of his holier-than-thou conservative lifestyle books in one hand and a fistful of coins in the other.

First of all, PhugIt completely supports Bennett’s passion for gambling. Vices are good things as long as they don’t takeover a person’s life. Bet all you want, Bill Bennett. Get drunk and rent hookers if you want to do that also. Smoke a couple joints while you’re at it. But if all you want to do is gamble, then plug those machines until the crack of dawn. Lose another $8 million over the next 10 years. Go for it. Go for it all.

But he should also do another thing ... stop telling the rest of us how to live our lives. The conservative activist sort of lost whatever moral high ground he thought he had after his recent admission of being a frequent gambler. Bennett is more than welcomed to indulge in his completely legal vice. He also has the right to speak his mind about what improvements he thinks need to be made in American society.

More power to him also if he wants to give his books titles like The Book of Virtues that basically sound like he thinks they should be in the Bible with "The Book of John" and others.

However, whenever he self-righteously points the finger at everybody else for indulging in his or her particular vices, but then conveniently leaves his own off the list, he is a hypocrite. At least with people like President Clinton there was not a lot of hypocrisy. Clinton was a liar, a cheat, and an adulterer. But people knew that. He didn’t attempt to claim the moral high ground and then have his actions not represent his words. Clinton’s intentions could not have been more obvious if he wore a shirt that said “Lookin’ for Pussy” and then his phone number.

In contrast, Bennett spoke one way, but lived another way.

He defended his actions by saying he never bet with the children’s milk money. By that logic, a rich person can do whatever he wants - in terms of vices - as long as he doesn’t lose all his money.

This is not to suggest moral people cannot gamble. Millions of God-fearing, respectable, good people bet each year from the lottery to church-sponsored poker games at festivals to casino trips. Some people think gambling is a lot of fun. There is nothing wrong with that. The problem is with people like Bennett, who write books about telling other people how to live, while going overboard with their own vice.
Dave Sutor [1:33 AM]