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May 2, 2003 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Bill Bennett apparently has plenty of extra time (and cash) on hand in light of his success preaching morality and virtue. "I've gambled all my life and it's never been a moral issue with me. I liked church bingo when I was growing up ..."
posted by specialk420 (25 comments total)

 
Wow. Nice blind spot he's got there. Thanks for the link.

I like gambling just fine myself, but then I like many of the degenerate damnation-courting vices Billy-boy decries. Wonder if he takes the "free" drinks?
posted by hackly_fracture at 11:29 AM on May 2, 2003


I'm no big fan of Bill Bennett's preaching, but I'm not convinced that this is as big an issue as the author is trying to make it out to be.

The author quotes Bennett as saying, "I play fairly high stakes. I adhere to the law. I don't play the 'milk money.' I don't put my family at risk, and I don't owe anyone anything."

And "I view it as drinking. If you can't handle it, don't do it."

I think Bennett's distinction between gambling as entertainment and gambling addiction is valid, and I don't find the author's evidence that Bennett is a gambling addict very convincing. As the author himself points out, Bennett makes lots of money, so he can afford to gamble more and larger sums than most of the rest of us.
posted by tippiedog at 11:48 AM on May 2, 2003


Teehee, specialk - thanks for that. It looks like more than one person in Vegas doesn't like Bennett. I can't stand the man either. Sanctimonious, superficial professional preacher.

"NO CONTACT AT RES OR BIZ!!!"

That was a great line, though. I suggest it go on his tombstone. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:58 AM on May 2, 2003


"He prefers the high-limit room, where he's less likely to be seen and where he can play the $500-a-pull slots. He usually plays very late at night or early in the morning--usually between midnight and 6 a.m."

But - I thought that's when he was writing his books about virtue!

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. We all have our demons, but few of us make a living being shrill about other people's demons, as Bennett has.

His position that he can handle it notwithstanding, many who have read Bennett's books would undoubtedly classify this sort of thing as a moral failure - as Bennett himself has classified so many similar behaviors.

Just goes to show you, I suppose - people who live in glass houses ought to clean their own damned windows on occasion.
posted by kgasmart at 12:04 PM on May 2, 2003


tippiedog: I think the difference here is that Bennett, with his years of moralizing on sinful activity, has drawn a strange line in the sand regarding his own vice. If someone uses drugs in their home in moderation (not using 'the milk money', etc.) or if someone prefers to sleep with someone of the same sex without harming his or her family, how is this a morally wrong when gambling-as-victimless-crime isn't?
posted by gwint at 12:13 PM on May 2, 2003


...how is this a morally wrong when gambling-as-victimless-crime isn't?

Moral clarity helps us to understand a situation in a way so that we don't act solely in accord with self-interest or power politics but in a way that advances human flourishing.

Here's some clarity: Anyone who spends enough time to lose $8 million at video poker isn't just a loser, he is morally bankrupt.
posted by sixpack at 12:38 PM on May 2, 2003


gwint. my thoughts exactly

... the endless contradictions in the in the positions taken by those on the right (like bennett) - or rumsfeld shrieking about treatment of prisoners of war - while children are being held indefinitely at guantanmo and hundreds or thousands died after they had surrendered in afganistan under his watch - lay bare the rotten fabric that these guardians of all things good and american are truly made of.
posted by specialk420 at 12:38 PM on May 2, 2003


slots are for sissies
posted by matteo at 12:58 PM on May 2, 2003


gwint wrote: I think the difference here is that Bennett, with his years of moralizing on sinful activity, has drawn a strange line in the sand regarding his own vice. If someone uses drugs in their home in moderation (not using 'the milk money', etc.) or if someone prefers to sleep with someone of the same sex without harming his or her family, how is this a morally wrong when gambling-as-victimless-crime isn't?

I agree; good example. I'm just disappointed in the article, really. It doesn't do a very convincing job on any of the possible criticisms of Bennett: neither that he's an addict, that it's just contradictory to his morality on other subjects, etc.
posted by tippiedog at 12:58 PM on May 2, 2003


I'm no fan of Bennett's, but this article contained no real information to "condemn" him for anything. He's rich enough to afford loses of some US$8M over the course of a couple of years, he takes a break from all his pontificating to hang out in Vegas or AC and play slots to avoid talking about politics, he accepts the perks the gaming hotels toss at him - wow, what an evil, evil guy...
posted by JollyWanker at 1:07 PM on May 2, 2003


wow, what an evil, evil guy...

please link to specific comments made by users here where he's been attacked as being "evil".

nobody said that. he's not evil, he's just weak and a hypocrite.

I'm perfectly ready to accept human weakness as a fact of life, and I have tolerance for what people do in their own free time and with their own money. Problem is, Bennett's far from tolerant and actually made a fortune preaching morality and judging other people's behavior. He's the one who's doing the judging, using apparently a pathetic double standard. people are weak, and their weakness should not be condemned and judged like he usually does.

he's lucky that his weakness has nothing to do with the sex apparently, his constituency is probably more capable to forgive 8 millions burned at the slots than a few fellationes with consenting women of legal age (unless he had some action with Vegas girls, but there's no evidence for that)

I agree that the "scandal" is a very, very minor one. but you know what? I'm far more tolerant than Bennett and his affectionate readers

(sidenote: he REALLY thinks he's breaking even? he's an addict, then. hope his family gets him the help he needs before he blows his savings)
posted by matteo at 1:33 PM on May 2, 2003


I think he's Catholic. I mean, church bingo and all. It's not like he was a Southern Baptist.

That having been said, that money could have been put to much better uses. Nobless Oblige and all that jazz.
posted by konolia at 1:34 PM on May 2, 2003


jolly - how different is bennett from jimmy swaggert? preaching morality, defining it to perfectly fit their needs (for profit or otherwise) then heading out the side door for a night on the town. the author appears to be calling into question this mans self appointed roll as the "moral authority" (check that url :) whats with the $120 ?) of the US.
posted by specialk420 at 2:05 PM on May 2, 2003




"I view it as drinking," Bennett says. "If you can't handle it, don't do it."

Will, Billy, if you can't handle your coke or your speed, then just say no, right? It's a good thing Bill has such moral clarity that he can decide for the rest of us which drugs are immoral.
posted by pitchblende at 3:40 PM on May 2, 2003


$8m is a lot of money for Bill Bennet. He may be a very rich man, but that's not pocket change for him, it's a double-digit percentage of his net wealth, or at least I'd wager that's the case. :)
posted by cell divide at 3:48 PM on May 2, 2003


It's a good thing Bill has such moral clarity that he can decide for the rest of us which drugs are immoral.

Indeed, or which sins.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:59 PM on May 2, 2003


At least now we know why the sancimonious prick hasn't run for elected office.
posted by goethean at 4:54 PM on May 2, 2003


Clinton basher and fund-raiser for GOP pleads guilty in case of child pornography.

Hmmm. Wonder why I don't take preachy Republican hypocrites seriously?

As part of his restitution to the community, his attorney said Delgaudio would contribute $5,000 to "young mothers who are in distress and in need."

Just helping them get their start, I suppose.
posted by mark13 at 4:56 PM on May 2, 2003


One day, on O'Reilly;

Bill Bennett: Moral weakness is a personal flaw that translates into social damage.

Random opponent: Did you really piss away $8 million on video poker?

Never fscking happen.

And that's a problem.
posted by dglynn at 10:25 PM on May 2, 2003


You know what? Just because someone in a particular political party does something reprehensible doesn't mean that the whole party is morally bankrupt-even if you hate the political views of said party. That is just as stupid and offensive as saying "all blacks are (fill in the blank)" or "all metafiltrians are idiots" or "all Southerners are bigots."

Don't make me send out the Logic Police.
posted by konolia at 5:19 AM on May 3, 2003


Moral myopia is a funny thing. Roger Ebert, in a recent movie review, wisely noted

When a man tells a woman he loves that he has cheated but "it didn't mean anything," this translates to the woman as, "It is meaningless to me that I cheated on you." Coles [the movie's ... well, not protagonist, but main character nonetheless] doesn't quite grasp this.

Bennett's time and money are his own, but there's not much distinction to be found between "gambling's wrong...if it's with the milk money and hurts my family" and "adultery's wrong...if my wife gets suspicious." At the very least, I hope he's made to feel uncomfortable in a public venue or two so he'll (hopefully) stop and think about his rationalization. Not that I'm famous IRL, but I believe public figures should be more careful than average about setting public examples.
posted by alumshubby at 10:51 AM on May 3, 2003


I fail to see this guy's gambling as a problem. As long as you have your gambling listed in your budget as an entertainment expense, then go and have fun!
posted by mosch at 2:32 PM on May 3, 2003


I fail to see this guy's gambling as a problem.

exactly... i (as a person who likes to have a beer or two) dont have any problem with the next guy having a joint after he comes home from work ... or sleeping with whom he or she chooses of whatever sex ... do i have the moral authority to lecture him, preach about, and make vast amounts of money off of, the morality of his/her activities?
posted by specialk420 at 2:49 PM on May 3, 2003


Just because someone in a particular political party does something reprehensible doesn't mean that the whole party is morally bankrupt

Oh, come on, konolia. First, we're not saying Bennett's party is morally bankrupt; we're saying Bennett's a hypocrite of the highest order. Now, it just so happens that his hypocrisy falls into a pattern of great right-leaning judges of morality in others, where so many of these judges wind up to be immoral by their own rigid standards (no matter what kind of ridiculous dance they do to exempt themselves from their own judgement). mark13 specified Republicans, and I would second that specific condemnation (I mean, do we really need to drag up all the case histories?) but the main point of the thread is simply the inevitable hypocrisy of those who rise to power and try to impose their version of "Virtue" as law.
posted by soyjoy at 8:41 PM on May 4, 2003


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