Obama Opposed Expanded Gaming in Illinois

This doesn't surprise me. It's another example of not knowing where Barack Obama really stands on various issues.

The 60,000 member Nevada Culinary Workers' Union has endorsed Barack Obama. Obama says he supports gaming in Nevada. But,

As an Illinois state senator, Obama reportedly questioned the use of gaming as a tool for economic development in his state. In 1999, he voted against a bill that expanded gaming there, while in 2003 he voted for a bill supported by the gaming industry that loosened regulations.

As of now, the feds have outlawed internet gaming. They also control Indian casinos. While some will say Obama's thoughts on gaming are irrelevant since besides these two facets, gambling laws are left to the states, I'm not so sure. There will be continued efforts federally to allow internet gaming.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, in a CNN interview in November(video here), said the candidates' positions on internet gaming could be an issue:[More...]

BLITZER: Do you -- have you queried them, whether it's Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or John Edwards, on their specific positions on gambling?

GOODMAN: Basically the only one that I did that with was with Ms. Clinton, Senator Clinton. She was out here. It was a social event. And she seems to be very pro-business, understanding that our primary industry here is tourism, and a great part of that is gaming. So she has no problem with that.

Now, the question as to whether or not they're going to support Internet on an international basis of gaming, I don't think anybody has declared themselves one way or the other on that.

Obama says he supports gaming in Nevada because it's well regulated, but opposes it in Illinois. It seems to me he has a tendency to carve out exceptions to justify his inconsistent positions. Like his statements about how he will not hire lobbyists when one is on his campaign. His justification is he's a state lobbyist, not a federal lobbyist.

On the death penalty, he's opposed to it for the innocent (who isn't) but supports it for heinous crimes, a class that includes murder of the elderly and disabled. Then, to his credit, he votes against a bill that would make more gang crimes subject to the death penalty. (See, Chicago Tribune, May 2, 2007, available on Lexis.com).

On mandatory minimums, he went from advocating abolishing them to promising a review of them. He has been inconsistent on what he would do to equalize the crack-powder cocaine penalties. On medical marijuana, he would end federal raids in states that allow it, but only promises a "study" of whether medical marijuana should be allowed federally.

I really don't think we should have to do hours of research to know where our candidates stand. And that's what happens with Obama, far more frequently than with Hillary or John Edwards.

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    Disappointed (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by GV on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 01:32:53 PM EST
    If you nit picked Hillary's record on this level, you'd come to the same conclusion.  Indeed, any politician, if you pick at them at this level, they are  going to appear to be inconsistent.  Being a good legislator means brokering compromise and understanding that once you get past the "big ideas," you must see nuance, because it's there.  

    I've read this blog for years; I've probably been here since this its incipiency.  I used to really like coming here, but your posting on the presidential election has brought out an ugly side of you that I hadn't read before.  Indeed, I hadn't ever left a comment on this blog until one of this site's recent posts on Hillary and Obama.  

    With respect to this post, of the 100 most important issues facing this country, whether to expand gaming has got to be at the bottom of a list.  Who cares about this issue?  

    And I'll take Obama's stand on criminal law issues over Hillary's any day.  Hillary is a supporter of the death penalty and hasn't taken any sort of leadership role in reducing its use, as Obama did in the Illinois senate.  Hillary also supported the AEDPA, which, as you know, has been horrible for state defendants.  Obama said he would oppose making the crack amendments retroactive, whereas Hillary has said she would not support that.  Finally, I asked you earlier about Hillary's decision to bash Obama for his opposition to Mandatory Minimums.  You're only response was that it wasn't Hillary, but a campaign aide, as if that distinction really mattered.  (Hillary, of course, has never back away from the comments, which were widely reported.)

    Obama is not my ideal candidate.  But to pretend that Obama's positions on criminal issues is worse than Hillary's is simply patently false.  

    correction (none / 0) (#3)
    by GV on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 01:35:06 PM EST
    Obama would support making the crack amendment retroactive.  Hillary has said she opposed making it retroactive.  

    I also wrote "you're" in the fourth paragraph, when I mean your.  shrugs


    Gaming matters (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 02:31:13 PM EST
    to Nevada and the industry there. That's the point. I didn't compare him to Clinton on this because the article said none of them have taken a position on it.

    I am the last person who would defend Bill Clinton's presidency on crime issues. I have bashed it for the past 13 years, since I started writing about it.

    Nor am I praising Hillary or Edwards on crime issues. I'm pointing out Obama's inconsistencies and that it is a misperception that he is any better on these issues than Hillary or Edwards.  Hillary was not in a state legislature, but she was an early endorser of the original Innocence Protection Act, the good one, not just  the faux one that ended up passing Congress. She did not bash Obama over his mandatory minimum position, and she has urged reforms on them as well. As to retroactivity, she did say she had problems with it in principle, and I criticized her for that. But it wasn't a vote and and it wasn't a firm statement of opposition and I believe that once she was fully informed about it, which she wasn't at the time she was asked, she might be persuaded to take a different view.

    And, like Obama, Hillary has stressed the need for rehabilitation and increased rehabilitation efforts to successfully re-integrate offenders. She and Bill support restoring the right to vote to ex-offenders. Eventually I will get around to writing about Hillary's full record on crime. But, I can tell you now it doesn't have the flip-flopping that Obama's does which is what makes it so difficult to trust him.  

    For me, it's  a "devil you know is better than the devil you don't" on crime issues. And on other issues, such as her support of children's and women's rights and health care, she's got a very strong and clear record.


    By this definition (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 02:12:24 PM EST
    of consistent, every law maker who has ever lived is in trouble.  Being more "consistent" then he is now would make him an ideologue.  

    Two points (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 03:44:51 PM EST
    One, nearly all politicians are inconsistent, especially over time, but also at the same time. This doesn't excuse it, of course, but it does somewhat mitigate it as a differentiator when they've all done it. The war vote, which I'd argue was vastly more important than gaming, was one obvious example that neither Clinton nor Edwards has satisfavtorily explained (and which they can't, since neither of them read the NIE, which is inexcusible, and which they'd rather not be made an issue of at this point for obvious reasons).

    And two, most leading Democrats are still, unfortunately, not confident enough to run and govern on the politics of conviction. There's still this fear that it will alienate too many voters and lead to political defeat, and that only the GOP can pull this off (by lying through its teeth, of course, but then they generally appeal to a constituency that isn't exactly known for its intellectual sophistication). And since Dems are generally not able or willing to lie as egregiously as the GOP (yes, I realize that they lie, but not even close to the level that the GOP has been lying at since Nixon), they're left with focus group-based politics (which is also a form of lying, but not as egregious a form, I'd argue).

    Sooner or later Dems will have to realize that you either have strong convictions and run on them (smartly and toughly, but sincerely nonetheless), or else you're useless, if not worse. It's not only the only way to get good things done, but the only way to get and stay in power long enough to actually do so. FDR should be the template for all future Democratic party policies AND politics. (And LBJ, the last of the great New Dealers--purely on domestic policy of course.)

    Edwards' rhetoric comes closest to this, I think, but his late progressive transformation, track record as senator, and to me what comes across as too pandering (to progressives) rhetoric, makes me question his conviction or at least ability to pull it off (plus he won't be president, so it's moot). Hillary has certainly done some great things in advancing a progressive agenda, but she's also (and especially Bill) have done much to obstruct and even reverse it. And with Obama being the least tested on the national scene, he's still a bit of a cipher, although I am encouraged by his state senate record and speeches against the war back when he was one of the few pols to do so publically.

    IOW, they're all big question marks, due to their inconsistency and/or lack of clarity on their stances on the big issues.

    Good For Obama (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by BDB on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 10:03:04 PM EST
    I'm a Clinton person, but I think states trying to improve their economies by legalizing gambling are, in fact, generally raising money off the backs of working and middle class citizens.  Nevada is a tourist destination, so it brings in all kinds of people, not just those who live there.  But other states are mostly fishing from their own citizens and I remain unconvinced that gambling is good for the economies of all of their citizens as opposed to good for the large casino operators and state legislators getting donations.  

    But what do I know, I also hate lotteries.

    I'm getting more confident that Obama (none / 0) (#1)
    by MarkL on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 01:28:12 PM EST
    is going down the tubes.
    He's finally getting serious scrutiny, and coming up short.
    I thought Hillary had a great moment in the last debate when she called him out on his inconsistency on important issues. Obama didn't even deign to answer.  Not good for Obama.

    tendency to carve out exceptions.... (none / 0) (#6)
    by jerry on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 03:35:44 PM EST
    Well, this does seem to be what law school teaches lawyers best.

    Just when reasonable people would agree that we had found the hemi-demi principle on which we could base the law, the next thing I read is a fancy explanation of how that principle can be split into several hemi-demi-semi elements.

    And yes, that's where the devils lie.

    Shouldn't (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 04:18:04 PM EST
    Nevada residents be happy he was against expanding gaming in Illinois?  Last time i checked a big reason people travel to Nevada is that you can gamble there, and more then likely, these same people can't in their homes state.

    Seems like it benefits them when gaming isn't widely allowed in every state.

    Obama says he supports gaming in Nevada because it's well regulated, but opposes it in Illinois. It seems to me he has a tendency to carve out exceptions to justify his inconsistent positions

    Really I think we should make a list of politician that are against gabling where they live but support it in Nevada. Sheesh the list of those who oppose it where the live but have gambled in Las Vegas would be huge.

    Calling this inconsistent is a HUUUUGE LEAP.

    In CA, Nevada gaming industry is (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 04:34:25 PM EST
    funding ballot propositions to void new Indian gaming agreements already approved by the tribes and state government.  Those supporting the propositions include fire chiefs, police chiefs, etc.  Startling.  No mention of the addictive nature of gambling, just what a benefit to the state general fund, how good the new environmental controls are, provision for roads, etc.

    Well by the standards of this post (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jgarza on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 05:12:01 PM EST
    if those Police chiefs and Fire Chiefs have ever, gambled in Nevada, or if they don't also oppose it their, they are hypocrites, and inconsistent.

    Thank you for this post (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 04:56:47 PM EST
    Was very needed.

    If I worked in the gambling industry (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 06:14:35 PM EST
    in NV, and my union had endorsed Barack Obama,  I would welcome the chance, prior to casting my primary vote, to ask him if he had ever voted against the gambling industry anywhere.  

    I wouldn't. Other states banning gambling is (none / 0) (#14)
    by Geekesque on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 06:35:42 PM EST
    GOOD for Nevada.  If gambling were legal everywhere else, what reason would there be for Las Vegas?

    Absent Barack Obama's comments about (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 06:39:10 PM EST
    the possible adverse effect of gambling on people who can't afford to gamble, I would agree with you.

    Well, that gambling is bad for poor people is (none / 0) (#18)
    by Geekesque on Sun Jan 13, 2008 at 12:35:11 AM EST
    pretty much accepted fact.

    Actually the Feds did not outlaw (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 12, 2008 at 07:42:54 PM EST
    Internet gambling. They outlawed certain wire transfers of funds between US banks and off shore Internet gambling sites.