Nevada voted Obama in 2008. Obama has been attacking the Nevada economy ever since. Tied to Obama’s declining poll numbers in Nevada, Harry Reid faces annihilation in the November election.
A year ago in a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Ind., the President scolded corporate spending during the recession. "You can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take that trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime," he said.
This was our first clue that this President has no idea how the economy really works.
Encouraging corporate spending on capital goods ("jets", etc) creates jobs. American workers make those jets. Conventions in Las Vegas stimulate corporations within industry groups who sponsor those conventions. Mr. President, did you ever walk down the aisles of the Vegas Convention Center with miles of booths of competing products and marvel at the awesome ingenuity and production of the American worker? Ever wonder how much harder someone works to be rewarded with a company seat at the Super Bowl?
Yet here was the President of the United States threatening private business that tax deductions for those legitimate job creating and productivity inducing activities would be questioned and would not be allowed "on the taxpayers dime."
And business heeded the warning.
Barely one month after Obama’s 2009 attack, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported the cancellation of 340 booked events, costing the Nevada economy an estimated $131.6 million in non-gambling spending. Of the 340 cancelled meetings, trade shows, and conventions, many paid hefty cancellation fees (in one case over $1million). Too many of the 46,000 workers whose jobs depend on this event business (many of them union members) lost those jobs.
Since then, Nevada has struggled — and not recovered. By February 2010, with average daily room rates down 15% or more, hotel occupancy in Vegas still hovered at 75-80%, down from the 90-95% pre Obama, even for hotels that dropped the word "Resort" from their name to ward off IRS scrutiny for business events !
This week, Obama did it again!
In a town hall meeting at Nashua High School in New Hampshire, the President said, "When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you’re trying to save for college."
Aside from the breathtaking irony of this President advising austerity for us in "tough times" while proposing the Federal Government spend $1.27 Trillion more than it has this year, what’s with the continued obsession with Vegas?
Whatever’s causing the President to continue attacking Vegas, the political reality is that Nevadans are attacking back. In May 2009, the President was riding high in Nevada, with favorable/unfavorable ratio of 55/30. This month the ratio is 34% favorable to 46% unfavorable (polling by Mason-Dixon).
As the Majority Leader in the Senate and senior senator from Nevada (and early endorser of the candidate Reid called the "light skinned negro"), Harry Reid’s political fortunes rise and fall with Obama’s. However, Reid’s own strange political views ("coal makes us sick…" when coal fires a lot of lights on the Strip) make him more unpopular than even the President.
In the latest Mason-Dixon "favorable/unfavorable" poll, Reid scores 33% favorable and 52% unfavorable with 15% "neutral." Worse yet, every Republican candidate in the Republican primary for Senate beats Reid.
Sen. Reid had to go out of his way to deny rumors that he would quit the race to avoid defeat — and to avoid dragging down son Rory Reid who is running behind every other candidate of either party in the race for Governor.
So this week, even Harry Reid (quiet after the 2009 Obama Vegas comment) had to criticize his President and defend Vegas, telling reporters that the Obama should "lay off Las Vegas."
Obama responded with a "Dear Harry" letter explaining (but not apologizing) that he was trying to make "the simple point that families use vacation dollars, not tuition money, to have fun."
Of course, "families" having "fun" in Vegas is not the issue. Casual tourism is actually up slightly this month. But conventions, business meetings, and trade shows avoiding Vegas and booking in other cities (or not at all) continue to cost jobs and tank the economy in Vegas.
The President’s continuing jihad against Vegas is inexplicable and the damage he is doing apparent to even the most die-hard Obama/SEIU Vegas worker.
Obama will campaign with Reid in Nevada this month. I hope Obama visits Nevada every month from now to November — the change will put Harry Reid into retirement in Searchlight, Nev.