Today is the day we gamblers, as with a large majority of this great country, are forced to make a very tough decision on our new Commander-in-Chief. Many of us are not really choosing which guy we want to run the country, but which candidate will cost us less, while protecting our freedoms as Americans.
But, as gamblers, who desire the choice to gamble in our own homes, what we really yearn for is a guy who plays . . . for money, with his ‘finger on the button’. Wouldn’t it be great if a gambler was in the White House? What kind of headlines would be made if he told the Speaker that he’ll be a little late for a cabinet meeting because he has Smokin’ Castro in the seventh race at Belmont! Or have him hurry through a State of the Union, to all of our delight, because the Wizzards are playing and he has the ‘Under’.
This would not be the first President that has wagered a few dollars. Sports betting may be a reach; the majority of previous gambling guys in the White House were card players.
Warren Harding (R), 29th, devoted himself to his regular poker games In the White House more than to the nation’s business. He played the game at least twice a week, and played so regularly with his advisors that they were nicknamed “The Poker Cabinet.” Now this sounds like a President that we could have gotten behind. Harding once gambled away a full set of White House china, ahem . . . allegedly, What a President! And a conservative Republican to boot!
In the modern era, Presidents Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt (D), Dwight Eisenhower ® and Lyndon Johnson (D) were all players. Harry S. Truman (D), 33rd, played. But he was the guy that always annoys you with a strange three card poker departure when playing ‘dealer’s choice’. Apparently, Truman liked to introduce unorthodox variations of the game, employing numerous wild cards. Truman was a real gambler though; he would go on weekend poker junkets on the Presidential Yacht! Often all three branches of government were represented at the poker table. The group would board the ship Friday afternoon and sail the Potomac until Sunday afternoon! What a country!
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D), 32nd, has always been a president that history has looked upon as one of the greats. He appealed to the common man, brought us out of the depression and played a mean game of 7-Card Stud. Some of the regulars at his games were the U.S. Attorney General, the Secretary of Commerce, the Speaker of the House, and Vice President. You gotta love a whole ticket that plays . . .
Two reasons that my man FDR is the model for the next candidate that is supported by gaming:
- Justice William Douglas wrote that in 1943, FDR got the name of another Supreme Court appointment at an evening poker game. The President admitted to everyone that he didn’t know who to appoint to the latest vacancy. Someone suggested Wiley Rutledge. Roosevelt declared, “That’s my man.”
- FDR once went directly from a poker game, carrying his chips, to the radio to make a fireside chat to the nation. Throughout his speech he absently clicked his chips, causing many people to fiddle with the radio sets.
And finally there is Tricky Dick. Richard Nixon (R), 37th, learned to master poker in the Navy This was more than just a way to be “one of the guys,” but, as it turned out, a way to fuel his political ambitions. The $8000 that he took home in the 1940’s, which was a ton of money in those days, financed his first Congressional campaign in 1948, a race he won.
What has happened to the Republican party?
These would all have been candidates that every gambler could get behind. But instead the lesser of two evils awaits at the polling booth later today.
Obama has been quoted as saying the Internet is “a Wild West of illegal activity”, and supports a study of Internet gambling. He also is reputed to be a good poker player, and enjoys playing poker for money. McCain is a cohort of one of our biggest enemies . . . ever. Jon Kyl has proposed more legislation and caused more headaches for the gambling industry and heartaches for the players than any other politician. And, he serves with John McCain representing the state of Arizona. One bright note for the Republican candidate; McCain makes no bones about throwing the dice. He plays craps and has often been known to go against the grain of his party.
Still, Obama leads in the polls and from a gambling perspective is the better candidate for supporting the freedom to play online, with you own money, in your own home. The Democrats seem to have bit more of a clue as to the revenue possibilities and the current impossibilities of the UIGEA. But either way, don’t bother winning much, because Obama will want to redistribute your winnings and McCain may never let you collect.
As far as the election . . . what I am really looking for is a pointspread. Let’s say Obama (-8)