Welcome to Nevada, Mr. President!
More specifically, welcome to Henderson, Southern Nevada’s nicest suburb. I know you’re here to prep for your Wednesday debate with Mitt Romney, but I hope you get a chance to enjoy some of our city’s amenities.
For example, I hear you like pizza. Take it from me, Metro Pizza is the best in all of Southern Nevada.
Henderson has great libraries – the Paseo Verde branch off Green Valley Parkway has great views and plenty of research material to help you get ready for the debate. (Oh, and if you could endorse Henderson’s Question 1, a small property tax bump to keep those libraries open, I’d certainly appreciate it!)
If you want to take a break, try the Havana Cigar Bar in Lake Las Vegas, right where you’re staying. (I know the owners; feel free to drop my name.)
But if you could do us a favor and stop using Las Vegas as a rhetorical symbol for frivolously blown cash, it would be great. You and I both know you never told companies not to hold conventions here – you were saying don’t use taxpayer funds or college savings money you can’t afford to lose when you come to party. (By the way, you may want to put that in a memo to the General Services Administration.) But there are a lot of people who have accused you of disrespecting our little town because of those remarks.
Look, at the very least, encouraging responsible spending makes people think that plopping their money down on the green felt is somehow wasteful, and we’d prefer they don’t think about that. After all, our casinos are probably more heavily regulated – and unquestionably more fair – than Wall Street. Hey, that’s not a bad line. Feel free to steal it for Wednesday.
Now, I know you’re going to hit the highlights in the debate, how you got the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act passed, how you prevented the automobile industry (and the auto-parts industry) from going bankrupt, how you wound down our misadventure in Iraq, how you sent the SEALs to kill Osama bin Laden, how you allowed gay people to serve openly and honestly in the military and how you passed a stimulus plan that likely staved off a worse financial crisis.
Don’t think I’m ungrateful, because that’s quite a first-term list. But here’s some advice: Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes, too. (In fact, doing so may be an advantage over an opponent who’s so bent on never apologizing, he wrote a book about it.)
Some examples: We could really have used a public option in that health care reform. Here in Nevada, we could have used some of that bold leadership early on when it came to fixing the housing crisis, and not just for people who can keep up with their payments. (It’s the people who can’t who need help the most, after all.)
And we still desperately need jobs, especially in the construction industry, where our record-high unemployment rate is even higher.
We’re very nonjudgmental here when it comes to religion, but it might be best to emphasize the idea that nobody has the right to instigate violence because they feel offended by something somebody said about their faith, rather than denouncing whatever gave offense in the first place.
Oh, and while Dodd-Frank wasn’t a bad start, reinstituting the Glass-Stegall Act – the way it was interpreted back in 1933 – would be a great campaign-trail promise.
Anyway, that’s it. Enjoy Henderson, try to have some fun and good luck in Denver.
Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist and author of the blog SlashPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or reach him at (702) 387-5276 or email@example.com.