Bill Bennett repents, reforms

Bill Bennett repents, reforms
: So all you knee-jerk Bill Bennett defenders just got the rug pulled out from under you by your man. Even he admits that he gambled too much.

  • http://www.thelemon.net Shamus

    Yeah, he’s giving it 2 to 1 that he’s totally reformed now.
    I’ll bet he is. :)

  • Richard Aubrey

    I know you love it, but your baggage is showing.
    Bennett hasn’t admitted, nor have any but a few, suggested he was doing anything immoral.
    You’ll have to work harder to rid the world of moral judgments.
    This case has no legs.

  • http://spleenville.com/ Andrea Harris

    Aha Jarvis! You’ve been found out. You and your little scheme to rid the world of moral judgments by making poor Mr. Bennett gamble all his money away!

  • http://tvh.blogspot.com HH

    Except I don’t recall the defense being “he gambles just enough, thank you, and dammit, I hope he keeps doing it.” The defense has tended to be it’s not hypocritical, it doesn’t hurt credibility, etc.

  • Mike G

    Let’s face it. If Bennett had displayed at all a nuanced sense of morality– ie, suggesting that a modest use of pot is less of a problem than a heavier use of legal alcohol– then he’d be getting slack for his heavy use of gambling.
    It’s precisely because his morality was so carved-in-50s-stone Jack Webb that he doesn’t get any slack now. He’s the one who drew the line between everything Ward Cleaver was supposed to do and EVERYTHING– from gambling to whoring to shooting up– that Ward wasn’t. He’s the one who said even giving a little on morality as it was understood in 1957 undermined society. There was no slack in his worldview until it was discovered right next to his personal vice. That’s what he’s getting the media business for– not for gambling, but for trying to hide a gambling exception in the fine print while denying that there were any exceptions.
    Doesn’t matter if you think that’s right or wrong. It’s the immutable law of Jay Leno– when a political figure becomes a Leno punchline, he’s outta here. Bye bye, Bill.

  • Catherine

    Jeff – the defenders are sorry now? Please.
    You know what I thought when I heard this non-news bulletin on my clock radio this morning?
    I thought Bill & Hillary, Terry McCauliffe et al would still be spinning. They would never say I was wrong until we went through weeks of spin and thousands (millions, Jeff?) in legal fees defining what moderation is.
    I don’t think he has to apologize to anyone (other than his family) since this is his privacy being invaded really, and all of you GOTCHA types don’t look that great.

  • Dark Avenger

    Where were you when he was on TV talk shows invading other people’s private lives by commenting on them? What’s sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose. You can stick a fork in this one, because he’s done.

  • Catherine

    I think Eugene says it best
    http://volokh.blogspot.com/2003_05_04_volokh_archive.html#200244999
    I don’t think he invaded private lives. He commented on issues already out there like Clinton’s lies and infidelity (that he would deny to friends/co-workers until he got caught, over and over again). That’s the Clinton Avengers for you…always blame others…it must piss you off that Bennet is owning up to his “problem” and taking responsibility for it.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Face it, folks: Everybody loves it when the church lady gets a dose of her own medicine.

  • Kenton A. Hoover

    Apparently, you can file to have yourself banned from New Jersey casinos. The State Casino Control Commission offers this service. Wonder if Bennett will avail himself?

  • Mike G

    “He commented on issues already out there like Clinton’s lies and infidelity”
    You still have no idea HOW those issues got out there, do you? Ever heard of the Arkansas Project? Richard Mellon Scaife? The Rutherford Institute? Yeah, Clinton’s private life became national news all by itself, with no help from anybody on the other side. Bennett just learned the hard lesson that just because you’re up at the high end of a dirty tricks squad, you’re not safe from being dragged down too.

  • Catherine

    You are missing one point Mike (and Clinton apologists). Anyone who was in Little Rock knew about what womanizer Clinton was. I mean, he felt up my ex-boss at Martha’s Vineyard at a photo-op next to her husband and son (typical dbl standard, she would sue a banker she worked with for doing that, but she would still vote for Bill). It wasn’t a secret. You don’t send troopers to the homes of women whose husbands are out of town when you want to keep a lid on things.
    When he went to the national stage and was asked about it (I think Gennifer Flowers went forward first, woman scorned and all that) HE LIED. He lied to his own staff. He lied directly to the American people. Same thing over and over again. It doesn’t take a vast right-wing conspiracy; all it takes is Bill and his lack of “moderation” and self-control.
    Another example is Gary Hart. Would you ever cheat on your wife? “No.” Then he had to explain the pictures with Donna Rice on the aptly named Monkey Business. Perhaps if he hadn’t lied, he would have been seen as sympathetic (newspapers prying…).
    Bennett is asked about it and he says, “yeah gamble.” He never denied it, just denied it was a problem or that he was “spending the milk money.”
    Big difference. Lying is a big difference to me, not necessarily the sins. Sins of a private nature (gambling, cheating on your spouse) aren’t fair game unless you lie about them publicly in my book. That’s different from doing something wrong on the job.
    I actually, besides all of the print, don’t give a rats butt about Bennett. Just find this amusing.

  • Dark Avenger

    Here’s a good take from http://www.101-280.com: “….Bennett is either self-deluded or duplicitous enough to claim that he’s broken even on slot machines over time, which apparently understates his own losses by several million dollars — but I don’t think there’s any way to play pure games of chance over the long haul without some delusion of that sort. I understand the appeal and the mystery of any given slot pull, but the cold rationalistic truth is that over any extended series (and in Bennett’s case that series is measured in years), no matter how much you win, your losses will converge on a figure that surpasses your wins according to a precise percentage determined by the machine’s programming. To believe that anything else is going on requires that you envision “luck” as a sort of ethereal fluid that ebbs and flows, inhabiting different machines in turn, and (more importantly) that it can be detected in advance by the practiced player.
    Of course, Bennett is not a cold rationalist; he believes in the personal God of traditional Christianity, a deity who takes a direct interest in human affairs. That’s fair enough. What interests me is how he integrated the two cosmologies of theism and magical thinking, which would seem to contradict each other. Or did he subconsciously see them as same thing? Did he believe, for example, that slot-machine wins accrue naturally to the virtuous?
    Update: as this story evolves, I should point out that I don’t think Bennett’s actually done anything morally wrong. I’m a consequentialist, and I don’t believe in “vices” — either something is harmful or it isn’t, and people can do whatever the hell they want with their own money and time. But Bennett is not a consequentialist, which is why a moral contradiction exists here whether or not he personally claimed that gambling was a vice. Tradition-based virtue ethics was his self-assigned beat, and among people who hold to virtue- and vice-based moral systems, the kind of gambling he’s been doing is traditionally viewed as a vice. And it’s not hard to think of reasons why: omit the gambling aspect, and imagine that Bennett’s preferred method of relaxation was piling $100,000 in small bills on the garage floor, soaking the pile with kerosene, and setting it alight. Surely this would still offend standard notions of “virtue”? Wouldn’t this come under the heading of unforgiveable, pointless self-indulgence, the way that collecting dozens of $100,000 cars would? Presumably, his virtue ethics includes some behavioral norms beyond “do no harm”.”

  • Mike G

    Well, while we’re being amused, Catherine, I am always amused at the way people can slice morality so neatly that Bill Clinton, who stayed with his family, is a snake and Bob Dole, who walked out on his, is not; that Bill Clinton, who got a blowjob in the Oval Office, is a cad and Newt Gingrich, who got one in the House parking garage, is not; that Clinton, who probably inhaled, is an example of 60s degeneracy, but Bush and Cheney, both of whom were arrested for driving drunk, are morally fine– and so on and on and on.
    The salient difference for me is that Bill Clinton never claimed to be other than what he was, and people came after him anyway. Bill Bennett made a small fortune (and now we know what happened to it) preaching a highly conventional morality it turns out he exempted himself from in one key area. Which one truly deserves privacy more?

  • Catherine

    Mike, you are right, they are all slimy. I gave Clinton two of my votes because I actually wait a long time before I make a decision. I think Newt is slime. Ted Kennedy is slime. One of the biggest Clinton haters I know, someone I used to admire before I found out he was equally slimy, was really just mad HE can’t do what Clinton did on the job without getting fired and having HIS career ruined Clinton was/is teflon. I don’t shed any tears for any of them.
    I would never give Clinton credit for “staying with his family” tho. Come on. The guy I used to admire stays with his family for the same reason Clinton does, because the “costs” (political and financial) would be too high. It’s not for some moral reasons or for “family values.”