Obamateurism of the Day

So what’s on your personal “life list”?  What kind of items might be on yours?  I’ve been fortunate to already check off most of the items I wanted to do before kicking the bucket — visiting Ireland, visiting Rome and the Vatican, getting married, being a father and grandfather, making a living as a writer — but still have a few more.  Other people want to climb Mount Everest, sail around the world, make their first million dollars.

How many people would have these two bucket items on their “life list“?

I might believe that meeting George Clooney could be on someone’s bucket list, but Obama and his team aren’t exactly promising that.  They just promise to have a lucky winner of their $3 lottery attend a party hosted by Clooney.  You get to meet Barack Obama, and meeting a President is a pretty cool thing, but a life list item?  Really?  Of course, Barack Obama himself is telling you that it’s a life list item for you, so it must be true.

Besides, Obama wasn’t always so enthusiastic about lotteries:

Appearing on the public TV program “Chicago Tonight,” then-StateSen. Obama argued that the lottery is not a good way to spend money, especially for the poor.

“One of the concerns that I have, obviously, is that a disproportionate number of people who consistently buy lottery tickets tend to be lower-income and working-class people who can least afford it,” he said. “Even if they’re not compulsive gamblers, they are probably spending money that they don’t necessarily have.”

Obama also suggested that state lotteries’ marketing practices made them complicit in fleecing the low-income crowd.

“Now, we might say that this is their entertainment dollar the same way that somebody else has entertainment dollar and spends it on a movie,” he said. “But I think the fact that the state systematically targets what we know to be lower income persons as a way of raising revenue is troublesome.[“]

Hey, at least when you buy $3 worth of lottery tickets, you have a (very small) chance of getting some money back.  In this lottery, the winner only gets an opportunity to get fleeced at a fundraising dinner.  That’s not exactly a bucket list item for anyone.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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David Strom 5:21 PM on March 31, 2023