Puncturing Gasbags

PUNCTURING GASBAGS….No trip down the Washington Monthly’s memory lane would be complete without a link to “The Bookie of Virtue,” Josh Green’s story in our June 2003 issue about moralizing conservative windbag William Bennett. Bennett had built a lucrative career based on hectoring others about leading a vice-free life, but there was one particular vice he was oddly silent about: high-stakes gambling. Turns out there was good reason for that:

The Washington Monthly and Newsweek have learned that over the last decade Bennett has made dozens of trips to casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, where he is a “preferred customer” at several of them, and sources and documents provided to The Washington Monthly put his total losses at more than $8 million.

….Bennett likes to be discreet. “He’ll usually call a host and let us know when he’s coming,” says one source. “We can limo him in. He prefers the high-limit room, where he’s less likely to be seen and where he can play the $500-a-pull slots. He usually plays very late at night or early in the morning–usually between midnight and 6 a.m.” The documents show that in one two-month period, Bennett wired more than $1.4 million to cover losses. His desire for privacy is evident in his customer profile at one casino, which lists as his residence the address for Empower.org (the Web site of Empower America, the non-profit group Bennett co-chairs). Typed across the form are the words: “NO CONTACT AT RES OR BIZ!!!”

Don’t you just love the smell of napalm in the morning? But you know what I’m going to say next, don’t you? If you enjoy watching us deflate pompous right-wing gasbags like Bennett, you have to subscribe to the print magazine. You don’t want to miss the next puncturing, do you?

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