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O Craps

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Saturday's New York Times story on John McCain and his lobbyist's ties to the gaming industry begins with this person anecdote:

Senator John McCain was on a roll. In a room reserved for high-stakes gamblers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, he tossed $100 chips around a hot craps table. When the marathon session ended around 2:30 a.m., the Arizona senator and his entourage emerged with thousands of dollars in winnings.

As Joe Klein points out:

Finally, the notion that McCain loves craps--as opposed to skill games like blackjack or poker--is just too perfect. As a sometime novelist, I can assure you that you couldn't create a character whose public behavior is marked by wild, peremptory gambles and whose private avocation was shooting craps.

Poker is a game of skill and strategy. The best players in the world use well timed aggression to beat their opponents. John McCain is pure aggression, which will only take you so far at the poker table. You might win a few hands when opponents fold, but eventually you are going to run into a big hand and bluff it all away. Blackjack is based on a combination of math and luck.

But Craps is a more impulsive game. Sure it offers some of the best odds in the casino, but it also offers some of the worst. In the end it's all dumb luck. There are dozens of possible bets, and  often players only have seconds to make a decision. As the games goes on, many players end up impulsively throwing chips on the table. Just like when at the last minute, because he couldn't choose his good buddy Joe Lieberman, McCain decided to role the dice on Sarah Palin. When his lucky streak from that bet wore off, he impulsively tried suspending his campaign and canceling the debate - that bet didn't work out so well.

And when you are down in craps, the only way back on top is throwing more chips on the table. Just like in Iraq, where McCain wants to commit more troops to an endless war.

Joe Klein does not have to create "a character whose public behavior is marked by wild, peremptory gambles and whose private avocation was shooting craps." His name is John McCain.

Well at least he's not playing high stakes slots. Those people are just degenerates.

Cross posted at the Oxdown Gazette