Of all the questions at the first GOP Debate that made me angry and want to run to my computer and order a Trump “Make America Great Again” cap, the bankruptcy question led the pack.
Megyn Kelly’s question about his name-calling may have been low-brow, doing more harm to her reputation than his. The first question, asking the candidates to pledge allegiance to the Republican Party, whose debate it was, may have seemed out of line, although it wound up doing Trump a world of good. Kelly’s more legitimate question to Trump about his position on abortion may have been no better-natured than the name-calling question, but did elicit the only totally intelligible response from Trump.
It was Chris Wallace’s question about Trump’s bankruptcies that made me want to shout at the television (except that Trump beat me to it): Have you ever been there?! Have you been there lately?! Do you have any idea how desolate Atlantic City is? Do you know how many poor people are struggling since the casinos – most, if not all of them – were forced to pull out after the economy collapsed?
Here’s an item I pulled from today’s Bergen Record, by the Associated Press:
Atlantic City—The contract between Stockton University and a Florida developer for the former Showboat Casino was properly terminated and the school can find another buyer, a judge ruled Monday.
Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez ruled that developer Glenn Straub’s KK Ventures is prohibited from interfering with Stockton’s right to market the property, The Press of Atlantic City reported.
Straub filed a complaint against Stockton on July 1, claiming the school didn’t do all it could to resolve deed restrictions that both require it to be used as a casino and prohibit it from being a casino.
Stockton’s April 3 agreement to sell Showboat to Straub for $26 million expired July 2. KK Ventures is entitled to the purchase price plus interest earned in an escrow account since April, Menendez ruled.
Trump was absolutely right when he said in the debate that his were not the only casinos to go under after the economic collapse. He rightly bragged when he said he had enough sense to declare bankruptcy before the collapse.
The bankruptcy may have cost 1,100 Atlantic City jobs and left Trump’s creditors in the lurch. They’ll get no more money out of the casinos that went completely bust and have no money at all with which to pay off their debts than they would have gotten out of Trump. Had he not declared bankruptcy, the collapse could have cost many more jobs and all of his money.
That’s the cost of doing business. Trump looked to Chris Christie for support in the matter. But there was nothing Christie could say. He was only elected New Jersey governor two years after the collapse had occurred.
I remember Atlantic City in its casino heyday, when my mother drove buses full of gamblers down to A.C. The hotels gleamed from a long-distance off along the Atlantic City Expressway, like an Emerald City. The streets were crowded with buses like my mother’s. Elderly gamblers used to get into fistfights on her bus over the coveted front seat of her silver-white Prevost bus, “Precious.”
Later, when I went to work for an insurance company’s public relations department, I was sent to Atlantic City to cover various conferences. I’ll never forget the night I was put into one of The Tropicana’s “corridor” rooms – rooms between different sections of the casino.
My room was just above the casino floor. All night long, I listed to the sound of table dealers calling out plays, the jingle of one-armed bandits, the relentless loop of voice-recordings in a vending machine, and the murmur of gamblers winning and losing. Mostly, the latter.
But at 2:30 in the morning, a guy hit the jackpot at the one-armed bandit just below my hotel room window. Clang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang!!!! Sirens went off, lights pulsed, the few people still on the floor cheered. And above all, the winner was yelling:
“I won! I won! I won! I won! I won! I won! Look at all these coins! And they’re still pouring out!! Somebody help me! Give me something to catch them with!!”
Yes, the gold coins poured out in an avalanche from the slot machine. An employee came out with a big bucket for the lucky winner. By this time, I was up and peeking out the window, laughing. If you have to be woken up (again), that was as good a reason as any.
The casinos are silent now and I daresay, empty. I haven’t been there since I lost my job. Last place you want to go when you’re broke is a gambling emporium. That last time I was there, though, the city was already broken down. I spoke to a jitney bus driver who told us that the buses no longer came from the North. A Tropicana employee said that he didn’t think the casino would last more than a year, as he sadly pushed his cleaning equipment into an empty elevator.
I have a suggestion for Fox News: Hold one of your debates in Atlantic City – if you can find any operating hotels down there, that is. You’d have better luck in Wildwood at their convention center. Atlantic City could sure use the business.
While you’re there, why don’t you go interview some of the former employees of the casinos? Ask them how their unions been pushing their casinos for more money. Ask them how crowded Atlantic City used to be in its heyday. Ask the locals if they’re better off now with the casinos gone, than they were before. Ask the city council how the city is faring. When Atlantic City was going through its rebirth in the late Seventies and Eighties, Socialists complained loudly enough that Atlantic City would leave the poor behind.
Well, the casinos made plenty of money and paid plenty of taxes and employed plenty of people, both from Atlantic City, the southern New Jersey suburbs, and as far west as Philadelphia. Now Pennsylvania is said to be building its own casinos in the Poconos.
But they wanted Obama. They wanted social justice. They wanted to bring down the wealthy (and the middle class). Once the economy went bust, northerners lost their jobs, and the northern buses stopped coming. The Atlantic City Bus Terminal echoes with the emptiness. So Trump, Caesar’s, Showboat, and yes – The Trop – are all gone now.
And yet, Chris Wallace wants to put it all on Donald Trump’s shoulders. We are now between $18 and $19 million dollars in debt. Trump probably would declare a bankruptcy, of sorts, and shut down the least efficient of the government bureaucracies. He’d probably tell you something of that sort, if you let him.
Still, coherent answers don’t seem to matter a bit to his supporters. They’re happy just to hear him give general exclamations.
We warned you of this back in 2009, when we formed the Tea Parties. Gov. Christie was at the Morristown Green in April 2009, when the Morristown Tea Party declared that we were Taxed Enough Already.
We were more than that, really. A LOT more. We were angry. We were fed-up, and not just with the Democrats. We were even more furious at the Republican Party. We were incensed that they’d placed an unelectable, white-haired old man (notwithstanding his honorable military service) who wound up losing handily to Obama. We were like a roiling, boiling teapot that just could not contain its steam anymore.
And what happened? The GOP dismissed and demeaned us. The local GOP had the nerve to send in Establishment moles to try to discourage and demoralize the organizers and volunteers trying to make the rally on The Green successful.
I was the Morristown Tea Party’s attack dog. I’m the one who took the Establishment on and told them where to go. I’m the one who gave the organizers the agenda form upon which to organize their rally – what they needed to do and so forth. I’m the one who advised them not to commit to a non-partisan mission statement, with which they could be hamstrung. I’m the one who told the Establishment minions, at a meeting, not to let the door hit them on their way.
I nearly lost my voice at that meeting (that’s when I decided to start a blog, instead). Rand Paul said yesterday he was worried that Trump might hijack the Tea Party movement. Considering all that I’ve done (which is nothing compared to the legwork and commitment the real organizers like A.H. have devoted to the Tea Party), I think I should put on my resume and my Linked-In site the title: “Community Organizer” (it worked for Obama…)
I’m a most cautious observer of politicians and would-be office-holders. I can spot a Liberal from 200 feet away and call them out in a crowded room. For those who think Tea Parties are crazies, I’ve got news for you – they didn’t like it when I did those things, necessary as they were. Tea Partiers are most deserving of the title “Conservative.” They are quiet, thoughtful, and incredibly well-mannered. Sometimes they’re too well-mannered, and that’s when I have to go on the attack for them. And then they put me in the doghouse! J
That’s why I stick to my blog.
So, to answer Rand Paul’s concern (for my part): I’m not entirely satisfied with Trump’s performance at the debates. Not all of Fox News panels’ questions were out of line or directed at him. I’d like to hear some more substantive answers from him. I criticize him because I know so many people are depending upon him as their champion. He owes it to them to be articulate, informed, and finish his sentences (!). They don’t care if he finishes his sentences or delivers nothing more than sound bytes from now until Election Day.
But I do. And The Tea Partiers who read my blog know (even if Trump and the other candidates don’t) that I’m not afraid to say so. It’s dangerous to take anything for granted when you’re running for president. Or running a news network.
You don’t have to go to heck, Fox News. But do go to Atlantic City and see it for yourself. It’s only a morning’s ride from your New York City studios. If you go on a weekday, you won’t hit much traffic.
There hasn’t been traffic on the Atlantic City Expressway in years.