Flores in love with state power

Latino political power is growing in Nevada. Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, is Hispanic. Interestingly, the Democrats nominated Lucy Flores, their Hispanic Democratic superstar, to run for lieutenant governor. And the Koch brothers are coming to Nevada!

I wish I could like Lucy Flores, a compelling and talented candidate. Unfortunately, when she speaks, her words are infused with collectivism. She continuously mentions “community” or “ community leaders.” Seldom does she mention “individual choice” or “personal responsibility.” The only individual she really talks about is herself. The office of lieutenant governor has few duties in the Nevada Constitution. The primary function is extra constitutional, namely chairing the Nevada Tourism Commission. Ms Flores is not content with those duties. She is out to personally transform Nevada, with the help of community leaders of course. Flores wants to lead numerous committees, or initiatives, or whatever she decides to call them, to tackle issues from immigration to education, from tax policy to women’s rights, from sustainable investment to climate change. Name your public policy problem, call Lucy, problems solved!

She told Jon Ralston on Aug. 14 that unless the Constitution forbids it, she can do whatever she wants to do. This is the progressive take on limited government in a nutshell. A classical liberal believes that a public official should only do what the constitution authorizes the office to do. Flores even invoked that old Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, when she said she will use her office as a “bully pulpit” to enact her pet reforms. The problem with a bully pulpit is that there is a real bully—the police powers of the state—standing behind it.

It is obvious that a grand strategy is being played. If Flores is elected, then Gov. Sandoval might think twice about leaving the state in her hands to run against Sen. Reid. But Reid may not run if the Republicans take the Senate, and he is relegated to the back bench. Then Lt. Gov. Flores could be a thorn in Gov Sandoval’s side, forcing him further to the left.

Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brothers’ libertarian Tea Party group, is moving into Nevada and laying infrastructure for the 2016 election. They also bring a Latino organization, Libre, to Nevada. Their money and resources are desperately needed. It is now September, and the Washoe County Republican Party does not have a director of minority outreach. Libre might provide Latinos a fresher voice for limited government than the GOP can.

Sen. Reid spent last winter giving speeches blaming the Koch Brothers for every problem, real or imagined, in America. Personal attacks claiming the Koch Brothers are un-American, and out only to make themselves rich, are particularly reprehensible. The Senator sold his Searchlight properties and purchased a $750,000 condominium in Las Vegas. He and his family have done quite well by doing good, as the Quakers say.

Koch Industries is the only petro-chemical industry that has consistently opposed lucrative federal subsidies for ethanol. Even Al Gore has condemned ethanol subsidies because they result in wasted agricultural resources, causing unnecessary food price hikes that adversely impact the poor. Contrast the Kochs with Warren Buffet, a progressive favorite because Buffet says he thinks he should pay more taxes, but who made hundreds of millions using Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money to take over Wells Fargo Bank. Nevadans now can decide whether they believe that the Koch brothers’ vision of free markets is better than Flores’ vision of croney government central planning. Latinos from now on will have a lot to say about Nevada’s future.