Nevada’s conservative legislators should fight

The Norman Lear CBS Sunday Morning interview may be accessed at

Norman Lear, the All in the Family creator in TV’s Archie Bunker era, calls himself a bleeding heart conservative.

When he unveiled his amusing bleeding heart conservative label during a recent CBS Sunday Morning interview, I chuckled. Lear became a performance artist executive who reveres the U.S. Constitution, his document of choice to style himself as conservative.

Executives often are conservative by nature. But Lear’s interviewer called him liberal, and Lear’s signature work showed liberal egalitarian leanings. Archie Bunker, the bumbling and almost lovable bigot, weekly was forced to reveal his bunker mentality.

If Lear favors equal opportunity rather than equality of outcomes, it means he actually is conservative, but I’m a bit skeptical.

There are a couple of domestic issues that reflect on this matter: President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the president’s bid to save General (of late Generous, but now Government) Motors.

I figure Lear would support Sotomayor, and Nevada GOP Sen. John Ensign should do the same.

At least Ensign should proceed with caution on this matter, first because of the equality of opportunity issue. Secondly, he should because it’s in his own political interests in a state with a significant Hispanic population (to say nothing, just yet, of wider vistas).

Any temptation to oppose her nomination should be resisted for both legitimate reasons and to retain viability with both female and Hispanic voters.

Republicans, particularly conservatives, may criticize her as an activist jurist and a panderer to identity politics. Perhaps she is guilty of the latter, but the record doesn’t show her as an outright judicial activist.

Clearly, she is qualified, like Justice Clarence Thomas and the seven white members, and she likely will wind up on the court. So opposition is unwarranted, stupid politically and diverts attention from more important issues.

Take the GM bankruptcy reorganization—to say nothing of the Chrysler bankruptcy/sale to Fiat before it—as an example. Lear, a supporter of President Obama, likely favors it.

But both Ensign and GOP Rep. Dean Heller of Northern Nevada should battle the administration as best they can on this front.

The administration effort to dictate outcomes by misusing Troubled Asset Relief Fund money, pushing out GM’s chief executive officer and favoring United Auto Workers over other stake holders is nothing short of outrageous.

It may be touted as equity outcome-oriented and best for the nation’s economy, but will fall short in both instances.

Economist Milton Friedman and his spouse, Rose, in their book Free to Choose made the critical point on these social/economic engineering attempts crystal clear:

“A society that puts equality—in the sense of equality of outcome—ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who will use it to promote their own interests.”

Anyone who doesn’t understand the administration favors the UAW over bond holders and auto dealers in these fig-leaf bankruptcies has a limited grasp of the situation.

This doesn’t even take into account the misguided nature of salvaging “zombie” car companies to compete against Ford, the firm emerging from American industrial carnage without government crutches.

Once again our government, using taxpayer money, penalizes success by keeping failures on life support.

In TV show terms, the Sotomayor nomination is just All in the Family, but salvaging GM is fodder for a Family Feud of the first stripe. This time what’s good for General Motors isn’t good for the country.