Think that Senate race is in the bag?

Read the New Republic’s insightful take on Nevada politics.

Democrat Harry Reid is down but not out, which the Republican primary race for the chance to challenge him demonstrates daily. As Nevadans contemplate the cast of prospective GOP Senate candidates, an absence is felt.

There could have been two Republican Brians running for senator and governor against two Democrat Reids. But Brian Krolicki isn’t on board.

Brian Sandoval, formerly a federal judge, is favored to defeat incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons on June 8 and then will take down Sen. Harry Reid’s son, Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid, come November.

But Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki isn’t after the Senate majority leader, instead seeking reelection as guv light. This is old news. New, but with a familiar feel, is that the GOP appears capable of letting Harry Reid snooker them and win another term.

Sue Lowden’s mantra is that Harry Reid bashes her because he fears her more than the other candidates seeking the GOP Senate nomination (“When I heard that he said he was going to ‘vaporize’ me, I said, ‘Start on my hips’ ”). Reid’s forces actually show signs of hoping to hand pick their opponent while softening her up in the process.

Reid and others know Lowden isn’t a topflight candidate. I like John Chachas, but a couple of the other GOP hopefuls join him in outshining Lowden. Senate majority leader Reid directs media fire at Lowden, marginalizing the other Republicans.

Perceptive analysts know misdirection often is a primary ploy. This smells from here.

If you go only by identity politics, Lowden looks logical. She has money, was a beauty queen, a TV newscaster, a state senator and a GOP state party chair. She is female and from Las Vegas.

But she is a lightweight, despite her un-vaporized hips. She butchers the English language, can’t think on her feet, and offers up the lame line that she is the only GOP candidate ever to beat a majority leader—applesauce of state Legislature to orange juice of U.S. Congress. She is badly scripted and poorly coached.

From Harry Reid’s perspective, she is sparring partner material. And from mine? None of the above may well beckon if she wins the GOP nod and doesn’t show immediate ability to hit the fast lane on the learning curve.

Despite this, I must come to aforementioned lightweight’s defense, after a fashion. In her health care mistake (in which the amateurish Lowden said barter could help pay heath care costs), the Reid forces showed they are modernist scumbags.

Lowden apparently meant “negotiate” when she said “barter,” an unfortunate slip, but this is how liberals try to destroy conservatives. They cynically use, for example, chickens and goats to evoke hick images.

Democrats, invested in their health revamp commitment, don’t like negotiated cash or trade transactions bypassing the non-cash arena. They can remove the cut for transfer payment middlemen, such as those governing and clients of their lobbying chums.

In the guise of helping the poor, Democrats help themselves, cast Lowden as silly and posture themselves as sophisticated. It’s cheap theater.

Lowden’s gaffe went viral, but a different gaffe from Gov. Gibbons didn’t. At a GOP gubernatorial debate, Gibbons explained he favors reprocessing nuclear waste in Nevada. He was asked about transportation dangers.

“They’ve been transporting it for four decades,” said the governor, who is also a pilot. With barely any pause, he added, “They could bring it in by air,” and “We can solve that transportation problem.”

By air? Airplanes never fall from the sky? This gives new meaning to the term pilot error.

Why does a Lowden or a Gibbons go into public life, anyway? Bring me Brians with brains, or someone of equal stature.