We Nevadans are an ironic bunch

The folks at the Las Vegas Review-Journal needed a way to generate a load of political stories. Mason-Dixon Polling and Research was hired to check the pulse of Nevadans on everything from President Bush’s approval rating to who people might vote for in Election 2006. No kidding.

Isn’t journalism exhausting? No wonder voters get apathetic. How are Nevadans supposed to know who should lead us into the next biennium or two when the TV slam ads have not yet begun, and there aren’t any campaign signs?

How pathetic is that—writing about an election that’s a whole lovely year away.

We Nevadans are an ironic bunch. Turns out that, according to the R-J poll, we aren’t enamored of President Bush anymore—only 41 percent of those polled said Bush was doing an “excellent” or even “good” job. Yet in the coming Nevada gubernatorial campaign, the apparent “leading” candidate is a man whose policies mirror Bush’s in many ways. And on a few issues, Republican Jim Gibbons makes Bush look like an easy-going centrist.

This right-wing reactionary can’t be who we want to lead our state. Not now, with the far right deep in self-destruct mode. House speaker Tom DeLay finally gets arrested for illegally funneling corporate campaign contributions and the like. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers takes a hike and the religious right rejoices. Go figure. Religious conservatives apparently don’t trust Bush’s appointing abilities, either.

Intrepid Pat Fitzgerald tracks down the members of the Bush administration who were willing to risk the life of a patriot, a front-line soldier in the War on Terror named Valerie Plame Wilson.

But that’s all federal hoopla, right? We locals base our decisions on who we know and trust. Gibbons? We’ve heard of him. Yup, good old Gibbons, who’s only taken a few grand of Tom DeLay’s grubby money and who votes with DeLay on most issues.

Earlier this year, when the national media reported how much various corporations donated to President Bush’s inauguration celebrations, Gibbons spoke up for the rights of Big Business to purchase political influence.

“Anybody who is against that obviously must be a Communist,” he told an NBC reporter. Later Gibbons apologized if he had offended anyone in Nevada.

Did we compare Gibbons to paranoid 1950s fear-monger, Sen. Joe McCarthy? Did we ask Gibbons if he realized that the Soviet Union no longer existed?

No, we let him keep talking. And talk, he did.

It wasn’t that long ago, speaking to supporters in Elko, he lambasted constituents like me who weren’t gung-ho to send U.S. troops to invade a country that never attacked us and posed no threat to us. Gibbons: “I say we tell those liberal, tree-hugging, Birkenstock- wearing, hippie, tie-dyed liberals to go make their movies and their music and whine somewhere else.”

Those anti-warmongers who are so concerned about the lives of Iraqis should have gone there and become human shields for the enemy.

“I say it’s just too damn bad we didn’t buy them a ticket,” Gibbons told the partisans.

Gibbons’ biting critique in Elko wasn’t even his own. He’d plagiarized it from an e-mail. He didn’t apologize to Nevadans.

Nowadays, support for the ill-conceived Iraq war is dwindling. The far right is getting busted for pandering to corporations by awarding exclusive contracts that cost taxpayers a bundle. We’re beginning to demand an account for the right’s insane addiction to deficit spending and for its inattention to Americans hurt by its policies.

If I were a Republican, I’d consider all of this before the August primary and seek a moderate voice to represent Nevadans.

Remember Gov. Kenny Guinn?

Ah, those are the days.