Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2014

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Junk mail — from candidates

It’s hard to keep track of all the awful offal filling mailboxes these days, but I cannot ignore some that arrived this week in mine, which happens to be at the center of the Nevada political universe this cycle.

I have the privilege/pleasure/burden of receiving propaganda in the races for Rep. Jon Porter’s seat, state Sen. Joe Heck’s position and County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury’s slot. Such responsibility — to help determine the fate of three august bodies, affecting how many seats the Democrats pick up in Congress, whether the Republicans will continue to control the legislative upper house and whether the Democrats can dominate the Clark County Commission.

Some deconstruction of this week’s mail:

We can’t afford either one? A piece that arrived from state Sen. Dina Titus this week insightfully informed me, “We simply can’t afford more of the same,” while one from the state GOP this week helpfully told me, “We can’t afford more of Titus’ Taxes.”

It seems, unbeknownst to me, that Porter’s policies and fealty to the president might cause the next “Great Depression” and that Titus’ taxing ways in Carson City could do the same. The horror.

Both mail pieces are designed to complement messages being aired in TV ads and shamelessly exploit voters’ economic troubles to win votes.

Titus’ mail piece uses two pictures of Porter with President Bush and sneers at the congressman’s campaign contributions from “bankers, lenders and other special interests whose greed put us on the brink of economic collapse.” Anyone who has taken the time to read anything on the current crisis knows there is plenty of blame to go around, reaching back to Democrats’ support for measures making it easier for poor families to get loans to the GOP congressional mania to deregulate.

The Republican Party mail piece is not much more intellectually honest, although compared with Porter’s TV spot that ludicrously fingers Titus for the national and state economic troubles, it is relatively truthful. Porter recites the litany of Titus’ votes for taxes and the infamous pension increase of 20 years ago, without mentioning that nearly every vote he cites had broad bipartisan support. If it “just stinks” that Titus voted for the two largest tax increases in Nevada history, does it also offend the GOP olfactory that many Republican legislators did so, too?

This breeds more disgust: Democrat Shirley Breeden is running as “one tough mom” against Heck, yet has shown no toughness is running the mother of all chicken campaigns by balking at debates with the incumbent. This week, her campaign sent out a piece that quotes her as saying, “I know the price of gas is too high. I pay it, too.” The mailer goes on to imply that Heck is responsible for high gas prices because he “did nothing to reduce the price of gas and help families.”

This is criminally disingenuous and refers to a set-up vote during this year’s special session on the budget. Democratic leaders purposely put up amendments that had nothing to do with fixing the state budget, simply designed to make Republicans look bad. The ploys went down on partisan votes, and Democrats were heard bragging at the time that they would use them as bludgeons against Heck and state Sen. Bob Beers.

The bludgeon cometh this week.

Oh, and Breeden has “a plan to lower the price of gas” and she will “get tough on big oil companies.” That is one tough mom. How? By passing laws “making it easier to investigate big oil companies that are price gouging consumers at the pump.” Really? And I thought she was running — or at least hiding — in a race for the Legislature, not Congress.

If only someone had thought of this before: Brian Scroggins, the Republican seeking Woodbury’s seat, appears to be obsessed with an issue commissioners have almost no say over: illegal immigration. His latest piece tells us he “will fight to keep our tax dollars from illegal immigrants.” He wants to deport illegals, make English the state’s official language and “deny taxpayer-funded benefits or welfare to illegal immigrants.”

Sounds like he should be running for the Legislature or Congress. But my guess is this poll-tested issue probably will resonate with some of the voters Scroggins is trying to get to the polls in his race against Regent Steve Sisolak.

Scroggins, I should note, was a lobbyist in 2007 for the Associated Builders and Contractors. I am heartened that none of the members of his organization would ever employ illegal immigrants and if they did Scroggins would support cracking down on them.

I am sure the ABC elite will be thrilled to know.

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