Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010 | 2 a.m.
Late-night walks can give you nightmares.
So I am out walking my dog late the other night when I run into a neighbor — let’s call him Bruce — also roaming the dimly lit streets of the neighborhood, presumably unable to sleep, as am I.
After the friendly greetings we always exchange, he announced that he is voting for Sharron Angle. Knowing he is a reasonably intelligent person, I seize upon the opportunity to find out why, starting with: “I can’t believe anyone in this state is willing to un-elect the majority leader of the United States Senate!”
His reaction was the typical “I don’t believe in political corruption” mantra that is a Fox News Channel favorite. I asked him to explain, and he immediately blurted out something about the other white meat. You know, pork.
So I asked him to tell me what pork is, because my experience bears out the belief that one man’s pork is another man’s job. In short, it all depends on your perspective.
His answer was to the point: Government shouldn’t spend money on pretty much anything but security — domestic and otherwise.
Knowing that he is a businessperson dependent on an efficient system of interstate commerce, I asked him to explain whether the federal highway system was pork because roads that President Dwight Eisenhower ordered built to connect major U.S. cities didn’t, by definition, reach every city in America. His answer was the only reasonable one: “Of course not. That benefited the entire country and helped create many jobs.”
I then explained that the proposed freeway to connect Phoenix and Las Vegas is being pushed — not by Arizona’s two senators, even though the entire road is in Arizona — but by the majority leader, a Nevadan. Interstate 11, we both agreed, would bring thousands of long-term jobs to Southern Nevada and boost my neighbor’s business prospects immensely.
Bruce agreed the freeway would not be a pork project but a needed governmental effort to improve interstate commerce and a benefit to Nevada.
That’s when I explained why it would never happen if he didn’t vote to return Reid to the Senate — especially if this state sends Angle to Washington in his place, because she would be relegated to the back benches where she would cast a streaming vote of “no, no, no” throughout her term. In her own words, she wouldn’t lift a finger to help create jobs in Nevada. Well, there is one finger I can see her lifting when it comes to helping Nevadans!
The discussion turned to a young friend of mine from Kansas who is having trouble believing that close to half of Nevada seems willing to fire the majority leader.
“Do you know why Kansans kept re-electing Bob Dole?” he said to me. Before I could answer, he exclaimed, “Because he was either the majority or minority leader of the United States Senate! We never got to his politics. He got us great roads, great institutions of higher learning, farm subsidies and everything else that Kansans needed and would never get because we were too small to get a seat at the table with the big boys.”
All I could think about was, “Are Kansans that much smarter than half of Nevada?”
Bruce decided it was time to finish the walk so he could go to sleep. He looked at me and said quite earnestly, “You have made a very compelling argument for all of us to vote for Harry Reid. But, I am a Libertarian so I will vote for Angle.”
Do you see why I have nightmares?
Brian Greenspun is publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun.