Las Vegas Sun

March 27, 2015

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Jon Ralston:

State Republicans embarrass Nevada

Nevada, the Battle Born State that prides itself on a combative, Western attitude toward a sometimes-overbearing federal government, is about to surrender to a miniature, Eastern monarchy.

So one of the most colorful, vibrant states in the country, having asserted itself as a national political player last presidential cycle, will capitulate to white-as-the-driven-snow New Hampshire, relegating itself from pivotal to laughable in just four years. Take the star off the Nevada flag and let it be beautiful blue no more — paint it white.

What is about to occur — Nevada allowing New Hampshire to dictate its role in the presidential nominating process — is an embarrassment to the state and a disaster for the state Republican Party. “I don’t think it’s caving at all,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval as he intimated that the caving was about to begin.

But this was never a fair fight. New Hampshire, led by a grandmaster, was playing chess while Nevada, led by a confederacy of happy quislings, was playing checkers — and not well. Nevada once had Sir Bill (Raggio) of Reno, but King Bill (Gardner) of Concord is more powerful in New Hampshire than — dare I say it? — even Harry Reid is in Nevada.

Secretary of State Gardner was displeased with Nevada’s choice of Jan. 14 — a reasonable choice a week before South Carolina — and so he threatened to go into December, which is the kind of bluff that wouldn’t work in a penny-ante poker game.

But it worked on the Republican rubes here, who were totally unprepared for the onslaught and got no support — from the national committee folks in D.C. or here or, ultimately, from a governor who would rather not engage in this fight as his national profile increases.

I’m not sure what surprises me more — the absence of anger by the GOP elite here or the lunacy of the inmates running the party asylum. As one savvy national political expert said to me this week: “I’ve never seen a state where one party is so overmatched by the other.”

Indeed. Reid reigns supreme over the state Democratic Party, which has marginalized its goofy caucus and actually is dedicated to something that is heretical these days in most parties: Electing candidates.

GOP Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian seemed to be making all the right moves by hiring a professional staff (to oversee the party and the caucus), suggesting same-day registration for the caucus (to cut into the Democrats’ substantial advantage) and eventually supporting moving to mid-January (to maintain Nevada’s early-state status).

But then the slow cave began. Sharron Angle supporters revolted, fearing in their paranoiac frenzy that Democrats would infiltrate the caucus if same-day registration is allowed. Republican National Committeewoman Heidi Smith undermined Tarkanian at every turn and said the state shouldn’t move into January. And now national Committeeman Bob List has folded faster than you can say “Yucca bucks,” doing the bidding of his RNC masters rather than standing up for the state.

Previously supportive (of the caucus date and same-day registration) elected officials now have either gone silent or, in Sandoval’s case, seem all too willing to appease the RNC, which caused this mess with its utter lack of leadership and rules made to be broken. Florida doesn’t get penalized for breaking the rules by jumping forward and receives the national convention. But Nevada gets patronizing nonsense from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and others as Smith and List see VIP boxes in Tampa dancing in their heads.

And New Hampshire, thanks to a god named Gardner and a ferocious media, gets candidates genuflecting and announcing Nevada boycotts. And those outrageous snubs by the contenders surely will be rescinded after the GOP capitulates, and Republicans here will welcome them back as if they had not insulted the state.

Tarkanian, unprepared for this maelstrom, is about to go down with the S.S. GOP this weekend. The Loon Caucus has been calling former Councilman Michael McDonald, who has been hanging around GOP meetings since he lost his elected job and is looking for a way back in.

It’s hard to overstate how ridiculous and pathetic this is. I don’t care if the Republicans want to make fools of themselves — that is their God-given right. But when they take us from third in the nation to fifth in the GOP nominating process — as has been proposed — and when they openly bow to another state’s law (New Hampshire says it must have seven days separation between the next contest), it makes the state look like an unsophisticated backwater. (Insert snide comment here.)

On Saturday, I will mark 27 years in Nevada, and I couldn’t be happier that I chose to stay. I have pride in my state, quirks and warts and all. Why doesn’t anyone else?

It almost makes me want to move to ... New Hampshire.

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  1. Does the "caving" surprise anyone ?

  2. Mr. Ralston nailed it. We look like idiots - deservedly.

  3. It's SO NEVADA! What else can you expect?

    Well said, Jon!

  4. Well, this isn't about Harry Reid - but since he's been brought up...
    I'm a registered Republican and the reason you're not seeing much negative about Harry Reid lately is because our Republican leadership in this state is attracting a spotlight with stupid acts. As noted in the Op Ed piece, we look uncohesive, unfocused and disorganized. The race is ours to lose and we're ensuring Harry Reid and his allies will retain power by doing these things.
    If I sound angry - I am. If the election were today I'd stay away from the polls to send a message to my party that I'm not going to tolerate this.

  5. @Reid not Harry. Are you stating it's Senator Reid's fault that Nevada's GOP looks like fools?

  6. It just goes to show you that Nevada is a DEMOCRATIC state just like the US is a DEMOCRACY !! when will the republicans tuck their tales between their legs and whimper away !!

  7. Jim I do appreciate your courtesy. But my point is the Nevada Republican party looks like fools over the primary fiasco with new Hampshire. And Harry Reid had nothing to do with it

  8. Too bad the GOP does not get it the whole point of the primaries is to get the best candidate to run.I am looking forward to see how much of a mess the convention will be. The GOP is making the writers for Saturday Night Live lives easy because they are actually providing real live comedy skits. The other problem the GOP has is the ugly step child (Tea Party) in the background waiting for their chance to screw up things even more. Everyone needs to leave Reid and Obamba out of this the country is sick and tired of listening to that excuse. Lets face facts if you are not the lead dog the scenery is always the same. Stop whining and Mush.

  9. As a member who was there - yes - there are issues and in many ways we appear to have caved. But - not to sound like Polyanna - there were some positives.

    First,I think the re-election of Tarkanian was HUGE. A GOP that had four chairs in two years could little afford another change. Amy Tarkanian is one who will complete her term and possible go for more giving much needed stability.

    Second, among the members there was lots of conversation regarding those who either publicly never supported or folded on the issues leaving the other GOP exec. powerless.

    Last, the shenanigans of the "Black Suit Mafia" is getting old. Coming to EVERY GOP meeting acting angry and causing trouble is not gaining them support. They are being seen as the bafoons they are all the way down to the little accountant who just want to be part of them.

    It is a long road but I feel better now then is past years saying things are SLOWLY changing for the better.

  10. Mr. Ralston knows better than nearly anyone in Nevada that the political landscape is multi-dimensional - Jon, you have this decision wrong. The GOP did the right thing.

    The Nevada GOP is a component of a broader party. And the broader party, led by its Chairman, asked the State party leadership to seriously consider whether we had some way to preserve the national party's preferred calendar while preserving Nevada's objective of being "First in the West" and one of the lead states in order.

    This date accomplished that goal. It also preserved all of our delegates at the national convention, which is better -- particularly for a small state -- than suffering an erosion by half.

    We have a lot of work to do as a State party. But the effort is underway to run a transparent and well-orchestrated GOP caucus. The people of Nevada will articulate their preferred candidate -- not anyone in New Hampshire, Washington or anywhere else will interrupt that. And it won't matter that it's happening in late January or early February. The Nevada GOP, with assistance from good outsider professionals and under the leadership of Chairwoman Tarkanian and our Committee, will run caucuses in multiple locations on the same day and report the results. We hope every Republican candidate comes to see our State and every Republican in Nevada comes to participate. We Republicans are working hard to enhance registration to the GOP, and even if same-day registration isn't the means to it, we always enjoy the good help of Nevada's Senior Senator as motivation and inspiration.

    This would be Harry "the labor economist" Reid who last week in the well of the Senate went on air to tell us how "...private sector jobs are doing's the public sector jobs where we're behind..." Hmmm. Really? Are you on planet earth? Ever visit Nevada?

    In Senator Reid's world we really are short of pension-entitled, budget busting State and Federal employees who get to retire early with 100% of their health care and pension paid for by the rest of us. Yes, that's what we're short of. God forbid we actually become a state which entices private sector employers.

    So, while we in the GOP have an organization that is just in the beginning of its reformation, appears to me the state party leadership made a rational, balanced decision. We'll do just find coming behind New Hampshire.

    And thank goodness for Harry. Please do report on him frequently. Compared to the benefit of "same day registration", Harry Reid's epiphanies are far more helpful.

  11. hey not just the state republicans are causibg the embarrassment vibe:

    Ya Know, lets all listen to this guy ...most of us have houses underwater due to massive FRAUD in the offshore banking industries , the FEDERAL RESERVE, assisting in the HEIST of AMERICAN EQUITY...yet Romney says , hey fix 'em up and rent 'em, great advice ...he ought to get his real estate license ....RIGHT?

    dont hear a word about the FRAUD, no , nor the FEDERAL RESERVE giving TRILLIONS to offshore banks ....and NOT TELLING US, MITT is right , just fix up your house that is close to foreclosure, UNDERWATER EVERY MONTH, and rent it to someone with an EBT CARD....good plan


    RON PAUL ....Y'all
    -against the federal reserve
    -constitutionalist (meaning) investigate the FRAUDSTERS MITT, you PALS remember?

    here is the story:

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planning to nearly quadruple the size of his $12 million California beachfront mansion.

    The former Massachusetts governor is planning to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot home facing the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, Calif., and replace it with an 11,062-square-foot home, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
    Romney filed an application with the city for a coastal development permit but that no date has been set to consider the project.