Las Vegas Sun

August 29, 2014

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Sun Editorial:

A letter to candidates

We don’t need rhetoric, what we need is the truth — and your cash

Dear Republican presidential candidates and campaigns:

As you filter through our great state in preparation for Saturday’s caucuses, we hope you get a sense of what Nevadans really think. Yes, we know that each of you claims to speak for the people — you understand us, you really do — but let’s put the pandering on the shelf for a minute.

The state’s leading political commentator, our colleague Jon Ralston, offered you some wonderfully practical advice Wednesday in his column, pointing out that despite perceptions, Nevadans really are no different from anyone else in the country. The state is part of the new heartland of America, as the Brookings Institution called it, and when it comes to the nation’s current crisis, Nevadans understand it like few others. The state has the highest rates of unemployment and home foreclosure in the nation — and has held that dubious distinction for far too long.

But before you start bashing President Barack Obama or the Democrats in Congress, particularly native son Harry Reid, please understand that Nevadans are tired of rhetoric. It doesn’t pay the mortgage or put food on the table or create jobs. We would venture to say all that talk has made you, in the words of a former Republican vice president, “nattering nabobs of negativism.” Who wants to invest in America, much less “believe in America,” when some of you claim the nation is on the verge of collapse under the weight of some form of European socialism. Claims like that are disingenuous at best and, along with the other hyperbole, have made the debate toxic.

If you really think we’re turning into a socialist country, be honest: Would you end public education, Medicare, Social Security, public hospitals, transportation systems, roads and all those other “socialist” things?

But we digress. We want to hear your plans. The real plans.

How are you going to help Nevada homeowners whose mortgages are underwater due to no fault of their own? Hardworking people have seen their home values plummet or have lost their homes because of all the games that were played by Wall Street and the mortgage companies during the boom and after the bust. Some of their actions were criminal.

So what do you say? Let the market bottom out and let the free market work? Well, it might have worked for some of you — those of you with the big bank accounts know who you are — but it hasn’t worked well for us. Nevadans don’t want to hear your economic theories and other fantasies while we’re suffering. They come across as mean-spirited and tailored to the rich.

You front-runners should take notice: Your populist talk won’t fly here. Nevadans appreciate the fact that you’ve been successful and have millions of dollars at your disposal, but we live in a different reality.

Put yourself in the shoes of a hardworking Nevadan who lost her job and her house because of the collapse. She doesn’t have a Cayman Island bank account or a Rolodex full of wealthy friends and political connections. Should she just cheer up and be comforted that the free market is “working”? Perhaps she should rejoice because her mortgage company flouted the rules to swiftly foreclose on her house. That will help the market hit bottom and rebound all the more quickly, right?

Go ahead and say it. We don’t need to be patronized. We’ve been through enough already, so you can tell the truth while you’re here. If nothing else, take your campaign workers out for a good time and spend lavishly at our world-class restaurants and hotels. That’s one way that you can help while you’re in town.

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  1. "Your populist talk won't fly here."

    Please, the Republican Party, especially the TEA Party wing of it, is far from being "populist." On the other hand, Mr. Obama is almost the very definition of that term. (Sorry, folks, Mr. Obama is not a socialist, he is a populist.)

    That said, I certainly hope that the campaigns, including Mr. Obama's, spends a bundle on advertising, rooms, food and other forms of entertainment in our town and State.

  2. I would like to see the Candidate Response to this opinion published, item for item. Don't just publish the letter, publish the answers and actions in response to this letter.

  3. <...but the most annoying thing about politicians, beyond their in your face corrupt activities, is that they always "have a plan" but they do not want to share their wisdom with the rest of us..>

    These guys won't share their wisdom on "their plans" because they really have NO plans. It's all just words, nothing else. They "talk the talk" but can't "walk the walk". Not one of these guys has come up with any solid solutions to ANY of the problems the country has. They'll say a few words but then go into the "we must remove Obama out of office" crap.

    And they're pretty damn stupid to think they can get elected president, be sworn in and within a year make this one big, happy and employed country. It's like some macho guy saying it's a piece of cake to fix the leaking kitchen sink just by looking at it but after several days and several trips to Home Depot and finally calling a plumber, he realizes it was easier said then done.