In 2008, the Democrats took over the state Senate after some outrageous and despicable campaigns to oust Joe Heck and Bob Beers.
Thanks to outside spending, mostly by the state Democratic Party, the Republicans fell to a couple of ciphers boosted by a relentless mail campaign featuring ridiculous allegations, especially against Heck, that would have embarrassed people in any other profession.
But politics is one of those rare endeavors where bad behavior consistently is rewarded, just as bad performances can be (just ask any number of “successful” pollsters and campaign managers). And apparently buoyed by those 2008 victories, no matter how they were obtained, the Democrats are adopting even more execrable tactics this cycle to try to hold onto the upper house they took four years ago. They also are using astoundingly disingenuous and hypocritical maneuvers in the most important Assembly race, showing a level of shame even striking for this world of low standards.
And, from what I hear in the field, they just may win ugly again.
Yes, some of the Republican candidates are distressingly shallow about taxes and issue boiler-plate attacks on their opponents in these races. But it’s one thing to regurgitate talking points; it’s quite another to do what the Democrats are doing.
Despite all of the attention on the top-of-the-ticket federal races, no races have been more intense than the five contests that will determine control of the state Senate, now controlled by Democrats, 11-10. Republicans must win four of them to take control.
In critical races for the upper house and in that pivotal Assembly contest, the Democrats and their friends have sent mail pieces that reflect just how desperate and hollow they are. (I have posted some examples here.)
What issue has been used in direct mail to try to defeat the likes of Mari St. Martin and Steve Kirk in two open state Senate seats in Southern Nevada? Medicare. Yes, Medicare.
Now what in the world do a state lawmakers have to do with that federal program? The answer to that question is the same as the amount of integrity in the Democratic campaigns.
“Since 1965 you’ve paid into Medicare – would Steve Kirk end it now?” asks one piece paid for by AFSCME, a reliable Democratic stalking horse. And on the inside, it refers to “Steve Kirk’s team and his “allies” supporting the Paul Ryan budget.
Similar tactics are being used against St. Martin in another open-race seat, with a twist: SEIU, another reliable Democratic Party subcontractor, is using a comment St. Martin made as a spokeswoman for the state GOP to tie her to the Ryan budget and to say she wants to “end Medicare as we know it.”
This is reminiscent of the tactics used four years ago to oust Heck and Beers, with no regard for truth or fairness. I’d like to say I’m surprised. But I’m not.
The Harry Reid-fueled, legalized money-laundering machine, a k a Democrats, Inc., has so much money to spend that it can afford to use some of it to help keep the Legislature as a foil for GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval.
The Democratic Party’s aid to Assembly Majority Leader Marcus Conklin is an offensive tactic of a different kind. It takes chutzpah to do what they are doing – and a certain shamelessness that is impossible to quantify.
In mailers pounding Wes Duncan, the highly touted GOP challenger to would-be Speaker Conklin, the Democrats have bludgeoned him for wanting “to broaden (the) sales and use tax….that means YOU PAY NEW TAXES on things you need every day.”
Yes, Duncan has expressed support for a sales tax on services that would be revenue-neutral, essentially parroting the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s solution to the tax system. So be it.
But here’s the rub: Conklin and legislative Democrats, amid a failed attempt to raise $1.5 billion in taxes last session, proposed – you knew this was coming – a sales tax on services. This wasn’t Conklin's “allies” or his “team” – it was Majority Leader Conklin himself, along with other capital Democrats. And now they have the gall to assail Duncan for his proposal, which is the same concept and would actually be revenue-neutral?
Can’t be true, right? But it is.
When I asked Conklin about this on “Ralston Reports” on Wednesday, he pointed out that it was not his mailer and quickly pivoted to talk about tax policy in general. But he certainly would not disavow it, just as those aforementioned ciphers, Shirley Breeden and Alison Copening, refused to distance themselves from the third-party campaigns against Beers and Heck four years ago.
Those two ousted state senators eventually got revenge – Beers won a settlement from the Democrats after suing them for libel, and Heck’s retribution was even sweeter as he is now a congressman. And whatever happened to their two invisible foes?
Copening and Breeden, after undistinguished terms (although I cannot text and drive – at least I’m not supposed to – because of Breeden), declined to run for re-election this year.
At least the Democrats found candidates this cycle in Justin Jones and Joyce Woodhouse who are not hiding from the media. But I must have missed the news releases in which they abhorred the tactics being used by their team, their allies.
Will this bad behavior be rewarded again?
Talk to me Nov. 6.