Goicoechea Had a Cow…E-I-E-I-Ouch!

On April 30, 2011, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

Republican Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea was spittin’ nails. I mean he was livid. According to a report by Anjeanette Damon of the Las Vegas Sun, “Tax My Meat” Pete was furious with some of his fellow legislators in Carson City this week.

No, silly, not with the Democrats. Assembly GOP leaders don’t get mad at Democrats. They “cooperate” with Democrats in a “bipartisan” fashion. Never is heard a discouraging word. Can’t we all just get along? Kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya….

No, Goicoechea was fuming at his fellow Republicans in the state Senate.

First, it’s important to understand the importance of certain issues facing the Legislature this year. Sure, the budget issues are at the top of the list. But whatever the Legislature and the governor do on the budget will only last for the next two years….and then they get to do it all over again.

But redistricting only occurs once every TEN years. And if Republicans in the Assembly don’t get some relief this year from the screw job the Democrats did to them ten years ago, they’re gonna remain the minority party for yet another ten years. Or longer.

So redistricting is THE most important political issue facing Assembly Republicans this session….especially since they’re pretty much irrelevant to whatever’s gonna to happen with the budget anyway.

Which brings us to why Goicoechea had a cow this week.

Both Democrats and Republicans released their proposed legislative redistricting maps on Thursday, for both the state Senate and the state Assembly. And according to Damon’s report, “Democrats in both houses worked together to draw up new maps. Republicans, however, did not.”

Uh-oh. I think I see where this is going….

Seems that Goicoechea’s Assembly Republicans tried to draw up their own maps instead of coordinating their effort with Senate Republicans. The end result: They were told “that their proposed districts didn’t comply with the Voting Rights Act” and “legislative lawyers advised Goicoechea not to release” them.

Oh, for crying out loud.

I’m guessing Assembly Republicans hired those same elementary school kids to draw their maps that Assistant Minority Leader Lynn Stewart used to choose Nevada’s official state bug last legislative session. After all, crayons are a lot cheaper than computer mapping software.

In any event, because of either their incompetence or intransigence, Assembly Republicans had no maps of their own to offer and had to rely on the maps drawn by Senate Republicans who, get this, actually hired an experienced consultant to draw their maps. But the lines Senate Republicans drew for Assembly Republicans aren’t to Goicoechea’s liking. And according to Damon, Goicoechea characterized the Senate GOP proposal thusly: “We got pretty well bent.”

As in, “bent over.” Ouch.

“Technically, they (Senate Republicans) were an outside group,” Goicoechea complained to Damon, “and we didn’t have near the input we should have. That’s our fault. We should have been more involved.”

Gee, ya think?

Let me put this in a little more perspective. Assembly Republicans have been in the minority since Reagan was president….except for one session in 1995 when they enjoyed a 21-21 tie. But during the last ten years, if you add up all the statewide votes cast for Republican assembly candidates and all the statewide votes cast for Democrat assembly candidates, more Nevadans consistently voted for Republicans than Democrats.

Yet thanks to the miracle of gerrymandering, Democrats have been able to win far more assembly seats than Republicans in election after election. Indeed, Democrats enjoy a huge 26-16 advantage this legislative session. Which is to say, how the new lines are drawn is EXTREMELY important to Republicans in the Assembly.

If only Goicoechea and his leadership team understood that and did something about it. Instead, and as usual, they screwed up.

As you know, I’m not the kind of person who hates to say “I told you so.” Indeed, I rather enjoy it. And I told Republicans last November when they rushed to coronate Goicoechea as their leader just two short days after the election – an election in which nine new Republicans, a majority of the minority, were elected – that it was a mistake.

Boy, has that ever turned out to be true.

Thanks to “Leader” Goicoechea’s negotiating skills and management abilities, Assembly Republicans find themselves in the unenviable position of not being 100% publicly behind their fellow Republican governor on the all-important tax issue, in return for the Democrats killing almost every single conservative legislative proposal they’ve introduced, while being left at the station in the all-important redistricting battle.

Man, that’s some “strategery,” I tell ya.

I wonder if the leader’s underling’s knew in advance that their leader was leading them to another ten years in Nevada’s political wilderness? I wonder if some of them right about now are thinking that changing horses in midstream might not be such a bad idea after all.

 

4 Responses to Goicoechea Had a Cow…E-I-E-I-Ouch!

  1. Daisy says:

    Doesn’t the Republican Assembly Caucus have an Executive Director? Isn’t the Republican Senate Caucus missing one, therefore being led by Ryan Erwin. Don’t get me wrong, Pistol Pete deserves a good chunk of the blame here… but, umm… Ms. Executive Director… where are you in this mess?

  2. Chuck Muth says:

    The Senate Caucus Director is Jodi Stephens, who has nothing to do with the Assembly Caucus.

  3. robert smith says:

    Dispatch of the Day: The Campaign From Hell-er

    Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV2) seems tickled to be appointed to fill Senator Ensign’s very soon to be vacant seat, and issued the following statement: “I am deeply humbled and honored to be appointed to the Senate by Governor Sandoval. There is a lot of hard work ahead to get our state and nation moving in the right direction. Nevadans across our state have been struggling with job loss, high gas prices, and foreclosures. There is no question that our nation needs to change the way we do business if we are going to get our economy back on track and get Nevadans working again. “As I have stated before, it is time for government to be accountable to the American people and make decisions that lead the way for greater prosperity and fulfill our promises to future generations. Serving in the United States Senate will provide Nevada a stronger voice and greater opportunities to influence the policies that matter most to our great state,” said Heller.”

    What he said: Nevadans across our state have been struggling with job loss, high gas prices, and foreclosures.
    What he did: Yes, indeed, Nevadans have been struggling with job loss — so, how does Congressman Heller explain his vote against the ARRA, the infrastructure and temporary economic stimulus bill that sought to save jobs in Heller’s district and create others in infrastructure and new energy technologies? [GovTrack]

    And, there are those “high gas prices,” part of which are the result of investment/speculation — according to Goldman-Sachs analysis perhaps as much as a range of $21 to $27 per barrel — So, how does Congressman Heller explain his vote against the Dodd-Frank bill to rein in the commodity speculation by enhancing the authority of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to regulate derivative trading? [GovTrack] At the time he told constituents the bill was “flawed,” and “unnecessary regulation,” — Does the Congressman believe that if speculators were allowed to return to the days of unregulated commodity trading the volatility of the commodity markets (including oil) would decrease?

    Further, if Nevadans are struggling with high prices at the pump, then how does the Congressman explain his opposition to eliminating $4 billion in subsidies for oil corporations? The pass-along argument stumbles at the point whereat the taxpaying public is expected to pay higher prices for gasoline products in a “free market” while at the same time subsidizing oil depletion allowances.

    As to foreclosures, if Congressman Heller were actually listening to the problems of Nevadans facing foreclosure, then why the vote against HAMP? (The Home Affordable Modification Program) [GovTrack, 198] If foreclosures were so important to Congressman Heller, and he wants us to believe that he understands the impact foreclosures have on Nevada cities and towns, then why did he vote to terminate the Emergency Mortgage Relief Program on March 11, 2011? And, to terminate the FHA Refinance Program on March 10, 2011? To terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (March 16, 2011; H.R. 861) [DAH] [Roll Call 188] Republicans, Heller included, were quick to find fault with measures to ameliorate the effects of foreclosures — but have yet to introduce any legislation that would address the effects of foreclosures on homeowners and their communities.

    What he said: As I have stated before, it is time for government to be accountable to the American people and make decisions that lead the way for greater prosperity and fulfill our promises to future generations.

    What he did: About those future generations — the ones who may be looking forward to having the Medicare system in place, as it is for current senior citizens — why did Congressman Heller vote to eliminate the Medicare system in its present form and replace it with a voucher (aka “premium support”) scheme that will mean higher out of pocket costs for seniors trying to pay for health care, AND the possibility that affordable health care insurance may not even be available for future retirees? [GovTrack 277]

    The Republicans have evidently decided to describe this vote as a way to “save Medicare for future generations,” for those of us in the “Vietnam Era” generation, this sound perilously similar to “destroying the village in order to save it.”

  4. Daisy says:

    Jodi being Senate Caucus Director is news to me. What I meant though was, where is Ms. Moradkhan? This problem with redistricting seems to be in the Assembly. Isn’t this why each caucus has an Executive Director? To avoid crap like this?

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