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Drive-By Nevada Muthings – January 8, 2010

• On Nevada Newsmakers on Wednesday, Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) admitted that Sen. John Ensign’s trouser malfunction scandal was the primary reason he opted not to run against Harry Reid, thus denying Republicans and Nevadans the best possible chance of defeating Obama’s health care water-boy this year.

• “I am not asking Sen. Ensign to resign, at least on this show,” Heller told show host Ray Hagar. “But, you know (the scandal) brought me pause, and I hesitated and was part of the decision making process as to whether or not I would take on Sen. Reid. And I chose not to under the scenario. It was more variables than just that, but that was a major variable in the process…”

• Heller further advised the reality of the fact that just having Sen. Ensign still in the Nevada congressional delegation is causing problems for the Nevada congressional delegation. So once again I ask: Why are Republicans continuing to defend this guy and keep him in office?

• Ensign is responsible for giving Harry Reid his 60-seat filibuster-proof majority, keeping the #1 contender against Harry Reid in the locker room, will be an albatross around the necks of each and every GOP candidate this year, and is hampering the ability of Nevada’s elected DC representatives from effectively working together to represent Nevada. And yet no Nevada Republican leader will step forward and publicly call for the guy to resign? Do Republicans here have a death wish, or what?

• Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports this morning that “U.S. employers cut payrolls by 85,000 in December.” Anyone want to venture a guess at how many non-essential government employees in Nevada were cut from the taxpayers’ payroll in December? Anyone?

• Unemployment nationwide in December remained stuck at ten percent. Yeah, that multi-billion dollar Harry Reid “stimulus” plan is really working like a charm, ain’t it?

• The Obama administration is proposing forcing smog checks on rural counties, including those in Nevada, which would cost their economies tens of billions of dollars. Tell ya what. Since we’re (a) in a recession and the Nevada government needs budget cuts, and (b) today’s cars are FAR cleaner and easy on the environment than they were when these smog tests were first implemented, why not get rid of them, and the bureaucracies that enforce them, completely?

• Gov. Gibbons announced yesterday that the State of Nevada intends to sue the federal government to stop Senator Harry Reid’s health care plan if it becomes law. “There is nothing healthy about Reid’s health care plan, the first thing it will do is kill Nevada’s economy, and then it will crush the working families of Nevada.” Is this guy on fire, or what?

• Let me give you four rock-solid reasons why Jim Gibbons still has a shot at re-election: Chief-of-Staff Robin Reedy, Communications Director Dan Burns, and Deputy Chiefs-of-Staff Lynn Hettrick and Stacy Woodbury. Mix those four with the inherent power of the governor’s office and nobody had better be counting Jim Gibbons out yet.

• On Gov. Gibbons’ proposal to get rid of collective bargaining for government workers, Democrat Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid said, “Collective bargaining is not the problem. We need leadership.” Really? Since Clark County, which Rory has been in charge of for the last four years, is bleeding red ink thanks in large part to bloated public employee salaries finagled out of taxpayers through the collective bargaining process, where’s his leadership been?

• And when will either the Clark County or Nevada Republican Party leaders ever start making that point to the public? Or even their own supporters?

• “Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is rejecting Gov. Jim Gibbons’ request for an immediate ruling on the constitutionality of the U.S. Senate’s health care bill,” reported the Las Vegas Sun yesterday. I guess the AG thought maybe she ought to actually read the Constitution first before making any such decisions. Prudent move.

• The organizers of the Raggio Recall effort are now saying the delay in getting it off the ground is due to bad weather and a lost volunteer list – the political equivalent of “The dog ate my homework.” Reno tea party leader Dana Allen now says he expects to kick off the effort next week. At this rate, the recall will commence right around the last day of Sen. Raggio’s final term in office. Maybe these folks ought to redirect their efforts to the November elections instead. That would give them a lot more time to get their act together.

• Speaking of taxes (we were, weren’t we?), the marijuana folks who just announced their new ballot initiative this week to tax and regulate pot propose a $50 per ounce excise tax. That’s just the TAX. As one astute reader of NN&V put it, “Chuck, a fifty dollar tax on an ounce of pot????? Who’s gonna buy at those prices?” No kidding.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

• “Senator (Harry) Reid is treating the citizens of Nevada and other states unfairly. His health care bill is not only ill-conceived, but I believe it is illegal. After Senator Reid reads his unhealthy healthcare reform bill, he should read the United States Constitution.” – Gov. Jim Gibbons, 1/7/10

• “Rory Reid has talked about a lot of plans for Nevada… a lot of plans for Clark County. But other than espousing plans and appointing committees, it remains to be seen whether Clark County will be able to recover from its fiscal crisis. Much like his father will saddle Nevada with a health care plan mortgaging future Nevadans for years, Rory Reid’s legacy seems to be dumping massive debt from the county hospital onto Clark County residents. I hope the voters are watching carefully. It seems two Reids don’t make it right.” – Gov. Jim Gibbons, 1/8/10

• “The most recent job (Brian) Sandoval quit was a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. Sandoval claims he quit the job to run for governor. Despite that claim, Sandoval has not revealed any ideas, solutions, thoughts, viewpoints, opinions, or plans for Nevada’s future. Aside from some suggestions that have either already been implemented or suggested by Governor Gibbons, Sandoval has shown no effort to improve the lives of the people of Nevada.” – Gov. Jim Gibbons, 1/8/10

• “No taxes, specific cuts, no massive layoffs, former Judge Brian Sandoval says in interview. Also rebuts criticism from Gov. Jim Gibbons, saying layoffs would occur from ending class-size reduction in middle of budget cycle. That would ‘make a bad problem worse,’ he said. Says he does support Gibbons plan for more flexibility in how education dollars are spent. And says abolishing collective bargaining ‘needs to be looked at.’ Says not hiding, as Gibbons alleged.” – RalstonFlash, 1/8/10

• “If (Brian) Sandoval is to have any hope of beating (Gov. Jim) Gibbons in a (Republican) primary, he’s going to have to learn to bring the crazy.” – Liberal blogger Hugh Jackson on Sandoval’s anemic response to Gibbons’ education reform proposal this week

• “The biggest question I have…some of the senators are giving others senators large amounts of money for their votes. To me, that’s completely illegal. And I feel very strongly that someone should be monitoring that kind of stuff. If I or one of my colleagues can say I’ll give you $400,000 for voting for this item on the agenda, it’s gotta be wrong, yet they’re doing it back there….” – DEMOCRAT Las Vegas City Councilman Gary Reese on Wednesday on what fellow Democrat Nevada Sen. Harry Reid has been doing to secure votes for his health care bill (Hat Tip: RalstonFlash)