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“Moderate Mike’s” War on Conservatives

As I noted yesterday, the Nevada Senate GOP Caucus’s removal of veteran State Sen. Barbara Cegavske from her leadership position as Assistant Minority Leader, and Senate Minority Leader “Moderate Mike” Roberson’s removal of Cegavske from the Senate Finance Committee, wasn’t so much because she’s a woman.

Although, as the ONLY Republican woman in the Senate it was certainly a politically dumb decision from a PR standpoint. I mean, with Republicans talking about “legitimate rape” and all, it’s not like the GOP is doing a bang-up job with the gal vote these days, right?

Talk about a self-inflicted wound.

But the truth is, Cegavske was purged from leadership and the Finance Committee for two reasons: First and foremost, because she’s a conservative. Secondly, because she won’t bend down and kiss Roberson’s…er, ring.

Roberson has admitted as much – not by words, but deeds.

Recall his explanation to the media yesterday for “dissing” Cegavske by removing her from the powerful Finance Committee. “Moderate Mike” said he wanted one Republican from the rurals, one from the north and one from the south.

For the southern seat, he replaced conservative Cegavske with…himself.

A man who ran as a Tax Pledge-signing, tea party conservative but who is now a rubber stamp for Gov. Sandoval’s tax-and-spend agenda – including another $620 million tax hike and a dramatic expansion of the government’s Medicaid program. And who has cynically proposed a $20 million new program to teach Hispanic kids who already speak English how to…speak English.

[SIDENOTE: By the way, it’s not just women Roberson is causing a problem with for Republicans in Nevada. I was told today that he attended a recent event at the Latin Chamber of Commerce and not only spoke way longer than he should have (rude), but reportedly actually said to the gathered mostly-Hispanic crowd, “Republicans need to do better with you people.” YOU PEOPLE!! I wonder if Roberson can pick up satellite signals from E.T. with those tin ears of his.]

For the rural seat he picked moderate freshman Sen. Pete Goicoechea – who, as an assemblyman last session, voted for the $620 million Sandoval tax hike and is in Roberson’s pocket – instead of experienced conservative rural Sen. James Settelmeyer.

And for the northern seat, he picked former government employee and moderate Sen. Ben Kieckhefer – who voted for the Sandoval tax hike last year and is in Roberson’s pocket – instead of experienced conservative northern Sen. Don Gustavson.

The difference between how budget debates would be handled with Cegavske, Settelmeyer and Gustavson doing battle with the Democrats (and Sandoval!) on the Finance Committee compared to Roberson, Goicoechea and Kieckhefer laying down and saying, “Thank you, sir, may I have another!” is as stark as night and day.

And believe it or not, it gets even worse.

It’s not just that Roberson is openly hostile to independent-thinking conservatives and didn’t foresee how this punishment of Cegavske would look to women. No, I’m reliably told that Roberson has privately said he kicked Cegavske off the Finance Committee…because some lobbyists didn’t want her there!

Isn’t that just lovely. Voters go through all the trouble of electing legislators only to have deep-pocketed special interests pulling Roberson’s strings and running the show…just as Roberson has bought off the support of Kieckhefer, Goicoechea and Sen. Joe Hardy (whip position in leadership).

Now, to be fair to “Moderate Mike,” he’s not exactly unique in this.

Roberson’s idol, Sen. Bill Raggio, also had no love for principled fiscal conservatives – though Sen. Raggio would NEVER have handled this situation in such an amateurish, ham-handed manner.

And note that just a few short weeks ago, House Speaker John Boehner punished three conservative GOP congressmen and kicked them off their committee assignments for being too conservative and not voting as they were told.

So this war on conservatives by moderate establishment GOP leaders is par for the course.

Alas, it’s also reality. This is the way the game is played, folks. Majorities get to lead. Democrats have the majority in the state Senate, so they run the state Senate. Moderate Republicans have the votes in the GOP caucus, so moderates run the GOP caucus.

Conservatives should have learned this lesson from the post-Contract with America era. You see, it’s not enough to simply elect more Republicans. You have to elect BETTER Republicans, as well.

That means running credible, sufficiently-funded conservatives against mushy-moderate Gumby Republicans in targeted primaries in districts where you don’t have to be a mushy-moderate Gumby Republican to win.

Like how Jim Wheeler successfully challenged and defeated mushy-moderate, tax-hiking Assemblyman Kelly Kite in the Assembly District 39 GOP primary last spring.

Fellow Nevada conservatives, tea party activists and Ron Paul supporters…forget Barack Obama. Forget Harry Reid. Forget Dina Titus. And forget Congress. Nothing you can do to change those.

On the other hand, we not only have enough problems right here in our own back yard, but those problems are problems YOU can fix in Republican primaries with smart targeting, solid candidate recruitment, just a little organization…and NOT with a lot of money.

READERS WRITE

“We do not need more cookie-cutter Republicans. … Where are the Republican women and minorities?” – Ellie Lopez-Bowlan, former GOP assembly candidate

“Chuck, you hit the nail on the head. The issue that Cegavske is a woman has nothing to do with it. Roberson is just another RINO, over-spending guy that wants to be liked more than to fix our fiscal situation.” – M.S., Las Vegas

“Don’t think you were hard enough on Mike (Roberson) – he’s an idiot and is losing more people for the Party than he is gaining. I’m surprised he continues to wield such power with all the toes he’s stepped on. The little whippersnapper struts around like a king. Hope we can knock him down a notch or two.” – M.D., Las Vegas