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Muth’s Truths: February 22, 2010

The darling of the conservative right these days is supposed to be Sarah Palin. But Palin stiff-armed this year’s CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), declining an invitation to speak after initially agreeing (probably because CPAC doesn’t pay its speakers). Kinda like declining to finish a term in office as governor after initially running for and winning the seat.

And CPAC attendees weren’t exactly very happy about being blown off. Indeed, in the annual presidential straw poll, Palin came in third with just 7 percent of the vote. Ron Paul crushed her with 31 percent of the vote; Mitt Romney took the Silver with 22 percent. If Palin becomes a victim of the 15-minutes-of-fame curse, this year’s CPAC could historically mark the beginning of her end.

Writing that “Leadership is a word that is absent from much of today’s discussion of those who are in and those who aspire to elected public office,” Mark Amodei withdrew today as a candidate for the GOP nomination in Nevada’s U.S. Senate race. Amodei also said, “I will not endorse any candidate in the primary election.” I like Mark a lot, but punting on providing a little leadership to his supporters about the remaining field of candidates seems more than a bit ironic to me.

A week ago we published the results of an automated phone poll of likely GOP primary voters in the Nevada U.S. Senate race. Sue Lowden got 34 percent, Danny Tarkanian got 23 percent and Sharron Angle got 10 percent. But because it was an “automated” poll, many in the media blew off the fact that while most Republican candidates were still beating Harry Reid, Lowden was beating the other Republican candidates by better than the margin of error.

Well, it’s a week later and a new “traditional” poll has come out in that GOP primary race. And Glen Bolger’s results are pretty much right where the automated poll’s results were. Sue Lowden has 35 percent, Tarkanian gets 28 percent and Angle pulling 8 percent. Yeah, those automated polling results sure are unreliable, aren’t they?

Nevada Libertarians exhibited a shrewd level of political calculation and sophistication at their convention this weekend. The party opted NOT to field a candidate in the U.S. Senate race against Harry Reid, a race with serious and important national implications.

Some maintain the LP “spoiled” the effort to knock Reid out in 1998. But the decision to field a candidate that year had more to do with the arrogance of John Ensign who wouldn’t even meet with the party that election cycle, let alone campaign for their votes. Ensign, you’ll recall, went on to lose by 428 votes while the LP candidate that year chalked up over 8,000.

If the GOP loses to Reid again this year, no one will be able to blame the LP. The new Tea Party, however…..

Political Eye reports this morning that the lawyer who helped create the Tea Party of Nevada third-party political party is a registered Democrat. Red flag #1. And the group has already chosen its U.S. Senate candidate without so much as a party convention, let alone a vote of delegates. Red flag #2.

Of in the immortal words of cartoon media critic Jay Sherman: “It stinks.”

“Gov. Jim Gibbons has found additional money that will remove the need to force teachers to take a 1.75 percent salary cut during the next school year,” the RJ reports this afternoon, just days after the teachers union launches an all-out assault on the governor’s budget proposal. It’s a miracle!

“My friend Chuck Muth is wrong (in claiming that) removing the corporate welfare deductions that mining has bought itself and that other industries don’t enjoy, amounts to a tax hike,” writes my Democrat friend and fellow blogger Mike Zahara in WatchdogWag.com. “Ending all of mining’s deductions is tax fairness…”

In my best Blazing Saddles-like response (“Dr. Samuel Johnson’s right about Olson Johnson being right.”), let me say that Mike Zahara is wrong about Chuck Muth being wrong on this mining deduction reduction issue. The fact is it IS a tax hike on mining. Period.

On the other, Mike might have a point about the relative fairness or unfairness of those deductions which the mining industry enjoys. However, the fiscally responsible way to resolve those issues is in a revenue neutral reform proposal in which the taxes on mining that go up result on the taxes elsewhere going down. To raise taxes on mining simply to lessen the pain of long overdue and necessary guts to government is the wrong thing to do.

Rather than hike taxes on mining as Gov. Jim Gibbons has proposed (or propose nothing, as Democrat gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid has “proposed”), Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval has proposed selling off some unnecessary state property and using the proceeds to plug the current budget hole.

You know, kinda like selling off the second family car and making due with one.

Gibbons rejected the idea last week, preferring to stick with his plan to not only raise taxes on mining, but on the Internet as well. Leading Sandoval to write, accurately, “I believe the vast majority of Nevadans will think my idea is better than raising more than $100 million in new taxes…. I have offered a responsible plan to save the state $540 million dollars and am now the only candidate to commit to closing the budget gap without raising taxes.”

This leaves tax hawks in the GOP gubernatorial primary in a bit of a quandary.

They now have a choice between one candidate who has refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge but is proposing a budget fix with no tax hikes vs. an incumbent who has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and broken it, but adds insult to injury by publicly denying that he’s broken the pledge he’s broken.

Oh, or go with Mike Montandon who hasn’t signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge or offered a detailed proposal for balancing the budget without raising taxes. Is it too late to get Joe Heck back into the race? Or tempt Bob Beers into a second gubernatorial run?

Meanwhile, John Madole, head honcho of unionized construction contractors in Reno, proposed last week hiking the fee (tax) on teenage driver’s licenses by an additional $150 in order to pay for taxpayer-funded unionized building projects around the state to put unionized construction workers back to work. I wonder how UNR students feel about THAT suggestion?

In a now-widely circulated email to a Nevada citizen named Scott Metro of Pahrump, Democrat Assemblyman Moises Denis exhibits a level of denial of economic reality that will leave most Nevada taxpayers absolutely breathless.

“I am writing today to beg you not to raise my tax’s,” Mr. Metro wrote in an email to Nevada legislators last Thursday. “Please help me!! I know that soon you will make a decision about budget cuts. I would like to ask you to cut benefits/services/entitlements for the thousands of illegal immigrants harbored here within our state.” To which the illustrious Assemblyman Denis replied:

“As to the “illegal immigrants” in the state of Nevada they do pay taxes. In fact they pay more taxes than you do. At least you qualify for help from the state but they don’t. Only US citizens can get help from the state unless it’s an emergency. We do educate their children but they put more taxes into the economy than we pay to educate their children. So you should be thankful that they are here because they are subsidizing the services and help that you are getting from the state.”

Got that legal citizens of Nevada? So the next time you run into a group of illegal alien outside Home Depot, don’t snear and tell ‘em to “speak English.” Instead, give ‘em a big ol’ bear hug and thank them profusely for the wonderful service they’re performing for our state by breaking in and squatting here.

Meanwhile, Vicenta Montoya, chairman of the Sí Se Puede Latino Democratic Caucus is urging Gov. Gibbons, Majority Leader Horsford and Speaker Buckley to “allow the licensing of undocumented immigrants.” That’s undocumented immigrant-speak for “illegal aliens.”

Montoya proposes charging $100 a year for a special driver’s license for illegal aliens, claiming the new program would raise additional money for the state, lower insurance rates, make the streets safer and maybe even eliminate bad breath. And after all, as Mo Denis has already explained, these illegal aliens already pay more taxes than you and I do, so what’s another hundred bucks, right?

And finally, displaying a level of keen insight only a political science professor could possess, taxpayer-funded UNR’s Eric Herzik told the Reno Gazette-Journal today that liberals are pulling Democrats in the U.S. Senate to the left while moderates are pulling them to the right which puts Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the middle. “It’s not really a good situation for Reid,” the Guru of Reno declared.

Bask in the brilliance, dear readers. Bask in the brilliance.