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The Craven, Disingenuous Republican Caucus

“For those who believe no tax increases were necessary and a billion dollars in cuts would have been preferable,” wrote Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston on Sunday, “the real travesty was the performance of many of the Legislative Building’s Republicans.”

Well, count me in! I believe no tax increases were necessary and certainly would have preferred a billion dollars in cuts, so please, Jon…..explain this travesty thing to me.

“Using simple-minded, fatuous rhetoric, the equivalent of a verbal emetic, many of them voted against the tax increase but only after they had voted for hundreds of millions in new spending – either by supporting the lower education budget or the overall spending package. They wanted the benefit – for campaign mail pieces especially – of saying they supported education but hypocritically opposed the revenue package to fund it.”

First, I had to look up “emetic.” It means “a medicine that induces nausea and vomiting.” You know, like Speaker Barbara Buckley’s absurd statement that people were going to DIE if we didn’t pass the tax hikes. But I digress.

Buckley’s own verbal emetics aside, Ralston has it exactly right. Republicans, even those holding themselves out to be righteous fiscal conservatives, have been voting for massive new spending on government programs for many years now while declaring opposition to tax hikes. It is, indeed, the height of hypocrisy.

“They did so,” Ralston continued, “without ever submitting an alternative tax package or cuts to offset the spending they supported.”

Amen.

If, for example, some Republicans thought Gov. Gibbons’ cuts to higher education were too big, what should have been cut instead? And if you can’t offer any offsets, then the only other option is tax hikes. And if you didn’t like the tax hikes proposed by the Democrats, what were the GOP’s alternative tax hike proposals. And if they weren’t going to vote for ANY tax hikes, then they had NO BUSINESS voting for the spending increases. Period.

“Six of the Assembly Republicans supported the budget and then voted against the taxes to fund what they had just endorsed,” Ralston concluded. “This is the worst kind of craven, disingenuous behavior. But they are likely to receive kudos from a narrow base on the right that cares nothing for nuance and only for sound bites.”

Now on this point I have to disagree with Jon. Those six wishy-washy, spineless, stand-for-nothing, go-along-to-get-along hypocritical Republicans who voted for the spending but not the revenue will get no kudos from the narrow base of true fiscal conservatives on the right who are still left in the GOP. Or from me, either. Disengaged, my-party-right-or-left partisans, maybe. But not true conservatives.

What? Who were the six craven, disingenuous Republicans who voted to have their cake and eat it, too?

Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, Assembly Assistant Minority Leader Lynn Stewart, Assembly Minority Whip Pete Goicoechea, Assemblyman Joe Hardy, Assemblyman Tom Grady and Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury. All of whom also voted for the $232 million room tax increase.

If there’s any political justice in the world, each of the above-named Republicans (with the exception of Woodbury, who represents a Democrat district) should face a credible Republican primary challenger next year and get their butts kicked to the curb. As Spock said to Dr. McCoy at the end of The Wrath of Khan, “Remember.”