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The Nevada GOP’s Travails

While some want to lay the blame for the Nevada GOP’s current state of chaos at the feet of Chairman Michael McDonald, give the guy a break. He’s been in the job all of one month. Let’s face it, this has been a leaderless, dysfunctional party operation for at least the last dozen years, and that is NOT a reflection on the various party chairs over that period of time.

You see, the governor is assumed to be the titular head of the party organization of his or her respective party – just as the President of the United States is the titular head of his or her national party operation. And for the past dozen years, Republican governors have neglected to build and support the Nevada Republican Party…including LONG before the Ron Paul folks got involved.

Worse, while GOP Governors Kenny Guinn, Jim Gibbons and Brian Sandoval have ignored building the party, then-Sen. John Ensign was actively undermining it in the 2008 election cycle by raising money off the Strip and from other institutional donors, not for Nevada Republicans, but for his own operation when he was head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

Meanwhile, with no Democrat in the governor’s office, Sen. Harry Reid has filled the titular head role for his party…with impressive success.

Yes, many are kvetching and blaming the Ron Paul people for the problems in the Nevada GOP today. But that’s just a lame excuse and a crock. As Joe Gaylord, Newt’s former senior strategist back in 1994, would say: “Those people aren’t a problem; they’re a reality. Deal with them.”

Has Gov. Sandoval sat down and met with the leaders of the Ron Paul movement to hear them out, open a dialogue and at least try to establish a working relationship? Not that I’m aware of. Heck, he didn’t even show up at the Nevada Republican Party convention in Sparks last month!

Washing your hands of a problem doesn’t make it go away. Creating a “shadow” party to compete with the main party doesn’t fix the long-term problem. And blaming the current chairman who’s been in charge for just over 30 days for problems that have been festering for over 12 years is misdirected.