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What a Day!

For political junkies, especially conservatives, WHAT A DAY yesterday was!

Start with the announcements that a sitting Democrat governor in Colorado and two sitting Democrat U.S. senators, one in Connecticut and one in North Dakota, all announced they weren’t running for re-election. In addition, the leading Democrat gubernatorial candidate in Michigan dropped out of his race.

Then there was the revelation that C-SPAN sent a letter to Democrats asking that they televise all the important negotiations on the health care bill; something the Democrats have decided not to do after all, preferring to hash out the details in secret, private meetings. Thumbing their noses at Republicans is one thing; flipping Brian Lamb of C-SPAN the bird is another thing altogether. This could turn out to be VERY damaging to Reid & Company.

Then there was the announcement that Florida’s Republican Party chairman was stepping down, having been forced out by conservative Republicans supporting conservative GOP senatorial candidate Marco Rubio over moderate GOP senatorial candidate Charlie Crist.

Meanwhile, back at the Nevada ranch, Gov. Jim Gibbons threw the political equivalent of the “Hail Mary” pass in announcing some MAJOR education reform proposals which have the Left squealing like stuck pigs. But the thing to keep in mind here is that once in a great while the “Hail Mary” works. Just ask Doug Flutie.

Gibbons announcement yesterday was a comprehensive and detailed proposal, to which Republican gubernatorial opponent Brian Sandoval responded thusly: “While I’m an advocate of school choice, expanding empowerment schools and increased parental involvement, I believe it is an extremely bad idea to be laying off hundreds of teachers in a time of record unemployment in Nevada.”

That’s about the lamest response I could possibly imagine. L-A-M-E.

We’ve had teacher shortages in Nevada for years. The notion that eliminating the class-size reduction boondoggle would result in massive teacher layoffs is ridiculous.

But even if so, how can anyone suggest that it costs more to pay a laid off teacher unemployment than it costs to pay his or her full salary with benefits? That just defies common sense. And even if the Gibbons proposal somehow DOES eventually result in a few teacher layoffs, why shouldn’t teachers be subjected to the same economic realities that workers in the private sector are? Why should their jobs be protected when thousands upon thousands of other Nevadans are being laid off?

Inquiring taxpayer minds wanna know.

Democrats, for their part, are complaining about the governor bringing these proposals forward during a Special Session rather than during a regular session of the Legislature. But as Anjeanette Damon of the Reno Gazette-Journal reports this morning, some extremely enlightened strategists “say it’s exactly what’s necessary to force a debate on the conservative principles in a Legislature controlled by Democrats.”

“Conservative activist Chuck Muth said the Democratic majority refused to give hearings to similar bills during the regular session,” Damon writes. “But the governor controls the agenda of a special session, dictating what lawmakers must consider.” And as that Chuck Muth guy put it, “If the governor puts it on the agenda, then the Legislature can’t duck it anymore. They can’t hide.”

Exactly.

And boy, do you ever have to love this comparison of the governor’s education reform proposal to the Gipper, as reported in today’s Las Vegas Sun:

“Indeed, Wednesday’s announcement, with its talk of dismantling the elected State Board of Education and crushing unions is a reminder of a touchstone moment in the conservative movement, during the Ronald Reagan era.

“Reagan ran for president in 1980, promising to abolish the U.S. Education Department. Conservatives still look back fondly on the ire of labor supporters after Reagan fired air traffic controllers when they went on strike in 1981.

“The push to end collective bargaining for public employees, which would essentially crush the unions, echoes Reagan’s dramatic move, which is widely viewed as the beginning of a sharply anti-labor turn in American governance.”

Amen and hallelujah!

The only real criticism conservatives can mount about these proposals is that they weren’t championed and introduced three years ago when Gov. Gibbons was first sworn into office. But as the saying goes, better late than never.

There’s also been some grousing from Mike Montandon’s GOP gubernatorial camp that their candidate has been talking about these reforms for a long time. So what? Who cares whose ideas they may or may not have been originally? As a wise former president with the initials RWR often said, “There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

The point now is for all conservatives and Republicans (not necessarily the same thing) to rally behind the governor’s proposals, because the Left – especially the rabidly anti-education teachers union – is going to come after us like, like – dare I say it? – like an enraged ferret in a phone booth!

Meanwhile, in other news, James Dean Leavitt, chairman of the University Board of Regents for Nevada’s System of Higher Education, declared emphatically on Face-to-Face with Jon Ralston last night that he supports “revenue enhancements” rather than additional belt-tightening in the university system to help balance the state’s budget in the midst of the ongoing economic recession.

When pressed, Leavitt acknowledged that he was, indeed, calling for higher taxes, insisting that it would be just a little bit more – “miniscule” – from people who, frankly, these days have a whole lot less. Unfortunately, Regent Leavitt didn’t tell us exactly whose ox he wanted to gore and by how much. Perhaps it’ll come up the next time he’s on the ballot. Or at my scheduled lunch with him next week!

And finally, the Las Vegas Review-Journal published a story yesterday about how some boxer and martial arts injuries have taxpayers on the hook for their medical care. Isn’t that the same excuse nanny-staters use to justify mandatory helmets for motorcycle riders? If so, then doesn’t that mean professional boxers and UFC fighters should be REQUIRED to wear helmets in the ring? If not, why not? Why the hypocrisy?

Boy, I can hardly wait for tomorrow!