Guy W. Farmer: Harry Reid is a conservative. Who knew? |

Guy W. Farmer: Harry Reid is a conservative. Who knew?

Guy W. Farmer
For the Nevada Appeal

According to my friend and fellow columnist Eugene Paslov, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is “a quintessential Nevada conservative.” That’s like calling Rush Limbaugh a “progressive.”

Quintessential is a big word so I looked it up in the dictionary: “The essence of a thing in its most concentrated form,” which doesn’t transform Reid into a conservative. In fact, our senior senator has moved steadily to the left since he first went to Washington more than 20 years ago.

When I first met the senator in the 1960s he was a moderate states rights Nevada Democrat as was the governor I worked for, Grant Sawyer. Reid really lost me last year, however, when he teamed up with ultra-liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of San Francisco, to push President Obama’s free spending, Big Government program through Congress.

No wonder Reid trails both of his leading Republican challengers, Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian, in recent public opinion polls. The latest Rasmussen Poll has him losing to Lowden 51-38 and to Tarkanian 50-37, but I take those numbers with a grain of salt because Rasmussen is an outsider in Nevada. I saw both GOP candidates in action at a recent political function and frankly, I wasn’t overly impressed. They’ll have to step up their game in order to beat the $25 million man; that’s how much money Reid has in his re-election campaign war chest.

I’ll say this for our senior senator: He delivers the pork for Nevada (good pork, of course) and he’s cutting off funds for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, an ill-considered plan to turn our state into the nation’s nuclear garbage dump. There was good news on that front last week when the U.S. Energy Department asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to revoke its license application for the highly toxic project, which is opposed by most Nevadans.

I agreed with my friend Gene Paslov when he wrote that “Sen. Reid is in the best position to negotiate with the president and Congress to help us find solutions” to Nevada’s severe economic problems, but I don’t think “free” money from the feds is the answer. More than stimulus funds (taxpayer money, that is), we need tax and incentive programs that will create new jobs in the private sector. In other words, jobs, jobs, jobs, and not make-work government jobs, either.

Apparently, Paslov has a lot more faith in government than I do. When he urges us to trust our elected officials, I look at all of the corruption and sex scandals in Congress and wonder whether he lives in a different world. Maybe so.

• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, has been a Nevada voter since 1962.