Guy W. Farmer: Sen. Reid remains standing out in left field |

Guy W. Farmer: Sen. Reid remains standing out in left field

Guy W. Farmer
For the Nevada Appeal

At a time when our lame duck Congress should focus like a laser on jobs and the economy, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has a different, more “progressive” agenda.

After narrowly defeating Tea Party challenger Sharron Angle in last month’s mid-term election, our senior senator decided to push for repeal of the military’s controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, advocate the legalization of Internet gambling and to attempt to pass the so-called “Dream Act,” which would spend millions of taxpayer dollars to send illegal immigrants to college. I question his priorities.

Apparently, Reid didn’t learn very much from his race against the Republicans’ weakest candidate for his Senate seat. I think his fellow Nevadans were telling him to move toward the middle of the political spectrum, but he remains out there in left field. My guess is that he’s making empty gestures toward two voting blocs that supported him, casino owners and Hispanics, knowing that his proposals won’t pass.

Although Reid and the Obama administration are pushing hard for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which would permit openly gay Americans to serve in the armed forces, three service chiefs – the heads of the Army, the Air Force and the Marines – have serious reservations about changing course on that divisive issue during wartime. Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos told Congress last week that repeal of DADT at this time would damage combat readiness.

Reid’s bill to legalize online gambling would make some major casino owners happy, but others are opposed, as I am, because it would be virtually impossible to police. Reid’s proposal would legalize Internet poker, which Congress outlawed in 2006 by prohibiting banks and credit card companies from making payments to Internet gambling sites. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Republicans have told Reid they’ll oppose any attempt to legalize online poker during the current lame duck session on grounds that Congress faces too many important issues – like jobs and the economy – to waste time on Internet gambling.

And finally, in a gesture to Nevada’s Hispanic voters, Sen. Reid is promoting the so-called “Dream Act,” which would send young illegal immigrants to college at taxpayer expense. Hispanics may account for more than 30 percent of Nevada’s population, but they accounted for less than 15 percent of the vote last month; that’s because immigrants can’t vote. Nevertheless, the Latino vote helped Reid win re-election and he’s dancing to their tune.

Although I sympathize with Hispanic students who are illegal through no fault of their own, I oppose the Dream Act because it would saddle taxpayers with a $6 billion unfunded mandate. No thanks!

• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, has supported Sen. Reid over the years.