Chuck Muth: Battered Republicans ask to be beaten again
The recent election of Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea as the GOP’s minority leader continues a 15-year Republican tradition in the lower house of raising the white flag before the first shot is even fired. Republicans in the Assembly apparently aren’t just comfortable in their minority status; they have a political death wish.
Goicoechea continues the GOP tradition of putting nice-guy political ciphers in charge of running the show and coming in last. The book on Mr. Bipartisan, our new conciliator-in-chief:
1.) He’s no movement conservative. Goicoechea voted for the ginormous budget increase in 2009 and supported the $300 million room tax hike to help fund it.
2.) He doesn’t have the background or connections to raise anywhere near enough money to finance anywhere near enough winning campaigns.
3.) He’s from rural Nevada and has no understanding of the issues and problems in Clark County where 2/3 of the state’s population lives.
4.) He has no campaign training or experience whatsoever, especially in urban districts, and no known ability in political strategy and tactics.
5.) He has no known connections to or relationships with outside conservative grassroots organizations, especially the various new Tea Party groups.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval has said no tax hikes. Democrat gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid has said no tax hikes. Democrat Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford hasn’t proposed any tax hikes. Democrat Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera isn’t campaigning on a platform of higher taxes. Neither is Republican Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio.
And yet …
Newly-minted Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea raised the white flag and surrendered last weekend without a tax hike shot being fired by announcing in a Las Vegas Review-Journal story on Saturday that raising taxes is inevitable.
“If we get a super-minority, then we can negotiate with Democrats on taxes,” Goicoechea explained. “Some tax increases are probably coming, but if we have a super-minority we will have some leverage.”
Now, other than supporting tax hikes that aren’t “too bad,” can anyone tell us voters exactly what Goicoechea’s and the GOP assembly caucus’ agenda is this year? What issues are they running on which are different from the Democrats? For that matter, what Democrat issues are they running against? Exactly what would Republicans do differently if they were in the majority? What are their legislative priorities? Can they find Carson City on a map? Inquiring voters want to know.
Ah, our kingdom for a true opposition leader, not just a minority leader.
• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.