My thoughts on Nevada’s gubernatorial candidates
October 20, 2006
I blame Gov. Kenny Guinn. Why? What’s to blame? As governor of Nevada, he has set the bar level of familiarity and unrestrained accessibility so high that our country’s best pole-vaulters can only hope to hit their chins on it on their best day.
Stone-cold purists may say that accessibility is overrated-that it has little to do with being a good governor. Hey! You purists out there! Are you sure about that? I’m not.
Kenny Guinn has a commanding presence with a personality as its match point. A big man with a bear-hug welcome in his smile. Just like any other politician, some may not have agreed with our governor on a topic or two, but that’s the case whether someone is the governor or a sportscaster or even a trash collector. But my column today is not about Gov. Guinn. I intend to pay homage to the man sometime next month. Today’s column is about Dina Titus and Jim Gibbons.
Both Titus and Gibbons claim that they are very approachable. They say people come up to them in stores, restaurants, and on the street to talk. Well, here are my impressions (impressions, not dissections) of those claims, and of Titus and Gibbons as primary candidates for the Nevada state governor’s race. And, as usual, I’m just going to let my flow of consciousness break through all levees that embank and hold back opinions.
I often take a pre-school approach to impressions of character. Jim Gibbons is a stately
professional with sort of a rigid school principal’s demeanor. Very studied. Seemingly calculated and rehearsed. His views on Yucca Mountain in particular are well schooled and authentically knowledgeable, permeated in his geological science background. But I didn’t get a sense of positive and believable assertion on other, more urgent and relevant topics – especially those on education funding and illegal immigration.
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Time for a footnote. My opinion of who the Nevada Appeal should endorse in any state or city race is just that – my opinion. And it’s one opinion. One opinion from one person who happens to be the publisher of the Appeal. Nothing more. Just one voice among a consensus. Like one cup-mouthed yell at a Raiders’ game.
Dina Titus is affirmative on many topics. As far as I’m concerned, she proved that again during her interview with the Appeal’s reader panel and editorial board this week. As Jim Gibbons’ session with us ended, it was time for him to leave the room and Titus to begin. Whether we talked about illegal immigration, education, sex offenders, drug abuse in our schools, or even the war in Iraq as it relates to the great number of young Nevadans who have offered their lives to the cause, she exhibited conviction and credibility by route of street intelligence and passion. I believe she is for real, and realistic. And she’s sharp. Razor sharpness on two sides of the blade. She has a simple down-home sense of humor that makes you smile. And she has more energy wells in her personality and statements of objectives than America’s oil fields.
Is she fiercely competitive? Sure is. Strong willed? Double sure. Natural born leaders are supposed to be. John Kerry should have had her affirmative nature. He’d be president today. But he didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up. As for Titus, there is no “Yes sir, No sir, Where do I go sir” uncertainty with her. She leads because she’s a leader who paves her own path – one on which I’d like to see Nevadans walk. To me, it’s OK if someone makes a wrong decision, as long as he or she believes what they do is right.
I also believe that Titus would be very approachable. She’s in touch. You can tell. Her personality supports what her words proclaim. She’s in touch with her ear to the ground-where it counts. Field intelligence and the knowledge that sustains it do not come accidentally or in a text book. She listens. And when she speaks, I listen, and I believe her.
John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.