The Nevada Democratic Party hopes to re-take control of the Nevada state Senate for the first time in 18 years.
Democrats chose to target two seats — those of state Sens. Bob Beers of Las Vegas and Joe Heck of Henderson.
First step: Recruit two Democrats to run against them.
Introducing, in this corner for today’s tag team match, former water district employee Allison Copening in Beers’ Senate District 6, and — challenging Joe Heck of Henderson — former 30-year School District secretary-turned-administrator Shirley Breeden, who unsuccessfully sued the district in 1997 after she said a colleague made a coarse remark to her and her supervisor refused to do anything about it.
(Breeden reportedly demanded a $500,000 settlement from Superintendent Carlos Garcia for her emotional “pain” — the U.S. Supreme Court threw the whole thing out after the district spent $290,000 in taxpayer money defending itself.)
Now summer 2008 arrives and mesdames Copening and Breeden show up for the first media debates and candidate forums of the season, at which point something becomes instantly obvious to all — including pundits who generally lean to the left:
These may be perfectly pleasant ladies who are kind to pets and children, but when asked the most rudimentary questions about state government, they resemble deer in the headlights.
“All sugar and spice but can’t tell you the first thing about state government,” understates former Review-Journal political columnist Jon Ralston, who actually used the phrase “deer in the headlights” to characterize Ms. Breeden. “If vacuousness were an Olympic sport, we’d have had a couple of gold medal performances from Copening and Breeden during the Congregation Ner Tamid-sponsored debates.”
“The worst performances we’ve ever seen in covering politics,” echoed Steve Sebelius, editor of Las Vegas CityLife.
A Democratic disaster. What to do?
Ms. Copening, particularly, started turning down invitations to candidate forums. Instead, it soon became clear the new official Democratic strategy was to keep Ms. Copening largely out of sight, instead spending hundreds of thousands of dollars smearing Sen. Beers with signs and a planned series of seven large-scale, all-color mailers, hoping they could run up his “negatives” till voters would prefer, in essence, to cast a vote for “some Democrat I’ve never heard of.”
And what mailers they are.
A little bit of background: In May, the first segment of “Legends of Las Vegas” was installed at 1234 Las Vegas Boulevard South, as Mayor Oscar Goodman set his footprints, handprints and signature in concrete in front of a vacant hotel next door to Talk of the Town, a combination porn store/strip club. (“Home of the $10 table dance” boasts the sign outside.)
The idea — eventually — is to have many, many plots on a walk of fame from Sahara Avenue to Fremont Street, each with handprints and footprints, a lighted memorabilia box and an audio biography playing in a continuous loop via nearby speakers.
But organizers were willing to start small. “We want to see if this holds up for a month or so, see if anybody takes a crowbar to it,” said Raymond Pistol, who owns Talk of the Town and is active in the Downtown Turnaround Organization, a loose affiliation of business owners that put the project together.
How else has Mr. Pistol gained fame and fortune? Apparently, when the producer of the porn film “Deep Throat” needed money for legal fees to fight obscenity charges a few years back, Mr. Pistol helped the filmmaker by agreeing to buy the rights to his entire film library.
In 2006, when state Sen. Beers ran in the Republican primary for governor, this same local businessman gave candidate Beers a perfectly legal $10,000 campaign contribution. When Mr. Beers lost that primary, he returned $5,000 of that money — the part he could otherwise have used in the general election — to Mr. Pistol, as instructed to do by state regulations.
“I hadn’t actually met the man,” says Sen. Beers, who adds he did not solicit that particular donation. “The incoming checks, basically I didn’t even see them, they went to the campaign treasurer.”
Yet the Democratic mailers now hitting mailboxes in the Sixth District declare “Bob Beers Ran on Family Values and then took $10,000 in cash from the maker of ‘Deep Throat’. … Took $10,000 from the Nevada Porn Industry … Bob Beers is in bed with the sex industry,” etc.
The Democrats and their union pals haven’t done themselves so proud since they targeted former state Sen. Sue Lowden — now head of the state Republican Party — for her attempt to let Nevadans choose for themselves which overrated childhood inoculations their kids should get, accusing her of “promoting childhood disease”!
Gives new meaning to that line on Ms. Copening’s resume, where she says she has extensive experience in “water and sewer.”
Say what you want about Sen. Beers’ politics, he’s a perfectly normal middle-class Las Vegan, living in a perfectly normal middle-class house with the woman to whom he’s been married for 26 years (his Scoutmaster’s daughter, actually), putting two kids through the public schools. He enjoys bluegrass music and rock collecting.
“My idea of night life is watching ‘CSI,’ he says. “The real dirt on me is I play the banjo.”
POLITICKING BY THE TAX-EXEMPT?
The Democrats are also using a quotation against Beers, claiming the local Episcopal diocese has said his “disdain, flippancy, and disrespect are shocking.”
In fact, Sen. Beers says that line comes from a personal e-mail exchange he had with former Episcopal Bishop Katharine Schori (now her church’s national bishop.)
The bishop had e-mailed Sen. Beers on behalf of some “religious alliance” supposedly including Presbyterians, urging him to support state tax hikes, thus making a mistake common among leftist churchmen, that being to imagine that Caesar can properly do the churches’ charitable job for them, using funds extracted under threat of force.
Sen. Beers says he asked for a show of hands on the proposed tax hikes at the men’s club of his own Mountain View Presbyterian Church in Sun City, where only one of 40 members raised a hand.
“You certainly don’t seem to represent MY church,” Sen. Beers wrote back to the bishop, at which point she did indeed write to him that his “disdain, flippancy, and disrespect are shocking.”
(Imagine: a Presbyterian not taking orders from the Church of England!)
Since that was a personal and not an official church communication, “I’m in possession of an e-mail from the current bishop of the Episcopalian Church, Dan Edwards, in which he asks the Democratic Party to stop using that quote.” Beers said Friday. “But they sent another one out that hit the mailboxes today.”
Accept a legal $10,000 campaign contribution from a licensed local strip club owner — in Nevada, no less — and Democrats contend that “puts you in bed with the sex industry”?
What, then, should we say about candidates and parties who actively solicit help and contributions from labor unions “whose pension funds used to be controlled by mobsters who committed murder-for-hire”? That they’re “in bed with the mob?” That their opponents will soon “sleep with the fishes”?
In an era when Democrats shriek hysterically about largely imagined threats of Republican smears, whimpering that calling Barack Obama a “community organizer” is a code word that really means he’s “black” (as though it had escaped anyone’s attention that Sen. Obama is part African), this Democratic direct-mail campaign is embarrassing and pathetic.
Though it does, at least, distract attention from the fact their candidates aren’t saying what they’d actually do if sent to Carson City, which is to raise taxes.
That is what they want to do, right? That’s why they want to remove Heck and Beers — among the capital’s leading champions of restraining government to modest rates of growth.
So why won’t they say so?
Let Allison be Allison!