Sunday, June 6, 2010

NV-Sen: LA Times Misses the Point (That Ralston Gets), While LV Sun Provides Glimpse into GOoP Mind

Isn't it always interesting when the outsiders take a look in and notice what we're doing? Today The LA Times tries to do that by reporting on our US Senate race. And while the story isn't all that bad, I'm not a fan of how they framed the piece.

If Republican Sharron Angle wins her party's Senate primary Tuesday, it will be a victory for the soft-spoken perpetual candidate, Nevada's conservative diehards, the national "tea party" movement and underdogs everywhere.

It will also be a huge win for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The Nevada Democrat has been working for months — some might say years — to cast his own opponent in the against-all-odds drama that is his reelection campaign. With dismal approval ratings and an anti-incumbent political climate, Reid is so vulnerable that Washington insiders have been debating who the next majority leader might be.

But Reid, known to some in Nevada as the "meddler in chief," is considered a master of nudging pieces to fall just so. And so it appears that during the GOP primary he is trying — with some success — to boost his chances of a general election victory. [...]

Reid can't — and doesn't — claim to be working the levers behind the GOP primary. Nor could he have anticipated how tea party forces would fuel Angle's shoestring campaign or how gaffes would dog Lowden's. And no matter who wins Tuesday, Reid will face a fierce election fight.

So let me get this straight, the outcome of the GOP primary is all Harry Reid's doing? Really? Or could it be something else?

My dears, this is why it's often best to trust the locals... Especially Nevada political experts like Jon Ralston!

The consensus among national and local Republicans, and a pundit or two, was that Sue Lowden was easily at the top of a second-tier field of GOP hopefuls and would be formidable against a vulnerable Harry Reid. But something happened on the path to the anointment: Lowden bartered away her front-runner status by trading her slick, TV-anchor-trained persona for a frivolous, unprepared dilettante who couldn’t get out of her own way.

It’s not just about chickens for health care, although her stubborn refusal to kill what should have been a two-day story and instead allow it to be become a national sensation, was one of the worst gaffes I have seen in a major campaign. But her dithering on the Civil Rights Act and her bizarre take on climate change — among other warning signs — showed the former anchorwoman was not ready for her close-up.

So as national Republicans called into the state, surely with expletive-filled tirades, to discern what was happening and to try to stop her free-fall, the Tea Party Express and Club for Growth catapulted Angle from a distant third place to serendipitous front-runner status. She could never have done this on her own — Angle has never been able to raise enough money to pay for the kind of campaign infrastructure and get-out-the-vote operation Lowden bought. But she almost toppled Dean Heller in a congressional race and Bill Raggio in a state Senate contest because of her core support and, in the Heller battle, because of the Club for Growth’s checkbook.

If Angle wins, it will be for two reasons: Lowden opened the door enough and outside forces pushed her through the aperture.[Emphasis mine.]

See that? It seems the national media don't know what to think of this topsy-turvy Senate race. So what did LAT do? Buy Bobby Uithoven's primal whines lock, stock, and barrel? Really?

I guess they forgot to read what I said on Thursday:

But wait, whatever happened to that "conservative value" that is personal responsibility? Did Suzy Lowdown and Bobby Uithoven miss that day's lesson in "GOoP Talking Points 101"? How is Ms. Suzy pulling herself up by her own bootstraps when she wants Harry Reid to tie them for her?

See how ridiculous they really sound? Again, Suzy Lowdown refuses to acknowledge that her crazy words wrecked her own campaign. And instead of realizing that the teabaggers are abandoning her in droves to go for "real deal" Obtuse Angle, she'd rather just try one more "Hail Mary Pass" to save her rapidly collapsing campaign by blaming it all on Harry Reid.

It really comes back to this:

And it's not just "Barter-gate" itself, but really Suzy Lowdown just letting her campaign spin out of control. It wasn't Harry Reid's doing. And if anyone "from the outside" has been meddling in the Nevada GOoP Primary, it's been "Tea Party, Inc.", with all its big corporate bucks, trying to buy the election for "Obtuse" Sharron Angle. But of course, Ms. Suzy can't say this in public, as she'd look like a hypocrite (and rightly so) for trying to buy the election with her big corporate bucks.

And the result of all the GOoP infighting over chickens and checks and L. Ron Hubbard? The GOoP voters aren't all that thrilled.

“I think Republicans kept telling themselves, ‘We’re angry, this is our year,’ but there hasn’t been that much emotional attachment to this election,” said Eric Herzik, a UNR political scientist. “You don’t see it in rallies. You don’t see it in debates. The party is fractured by 12 candidates, and none of them has captured the hearts of Republican voters.”

Herzik said the candidates had failed to articulate solutions to Nevada’s problems, instead running campaigns based on personal ideology and electability.

“Anger gets you halfway there,” he said. “To really activate a broader spectrum, you have to give them a reason to turn out. You have to say what you are for. These campaigns have been all about what they’re against.”

Indeed, voters expressed that frustration time and again, offering lukewarm appraisals of the Republican contenders. The word most often used to describe the quality of the field: OK.

Lois Tribbet, a 73-year-old telephone operator who voted for Lowden, said she found it difficult to muster enthusiasm.

“I’m in turmoil right now over who we have to work with,” she said. “Nobody’s talking about how they’re really going to fix things. Everything is so negative right now, and I don’t see anybody who’s going to really turn things around.”

And why should they be? None of their "frontrunners" have offered any sort of meaningful policy solutions. It's all just become one big, ridiculous circus. And that's all the Nevada GOoP's own failing making.

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