Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NV-02: Maybe Xenophobia & Teabagger Scare Tactics Aren't the Answer?

(Also at Daily Kos)

Mark Amodei may be basking in the radioactive glow of his daringly xenophobic campaign ad. But ask Nevada tourism officials about it, and they're getting worried.

That concern is real, said [Republican] Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who has spent considerable energy developing Nevada’s Chinese tourism market.

Krolicki described the relationship with China as important and delicate. He noted the value of Nevada’s exports to China has grown to $456 million from $13.6 million in the past decade.

“Certainly it raised an eyebrow,” Krolicki said of the ad. “But I take it as a flare glaring over Washington, D.C., and its policies and deficits and not a negative to our Chinese partners.”

One economic development official, who didn’t want to publicly criticize Amodei, said he has been contacted by Chinese consulate officials who were irritated by the ad.

“I think they feel like ‘why do you even have to use us in some kind of pejorative way to make a message,’” the official said. “This ad makes you have to go through the calculation of ‘are we being racist or beating up on the horrible financial decisions made in Washington D.C.?’

“The fact is China is a very important trade partner for Nevada and this stuff isn’t helpful.”

So why is Mark Amodei stooping down to use "this stuff" in a desperate ploy to boost his campaign? Maybe the same reason why Sharron Angle stooped down to similar "stuff" last year?

They both have to distract from their own records. We all remember Angle's story... But what about Amodei? Well, it's complicated. First off, he's afraid of NV-02 becoming the next NY-26...

Firing the opening shot on the debt ceiling is also an attempt to pivot away from Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s divisive budget plan and, specifically, the controversial Medicare provisions Democrats view as a lightning rod with the political voltage to rocket the party back within grasp of a House majority.

It’s been less than a month since Democrats’ surprise win in a special upstate New York congressional race that was defined by Ryan’s plan. Though the dynamics of the upcoming Nevada race don’t provide an exact parallel, they feel similar messaging can only pay dividends in a district where they’ll again be underdogs.

“This ad does not mention the words ‘Nevada’ or ‘jobs.’ Considering Amodei announced his support for the Heller-Heck plan to end Medicare last Saturday, it’s no surprise his first ad highlights how out of touch Nevada Republicans are,” Nevada Democratic Party spokesman Zach Hudson saidin a swipe at all three of his GOP targets, including freshman Rep. Joe Heck.

During a debate prior to the selection meeting last week, Amodei praised the Ryan blueprint. “I like a lot of what he has to say in terms of Medicare. I think that’s excellent.”

Oh, yes. You heard them right. Amodei doesn't want us even think of the word "Medicare"... Especially if it's used in the same sentence as Paul Ryan and privatization!

After all, look at what happens when House Republicans have to answer about their support for Paul Ryan's "Kill Medicare" plan!

Hold on, this sounds familiar. Where have we heard this before?

But in one respect, Amodei provides a new angle on this. If he's that serious about not voting for any revision to the federal debt ceiling, then he must support raising taxes, cutting Medicare & Social Security, and/or cutting military spending. So which "poison" will Amodei pick? I have a feeling he doesn't want any of us to remember his own words and deeds in 2003.

The whole McCarthy-esque red-scare theme of the ad is bad enough. But pledging to never vote to raise the debt ceiling is to call for financial suicide on a nationwide scale. It is like telling the bank you are going to stop making payments on your mortgage and credit cards. Banks don’t take too kindly to things like this, and the result would not be good for your credit rating. Not raising the debt ceiling — which would be required even if Democrats adopted the recently-passed GOP budget bill — would destroy the country’s credit rating and cause interest rates on government securities to skyrocket, making the debt problem far, far worse. It’s hard to predict the collateral damage such an action would have on the economy in general, but it wouldn’t be good. [...]

Of course Amodei and other Republicans are playing politics with the national debt, which they had no problem with when George W. Bush was racking up more than $5 trillion on the nation’s credit card, or when Ronald Reagan tripled the debt in the 1980s.

But for Amodei to take the extreme position and say he would vote against raising the debt ceiling is totally uncharacteristic of the person I know. After all, Amodei was the co-sponsor of the 2003 bill that created the largest tax increase in state history at that time, a compromise he worked out with Democrats. This doesn’t sound anything like the Amodei who is now threatening to destroy the country’s credit rating. It’s as if some evil spirit has taken control of the old Amodei and created a monster. [...]

Amodei’s transformation from moderate to crazy conservative happened so head-snappingly fast that it makes me wonder if the man has any core principles. Perhaps the moderate Amodei we saw before was just an illusion, the performance of a politician who just tells people whatever they want to hear, regardless of the truth.

But one thing for certain is that fire of ambition I saw in Amodei before is in total control now. It is his master, and his only constituent. If he does get elected to Congress, good luck trying to get him to do anything that doesn’t involve feeding his ambition.

So who is Mark Amodei? Really? He seemed quite moderate when he served in Carson City. Hell, he even voted for the largest tax increase in state history in 2003! He didn't have a problem cutting that deal before when he knew Nevada needed more revenue.

But now that he's running for Congress and desperate to win the teabaggers' favor, Mark Amodei wants to force America to default on our debt and rip apart at the seams the very social safety net our society depends upon? What happened?

Maybe this is why Mark Amodei wants to distract us with his xenophobic "Red Scare" ad.

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