Monday, February 13, 2012

Wherein Nevada Is Positioned to Remain a "Blue State" in 2012, Part IV

Last week, I could tell the Nevada GOP was starting to freak out over another Politico story, this time showing how the 26% drop in Republican turnout (from 2008) for the caucus this month may spell deep trouble for Dean Heller this fall in what's likely to be another marquee US Senate race here in Nevada. Republican consultants were immediately doing backflips and pretzel twists to explain that the Republicans' #nvcaucus #FAIL means nothing, absolutely nothing, NOTHING (!!!!!) THEY TELL YOU (!!!!!), for the fall election. Now yes, there probably are quite a few Republican voters who didn't want to caucus, but will want to vote in October or November. However for all the talk about an "energized tea party base" eager to defeat Democrats and elect Republicans up and down and all over the ticket, this year's caucus fiasco does show that the Republicans' "tea party base" really isn't as strong, broad, or energized as we were all led to believe it was in 2010.

In case this isn't bad enough for the G-O-TEA, there's the potentially bigger problem of them alienating everyone outside their increasingly small looking base. Last month, I noted how Dean Heller thought attending a Hispanics in Politics meeting would do wonders for his image... Despite opposing comprehensive immigration reform, and despite opposing virtually everything else that Latin@ voters care about. Apparently last weekend, The Sun finally noticed that Heller faces a growing problem this year over his hard line anti-immigrant record.

“There hasn’t been a competitive race in Nevada where a Democrat lost the Latino vote,” said Andres Ramirez, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee Hispanic Caucus and an adviser to Berkley. “The question is how high the margin is and how high turnout is.”

Ramirez said Heller had a lot of ground to make up — especially after his well-publicized refusal to attend a scheduled meeting with the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce because a [Shelley] Berkley staffer was in attendance and Democratic Party members were planning to film the discussion.

“Dean Heller is starting from a negative,” Ramirez said. “It would be one thing if they were on equal footing and competing for Latinos. But Shelley has a long history of working with the Hispanic community. It’s not just immigration but being there on issues of education, health care and other important matters.”

Berkley is engaging the Latino media and is seeking the endorsement of Spanish-language media.

She has contrasted her support for comprehensive immigration reform and sponsorship of the Dream Act with Heller’s opposition to the Dream Act and major reforms to immigration law.


And in case that isn't enough, there's the rest of Heller's record, which also looks increasingly out of step with Nevada. Who can forget his love of bailouts for Big Oil? Or his strong opposition to bringing more good, clean, green jobs right here to Nevada? Or him voting TWICE last year for Paul Ryan's radical Medicare-destroying budget? Or his support for ending Social Security as we know it?

Oh, and it's not just Heller who's in trouble for becoming so out of touch with Nevada's working families. Remember the infamous "Joe Heck town hall" without Joe Heck? And Joe Heck's ridiculous "Destroying America's Trust in Our Economy Act"? And Joe Heck outright lying about his record (and President Obama's) on Medicare? And Joe Heck's infamous declaration of Social Security as a "pyramid scheme"?

Now, Joe Heck is throwing a temper tantrum over the blowback his party has been experiencing over their extreme opposition to contraception. According to Heck, his opposition to health insurance coverage of contraception has "nothing to do with women's health issues"... HUH??!! Is he serious? So making birth control less affordable and accessible to American women now has "nothing to do with women's health issues"? And we're supposed to believe Dr. Heck is an "expert on health care"? On what planet?

So far, it seems like both Heck and Heller are doing all they can to stay on the same page as their G-O-TEA buddies running for President. And while this may help them stay on good terms with the raging teabagger base they want votes from, as well as the "Tea Party, Inc." money men they want campaign donations from, it's only hurting them in the general election. After all, look at President Obama's stunning rebound with independent voters. And look at Obama taking a strong overall lead against both Willard "Mr. 1%" Romney and "Frothy" Ricky Santorum in the new Pew Poll out today. So do Heck and Heller really want to hitch onto that wagon?

As long as they do, Nevada shall remain "Blue"... And President Obama may end up with longer coattails than most pundits in this state had originally expected.

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