Sunday, September 30, 2012

"The Closing Act" Begins This Week

Today, President Obama will be arriving in Las Vegas to do a rally tonight... Then do debate prep for the following two days.

While there's been much discussion on the importance of this debate, there may be something happening this week that's just as important. Early voting is now happening in many states... Including several key swing states. And even though we're not voting yet here in Nevada, many minds have already been made up.

So with only 37 days to go until "The Last Day of Election Month", this may be the week that sets in stone the narrative of the 2012 Election. This is why President Obama is doing a rally tonight at Desert Pines High School followed by 2 solid days of debate prep in the quieter confines of Lake Las Vegas. And this is why Mitt Romney's surrogates are scrambling to spin what's about to happen this week.

We're finally in the home stretch now. There are few truly undecided voters left. And there is very little time left to sway them. And unless we see some epic "game change" this week, it's almost time to declare game over.

So it's nice to see Southern Nevada play host to the opening of the closing act. ;-)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Dean Heller's "Uninvited Guests" at Last Night's NV-Sen Debate

Did you notice what happened at last night's debate? Anjeanette Damon caught a glimpse of it...

Heller went on to say he believes “it’s the responsibility this federal government has to help those who have come by hard times in this economy.”

But Berkley wouldn’t let it slide.

“Look, the fact of the matter is my opponent actually did call unemployed people hobos and that puts him very much in line with what Mitt Romney said about the 47 percent,” Berkley said.

This may have been the continuation of Dean Heller's worst nightmare coming true. He's given so much of himself to his beloved Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, only for them to turn around and bite him in the ass.

How? Both Joan Walsh and Kevin Drum both pointed at Paul Ryan's now infamous plan to "voucher-ize" and cut Medicare to death. And indeed, that's been something that's haunted Mitt Romney ever since he picked Ryan as his running mate. However, there's something that's even more central to Romney's campaign that is now hurting him... And hurting Dean Heller here in Nevada.

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Mitt Romney seems hellbent on self-destructing on the weight of his own 1% privilege and his disdain for the needs and the concerns of the 99%. No matter how he tries to spin away his "47%" comments, we all know what he really meant. And we all know what he still believes.

And guess what? Dean Heller also knows this. That's why he tried so hard last night to run away from Romney & Ryan. It's too bad for him (and so good for Nevada Democrats) that Heller's own extensive record points otherwise.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

NV-Sen Debate Liveblog

It's here, it's here, it's finally here. KNPB (Reno PBS) is hosting the first NV-Sen debate of 2012 tonight. And tonight, Nevada Progressive is hosting the "unofficial official snarky liveblog" of this debate. So let the fun begin!

8:07 PM: After opening statements, the first question was on reaching across the aisle. Shelley Berkley went first, and she began talking about the Nevada Congressional Delegation working together on Yucca Mountain issues, foreign policy (Israel), and tourism bills. Dean Heller, meanwhile, tried to backtrack his support for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan... And strangely brought up the "Balanced Budget" nonsense. Huh?!

8:12 PM: Heller keeps trying to laugh it off and run away from Romney, but Berkley keeps reminding the audience of his record showing otherwise. Heller is now talking about Berkley "raising more money from Wall Street". So who again is benefitting from all the Koch funded ads?

8:15 PM: Sigh, both candidates are getting super hawkish on Middle East affairs. Can we really afford another war there?

8:19 PM: Hmmm... The sage grouse. Both candidates are saying odd things about saving this threatened species. So it shouldn't be endangered... But it can be saved?

Oh gawd, and Heller is now bashing Obama and the EPA. Oh yes, who cares about that damned environment.

8:22 PM: And here it is... Kidney-gate! Shelley is now talking up the 99%. She's dismissing perhaps the most ridiculous "SCANDAL!!!" of this cycle by making a contrast between her support for the middle class versus Heller's fealty to the teabaggers. Meanwhile, Heller is... Making some silly rant about health care and Keystone Pipeline and regulations and stuff.

Seriously, folks, Shelley is showing how to handle this "SCANDAL!!!" of pure stupidity.

8:27 PM: Dean Heller probably just killed his last chance to make inroads with Latinos. He just said the DREAM Act is "going nowhere", then said some bullshit about "bringing people together to work on reform". Heh. All Shelley had to do was remind the audience of Heller's support for Arizona SB 1070 and Kris Kobach/Mitt Romney approved "self deportation" policies. Heller is babbling on about "jobs bills now". Latino voters are probably now tuning him out.

8:32 PM: This last question was on federal debt. Shelley Berkley smartly turned it around and made a very pro 99% platform of ending "billionaire bailouts" while protecting Medicare & Social Security. Shelley then demolished Heller's facade of a "balanced budget amendment" by pointing out exactly how it would force the end of Medicare & Social Security as we know it if enacted.

8:37 PM: Here it is! Dean Heller is scrambling to toss as many "Obamacare" and Harry Reid attacks on Shelley Berkley as possible, but Shelley again demolished him. And the reason why? Paul Ryan. Shelley must be thanking her lucky stars for Romney picking Ryan as his VP.

8:40 PM: Strange. Heller is now trying to run to the LEFT of Shelley on housing. He's bashing her for voting for financial deregulation in 1999... And yes, she screwed up there. However, Heller has been voting for deregulation ever since he got into Congress. So really, isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?

8:44 PM: Lordy, help us all! Dean Heller keeps singing the praises of the horrific Keystone XL pipeline that experts keep saying will do nothing to help America achieve energy independence... Yet he's also trying to call himself a "renewable energy champion"? It didn't take too much for Shelley to point out Heller's record of voting to cut efforts to build a better energy future, though even she engaged in a bit of Keystone nonsense.

8:50 PM: Here's something to keep in mind: When Shelley Berkley talks military and veterans' issues, don't try to fuck with her. Dean Heller is trying to do this by bashing her over last year's debt debacle. But here's the problem: Because Heller dug in his heels on coddling the 1%, the debt agreement passed. And if Heller actually wants to save military spending like he claims to, something's got to give...

Oh wait, here he goes on the Department of Education. So he wants to cut school funding! He's going crazy now.

8:57 PM: Shelley rebutted Heller some more on education by explaining how she used Pell Grants to make her way through college, just like many more thousands of Nevadans. She then pointed out Heller's enduring support for the Paul Ryan plan to gut Pell Grants to death and kick Nevadans out of higher education.

And now, we're hearing the closing arguments. Heller is waxing poetic about Ronald Reagan and 1980 and some mystical mythical past that never really existed... While Shelley concluded with a blend of her personal story of rising from hardship to success with a strong case for standing up for Nevada's 99%. The contrast couldn't be clearer.

9:20 PM: Here are my first impressions from the whole debate-

- Both candidates tried hard to stick to talking points. And unfortunately, tonight's format made that incredibly easy.

- Dean Heller tried so hard to stay "above the fray" and "moderate", but that image showed serious cracks when he struggled to defend his votes for Paul Ryan's budget... And when he pretty much kissed the Nevada Latino vote goodbye with his condescending dismissal of the DREAM Act.

- Heller tried at first to push hard on "Kidney-gate", but even I was surprised by how quickly that fizzled.

- Two words we didn't hear from Dean Heller: MITT ROMNEY. Thankfully for the audience, Shelley Berkley regularly reminded everyone of who Heller has been endorsing for President.

- Oh, and both candidates are quite hawkish and potentially to the right of most Nevadans on foreign policy. Seriously, people here have "war fatigue" after two long and draining wars in the Middle East. Yet for some reason, both candidates kept yakking on who wants to saber rattle more on Iran.

- Also, it was weird seeing Heller trying to run to the LEFT of Berkley on financial regulation. Seriously, if Heller really wants Glass-Steagall reinstated, why hasn't he said so before tonight? And why hasn't he urged his fellow Republicans to stop fighting regulation?

- All in all, I honestly don't see tonight as a "game change". Heller kept playing by the Mike Slanker playbook in lobbing personal attacks at Shelley while puffing himself up with empty platitudes. And Shelley Berkley got to repeat her talking points in reminding everyone of Dean Heller's loyalty to the G-O-TEA. It was frustrating to watch at times, and perhaps Berkley was a bit uneven at times, but Heller in the end started to crack under pressure. And as long as Romney & Ryan hang around here, Heller will probably continue to show more cracks.

Is This What Republicans Mean by "Voter Fraud"?

Honestly, I may have "misunderestimated" the grave danger behind this video that we found on Tuesday.

Believe it or not, there's more to this story... And BradBlog has been continuing to dig into it. Apparently, Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee have hired none other than Nathan Sproul and his company, Strategic Allied Consulting, to do "voter registration". Sproul's company is known to handle "voter registration" for Republicans in Colorado, and in other swing states. And it turns out that Nathan Sproul has quite the history when it comes to "voter registration".

Brad Friedman has put up a history of Sproul’s companies, and their work for Republican interests. They range from antics like gathering signatures to put Nader on the ballot and being banned from Walmart for partisan voting drives to more serious offenses, like allegedly destroying Democratic registration forms in several states while on the payroll of the RNC. [...]

In 2004, a voter registration worker in Nevada hired by Sproul’s firm told reporters that he had witnessed his surpervisors chucking registration forms signed by Democrats. “They were thrown away in the trash,” he claimed. Sproul’s canvassers in Oregon confessed to doing the same thing, and other reports emerged across several swing states. In Minnesota, workers said they were actually fired for bringing in registration forms signed by Democrats. CBS News obtained faxes showing that Sproul's firm had even impersonated the left-leaning America Votes! to organize voter registration drives at libraries.

Oh yes, that's right. Sproul has a history here in Nevada. And it looks like he's back for more!

Strategic Allied Consulting recently put up a proxy to hide the fact that its website was registered by Sproul; but not before Flynn took a screen shot. Flynn notes that the firm has been aggressively hiring in Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. He flagged two large payments to the firm from GOP committees in Florida and North Carolina.

This brings me back to what happened at the Henderson DMV last Friday. There, I saw Shadow GOP Team Nevada staff barking "Quick Poll: Romney or Obama!" at people while hiding voter registration forms under a tally sheet. Funny enough, they were deploying the same tactics as the young woman in Colorado... Except that they weren't stupid enough to claim they were working for the Clark County Election Department.

But is there more to Team Nevada's "voter registration project" than what we've seen in public? What's happening behind the scenes? And if Nathan Sproul has indeed returned to Nevada (as his recent hiring spree suggests), is he engaging in the same kind of fraudulent activities that nearly jeopardized Nevada Republicans in 2004?

We've already been catching a glimpse of suspicious activity in Colorado. And now, the Palm Beach County, Florida, election supervisor is asking her state to investigate fraudulent voter registration forms given to her office by the Florida Republican Party (which hired Nathan Sproul to handle "voter registration"). Might this be happening (again) here in Nevada?

2:45 PM UPDATE: MSNBC's First Read reported earlier today that the RNC announced it's cutting ties to Nathan Sproul. However, First Read also noted this.

Sproul, who runs both Strategic Allied Consulting and Lincoln Strategy, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NBC News. Besides Florida, the firm has been hired to register GOP voters in Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia. In Nevada, the RNC was paying the firm directly; in the other four states, the firm was being paid by state parties with the funds reimbursed by the RNC.

So indeed, Team Nevada was using Nathan Sproul. That explains the strange tactics they've been using at the DMV.

Oh, and First Read also provided an update on the Florida investigation.

Christine Weiss, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach State Attorney's Office, told NBC News Thursday that the alleged voter fraud by a Strategic Allied Consulting employee is "currently being investigated" by prosecutors in her office after it was brought to the attention of prosecutors on MondaybyPalm Beach election supervisor Susan Bucher.

Paul Lux, the Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections, and a Republican, said that an employee of the firm had dropped off suspected fraudulent registration forms with his office for both Okaloosa County and nearby Santa Rosa County. Some of the Santa Rosa County new registrants appeared to be dead people, he said.

“It’s kind of ironic that the dead people they accused ACORN of registering are now being done by the RPOF” [Republican Party of Florida], said Lux.

Out of 304 Republican voter-registration forms recently dropped off by a firm employee at a small "satellite office" of the Palm Beach elections office, 106 were flagged as potentially fraudulent -- including "a lot" with "similar looking" signatures and others with apparently phony addresses, Bucher said in an interview.

Among the suspect home addresses were those that matched a gas station in Miami, a medical building in Boca Raton and a Land Rover dealership elsewhere in South Florida, she told NBC News.

Indeed, it's ironic. The G-O-TEA forces always cry about "voter fraud", yet it increasingly looks like they are actually the ones who are committing fraud!

NV-03: What the Heck?!

This is Gold Butte.

Less than two hours away (driving) from the hustle and bustle of the Fabulous Las Vegas Strip lies perhaps the most valuable treasure of Nevada that you haven't (yet) heard about. This is indeed a special place, a place filled with ancient Native American petroglyphs and stunning rock formations. This is truly the Mojave Desert at its finest.

And believe it or not, it has the potential to boost Southern Nevada's economy exactly when we need help the most.

And there is widespread bipartisan support from local environmental AND business leaders for federal action to preserve Gold Butte... Yet someone is missing in this picture. Can you tell who?

Gold Butte protection has been endorsed by prominent local leaders –including Caesars Entertainment Group, the Mesquite City Council and the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians. Businesses large and small are recognizing that Gold Butte provides vital recreation and tourism jobs and is increasingly important to the Southern Nevada economy.

Rep. Joe Heck currently represents the Gold Butte area. He has met with local residents to discuss possible legislation but so far has not introduced a bill creating a National Conservation Area with Wilderness for Gold Butte.

“It’s a false argument to say that Gold Butte would be ‘locked up’ with no public access if it were to become a national conservation area,” Tull said. “The law would guarantee that not a single mile of the 500 miles of roads in Gold Butte would be closed.”

Instead, making the area a National Conservation Area with Wilderness could have the effect of opening up Gold Butte to more admirers, Tull said.

“Instead of rushing past the exit sign on Interstate 15, travelers would be drawn into Mesquite, where a new visitor center would introduce them to the amenities of Gold Butte, educate them about nearby recreational opportunities, and help them plan how to enjoy their exploration of the area,” he said. “Such a visitor center has long been needed for this important corner of Nevada.”

As we've discussed before, Joe Heck likes to talk about creating jobs... But he won't actually put his votes where his mouth is. We're seeing this yet again with Gold Butte, and that's why ProgressNow Nevada has launched Southern Nevada needs federal level action on Gold Butte in order to protect this special natural treasure and boost our local economy by giving tourists a good reason to stay and play longer here (thereby creating more jobs). And while Heck has occasionally staged quite the razzle dazzle of a show for the media, he still has not introduced any legislation in Congress to solve this problem.

Yet while Heck dilly-dallies and hems and haws and finds more excuses for inaction, vandalism, off trail ATV drives, unruly shooting, and other harmful activities of some disrespectful visitors threaten the future of Gold Butte. Again, there's widespread support for meaningful action to save Gold Butte. So what the heck is Joe Heck waiting for?

NV-04: From Delusional to Just Plain Desperate

Last night, Rachel Maddow pointed out the disturbing trend of G-O-TEA Congressional candidates campaigning on racially charged "wedge issues".

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As soon as I saw this, I started thinking about what's been happening here in Nevada as Danny Tarkanian continues his campaign of nonstop race baiting. No really, think about it. He's been bashing President Obama and Steven Horsford on immigration reform while he touts his support from anti-Latino and anti-immigrant hate groups. And while he suggests Horsford isn't "black enough", Tarkanian can win African-American voters because he plays basketball! So far, Baby Tark's campaign has been nothing short of appalling in its embrace of this kind of ugly "campaigning".

And now, Baby Tark and his allies are throwing a temper tantrum because Horsford is calling them out on what they're doing.

Horsford, the first African-American state senate majority leader, called on Tarkanian to condemn a blog post by conservative operative Chuck Muth that mocks a tweet Horsford sent about the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

“Steven Horsford continues to play the race card (he’s black) with this mindless, irrelevant re-tweet of a White House tweet on Saturday,” Muth wrote on his blog of Horsford’s tweet about the Emancipation Proclamation. “Sounds like somebody’s scared by last week’s poll showing him losing the urban vote to his white-bread Republican opponent, Danny Tarkanian.”

In his blog post, Muth also chides Horsford for using “two black kids” playing basketball in one of his television ads. Horsford has criticized Tarkanian for implying he can win the black vote because of his work with black youth through his non-profit basketball clinic.

The children in Horsford’s ad are his own.

“This shot was of me playing with my children in our backyard,” Horsford said in a written statement. “And to refer to my kids as just some ‘black kids playing basketball’ is extremely offensive. My children will be off limits in this campaign. I won’t accept my kids being exploited as pawns in a political game and these racially charged attacks must stop.”

This is what Chuck Muth is attacking.

And even though Baby Tark's campaign is now pretending to be offended by what Muth said, Muth is only piggybacking off Tarkanian campaign messaging. And even though Danny Tarkanian pretends to want to "talk about the important issues we face", the reality of this race is far from that. No really, he's deliberately race baiting to distract from the real issues.

Baby Tark and Muth can cling onto faulty data for as long as they want, but the real fact of the matter is that Mitt Romney is tanking here in Nevada... And Dean Heller is at greater risk of going down with Romney than ever before. Danny Tarkanian is their fellow G-O-TEA traveller, he's at risk of going down along with the both of them. So in a desperate move to save his own skin, Baby Tark is tossing these racial attacks at Steven Horsford. And apparently, he can't tell that his pure desperation is showing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Are Nevada Republicans' Woes Now Spreading to #NVLeg?

I guess Dean Heller isn't the only Nevada Republican who's panicking. State Senate Republican leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) is scrambling to form new PACs (so late this cycle??!!) to funnel money into attack ads on TV and in mailboxes "efforts to inform voters". And especially with recent voter registration updates showing big gains for Democrats in the key swing districts that will determine control of the Nevada Legislature this tear, a group of G-O-TEA State Senate candidates are starting to panic as well. And funny enough, this is being televised statewide.

Monday night on Jon Ralston's show, SD 9 Republican candidate Mari St. Martin conjured up some nonexistent "SCANDAL!!!" in hopes of deflecting attention from her lack of knowledge on how this state's government works.

On other topics, St. Martin said she would look at sponsoring legislation to require each agency to “justify its existence” in front of the Legislature every six or seven years, on a rotating basis.

An incredulous Ralston asked if that included agencies like the Gaming Control Board. St. Martin said, yes.

[SD 9 Democratic candidate Justin] Jones didn’t like that idea.

“It would cost more money to have the Gaming Control Board, the Gaming Commission come and justify their existence,” he said. “It doesn’t make a lot more sense.”

The state formed a Sunset Commission to look at doing away with unnecessary boards and commissions in 2011.

So not only does Mari St. Martin want to do something that the Legislature actually already did last year, but she wants to waste the state's time and money to "justify" the existence of things like the agency that oversees the largest and most powerful component of Nevada's economy. WHAT??!! No wonder why she has to conjure up fictitious "SCANDAL!!!"

And in case that wasn't embarrassing enough for Nevada Republicans, outgoing Assembly Member and current SD 18 candidate Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas) caused even more trouble for them.

[Kelli] Ross, a Democrat who owned an electrical contracting business, said on “Face to Face with Jon Ralston” that the state needs to stop redistributing Clark County money to other areas of the state.

“So much money gets sent to Northern Nevada and rural Nevada,” she said. “The money needs to stay in Clark County. We’d be able to have smaller class sizes. Kids will be able to have desks. That’s reprehensible.”

Hammond, the Republican candidate, dodged the question about whether Clark County was losing out to other areas of the state, and said he favored giving parents a choice in schools.

Perhaps Ross was being a little too harsh on the north, but the fact of the matter is that Clark County provides for over 80% of the state's revenue and over 70% of the state's population, yet we're lucky if we even see 50% of the state's investment and expenditures return here. The median of public infrastructure investment is already woefully low in Nevada, yet it's even lower here in Clark County because the south has historically been shortchanged in Carson City.

Even though Scott Hammond has already served a term in the Legislature and now wants a promotion to the upper chamber, he can't give an answer on the discrepancy in state funding? Seriously, is this dude for real?

But wait, it gets worse! Hammond himself is a teacher, yet he's now positioning himself to the right of Governor and fellow Republican Brian Sandoval on education funding.

Hammond, a Clark County School District teacher, said he would not be beholden to unions. But he also wouldn’t commit to extend about $600 million in taxes, which he voted to extend for two years at the end of the 2011 Legislative session. Gov. Brian Sandoval has said he will support extending them again, but will need a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

“I’ve never officially said anything to anybody,” Hammond said in the interview. He wants to see what type of tax projections the state’s Economic Forum, which forecasts tax revenues, makes over the next couple of months.

This is especially a huge blow to Governor Sandoval because Hammond was backed by Sandoval in the SD 18 Republican primary because he was considered more "cooperative" than professional "tea party" flame thrower Richard MacArthur. But apparently now, Hammond is drinking the "TEA"... And he's doing so just as Sandoval's preferred budget is starting to fall apart. Even though both he and Roberson decided to let the sun rise again on the 2009/2011 "sunset taxes" in order to diffuse this specific issue of public education funding, Hammond is signaling that the G-O-TEA Caucus may not go along with their leaders' preferred plan, especially now that Sandoval's plan may not be enough to prevent further cuts to schools next year.

Perhaps this gets us to the biggest problem that Nevada Republicans face in their quest to expand their ranks in the Legislature next year: Who is their real leader? And what do they stand for? No, really. Mitt Romney may end up being a political millstone around their necks, Brian Sandoval's master plan is showing major cracks, and now their caucus can't keep with a unified message on what they seek to do next year. This is a major problem for them.

And perhaps this explains why there may be no SD 5 debate on TV this week. Perhaps considering what's already been going down on Ralston's show, Steve Kirk just doesn't want to risk going "Face to Face" with Joyce Woodhouse? Wow, what a mess.

Nevada Republicans' Ongoing "Latino Problem"

This week, the Nevada G-O-TEA is in total panic mode. Recent polls have not been looking good at all for Mitt Romney. Nevada Democrats have expanded their voter registration advantage to a higher level than they had two years ago. And now, Romney's own fellow Republicans (!!!) are speaking openly of abandoning his campaign to focus on saving their seats in Congress.

So why is this all happening? Last night, Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart spoke to Rachel Maddow... And specifically mentioned "The Great Nevada Surprise of 2010". There was a big component behind that election that is manifesting itself again now.

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As we've discussed before, Nevada's changing demographics are causing major problems for Republicans. In particular, their extreme anti-immigrant stance is repelling Latin@ voters like never before. And with both Mitt Romney and Dean Heller embracing the extreme "tea party" agenda of xenophobia and "Reverse Robin Hood Economics", they're having as hard a time now as Sharron Angle did in 2010 in convincing Latin@ voters to vote for them and their Republican Party.

As Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart hinted at above, all Republicans can hope for now is depressed Latino turnout. This is why they were complaining about "all the Democrats!" in the most recent PPP poll, even though its sample was slightly LESS Democratic than the most recent registration numbers... And it undersampled Latinos. Republicans' only hope now lies in preventing Latinos from voting, and that's why they've been pursuing a two-pronged strategy of bashing President Obama in TV ads while pushing voter suppression tactics to keep Latin@ voters away even if they decide to vote. But since voter suppression has been turned back here in Nevada and Republicans here keep flailing in their "minority outreach", they're approaching serious peligro... Y ellos saben.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If Only Nevada Republicans Were This "(Un)Genious"

Wow. Just wow. You just have to see this for yourself.

The person recording the video exits a Safeway grocery store and a young woman who is registering voters outside the store asks her, "Are you voting for Romney or Obama?"

The woman recording responds, "Well, wait, I thought you were registering voters a minute ago."

To which the young woman replies, "I am." The person recording then asks, "Well, who are you registering? All voters?"

"Well, I'm actually trying to register people for a particular party. Because we're out here in support of Romney, actually," the young woman registering voters says. [...]

Republicans in El Paso County claim that the video was recorded more than a month ago by a Democratic "campaign operative" and has been released now to damage the Romney campaign. But, Christy Lelait, Chairman for the El Paso County Democrats denies that charge to KOAA. "It's an interesting charge. I don't know of any campaign operatives here in El Paso County and I know for certain that the woman who shot this video is not a campaign operative, she's a volunteer with several different organizations including the El Paso Democratic Party and she's also a precinct chair."

Colorado Republicans are freaking out because denying registration to anyone because of party preference is actually a crime. Oh, and this probably means Mitt Romney's campaign is even more trouble. Whoops.

This actually makes Nevada Republicans look not so bad by comparison. And that's really saying something. As I mentioned last Friday, they do the same voter screening "poll" before deciding to ask someone to register to vote. But jeez, not even the Team Nevada people try to claim they work for the county!

What a hot mess.

NV-Sen: #GameOver for Romney AND Heller?

Just when it seemed like the news couldn't get any better for Nevada Democrats, Jon Ralston had even more good news this morning.

President Obama is stretching his lead to 9 percentage points in Nevada and Rep. Shelley Berkley is up 4 over Sen. Dean Heller in a new Public Policy Polling survey taken for the League of Conservation Voters.

The survey, which you can see below and was taken last week of 501 likley voters, shows Obama up 52-43 and Berkley up 48-44. Those numbers are even greater for the president than other public polls and Berkley's lead will come as a surprise considering other results.

At first, this may be surprising. But when one remembers what's been happening in the field, it all makes more sense.

We can also better understand why Dean Heller has been so dour lately. While the G-O-TEA base continues to turn on Romney, Dean Heller is running into increasing trouble because his political and ideological kinship to Romney is turning off Nonpartisan voters. And with the Republican field effort increasingly looking like a sad joke, it's an open question as to whether Team Nevada really has the resources to turn out enough Romney & Heller voters to even keep the election all that close here in Nevada.

Might this be a sign of the beginning of the end for the Nevada GOP? If Nevada Democrats keep up their work in the field, it may very well be.

Can Sheldon Adelson Save Mitt Romney?

Last night, Kevin Drum mused aloud what many people have been saying for some time. Mitt Romney has really put himself into a pickle. However, there's someone here in Las Vegas who is still eager to rescue Romney's political career and sweep him into The White House.

“He’s the man of the hour,” said a Republican official who has visited him in Las Vegas many times. “Everyone’s trying to get in to see him —every candidate, every PAC director, every campaign committee, every super PAC guy. When you’re giving out money the way he is, everyone wants a piece of the pie.”

From three time zones beyond the Beltway, [Sheldon] Adelson has unabashedly shaped the presidential race: First, he prolonged Romney’s agonizing nomination campaign, single-handedly keeping Newt Gingrich in the race by writing $20 million in super PAC checks.

Now, he is helping ride to the rescue of the floundering Romney campaign: The outside groups will spend about $10 million a week on TV time in swing states before Election Day on Nov. 6 — roughly the recent level of spending of the Romney campaign itself, which has been buying about $1 million per day in ad time.

I guess if there's anyone who's an expert at propping up a flailing campaign, it's Sheldon Adelson. And apparently since he virulently loathes President Obama and is afraid of the ongoing investigation into his company's ties to organized crime in Macau, he's decided to go all in for Romney. And hey, since he's already spent $70 million (!!!) on Republican campaigns and Super PACs, what's a few million more for his dear friend Mitt Romney?

And why not keep giving if it means Adelson can keep alive a campaign that's all about expanding his wealth at the expense of the middle class and working poor? As always, Desert Beacon has the rundown.

The greater the income inequality, the more pressure on middle income Americans. What we should be seeking in this election are candidates who eschew the soaring — and highly misleading — rhetoric about “income redistribution;” and instead focus on which proposed policies are most likely to ease pressure on the American middle class.

If the policy proposed, such as the Paris Hilton Legacy Protection Act — to reduce or eliminate federal estate taxes, exacerbates the GINI index then it places greater stress on the middle class.

If the policy proposed, such as reducing the capital gains taxes paid by millionaires and billionaires, tends to increase the GINI index, then it places greater burdens on the middle class.

If the policy proposed, such as reducing the federal income taxes paid by millionaires and billionaires — especially those in the upper 0.1% of American income earners, puts a greater burden on the American middle class, then it is counter-productive. There really is no such thing as a free lunch, especially if we want to maintain our defense funding, unless the millionaires and billionaires can convince the middle class to pick up the tab.

And this is exactly what Mitt Romney and Congressional Republicans have been trying to do. And perhaps this further explains what Sheldon Adelson is now doing.

Think about it. The vast majority of Congressional Republicans, including Nevada's own G-O-TEA delegation, agree with Romney on seeking this kind of redistribution of wealth from the bottom and middle to the top. So perhaps especially with Adelson doubling down and tripling down on Romney's flailing campaign, this may actually free up other Republican & "Tea Party, Inc." donors to go with their gut instinct and "triage" Romney so they can preserve the "tea party" stranglehold over Congress. If they can't have it all, they can at least prevent President Obama from having anything (done).

So there's definitely an ideological component to Sheldon Adelson's unending loyalty to Mitt Romney, and there may be some purely wishful thinking involved, but there may also be some crass political calculation behind this as well. But in the end, it's really all about the money.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nevada Democrats Now Have 65k Voter Registration Lead

Earlier today, we dug into the new Clark County voter registration stats. Now, Nevada Democrats are in for even more good news. Here's Jon Ralston with the latest.

The Democrats have extended their registration lead to about 65,000 voters over the Republicans, continuing an inexorable stretching of a lead that could make the difference in November in critical races.

To put this in perspective, the Democrats had lost so much of their lead -- once at 100,000-plus statewide in the halcyon days of 2008 --that it was down to 37,000 voters in January. It now appears the Democrats may double that lead by the time registration closes in three weeks.

These numbers are not determinative. But considering I have been told by those who have seen numbers that the president is leading among independents, a strong base turnout could put the president over the top and drag down-ticket folks to victory[.]

Already, Nevada Democrats have a nearly 6% voter registration lead statewide. This is already larger than the lead Nevada Democrats had at the end of registration in 2010, and Dems are on track to double their advantage over what they had just at the start of this year! As I always like to say, field matters. And because Democrats keep outworking Republicans here, Democrats are faring far better here in Nevada than any of the national media pundits expected earlier this year.

It just goes to show what a little elbow grease and some well worn sneakers can do... And what total chaos can't do.

Why #MittpocalyseNow in Nevada? Mittens Just Can't Close the Deal.

Just this morning, we noticed the continuing Democratic voter registration surge in Clark County. That's one way to explain the new ARG poll showing President Obama surging to a 51% to 44% lead over Mitt Romney here in Nevada. Here's another:

Romney's "47%" comments really seem to have cemented the growing sentiment among voters that he's out of touch with the vast majority of Americans and their economic struggles. Greg Sargent noted again this morning how the foundation Romney's entire campaign strategy (blaming Obama for the economy) seems to be falling apart. And interestingly enough, The Los Angeles Times noticed this first hand right here in Nevada. Take a look at what voters in Washoe County have to say about Romney.

Erick Phillips left the Army after being seriously injured in a firefight in Afghanistan (he rolled up a sleeve to show a jagged scar from a bullet hole). After recovering, he waged a long, fruitless hunt for full-time work, only recently landing a job as a data-entry clerk. "Not great," he shrugged, "but it's something."

Phillips is a Republican but leans toward the president because he's disappointed with Romney and what sound to him like shopworn proposals. "I haven't seen a Republican plan that doesn't involve cutting taxes for the wealthiest," said the strapping 34-year-old. "It seems to be the same old plan repackaged over and over."

The simple "are you better off" question worked brilliantly when Ronald Reagan posed it in 1980 as a campaign capper in his debate against Jimmy Carter. But even if most here were quick to say yes or no, their answers only scratched at the deeper calculations many are making as they decide how — and even whether —to vote.

[Yvonne] Bellaart, the McCain-turned-Obama supporter, explained why, for her, that's so.

"You have to look at things on more than a personal basis," she said, pausing on a downtown bridge over the Truckee River. "You have to think about what's good for the country as a whole."

And herein lies perhaps the biggest reason why Nevada will remain a Blue State this fall. Simply put, Mitt Romney has not given us a convincing argument to elect him President. He's tried all sorts of attacks on President Obama, but he can't give voters one reason why he can do a better job.

And as long as Romney closes this way, the door to victory will continue closing on him.

Democratic Surge in Voter Registration Continues in Clark County

It's Monday morning, so of course we need to look at the new Clark County voter registration totals. Just since last week, Nevada Democrats have made even more gains throughout Clark County... Including the key swing districts which will determine the balance of power in Washington and Carson City next year.

Here's what you need to know this morning:

- Countywide, Democrats registration advantage in Nevada's most populous county finally surged over 100,000 raw votes (and specifically landing at 102,950 today). Percentage wise, it increased just in the last week from 13.02% to 13.22%.

- In the major Congressional battleground that is NV-03, Democrats further expanded their new registration advantage to 2,212 raw votes, and from 0.54% last week to 0.72%.

- In the other big Congressional battleground that is the new NV-04 seat, Democrats' advantage in the Clark County part of the district rose to 38,091 raw votes, or 15.60%.

- And in the four competitive Clark County State Senate races that will determine control of the Nevada Legislature next year, Democrats also made big gains. In Henderson-Green Valley based SD 5, Democrats' edge rose just in the last week from 4.02% to 4.16%. In Las Vegas-Summerlin based SD 6, Democrats' advantage now stands at 5.30%. In the Southwest Valley based SD 9, Democrats' advantage rose from 6.09% last week to 6.36% today. And in Northwest Las Vegas based SD 18, Republicans' edge is now down to 1.87%.

Set again, Nevada Democrats are dominating voter registration. We'll have to wait until next week for the full statewide report, but so far the signs from Clark County are pointing to a greater Democratic advantage statewide than what we saw at this point in 2010. Remember how that went?

And now we know (even more on) why Nevada Republicans are running scared.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Most Important Race You Don't Hear About

So far this year, there's been plenty of buzz about all the big federal level races here in Nevada. We often see the Presidential candidates here, and we're seeing plenty of action in our Congressional races. However, there's another level of races that will be very consequential to Nevada's future.

So today's Las Vegas Sun has a story about what may be the most important Legislature race this year, the race that may very well determine the balance of power in Carson City next year. Oh yes, and that race is actually in Reno.

The most intriguing political contest that hasn’t been splashed on television screens statewide might be a legislative Senate race here in the old part of Reno — Senate District 15, a swing district inside a swing county inside a swing state.

It’s one of five competitive state Senate races that will determine which party controls the state’s upper house in 2013.

But this race has the added drama of pitting two veterans of Nevada’s political class with very different views on the role of government against each other: Sen. Greg Brower, the Republican incumbent, and former Sen. Sheila Leslie, the Democrat who resigned her safe seat in February to move into a house she had bought in the district.

And so far, there's been plenty of drama here. With the stakes so high, the contrasts are being made crystal clear.

She said Brower’s vote against extending existing taxes in 2011 was pandering to the “tea party” element of the Republican Party. At the time of the vote, Brower was in the middle of a contested Republican primary for the congressional seat that covers most of Northern Nevada. He lost that race.

“It’s offensive that someone would change their values and votes for personal political gain,” Leslie said. “Now that he’s in this campaign, he’s portraying himself as a moderate. But he might vote with the tea party again.”

Brower is striking a decidedly more moderate tone on taxes this year. He said he would vote in 2013 to extend the same taxes he opposed last year to prevent further cuts to education. He would also consider more taxes, but said, “It’s premature to go beyond that at this point.”

Indeed, Greg Brower has been changing his tune since he lost his race for Congress last year (which was the NV-02 special election). He tried the "tea party" route last year and lost in the G-O-TEA primary. So now that he's running for State Senate in a swing district and probably preparing to run for Attorney General in 2014, he's trying the "moderate" route. The problem for Brower is that he's playing this great "moderate" game now, he simply can't reconcile that with his "tea party" approved record.

Since Brower has already been flip-flopping on the budget, tax fairness, and education funding, can SD 15 voters really believe what he's saying he will do next year? After all, Brian Sandoval's preferred budget already may be falling apart. And since Greg Brower has been using Governor Sandoval and his preferred budget for political cover, what will he do once that's gone and the "tea party" jumps back in to fill the leadership void on the right?

This may seem like just one local State Legislature race in Northern Nevada, but there's so much more at stake here. The future of Nevada's tax code, Nevada's public schools, and really the entire Nevada economy may rest on the outcome of this local State Legislature race in Reno. Just keep that in mind.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why #MittpocalyseNow? (Maybe Mittens Just Can't Campaign.)

Yesterday, Mitt Romney returned to Las Vegas to attack President Obama... And try to "reset his campaign" yet again. After all, this hasn't been a great week for Mitt Romney.

Well, Mitt just got worse here yesterday.

And it just highlighted Romney's continuing difficulties in delivering a coherent message. Greg Sargent thinks Romney is losing because he lost his key argument on the economy. Jonathan Bernstein thinks Romney is losing because he's trapped in "the tea party echo chamber" and that's keeping him detached from reality. And while both of them have good points, I'm wondering if perhaps there's a simpler reason why it's all going downhill for Mittens and his G-O-TEA.

Go ahead and take another look at that video above. Notice the message being delivered by the Obama supporters, then notice the message being delivered by Romney supporters. Now, take a look at what Rachel Maddow has to say below.

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And herein lies perhaps the biggest reason why Romney's campaign has taken such a turn for the worse. OFA and Democrats have been making the case that Mitt Romney doesn't want to take action to save America's middle class. Yet while Democrats make this case, Romney and his fellow Republicans... Well, they confirm it!

And with early voting now starting in several states, and with so little time left before the final day to vote, they don't really seem interested in even hitting the ground to campaign and deliver their own message. This is a serious problem. And as long as this continues, Republicans have no one else to blame for their own loss.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Did Mitt Romney Prove Harry Reid Wrong? Not So Fast.

For some time, Mitt Romney has been trying to convince America that "Big Bad Harry Reid!!!" has been lying about Romney's tax record. Yet for so long, he's refused to release his tax returns to prove it. Well today, that's finally changed. Yet while many in the media are already claiming this proves Reid wrong, a closer look at what's in Romney's release paints a more complicated picture.

Take a look at what Salon's Andrew Leonard found.

Without claiming the total legally possible deduction, Romney ended up paying an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent. If he’d claimed everything he had a right to, he would only have paid around 12.1 percent.

There’s something both hilarious and pathetic about a presidential candidate manipulating his deductions so he ends up paying what he considers a more politically appropriate tax rate. But it’s especially ludicrous in light of Romney’s numerous claims that he’s always paid the government exactly what he owes, “and not a dollar more,” implying that anyone who voluntarily gave the government more than he legally owed was either a fool or a moron.

Romney is even on record declaring that the act of paying more than he owed would mean he shouldn’t be eligible for the presidency! [...]

So! A change in tune. A flip-flop, even.

But the true puzzler is why Romney would imagine that artificially boosting his tax rate to 14.1 percent would help him with any voter who isn’t already outraged at how low Romney’s tax burden is. As has been pointed out numerous times this week,the average worker’s payroll tax rate equals 15.3 percent of their income. So even with the jiggering, Romney paid a smaller percentage of his income as taxes than many members of the 47 percent he trashed in his Boca Raton, Fla., speech to fundraisers.

So Romney actually fudged his numbers so that he could claim that he paid a higher share of income taxes than he would have if he had claimed his full charitable deduction. Actually, TPM's Brian Beutler dug through Romney's returns some more and discovered that his real effective tax rate would have been 10.5% without his "creative accounting"!

So was Harry Reid wrong in claiming Mitt Romney paid nothing in taxes? If taken literally, then yes. But when taking into consideration that Romney pays less in taxes than most of the people he's been bashing this year, then Harry Reid's statements haven't really been too far fetched.

NV-Sen: Dour Dean Heller

This just hasn't been a good week for Dean Heller. Voter registration numbers are not going Nevada Republicans' way. Mitt Romney seems destined to provide no help from the top of the ticket. And now, his plan to tar & feather Shelley Berkley over fabricated "corruption" looks to be backfiring.

So really, Dean Heller is in a bad mood today. And there's a good chance his weekend is about to become even worse. There's now open talk of how much Romney will hurt down ballot Republicans. And back here in Nevada, Romney's "secret weapon" of a "turnout machine" is looking increasingly like a loose cannon that's firing on its own troops.

Democrats continue to out-register Republicans month after month. As a result, they have a 56,000-voter advantage over Republicans — a direct indication of a turnout machine’s effectiveness.

And while public opinion polls show the presidential race is a statistical dead heat, not a single survey has put Romney ahead of Obama.

That has made some Republican operatives and donors increasingly nervous. They privately gripe about the fact that Team Nevada has failed to live up to its very public promise to outperform Democrats in voter registration this year.

“There’s been significant concern about the voter registration numbers in that Team Nevada was formed to counter the typical Democratic surge,” said one Republican operative who asked not to be identified in order to speak frankly about the effort. “They set the expectation that they would be able to keep up with the Democrats. That clearly hasn’t happened.

“This entity was created because people did not want to invest in the dysfunctional state party. We wanted to steer the money toward a program with a level of competency. But clearly, it’s difficult to keep up with the Democrats.”

Republicans have worked to deflect attention from the sagging registration numbers. Strategists familiar with the operation say they are targeted to exceed their registration goal. Instead of using registration numbers to gauge the operation’s strength, they point to the experience of the Nevada consultants running the coordinated campaign, including operatives Mike Slanker and Ryan Erwin, who both know the state well.

Here's the problem for Team Nevada: As Hugh Jackson pointed out yesterday, Slanker & Erwin are trying to relive their "glory days" of 2004 while remaining oblivious to the changed political landscape of today.

And here's another problem for Team Nevada: What they're doing in the field just isn't working. As we've discussed so many times before, field matters. Yet while Nevada Democrats have been busy registering voters, knocking doors, and making calls, Nevada Republicans' "Shadow Party" does hardly anything beyond spinning the media.

Here's the proof: I was at the Henderson DMV again today. Four Team Nevada registration workers were scrambling around the entrance and shouting at customers. They kept asking, "Quick poll: Romney or Obama?" And most DMV customers were bristling and rushing to dart inside to escape the madness. Seriously, this is NOT how to register voters.

(And by the way, this is how Darren Littell gets to his ridiculous "All the Nonpartisans we register are breaking for Romney!" claim.)

And as Anjeanette Damon discovered, many of the "voter contacts" they claim they've made are just attempts. It's increasingly looking like Team Nevada must "cook the books" in order to make their numbers look good for Romney and Heller. And this explains why Dean Heller has been so dour lately.

NV-04: "Newspaper" Strikes Yet Again!

Last Friday, Las Vegas' local "newspaper" embarrassed itself again with a horribly flawed "poll" showing an implausible "victory" scenario for Joe Heck. Today, the "newspaper" has a new NV-04 "poll" showing Danny Tarkanian leading Steven Horsford 45-42.

Here's why the "newspaper" is wrong (yet again!). Just like last week's results, Survey USA's internals make absolutely no sense. Believe it or not, this "poll" claims Baby Tark is winning Latino voters by 8! Shockingly, it also claims Baby Tark is winning with young voters and urban voters, and that he's winning 13% of African-American voters. Sorry, but this is simply not happening.

The sample also skews older and more male than the final electorate will probably be, especially since this is also a Presidential Election. All in all, this just looks incredibly sloppy and totally unbelievable. And what I said last week still stands today.

So why did this happen? Well, when a "newspaper" becomes accustomed to accepting sloppy "reporting", this is the result. Believe it or not, its polls were actually starting to make sense when it teamed up with UNLV's polling institute. It's a shame that the "newspaper" actually dumped a solid local outfit for this garbage.

It's one thing for the "newspaper" to continually attack Steven Horsford in its editorial page. But when it breathlessly copies from Republican press releases and put those smears in the news section, that's simply not journalism. And when that same "newspaper" publishes incredibly flawed "polls" with horridly bad samples, that's just a bad joke.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brian Sandoval's Arithmetic Problem

Apparently when not acting as Mitt Romney's "Unofficial Official Hispanic Ambassador", Brian Sandoval claims the title of Nevada Governor. And when he's not trying to spin away Mittens' many political woes, he's trying to spin away the state's stubborn fiscal dilemma. So far, it looks like his spin isn't working for either case.

“It will take more than the revenue growth that we’re seeing to make significant restorations to salaries and benefits and to keep education whole,” said Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, who was chairwoman of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and heads the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee. “I’m anxious to see the governor’s budget.”

The Sandoval administration has released few details about his budget-writing process. So far, he has instructed state gencies to submit “flat budget” requests. He also has announced that since July 1, 2011, tax revenues have come in $70 million over initial projections. [...]

Last week, Sandoval doubled down on his promise not to cut education in an interview with the Reno Gazette Journal’s editorial board.

"I meant it when I said we are not going to cut K-through-12 or higher education anymore," he said.

For education, however, a flat budget would mean budget cuts.

“It wouldn’t be enough,” Washoe County Superintendent Pedro Martinez said. “We all have cost increases we have to deal with, one way or the other.”

Martinez said he expects to ask the state for as much as $14 million to cover increased costs.

Last March, Governor Sandoval really thought he could magically balance the budget with gauzy rhetoric and cutesy politics. And while his big move made good political sense six months ago, it makes no fiscal sense now. Because our state's population continues to grow while our state's revenue sources do not, we're running into what's often called "The Structural Deficit". Because our state has been unable to collect the revenue necessary to fund all our state's needs, we keep running deficits over and over and over again.

And unless new revenue is added into next year's budgetary equation, cuts will have to be made. And those cuts will have to be made at the worst possible time, right when Nevada needs strong schools the most. As we've discussed before, good public education is absolutely necessary for diversifying and healing our state's troubled economy. Yet because we've shortchanged our public schools so often before, they are just struggling to survive now. And if more revenue isn't added to the state budget soon, we'll see even more horrific cuts to our schools.

This is where The Education Initiative steps in. If passed, it will stabilize Nevada's revenue stream and give us the ability to fully fund public education simply by asking the giant multinational corporations that are currently (mis)using our tax code to avoid paying taxes elsewhere to pay something closer to their fair share, and do it so we can actually build the foundation of a better economic future for all of Nevada.

For some reason, Brian Sandoval continues to fear The Education Initiative. But since his budget proposal has (again) been weighed and found wanting, the initiative just looks increasingly like the first step of our only way out of this structural deficit and toward a lasting solution for both the state's fiscal health and for public education.

NV-Sen/NV-03: #RomneyShambles Hits Nevada Republicans

This Friday, Mitt Romney will be returning to Las Vegas for his campaign's funeral "a victory rally". Yet while Romney plans his return to Nevada, Republicans here are in full panic mode.

Why? Let me explain.

Throughout this year, Dean Heller has been assuming that he could win his Senate race by lying about his record... And lying about Shelley Berkley. He had never previously assumed that his complete embrace of Mitt Romney's G-O-TEA agenda would come back to bite him. But now, all of a sudden, Dean Heller wants us to believe that he's "different" from Romney.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said he has a "very different view of the world" than the one Mitt Romney expressed at a private fundraiser, a sign of how dangerous the now-famous "47 percent" comment is to a swing-state senator facing reelection.

"I have five brothers and sisters. My father was an auto mechanic, my mother was a school cook," Heller told reporters outside the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon. "I have a very different view of the world and as a United States senator I think I represent everybody. And every vote is important. Every vote is important in this race. I don't write off anything."

However, he did let this slip.

Heller refused to comment on how he thought Romney's campaign was doing in his home state. When told it sounded like he thought Romney was losing Nevada he pursed his lips and didn't disagree. He also wouldn't weigh in on whether he was worried Romney could drag him down if the GOP nominee loses the state, though he stressed he ran ahead of the GOP ticket in his congressional district in 2008.

"I don't want to answer that question," he said with a laugh when asked if he thought Romney could hurt him.

[...] He said he would continue to work to help Romney in the state because "If Governor Romney wins Nevada, I win the state."

When asked if Romney was doing enough to win there, he curtly said "you'll have to ask him."

The fact of the matter is that Dean Heller is inextricably tied to the hip of the Romney-Ryan G-O-TEA agenda. In particular, he's the only Member of Congress to have voted for Paul Ryan's budget both in the House and in the Senate. This is why he's had to lie so much about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act lately.

We really have four peas in a pod here. Wait... What? Oh yes, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Dean Heller, and Joe Heck have been pursuing the same "tea party" approved agenda for some time. And perhaps Heck has been the most forthcoming of the pod when it comes to their true agenda.

This is why Heck has had to attack his opponent, John Oceguera, and his record... As a firefighter.

You see, Joe Heck can't actually practice what he preaches. While he touts "AUSTERITY!" to working class Nevadans, he has regularly been collecting his government funded checks. This is why he has to project his problem onto his opponents. And this is what makes his continuing loyalty to Romney & Ryan even more appalling.

“It is not about making some pay more, it’s about making more pay some,” Heck, a Romney campaign co-chair for Nevada, said in a statement Tuesday. “Every American benefits from the man or woman in uniform standing a post somewhere around the globe keeping us safe, and I believe every American wants to be supportive."

The problem for Joe Heck is that Mitt Romney's tax policy is all about making the middle class and working poor pay more while the super-rich pay less. And this is just worsened by Romney's glaring inability to understand the struggles of the 99%. This is why Dean Heller is now running away from Romney the candidate, even if he still agrees with Romney on policy. Yet while Heller runs further away, Heck seems determined to stay the course with Romney.

It's bad enough for Heller and Heck that Nevada Republicans' field operation has been awfully lackluster compared to what Nevada Democrats have. But now that Mitt Romney continues his slow motion campaign implosion, Heller & Heck are more vulnerable now than ever before. Steve Kornacki explained this morning just why this is so.

Romney was never going to be much of a help to his party in these races, but he absolutely can be a liability. The more unpopular he becomes in blue states and swing states and the more attention he receives, the harder it becomes for Republican candidates to separate themselves from him and to encourage ticket-splitting by voters.

To have any realistic chance of winning back the Senate, national Republicans badly need Brown to hang on to his Massachusetts seat, and he’s been falling behind in the most recent polls. A victory by Heller, who was appointed to his seat after John Ensign’s resignation last year, is equally critical for Republicans. The GOP has also been hopeful of pulling off an upset in Connecticut, where McMahon’s heavy personal spending has made her race with Democrat Chris Murphy competitive, and (at least earlier in the cycle) held out hope for Lingle too. [...]

This could also be a function of Democrats coming home in the wake of the party’s successful Charlotte convention, and not so much a result of Romney’s struggles. But to win back the Senate, Republicans will need to earn the votes of many people who are voting for Obama at the top of the ticket. At the very least, this week’s developments won’t make that task any easier.

And herein lies another key reason why Republicans may fail quite miserably in their quest to turn Nevada Red again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

NV-Sen/NV-03: Escape from #RomneyShambles

Yesterday, Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, did an interview with Reno NBC affiliate KRNV in hopes of diffusing Romney's latest self-inflicted political crisis. Instead, Ryan further embarrassed his campaign. Here, take a look at this...

Then go ahead and look at this.

President Obama has an 8-point lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters, bolstered by renewed Democratic enthusiasm in the wake of the Democratic National Convention, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

“At this stage in the campaign, Barack Obama is in a strong position compared with past victorious presidential candidates,” said Pew President Andrew Kohut. “Obama holds a bigger September lead than the last three candidates who went on to win in November, including Obama four years ago. In elections since 1988, only Bill Clinton, in 1992 and 1996, entered the fall with a larger advantage.”

Obama leads Romney 51 percent to 43 percent. A poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released Tuesday night showed a 5-point Obama advantage. [...]

“We are seeing a substantial increase in Democratic engagement in this election over the last month,” Pew research director Michael Dimock told TPM in an email. “Some of this may be linked to the conventions, which emphasized to Democrats the stakes in this election, as well as reminding them of some of the core values of the party in [Former President Bill] Clinton’s speech.

Hmmm, I wonder why this is happening. Could it be the aftermath of the conventions? Could it be Romney's Libya meltdown? Could it be Romney's latest 47% meltdown? Perhaps it's a result of all of the above?

Funny enough, Dean Heller is now trying to run away from his soon to be former BFF. I guess he didn't get Joe Heck's memo. They were so close, yet now Heller is trying to run away from both Heck & Romney. Hmmm, I wonder why...

Could it be? Could it be that he's realizing Romney is losing?

The problem for both Heller and Heck is that they're far too tied to the hip ideologically to Romney for this to work. I guess that's why Heck is standing by his man. But if Dean Heller is now sending out this kind of signal, what are top Nevada Republican strategists really thinking about Romney's chances now?


#AFPfail: Don't Know Much About Gas Prices

They're back! In July, AFP Nevada had quite the "Bus Wreck" of a campaign rally "educational experience". This week, they're back... And they're offering cheap gas??!!

The cheap gas offered by the conservative political group Americans for Prosperity in Reno on Tuesday was a political event designed to blame President Barack Obama’s energy policies for driving up the cost of petrol.

But many of the scores of people who lined up around the block to fill up their tanks at $1.84 a gallon didn’t come for politics. They didn’t blame Obama for the gas prices. They just needed cheap gas.

Are you kidding me? For being such "free market conservatives", the folks at AFP really don't know how the free market actually works. No really, the market doesn't work the way AFP claims it does.

And what makes them look even more ridiculous is that they're trying to blame gas prices on President Obama... And on smart policies meant to tackle climate change and create more jobs here in Nevada. Seriously, this is all AFP has?

Apparently, Nevadans actually aren't as stupid as the folks at AFP had assumed we were. That's reassuring. I guess one can only disregard sound science and economics so much before people start tuning one out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NV-03: Joe Heck Values Mitt Romney's Political Career... Over Your Family's Survival.

Yesterday, we witnessed yet another new low for Mitt Romney's campaign. But surprise, surprise, guess who (again) is backing up Mittens! Oh yes, indeed, Joe Heck tried to make it all go away for his dear BFF Mittens.

@RepJoeHeck says react to Romney is overblown. More people would pay taxes except "fewer have the chance" due to Obama "failed policies."

Really, we should not be surprised by this. Just like his BFF Mitt Romney, Joe Heck continues to double down on slashing and burning the very foundation of America's middle class just so he can bail out 1% plutocrats like Romney just a little more. What we discussed two weeks ago still very much applies today.

It's one thing to pay for glitzy TV ads that show happy looking seniors, smiling students, and gauzy rhetoric about "protecting the middle class". It's another to actually match one's rhetoric with one's record. And so far, Joe Heck has failed to do that. Without Medicare, Social Security, Pell Grants, unemployment insurance, SCHIP (children's health care), and so much more of the American social safety net, America's middle class couldn't exist.

Without Medicare & Social Security, many seniors would be thrown into dire poverty. Without Pell Grants and low cost federally backed student loans, many young Americans would be forced to relinquish their dreams of finishing college and embarking on a brighter economic future. And again, without the social safety net that makes America's middle class possible, we wouldn't have a middle class and we wouldn't have any hope for a stronger economy. If Joe Heck really valued that, he'd reflect those values in his (bills targeting the federal) budget.

Last night, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, Howard Fineman, and Krystal Ball pinpointed why Mitt Romney is on track to lose the Presidential Election.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Believe it or not, this is what Joe Heck is defending!

And now, it looks like Joe Heck is hellbent on following Mitt Romney into that political downward spiral. And he's doing it because of terrible policy and a downright disgusting & condescending attitude toward Nevada's working families. One can't simply spit on 47-60% of Americans like this.

Yet for some reason, BFFs Mitt Romney and Joe Heck continue to do this. Again, our social safety net is absolutely necessary to build and sustain our middle class. But because they insist on being "penny wise and pound foolish", Mitt Romney and Joe Heck want to dismantle the entire social safety net, smash their wrecking ball into everything from Medicare to Pell Grants, and do so just to write more "billionaire bailouts" into the federal tax code.

It's becoming increasingly clear that Joe Heck values Mitt Romney's campaign far more than the well being of Nevada's working families. We now have to wait and see how willing he is to stay on board Romney's Titanic of a political campaign.

Why Romney Is Losing (It's the Middle Class, Stupid)

Today, the G-O-TEA media spinners are doubling down on their lies about what President Obama did here in Las Vegas last week. I guess that's really all they have left to talk about. After all, Mitt Romney imploded in my mailbox yesterday.

And today, Mitt just keeps getting worse. After he (rather bizarrely) requested that his full presentation at the now infamous Boca Raton (Florida) fundraiser be posted, Mother Jones' David Corn happily obliged.

And when looking at the full context... Well, Mitt just gets worse. And Ezra Klein explains why.

The big surprise at this point in the election is not that Mitt Romney is turning out to be such a bad candidate. His weaknesses were always well known, and even now, they’re likely overstated. He’s proven an able campaigner, an extraordinary fundraiser, and more than capable of uniting his party. But if he is, in some ways, a better candidate than many expected, he’s also proving to be a much more conservative candidate than anyone expected.

What Romney actually believes is an unusually tricky question fraught with metaphysical and epistemological uncertainty. But in terms of the recent comments and decisions that have gotten him in trouble, some of them are campaign missteps, but most of them are an unexpectedly doctrinaire application of the conservative worldview — the sort of stuff that gets a standing ovation at CPAC, but that gets Republicans into trouble among more general audiences. [...]

Perhaps Romney’s biggest and most ongoing problem is his tax plan, which seems to require either a tax hike on the middle class or a huge increase in the deficit, and has gotten him fairly accused of cutting taxes on the rich. It’s often forgotten, but this is actually Romney’s second tax plan. His initial tax proposal — which you can still see in his jobs plan – was simply to extend the Bush tax cuts and give Americans making less than $250,000 a cut on their capital gains rate. That would’ve been a much easier proposal to defend in the general election. [...]

Similarly, Romney chose [Paul] Ryan to be his vice president, yoking himself to Ryan’s budget and to the House GOP. In one day, Romney took the basic strategy of the campaign, which was to make this election a referendum on Obama’s leadership, and made it a choice election, with Romney standing side-by-side with the architect of the chief governing document of contemporary conservatism.

As we've discussed before, Paul Ryan's budget is nothing less than a full assault on America's middle class and the working poor aspiring to become middle class. And not only has Mitt Romney fully embraced Paul Ryan's "vision" of a middle class busting budget, but he also wants to undo decades worth of BIPARTISAN economic policy meant to boost the ranks of the middle class. And in pursuing this false dichotomy of "the makers versus the takers", he's actually attacking upwards of 60% (!!!) of Americans along with these bipartisan decades old policies meant to build and sustain America's middle class.

This is the real poison of what Mitt Romney said at that Boca Raton fundraiser. Mitt Romney revealed that he's more than willing to undo the foundation of America's middle class just so he and his fellow 1% plutocrats can pay even less in taxes. Heh, I guess Harry Reid has been right all along.

And this is why the teabaggers are reverting to screaming about what President Obama supposedly did or did not do in Las Vegas last week. Despite all their howls suggesting otherwise, perhaps even they are starting to realize this is a losing issue for Mitt Romney. Perhaps they are finally realizing that Mitt Romney is losing this election. One just can't attack 60% of Americans and expect no blowback.

Already, Romney has been looking at some daunting numbers.

Fueled by increased optimism about the economy and nation’s direction, President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by 5 points among likely voters and now sees his job-approval rating reaching the 50 percent threshold for the first time since March, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The survey – which was conducted after the two party conventions and the political firestorm over last week’s U.S. embassy attacks, but before Romney’s controversial comments about the 47 percent of the country “who are dependent on government” – shows the percentages believing that the country is headed in the right direction and thinking that the economy will improve at their highest levels since 2009. [..]

Among a wider sample of registered voters, the president’s lead is 6 points, 50 percent to 44 percent – up from Obama’s 4-point edge last month, 48 percent to 44 percent.

“It’s clear to me that Barack Obama has moved a … step ahead,” says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster BillMcInturff.

So he couldn't afford any more "embarrassing moments". Too bad for the Romney campaign that their candidate just delivered the epitome of "embarrassing moments".