Thursday, November 7, 2013

Issue at Heart

Here's a news flash from the Department of the Painfully Obvious. In the wake of the recent Pat Hickey, Jim Wheeler, and Washoe County Republican Party follies, the Nevada Republican Party is enduring another restless round of soul-searching. And yet again, a great divide is forming on the right.

Oh, and the s**t is really starting to hit the fan... And land into the local media.

“I was so incensed I couldn’t even believe it,” [Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler] said Wednesday. “I get angry at the Washoe (Republican) Party. Taber and Dickman were sitting, listening and neither one said, ‘Wait a minute. We have some really good women in public office.’ ” [...]

“Their comments do not reflect the vast majority of men and women in our party,” she wrote. “I was proud to work on the campaign of the late Congresswoman Barbara Vucanovich. Back then, I saw what the Republican Party looked like. We were the party that encouraged women to work and run for office.”

Eric Herzik, the chairman of the political science department at the University of Nevada, Reno and a Republican, said establishment members of the GOP such as Sandoval and Heller are pushing back against state and county GOP officials who have aligned closer to the conservative tea party movement.

“This has been around for a while,” Herzik said. “It’s not something new. What you are starting to see is ... people like Sandoval and people who were aligned with (the late state Sen. Bill) Raggio who have just been vilified by the Tea Party folks.”

This was bound to happen. Republicans here and nationally have been struggling... With each other. The Great G-O-TEA Civil War of 2013 continues ro rage on. And it continues to cause Republican politicians to utter words and cast votes that cause their campaign managers to reach for the extra strength Pepto Bismol.

And of course, all this G-O-TEA angst has led to the stalling of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) in Congress. Never mind that the Senate already passed a bipartisan CIR bill in June. Because the 21st Century Know Nothings don't want to believe reality, House Republican "leaders" are pretending that big, bipartisan Senate CIR vote never happened.

Is ENDA about to meet the same fate? The workplace anti-discrimination bill secured final Senate passage just moments ago. The vote was 64-32.

But already, House Republican "leaders" are threatening to do to ENDA what they're doing to CIR. That's why Senator Harry Reid (D-Fierce) has been so quick to fight back. Earlier this week, he made a very personal case for the House to finish what the Senate started.

“For me to feel any differently about this, they wouldn’t feel proud of their grandfather,” Reid said. “It’s just with my five children, it’s a non-issue, but for my three adult grandchildren, it’s a non-non-non-issue. They can’t imagine why anyone gives a damn.”

Reid disclosed in an earlier conversation with reporters that he had a lesbian niece. Asked whether he had spoken to her since Senate movement on ENDA, Reid said he hadn’t.

“She called me, left a message when we were able to open the government,” Reid said. “She’s, of course, proud of her uncle. But she and I don’t need to dwell on the issue, she’s just like everybody else.”

This is the issue at heart of this whole G-O-TEA Culture War. Queer people exist. And so do women who work. And so do Latin@ American families. These are the fabrics that make the beautiful quilt that is America today.

The likes of Pat Hickey and Jim Wheeler and the Washoe Republican Party chiefs are only looking at the political short term. They're only trying to please the immediate desires of the 21st Century Know Nothings. They're missing the big picture of what their party has to do in order to remain relevant in 21st Century America. And of course, they're encouraging their party to continue missing opportunities to actually help people and do the right thing.

This is the issue at heart of all the recent Nevada Republican controversies. And it will take more than just a few cosmetic enhancements to actually fix this problem.

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