Friday, August 05, 2005

Column 36 - The Man Who Would Be Governor

In Kipling’s classic The Man Who Would Be King, an uneducated British soldier finds himself among primitive tribespeople in South Asia, and through a combination of bombast and trickery becomes king of the tribe. In the end he is, of course, found out and meets a bad, if colorful, end.

Our Representative in Congress, Jim Gibbons, reminds me more and more of Kipling’s anti-hero.First, he called critics "communists", then he said people who opposed his position on the Iraq War should be used as "human shields.” Recently in a speech to the Las Vegas Rotary he continued his campaign of purple prose, demonstrating either cluelessness of epic proportions, contempt for the intelligence of Nevada’s voters, or both. Worse, Gibbons seems to be counting on the Right’s campaign of demagoguery to rally Nevada Republicans to his campaign for Governor, assuming they are gullible enough to be taken in by his ranting and will ignore his gaffes. For example:
• Gibbons does not know the minimum wage - he told the Rotary group it was unnecessary to raise the minimum wage from $6.25/hour—the actual minimum wage is $5.15/hour.
• During his speech Gibbons said that people have forgotten about 9-11 and claims the terrorist attacks are “merely a dot on the horizon of our rear-view mirrors”.
• Gibbons said he is glad the U.S. House does not have the filibuster procedure because getting in “down and dirty” arguments makes for “great times in the House.”
• Gibbons also claims (inaccurately) that filibusters are used by the Senate to increase spending. The reality is that the procedure has only been used a handful of times recently to maintain a system of checks and balances regarding presidential nominees.
• Finally, Gibbons seems to have delusions of being some kind of middle-aged sex symbol – he told the group he was going to wrap up his speech “so you don’t start fantasizing about me”.
Now before those who have made it their mission to go on the attack every time I point out the Right’s feet of clay (to be generous) hit the macro that generates a letter calling me a liar, I have documentation of each of these points and will be glad to send the links to anyone who contacts me through the paper and asks for them.
Jim Gibbons wants to be Nevada’s Governor. According to an old adage, people get the government they deserve, and I shudder to think that we deserve someone with Gibbon’s reckless mouth, disregard for the facts, and contempt for the voters’ intelligence and sensibilities. In the Republican ascendancy of the past five years we have seen increasing indifference to and even distrust of intelligent discourse (at least when it disagrees with right-wing orthodoxy) and decreasing regard for individual liberty, rights, and the Constitution cloaked in flag-waving and dubious references to 9/11, weapons of mass destruction, and the dubious mission to impose democracy (oxymoron alert!!) on the world whether it is wanted or not. Now we have running for Governor of Nevada a hothead who speaks without apparent benefit of thought and who shows little regard for those he was elected to represent.
It’s time to start an ABJ (anybody but Jim) campaign for Governor. I suggest the Nevada Republican Party start the ball rolling by disavowing Gibbons’ intemperate remarks.

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