Friday, September 10, 2010

Bonanza Column 202 – Political Potpourri

A roundup of political items too short to get a column of their own. Early voting starts in a month – don't forget to register and vote and to attend the Bonanza Forums.


While my column on Sharron Angle raised hackles among far-right correspondents to last week's Bonanza, it still confounds me that anyone who claims to have half an intellect can support her. Some of the criticism was, I think, over the top. For example if, as Don Kaplan says, having a strong preference for Democrats means that I would "vote for a terrorist if he ran as a Democrat," then presumably the same could be said for anyone who is a loyal Republican, and I doubt that's what my friend Don meant. Anyhow, Friday is Yom Kippur and I'll forgive him.

Mostly, though, it seems that the best argument anyone can muster for Angle is that she's not Harry Reid. I can appreciate that politically and philosophically one can be opposed to Senator Reid, but for a Nevadan to vote is an extremist nonentity just in order to defeat an arguably competent and experienced senator you don't agree with is a classic example of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Most of Angle's support is from out of state, and those folks could care less what happens to Nevada.

In her latest display of non-professionalism, Angle, on Jon Ralston's TV show, challenged Reid to a debate on this show. The challenge to debate, in Reno, on October 21st, was unambiguous – it's on video and you can watch it for yourself. Angle's Deputy Campaign Manager then confirmed the debate. All good, until Reid accepted and confirmed he would be there. Then, without explanation, Angle withdrew from the debate she requested. You figure it out – I can't.


When he ran for the Assembly in 1994, Brian Sandoval told the Reno Gazette-Journal "I would oppose a voucher system to the extent it would allow taxpayer money to be diverted to private schools." Now, in his run for Governor, he is proposing a system of vouchers that would take more than $100 million from 96% of the children of Nevada – that's the percentage who attend public schools – to support the 4% who attend private schools.

The sad thing is that Assembly Candidate Sandoval had it right – a voucher system diverts taxpayer money to private schools and, in addition, offers an incentive for the best and brightest students to leave the public school system. I actually don't have much of a problem with politicians changing their positions when they get educated and take a better position, but flip-flopping from a good position to a bad one smacks of cynicism – in this case pandering to the Tea Party crowd.


In case you missed it, NewsCorp, which owns Fox News, went public recently with its support of the Republican Party to the tune of $1 million. For years commentators on the Left have been saying that Fox was, for all intents and purposes, the publicity arm of the GOP and this confirms it. So that we're clear, Fox has advocated such back to the future moves as repeal of Medicare and Medicaid, repeal of the 16th and 17th Amendments (that would be the Income Tax and direct election of Senators), the ADA, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, elimination of nuclear arms control, labor unions, women's right to choose abortion, elimination of the Department of Education and unemployment insurance, the EPA, and progressive taxation. Hmm… sounds like Sharron Angle's platform.


As of this writing on September 10th, the case of the Pastor (his congregation is 50 people – I have more followers than that on Twitter – in Florida who is threatening to burn copies of the Qu'ran for reasons that are unclear to me is unresolved. Despite appeals from Gen. Petraeus, other Christian clergy, non-Christian clergy, and others, he seems to think he can use his threat as a bargaining chip to get the non-mosque that is not at Ground Zero moved to be even more not at Ground Zero. Funny, though, when he started, he never mentioned the non-mosque. That started after Palin, Gingrich, and other wingnuts (surprised we haven't heard from Angle on this) started conflating the two issues – you gotta hand it to Pastor Jones – he has a knack for getting media attention.

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