Like Gillespie, Wheeler should admit his mistake

It’s Tuesday, and everyone is entitled to my opinion:

BIG JIM: Political comedy writers across the country surely are considering sending Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, R-Gardnerville, notes of gratitude after the language mangler managed to express a willingness to vote to bring back slavery if that’s what his constituents desired.

Speaking in August before a Republican group in Storey County, Wheeler said, “If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose, I’d have to bite my tongue and they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah, if that’s what the citizens of the, if that’s what the constituency wants that elected me, that’s what they elected me for. That’s what a republic is about. You elected a person for your district to do your wants and wishes, not the wants and wishes of a special interest, not his own wants and wishes, yours.”

No, actually, a republic isn’t about electing folks with no conscience or moral compass. But never mind that.

Since Wheeler’s comments first surfaced, he has been sliced to ribbons by editorial writers, pundits and even television funnyman Stephen Colbert. No surprise there.

Wheeler initially attempted to extract his cowboy boot from his mouth with an apology, retraction and rewrite. Then he seemed to say he was being victimized by some mean old Nevada liberals, who apparently are skilled ventriloquists.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get stranger, Wheeler received an enthusiastic vote of support when the Lyon County Republican Central Committee voted unanimously to pass a resolution endorsing Wheeler. He may be a dunderhead, but darn it he’s their dunderhead.

At this point it’s hard to tell what’s more over the top: the collective pouncing on the tone-deaf bumpkin legislator or the gaggle of geese that insists on honking in his defense.

This is why it’s so challenging to write a novel about Nevada politics.

How can you possibly create more outrageous dialogue than what actually comes out of the mouths of some of our legislators?

COP CONTRACT: The recent blowup over the questionable contract negotiations and arbitration of Metro’s latest contract is bound to attach itself to Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s political legacy.

In dramatic fashion the sheriff rose to defend the process despite its evident flaws after being criticized by skeptical County Commissioner Steve Sisolak. Gillespie was embarrassed when it became obvious that the public wasn’t exactly well served by the arbitration process.

Then something refreshing happened.

We saw a public official, Gillespie, actually admit he had made a mistake.

How many times in your life have you seen that happen?

That, too, should be part of Gillespie’s legacy.

GOP CONVENTION: Talk of bringing the Republican National Convention to Las Vegas has partisans clucking and academics and economists weighing the possibilities.

Frankly, it feels like a long shot. But, come to think of it, casino billionaire and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson could probably underwrite the event out of petty cash.

Politics aside, it would be a breakthrough for Las Vegas as a convention capital.

CASINO CREDIT: By now you would think every corner of the casino industry would have received the message about the importance of not playing games when considering granting credit for international high rollers who might raise red flags with corporate compliance officials.

Apparently not.

Sources say an international marketing representative here has more than a little explaining to do regarding the issuance of credit to unapproved players.

The guy’s boss has to be livid.

AIN’T IT GRAND?: Meaning no disrespect, it’s hard to imagine a thinking person confusing the newly opened Downtown Grand with the enormous MGM Grand, but millions of tourists prove year after year that they don’t come to Las Vegas to do much thinking.

Perhaps the downtown property should be nicknamed the Baby Grand.

Anyone have a better idea?

John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295.