Sometimes you wonder, ‘Did I just hear that right?’


Let me see if I understand this correctly …

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in an interview with NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd, defended what has become a crusade against oil barons Charles and David Koch, but said casino baron Sheldon Adelson is OK?

Reid has become well-known for repeatedly attacking the Koch brothers, which, according to The New York Times, followed a Democratic strategy session that instructed the party to identify a villain in order to sell a story line to voters about how the rich are exploiting the poor. That’s why Reid has excoriated the Koch brothers for everything from trying to buy America’s elections to being one of the “main causes” of global warming.

But when it comes to Adelson — who with his wife, Miriam, spent more than any other single donor in the 2012 campaign cycle — Reid’s willing to cut some slack. After all, Adelson isn’t an oilman and has liberal social views, Reid says.

Those liberal social views didn’t stop Adelson from trying to make a president out of Newt Gingrich, a man who once declared right here in Las Vegas (on a visit to endorse Sharron Angle’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate) that we’re endowed by our Creator with the right to keep and bear arms. Those views didn’t stop Adelson from later backing Republican Mitt Romney, either. And they haven’t led Adelson to negotiate with the Culinary Local 226, although the generous pay and benefits he offers his employees is undoubtedly meant to dissuade workers from seeking union representation.

The truth is, Adelson is involved in politics for the same reason everybody else is: influence. Just because Adelson wants to use his influence for ideological reasons (a pro-Israel foreign policy, for example) as opposed to financial reasons (thwarting regulations of the extraction industries) doesn’t make it better.

If the Koch brothers are trying to buy America, so is Adelson.

Let me see if I understand this correctly …

The House of Representatives has time to pass a resolution holding former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt for her remarks on the scrutiny of conservative groups that sought to form tax-exempt political organizations. And the House has time to form a special committee to re-investigate the assassination of a U.S. ambassador and three others in Benghazi, Libya.

But the House doesn’t have time to debate a bipartisan, Senate-approved bill on comprehensive immigration reform? Or a bipartisan, Senate-approved bill extending unemployment insurance benefits that Nevada GOP Sen. Dean Heller personally asked House Speaker John Boehner to bring to a vote?

Let me see if I understand this correctly …

A Carson City judge has re-written the description of effect for a petition sought by failed U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who wants to impose a requirement that Nevada voters produce photo identification at the polls. Under the re-written version, it will be made clear to potential petition signers that providing free photo IDs to Nevada residents “carries a financial cost to the state.”

Will that cost be more or less than the cost of Secretary of State Ross Miller’s plan to use existing DMV photo records at the polls to identify voters? Miller’s photo ID plan wouldn’t have required anybody to get a state-issued driver’s license or ID card; if a would-be voter didn’t have photo ID, they’d be photographed right there at the polls. But unlike Angle’s plan — which would see voters without ID turned away from polling places — Miller’s approach would have disenfranchised no one. (Democratic lawmakers rejected Miller’s idea, saying in-person voter fraud was rare.)

And given the fact that Miller’s office has a good record of cracking down on voter fraud — a woman who tried to vote twice was arrested and pleaded guilty, and an immigrant living in the country illegally who registered and voted under a false name in 2008 and 2010 in Washoe County has been charged with felonies — it seems clear Angle’s petition isn’t really necessary. If you’re concerned about fraud, there’s a good way to stop it. Miller’s way.

Steve Sebelius is a Las Vegas Review-Journal political columnist who blogs at SlashPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or reach him at 702-387-5276 or ssebelius@reviewjournal.com.