Obama's ex-adviser slips off Reid's radar

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wasn't going anywhere near the Van Jones brouhaha.

Jones, special adviser to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, resigned Saturday evening following various controversies, including making a derogatory comment about Republicans -- one he applied to himself as well.

He also signed a petition in 2004 that called, in part, for an investigation into "unanswered questions that suggest that people within the (Bush) Administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war."

Reid, who on Aug. 11 toured alternative energy sites in Southern Nevada with Jones, wanted no part of the hullabaloo.

In response to a request for comment Saturday, Reid spokesman Tom Brede steered clear, stating, "It is Senator Reid's understanding that he (Jones) apologized for his remarks, but any decisions regarding his future are between him and the president."

Brede's comment came before news broke that Jones was resigning his position.


It's time to apologize to Sen. Reid for a glaring omission.

A recent Political Notebook referred to Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman as the Godfather of Gab and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., as the Las Vegas Queen of Quips.

Then Reid winged back to Nevada for the August recess and reminded everyone who is the real Rajah of Riposte.

Reid's repartee is drier than one of Oscar's martinis but still stings like a Searchlight scorpion, giving the listener a painfully clear picture of what's going on behind the politician's poker face. Some samples:

"I thought he was the biggest political hack in Washington," Reid told the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce about former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

"He wasn't a real classy guy in my book," Reid said of former Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran.

"The insurance scam we have in America affects every one of us, and we're going to change it," Reid said during a health care rally at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"I think it is going to help us," Reid told the Reno Gazette-Journal in response to a question about the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

"It is not a program set up for people who are losers," Reid said of the so-called "public option" element of health reform bills in Congress.

"I hope you go out of business," Reid said to Review-Journal advertising director Bob Brown.

Lest anyone think Reid only provides material to help Nevada's ink-stained wretches meet another deadline, the Senate majority leader thoughtfully delivers fun images for folks in the visual media.

The highlight for the summer so far? Reid hoisting a rifle at the dedication of a shooting range.

And don't worry about the future. Reid's son, Rory, chairman of the Clark County Commission and candidate for governor, has his dad's deadpan wit.

After Reid Senior waved the rifle to drive home a story about shooting a scrawny jack rabbit and cooking it, Reid Junior stepped to the podium.

"I shot that rifle my father showed you," the younger Reid said. "Happily, I didn't have to eat that rabbit stew."


Speaking of Sen. Reid and omissions, Reid's campaign staff should probably omit Sue Lowden from their list of lapsed donors to solicit this season.

Lowden is a former casino owner who, in the 1980s, contributed $8,000 to Reid's campaigns. The old donations were mentioned on the Web site DesertConservative.com.

Now Lowden, chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party, is a potential challenger for Reid's U.S. Senate seat.

She recently announced a plan to resign from the party post to focus on deciding whether to officially challenge Reid.

In an interview, Lowden said she no longer is giving money to Reid.

"He has become a different person," she said.


Conservative consultant Chuck Muth has made a career working the far right side of Nevada politics.

But he's not going out of his way to butter up disenfranchised supporters of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

Paul made noise in 2008 as a presidential candidate running as a libertarian alternative to establishment Republican candidate John McCain.

His supporters made enough noise in Nevada to disrupt the state Republican convention in an attempt to show disdain for McCain and generate enthusiasm for their wing of the party.

Muth was recently asked if the convention debacle would reflect poorly on Lowden, who was party chairwoman at the time.

"It will be an issue for some people, the crazies, the tinfoil-hat wearing ones," Muth said.

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861.