As election nears, silly season is in full swing

You can tell we’ve entered the silly season because of all the feigned outrage, whining and failure to address a single issue.

Gov. Jim Gibbons cried like a stuck pig after he was “vindicated” by the state ethics panel. He demanded an apology from the director of the state Democratic Party who had filed a request for an opinion on Gibbons’ smelly tax break on rural land.

“There are a number of people who owe the governor an apology in this matter,” Gibbons said.

Maybe Gibbons really didn’t get a tax break simply because he was the governor, or because he paid the tax man a personal visit or because he sicced a politically connected tax attorney on the guy.

The fact is, we don’t really know the truth based on what the commission has done.

But it’s the governor who should say he’s sorry. Sorry for leading a state that has an Ethics Commission directed by a political friend — a commission forced to operate “independently” on the most frayed of shoestrings and granted the authority of a muzzled toy poodle.

And since we’re now just weeks from early voting, the silliest of ads are in high rotation.

Republican Rep. Jon Porter is out with the expected “Dina Taxes” spot, assailing his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Dina Titus, for voting lock-step with Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio.

The horror.

Worse is the Titus campaign’s response, “setting the record straight.” The record is that Titus voted for the state’s largest tax increases — in 1991 and in 2003. She also voted for the 300 percent pension increase of 1989 — a measure immediately vetoed by a Democratic governor.

The Titus camp response should have been to say the 1989 vote was a nearly unanimous legislative mistake repealed after much fuss. Instead, the campaign erroneously claims Titus didn’t really vote to increase her own pension, saying the bill “would have not applied to her.”

Fact is, it would have applied to her.

To set the record straight, Titus should have stuck to the facts. Then again, there may be no crying in baseball, but there’s plenty of lying in politics.

Titus is relying on the new math — tens of thousands of more Democrats in Congressional District 3 — to withstand the expected attacks on her legislative record.

Porter is desperately clinging to the old math — the slight edge in conservative-leaning voters that narrowly carried him two years ago after he thoroughly assaulted his opponent as a carpetbagger.

Since we’re being silly, and since silly apparently is all that matters in an election devoid of issues, Titus really needs only one ad. Just run the picture of Porter with W. and the video of the Hawaiian-shirt, Ray-Ban wearin’, keyboard poundin’ party boy doing the bidding of big oil and big pharma and big fill-in-the-blank.

Democrats are forgetting what gave them the boost in voter registration. In many respects, they believe the sheer numbers will dictate victory no matter how they campaign. Case in point — the battle for the state Senate.

Democrats have put up two candidates who are not exactly ready for prime time. Even months after declaring their candidacies, Shirley Breeden and Allison Copening are no closer to talking about issues, let alone understanding them.

The Republican incumbents, on the other hand, are running the right way — scared.

I live in District 6, so I know how hard Republican Sen. Bob Beers is working on independents and Democrats because I’m one of those inveterate voters with a land line.

But scarier than any “town hall meeting with Sen. Beers” that I could join in progress, was the push poll that came Thursday evening. I was “informed” that Beers is a taxpayer hero, lauded by both the Review-Journal (shudder) and Grover Norquist’s group. I was also “informed” that Copening doesn’t know the issues and that she formerly worked for a few bad guys, including the water district and, with her PR company, a firm “involved in stock fraud.”

Beers knows he needs every Republican (even those who are teachers and those in the service industry) to push the button for him.

And all he needs to do is pick up a few of those new Democrats who might have been jazzed up for the caucuses but don’t really know anything about the Legislature.

It’s as cynical a strategy as Copening’s. And it’s the one being copied out in Henderson’s District 5, with Breeden and incumbent Republican Joe Heck.

We keep being told there will be time for the real questions, time for the real campaign (time for Sarah Palin to learn international relations) and time to put the silliness aside.


Early voting is 34 days away.

Contact Erin Neff at (702) 387-2906, or by e-mail at

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