If you need a perfect example of why voters harbor so much cynicism for the political process, look no further than the folly into which Rep. Shelley Berkley’s U.S. Senate campaign sunk last week.
There’s no need to rehash the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke birth control controversy. Suffice it to say, however, that Democratic consultants have decided the conflict is a winner for their side. Fine.
But Rep. Berkley — seeking the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. — went far beyond simply condemning Mr. Limbaugh and contrasting her positions on social issues with the right-wing talk show host’s boorish comments. Instead she went into full stunt mode, attempting to link Sen. Heller and Mr. Limbaugh at the hip, implying that her GOP opponent is a misogynist and even demanding that the radio talker be taken off the air.
The latter is a dangerous position for a member of Congress to take, while the former is just plain ridiculous.
So much for the issues. So much for the high road.
Presumably, Rep. Berkley would find it far more agreeable to campaign against Mr. Limbaugh on the invented notion that conservative Republicans want to “take away women’s right to birth control” than on her party’s own economic and regulatory record.
If Rep. Berkley truly wanted to discuss the matter at hand, she’d engage Sen. Heller in a debate over whether birth control should be provided “free” to all by Uncle Sam — or whether the federal government has the right to require anyone to fund a third party’s birth control when doing so violates their religion. We dare say Sen. Heller would be pleased to join in such a discussion about a relevant public issue.
Instead, Rep. Berkley decided to twist and obfuscate, turning what could have been a learning moment for voters into a sideshow intended to score cheap political points through photo ops and sound bites.
Nevada voters deserve better in the future.