This just in from the surreal Nevada political front:
Former First Lady Dawn Gibbons proved she can still charm a political dog-and-pony show Wednesday when she endorsed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and denounced Republican challenger Sharron Angle as too extreme for prime time.
Dawn Gibbons. Republican. Harry Reid supporter.
Is it the start of things to come from the Reid camp?
Gibbons continues to emerge from her nasty divorce with lame duck Gov. Jim Gibbons, a man whose conservative politics are a lot like Angle’s. While Dawn Gibbons minimized the divorce one-liners, she spared Angle not a bit. (Gibbons ran behind Angle in the 2006 Congressional District 2 primary won by Dean Heller.)
With several UNLV students providing a backdrop at the Houssels Multicultural Center on campus, Gibbons lauded Reid as a husband, family man, and political titan who has done much for the state and whose clout in Washington on behalf of “a very small state” such as Nevada is too important to do without.
Reid has been good for education and has been a loyal supporter of programs that help troubled youths and methamphetamine addicts. (As First Lady, Dawn Gibbons spearheaded an anti-meth education program in the state’s schools.)
Angle, meanwhile, has campaigned on a platform that once called for abolishing the Department of Education. She has often stated that the problems in public education call for revamping the existing system.
As an Assemblywoman, Gibbons watched fellow Republican Angle in action in Carson City. She came away unimpressed, but she declined to say whether she believed Angle would make a capable U.S. Senator.
“This is about the future of the state of Nevada,” Gibbons said, added that the citizens can’t afford “someone who is so extreme….” By extreme, she meant Angle, not her former husband.
Along the way, I think Gibbons called Reid “the fourth most powerful person on the planet” or something to that effect. She also said the state’s status in Washington improved measurably after Reid became minority whip. He’s now the leader of the majority in the Senate. Thanks to Reid, she said, Nevadans can “hold your head up high” in Washington. “He’s a strong advocate, a strong voice, especially in these trying times,” She said.
He’s also part of what conservatives call a three-headed monster than includes Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama. Gibbons asked that voters judge Reid on his own track record.
“Clearly he’s been the most effective U.S. Senator who has ever served Nevada and probably and probably one of the most effective U.S. Senators who has ever served our country,” she said.
Although, you know, she doesn’t exactly remember whether she ever voted for him in past elections. Certainly such a vote in past years would have chilled the conversation around the table at the Gibbons house.
“This is about the future of our state,” Gibbons reiterated. “We’re in very trying times.”
During her short-lived radio talk show program, Gibbons expressed support for Reid.
In case anyone should forget, Gibbons reiterated, “This press conference is about education, highlighting how extreme and dangerous Sharron Angle is.”
Calling herself a “big girl” who is capable of making her own decisions, Gibbons also denied the recent announcement that she’s been hired by Sunbelt Communications had anything to do with her endorsement of the Senator not associated with her own political party. Sunbelt is owned by Reid supporter and education advocate Jim Rogers.
So what does it all mean?
I’m not sure it means anything, unless it’s that Dawn Gibbons is a survivor who has managed to keep her sense of humor.
Of course, if it’s the first of many endorsements of Reid from Republicans, Angle might feel the need to react to it.
As an aside, Gibbons wore a brace on her left foot. She said she still suffers fro the effects of an infection of her big toe that occurred 17 years ago. She joked with me that she actually hurt the foot kicking a certain someone’s butt.
Don’t worry, Governor Jim, she didn’t mention your name.