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Opinion: Tarkanian wrong on immigration, wrong on health insurance reform



ffhrlogo-300x55-3534549-4835639LAS VEGAS–The sun rises, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian levels another false, misleading attack against Sen. Harry Reid.

In the last week, Tarkanian has stepped up attacks based on his far right political views, first on health care and now on immigration. And while he levels these ultra-conservative attacks both on the stump and with his paid media, the relationship between his rhetoric and the truth continues to worsen.

On immigration, Tarkanian falsely asserted to Fox News that Reid’s commitment to Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) was a new position for him, making the warrantless claim it had something to do with 2010 being an election year. In reality, the only one trying to use the immigration issue as a political football in an election year is Tarkanian–whose far-right positions, including a new ad backing the recent Arizona law, put him on par with infamous anti-immigrant right-wingers like Tom Tancredo.

Tarkanian has also parroted the talking points of Tea Party activists and far-right conservatives–as recently as Friday’s GOP debate and in a new radio ad–that CIR proposals constitute “amnesty” for those currently here illegally. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the award-winning non-partisan PolitiFact thoroughly debunked identical arguments made by right-wingers similar to Tarkanian that attacked John McCain during the 2008 presidential primary. How far to the right is Tarkanian on this issue? Even “moderate” Republicans like George W. Bush have acknowledged the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

The reality is that no one has devoted more time on the Senate floor–working alongside both the Obama and Bush Administrations–to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. CIR will secure our borders, crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers and bring the roughly 12 million people here who are undocumented out of the shadows–not through amnesty but through a tough process that sends them to the back of the line and requires them to register with the government, pass a background check, pay back taxes as well as fines and penalties and learn English.

Tarkanian has also amped up his campaign of deception on health care, continuing to run a TV ad based on the ultimate far-right/Tea Party talking point: the thoroughly debunked “government takeover” lie. Even reasonable “moderate” Republicans like former Republican Leader Bill Frist have come out in favor of this bill.

“With each passing day, Danny Tarkanian continues to escalate his campaign of misinformation–propagating flat-out lies manufactured by right-wing conservatives and Tea Partiers–to deceive Nevada voters with claims that have already been thoroughly debunked,” said Reid campaign communications director Kelly Steele. “Our campaign will continue to respond aggressively to Tarkanian’s misleading right-wing talking points with the facts, as well as articulate Sen. Reid’s strong record and unique ability to deliver for Nevadans in these tough economic times.”

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