By Chuck Muth
If you act stupidly…and you can’t fix stupid…then by definition you are stuck on stupid. Which brings us to another depressing Republican episode of “The Price is Right.”
The tax-hike war in the Assembly is over without a shot being fired. Republicans, under the (mis)direction of Commanding General Pete “Tax My Meat” Goicoechea, have pre-emptively raised the white flag, dropped their weapons and are dutifully marching in a straight line, sheep-like, off the cliff.
Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has said no new taxes. The ten Senate Republicans have seconded that emotion, informing the governor in a recent letter that they are committed to standing by their man as long as he stands by his no-new-taxes campaign pledge.
Assembly Republicans, on the other hand–irrelevant enough already, and led by a man who unbelievably proposed taxing groceries last summer–announced this week that they’re willing to stab the governor in the back and cut the legs out from under their GOP Senate colleagues by issuing a set of five conditions under which they said they would vote with Democrats to raise taxes.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
First, Goicoechea’s conditions are nebulous, at best. For example, he calls for “adjusting” the prevailing wage levels rather than repealing this cost-inflating sop to organized labor completely. And he doesn’t call for repeal of collective bargaining for local government employees; instead he wants to “strengthen management’s position” in negotiations.
But even these milquetoast conditions will never be met by Democrat leaders. Which means it’s not even a serious offer. So if Goicoechea thought he was buying some good will at the bargaining table with Democrats–even if he says, “pretty please, with sugar on top”–he’s seriously delusional.
In the meantime, while Gov. Sandoval, senate Republicans, conservatives and rank-and-file GOP grassroots activists are united in opposing tax hikes, Goicoechea’s Republicans pull a Benedict Arnold, thus weakening the GOP’s position in budget negotiations.
The operative term here: “useful idiots.”
In their defense, one caucus member explained to me that the list of conditions was substantive, that this meant Republicans will no longer be a “cheap date.” Which, of course, brings to mind the old story of the guy who offers a woman a million dollars to have carnal knowledge with him. She says yes. He then asks if she’d do it for fifty. “Fifty?” she responds indignantly. “What do you think I am, a hooker?”
“We’ve already determined what you are,” the guy replies. “Now we’re just negotiating price.”
Why Assembly Republicans, who apparently enjoy being in the minority, continue to elect…session after session…mamby-pamby, go-along-to-get-along, yes-sir-may-I-have-another caucus leaders who are devoid of conservative principles and clueless in the art of political “strategery” is beyond comprehension.
Then again, at least they’re consistent.
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Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at [email protected].