Sunday, May 16, 2010

Eye on Nevada: Sue Lowden and "Cluckers For Checkups"

The Senate Race in Nevada has never failed to provide
its amusing moments.

But now, thanks to an almost unbelievable gaffe by
Republican front-runner Sue Lowden, Majority Leader
Harry Reid looks likely to prevail once more, and earn
a fourth term in the Senate.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Harry Reid,
once given up for dead, has surged to the front among
all candidates, leading Lowden 42% to 38%.

Now bear in mind two things: First, when paired with a
generic Republican candidate, Reid still trails 52& to 48%.
And, the poll cited by the Review-Journal comes admittedly
from a Democratic source. But when compared with the
numbers from the same pollster back in February, this is
a remarkable turnaround; back then, Reid polled an
anemic 35%, trailing both front-runner Lowden and
second-place Republican candidate Danny Tarkanian
in hypothetical matchups.

Now, those positions are almost exactly reversed.

And it all has to do with the utter myopia and cluelessness
of Sue Lowden. In a voter symposium on Health care, Lowden
suggested that, instead of health insurance or a national health
care plan, we should try something else - Barter.

Take a chicken to pay for your checkup. I'm not kidding -
I couldn't make this up if I tried.

Here's some video of the original meeting:

The media, of course, were quick to pick up on this. But,
instead of "walking the comments back" , or say that she
was misquoted, she instead re-iterated her comments, saying
"she wouldn't back down one bit".

Here's how the Tarkanian campaign played it up:

And, of course, the nation's comedians had a field day with it.
Here's Jay Leno on "Cluckers For Checkups":

But this isn't the first time Lowden's been in hot water on this issue.

A little background: A former Miss New Jersey, Ms. Lowden
originally came West to to make it in TV news, eventually
becoming a popular local evening news anchor.
Shortly thereafter, she left TV to become the much-younger
"trophy wife" of casino magnate Paul Lowden, who owned a
chain of locals-oriented casinos in Nevada, including two
sizable properties in Las Vegas.

At her urging, Mr. Lowden decided to make health benefits
and anti-unionization two big issues in running his casinos.
When the Culinary union decided to try to organize his two
Vegas properties, Lowden fired all those he could identify
with the organizing effort, and he cut off the health benefits
of all but a few of the remainder - in violation of federal law.

The union sued in federal court - and won. As a result,
the Lowdens were forced to divest themselves of their
Vegas properties in order to satisfy a judgment for damages
and their legal bills. Worse, it made Paul Lowden persona non
among his fellow casino operators, whose strategies for
keeping unions out center on good wages and benefits for
their full-time employees.

But the occasion made Sue Lowden a heroine to Nevada's
ultraconservative GOP, and she quickly parlayed the incident
into a career in politics, ultimately becoming Majority Leader
in the State Senate and afterwards Chairman of the Nevada GOP.

In short, she was ideally positioned to boot Harry Reid from
the Senate - until she laid an egg on the issue.

And I'm not surprised. To me she is typical of
the "Country-Club Republicans" - smug, secure in an
"I've Got Mine" mentality, and deeply resentful of
anyone else, especially anyone in her employ, trying
to "get theirs" by striving for better wages and benefits.

It's no wonder that the "Tea Party", which has actually
energized the GOP far beyond the wildest dreams of
the country-club set, wants nothing to do with Lowden
and her ilk. Rather, they are focusing on the "values"
that made America and taking on with equal
vigor the selfishness of the Republican oligarchs and
the thinly-disguised socialism of the Democrat party.

All the Tea Party needs is a credible Leader, and both
major parties could be in serious trouble.

If the Tea Party and Republicans generally can find a
credible re-incarnation of Ronald Reagan, watch out.
But, if Sue Lowden is typical of "mainstream" Republican
candidates, the GOP had best prepare for a long time in the
political wilderness.

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