Start your week with the Three Martini Lunch as we dissect the good, the bad, and the crazy concerning the Nevada Democratic Caucuses. Join Jim and Greg as they experience more than a little bit of schadenfreude as Democrats thoroughly freak out over Bernie Sanders dominating the vote on Saturday. But they get more serious as ’60 Minutes’ and even CNN remind everyone how radical Sanders is and how he praised Fidel Castro and Marxists in Nicaragua and the Soviet Union. And they unload on Nevada Democrats for running terrible caucuses plagued by having too few officials to run some precincts effectively and still not finishing the vote totals by Monday morning.
Your Friday treat is three crazy martinis, but only after basking in the glow of the 40th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice and the national morale boost a bunch of unheralded college kids gave us by defeating the supposedly unbeatable Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Then, join Jim and Greg and as they bang their heads against the table after Nevada Democrats say they can’t promise results of Saturday’s caucuses on the same day they’re held. They also weigh in on Michael Bloomberg’s video of crickets chirping and his fellow Democrats shifting uncomfortably when he asked if any of them had ever started a business – was it deception or just a candidate making a point? And as California Gov. Gavin Newsom says doctors should be able to prescribe housing just like they prescribe insulin and antibiotics, Jim offers Newsom a devastating reminder of which party led California into the homelessness crisis and many other problems.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America break down the news of Maine and Nevada refusing to join the popular vote pact to change presidential elections. Michael Avenatti is on his way to losing his license to practice law. And Baltimore’s Mayor wants criminals to swap bullets for boxing gloves.
Listen to “Nevada Attack Ad, Senate Stalled, Palin Says Comedian Mocked Vets” on Spreaker.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America get a laugh out of Nevada Sen. Dean Heller’s attack ad, in which he exposes Democratic Senate challenger Jacky Rosen for lying about owning a business that never existed. They also call for Senate Republicans to act on hundreds of bills that the House of Representatives has passed but lie dormant in the upper chamber. And they think it’s time for a widespread rebuke of Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy show where he impersonates a disabled veteran.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America offer all crazy martinis, starting with the fire that caused a power outage and snarled all air traffic at America’s busiest airport but officials say their emergency plans worked swimmingly. They also react to Sen. Joe Manchin blasting his fellow Democrats and urging Sen. Al Franken to withdraw his resignation. And they sigh over the revelation that Harry Reid and two other senators sneaked $22 million in UFO research dollars into the budget back in 2007. Way to go, Nevada. Way to go.
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, is seen as the most vulnerable Senate Republican in 2018 and now he may have a fight just emerge from the GOP primary thanks to a vigorous, America First challenge from businessman Danny Tarkanian.
In 2018, Republicans are defending just eight seats, while Democrats are trying to protect 25 different seats, many of them in states President Trump carried in 2016. Heller is one of those eight Republicans on the ballot next year, but his approval numbers in his home state are very low. Just 22 percent of Nevadans approved of Heller’s job performance in a left-leaning poll released August 1.
The same survey found Nevadans ready to support a generic Democrat over Heller by a 50-31 percent margin. Tarkanian sees those same numbers and says Heller’s performance in Washington, particularly on Obamacare, is a big reason for the disapproval.
“The people of Nevada are very frustrated with the representation they’ve had from Sen. Heller over the years and I think it culminated with his vote not to repeal Obamacare after he promised to,” said Tarkanian.
“They expect him to keep his word from what he promises when he campaigns when he’s trying to get elected,” said Tarkanian. “Everywhere I go in this great state of Nevada, I hear people say they’re sick and tired of politicians who promise one thing when they run for office and they do the exact opposite when they get elected.”
Defenders of Heller point out he did not help to kill the Obamacare repeal in the debate because he supported the “skinny repeal” that was eventually sunk by GOP moderates Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain.
Tarkanian is not impressed.
“The skinny repeal was a joke. It was the worst bill that was proposed out there and it didn’t do anything to lower the premiums for the hard-working middle class Americans that have seen their premiums go up like my family’s: $12,000 a year, our deductibles 500 percent (higher), our co-pay for a specialist doctor 400 percent (higher),” said Tarkanian.
“Dean Heller’s skinny repeal that he brags about that he signed, actually raises the premium another 20 percent more than it’s already going to raise. It was the worst possible bill out there,” said Tarkanian.
But Tarkanian says Heller was on the wrong side when the chance for real repeal was on the table.
“He promised he would vote to repeal Obamacare. That is what he did in 2015, when he knew that President Obama would veto it. Then in 2017, the exact same bill came before him, and he joined six other senators, who had signed for the repeal in 2015 that voted against the repeal this year, knowing President Trump would sign it. That’s what’s infuriated the people of Nevada,” said Tarkanian.
Tarkanian admits he doesn’t have a lot of political experience but notes that Heller has been in politics for 30 years. The challenger says his principles are very clear.
“I have worked in the Republican Party as a very strong advocate for conservative principles, America First principles that Donald Trump is talking about. I never wavered on that support, even though it cost me quite a bit in previous elections because I had the conviction to stand up for what I believed in,” said Tarkanian.
He is running as an enthusiastic supporter of the Trump agenda.
“We have a president who really has the courage and conviction to really try to make substantive and meaningful changes to the way D.C. operates. Some good things are happening through executive order. But for him to get his America First agenda passed, he’s going to need senators to support that agenda. And I fully support the president’s America First agenda,” said Tarkanian.
Aligning so closely with the Trump agenda could be risky in a state Trump lost in 2016 and stands at 40 percent approval. Tarkanian sees it as a matter of principle.
“It’s the right thing to do. It’s the only strategy you should look at. What’s the right thing to do? The right thing to do is to get President Trump’s America First policies passed,” said Tarkanian.
Tarkanian makes it clear he doesn’t necessarily subscribe to Trump’s political style but they do see eye to eye on policy. He says the media spend far more time on Trump’s personality, and other than Obamacare, spend hardly any time on policy.
“The only (other) time I’ve seen them attack his policy was on the travel ban. They haven’t said a single thing about the other things he’s trying to accomplish. We’re seeing stock market highs virtually daily, unemployment at a 16-year low. Border crossings are down 70 percent for illegal immigrants. ISIS is being destroyed in Iraq and Syria,” said Tarkanian.
He is also confident that a conservative can win in an increasingly blue state like Nevada. Tarkanian points out the GOP swept all the major races in 2014 and a coalition is there for him as well.
“It’s a tough state but it’s not a state that’s out of reach. There’s six percent more Democrats in the state. Twenty-three percent of the state is independent. So if you win the independents and hold you base,a good strong Republican can win,” said Tarkanian.
Tarkanian is the son of the late University of Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, who won a national championship in four trips to the Final Four but also clashed with the NCAA for decades over alleged infractions.
Danny, who played for his father, says he was prepared for politics after watching his father get hammered in the media.
“I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch how the media crucified my father when he was coach,” said Tarkanian. “So, I’m used to seeing the criticism, and how unfair it was, and how my father handled it. I think that’s allowed me to handle it much better than almost any other person who has run for public office.”
Tarkanian has run twice for statewide office, twice for the House and once before for Senat. He lost his most recent race, a 2016, House campaign, by less than 4,000 votes.
“I’ve had some very tough and agonizing losses. I learned that you fight back from those losses. You don’t give up. You show perseverance and a never quit attitude. That’s the only way you overcome those things. I think a lot people would have thrown in the towel by now if they were in my shoes. Because of the way I was raised, that isn’t me,” said Tarkanian.
Reactions abound as Nevada officials granted parole to former football star O.J. Simpson Thursday. The Nevada Parole Board verdict clears the way for Simpson’s release after nearly nine years of his 33 year sentence elapsed. Although acquitted in his 19-95 murder trial, Simpson was sentenced to prison on armed robbery and kidnapping charges in 20-08. According to CBS News, while Commissioner Tony Corda stated that Simpson had committed a “serious crime, and there was no excuse for it,” he still voted in favor of parole based on evidence that Simpson complied with prison rules and has no prior conviction among other items. Similar to the aftermath of the murder trial verdict, responses from the public are polarized. While one of the robbery victims ended up supporting Simpson in his petition for parole, those affected by the earlier murder trial are apprehensive as to how this new ruling will affect them. Simpson is scheduled for release as early as October 1st. ~ Sarah Schutte
Legal marijuana is creating havoc in of Nevada. According to Hot Air.com, Nevada lawmakers recently legalized the drug, but the 47 licensed distributors in the state can’t keep up with demands since the law went into effect July 1st. The number of government restrictions combined with overwhelming demand has authorities scrambling. The restrictions are slowing the licensing process, meaning the government is losing tax revenue by over-regulation for something they just approved. Emergency action is scheduled for July 13th and aims to relax regulations in order to bring more distributors into the market. ~Sarah Schutte
Senate Republicans are playing a lot of defense in the 2016 election cycle, but their brightest hope for winning a seat held by Democrats not only buoys GOP hopes for keeping a majority but has the party on the brink of capturing the seat held by retiring Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.
Reid, D-Nevada, is stepping down after 30 years in the Senate. The battle for his seat is a very close contest between GOP Rep. Joe Heck and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, the former attorney general of Nevada.
Heck, who is also a physician and Army reservist, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. He says in this chaotic election season, keeping the U.S. Senate in Republican hands ought to be a major priority.
“The most critical issue is to ensure we have a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, regardless of who’s in the White House. We want to make sure there’s a system of checks and balances. We want to make sure that we facilitate good ideas, block bad ideas and, of course, make sure that we are running the confirmation hearings for the next Supreme Court justices,” said Heck.
Heck was the the party’s top choice to seek the open Senate seat. For much of the general election season, he enjoyed a small but steady lead over Cortex Masto. In the past couple of weeks, however, Masto has edged ahead although the race is easily within the margin of error.
Heck says Nevada is a tough state for Republicans but he is vigorously pursuing every vote.
“It’s the demographics of our state. The population has changed significantly. Nevada, which had historically been a red state, is now really a blue state. There’s an 88,000 Democrat voter edge in our state, a growing Latino population. So it makes it that much harder to get out and talk to folks and earn their votes, but that’s exactly what we’re doing,” said Heck.
“We’ve done that over the last 18 months. I’m the only candidate in this race that has held public events in all 17 counties, making sure that people all across the state have the opportunity to learn about who I am, where I am on the issues, and why I want to be their next U.S. senator,” said Heck.
The congressman says four issues come up most with voters: jobs and the economy, national security, health care, and education. Heck says he has direct experience in all those areas that can improve the lives of Nevadans and all Americans, starting with the economy.
“I owned my own company. I had a business. I know what it’s like to make a payroll, to actually hire folks and put people to work. I know what the impact is of every regulation that’s passed by a state, local, or federal government and what it does to a small business owner,” said Heck.
On national security, he says his time in the U.S. Army prepares him very well to face the challenges confronting our nation.
“I’ve served in uniform for 26 years. I continue to serve in the Army Reserve. I’ve had the honor to command some of the finest men and women this country has to offer, three tours of duty overseas. I know what it takes to keep our country safe,” said Heck.
According to his website, Heck directed emergency services and the aeromedical evacuation section of a combat support hospital in Al-Anbar province during his time in Iraq. He says he is acutely aware of America’s health care needs as well.
“I’m a practicing physician. I’ve worked in inner city hospital emergency departments for over 20 years. If you ever want to see what works and what doesn’t work, come spend some time in an inner city hospital emergency department,” said Heck.
He is also the parent of three children who have gone through the public school and public universities in Nevada. He says that gives him the same insights as other Nevada parents.
“My opponent has no real world experience in any of those issues,” he said.
On the other hand, Heck says people know they’ll just get more of the same with Cortez Masto.
“She is Harry Reid’s hand-picked candidate, so we would expect her to continue down the same path of failed policies that Harry Reid has championed over the last decade, certainly over the last eight years in aiding and abetting the president, and one of the reasons we still have a stagnant economic recovery with sluggish economic growth, stagnant wages, a failed foreign policy that has caused our allies to no longer trust us and our adversaries to no longer fear us,” said Heck.
“She came out in support of the Iran nuclear deal, which certainly does nothing to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. She did so in a quid pro quo, after Harry Reid and the president conducted a fundraiser for her here in Nevada,” said Heck.
Heck is also committed to protecting land rights for ranchers and other family businesses in Nevada. He vows to fight against protected federal status for the sage grouse and against the Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, Rule.
“A dry irrigation ditch on a farm, once it has some water in it, would be considered a navigable waterway, subject to all the regulatory requirements of the Clean Waters Act. That’s going to have a significant impact,” said Heck,
The federal government owns about 87 percent of all the land in Nevada. Heck wants to see the federal government relinquish some of that back to the state and locales. He says doing that, while protecting treasured parks and forests, would allow the state to bring in more property tax revenue and use that to improve Nevada’s lagging schools.
Heck says his six years in Washington have proven he can get things done. He says he has built relationships on both sides of Capitol Hill that will pave the way for positive change. He says his track record in the House proves that he can things done, even with President Obama in the White House.
“I’ve had bills that address veterans’ homelessness, bills that have addressed the victims of human trafficking, legislation that actually creates good-paying jobs in southern Nevada by transferring an old abandoned mine site that’s owned by the federal government to a local redevelopment authority so that it can be remediated, reclaimed and developed at no cost to the taxpayer, and supporting our men and women in uniform which is critical to our national security,” said Heck.
Republicans currently hold a 54-46 majority in Senate. Democrats need to flip four Republican seats to retake the majority if Hillary Clinton wins the presidential race. They would need to win five GOP seats five if Donald Trump wins.