Opinion » Bill Cope

Our Man In Nevada

Vote for Walt, donate to Harry

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Friends, Democrats, Idahoans, lend me your ears. I come not to praise Walt Minnick. Nor to bury him, either. All it took for me to reassess my utter disgust with Walt's rightward groveling was the spectacle of his potential opponents trying to out-conservative one another—a humiliating exhibition that, to my camp, sounds like two town drunks, each boasting, "I am wa-a-a-y stupider than he is!" It has reminded me that utter disgust comes in many and varied degrees.

But we are gathered here not to discuss the unseemly pandering of Congressman Minnick or the doofishness of Vaughn "Hey, can I borrow your truck?" Ward. I have summoned you today to offer a soothing balm for that confused, hurt, lost spot in your heart that cries out for guidance, now that we have realized any contributions we might have made to the First Congressional District race two years ago was a waste not only of money but of our fragile hopes, as well. After years of struggle, we finally manage to elect a Democrat, but we end up with just another Republican, anyway. Phooey, and as our friends Daltrey and Townshend put it: "won't get fooled again!"

(How does such a thing happen? As a longtime observer, I am convinced it has something to do with the geography. Just as certain spots on Earth serve as centers of intensified spiritual energy—e.g., Machu Picchu, Ayers Rock, Stonehenge—others may well be centers of intensified intellectual degeneracy. That would explain Idaho's First District, no? In the Second District, it's always been simple: "Let the best Mormon win." But in the First, how can we account for—moving backward in time—Minnick's sneaky metamorphosis, Bill Sali's magical disassociation with our dimension, Butch Otter's six-year nap, Helen Chenoweth's three-term hot flash, Larry LaRocco's peccadilloes, Larry Craig's five terms of closet pomposity and Steve Symms' personification of abject idiocy? I tell you, there has to be some mind-altering gas escaping from a subterranean seam, or perhaps ancient aliens put something in the western Idaho water table that, when combined with frequent flier miles to Washington, D.C., turns healthy minds to gelatin. But let us save any further discussion of this phenomenon for another time. Back to the point I insist on making.)

What with the disappointment that is Walt, I suspect a great many of you are wondering where to send your precious campaign dollars this year. Of course, we do have an attractive Democrat in the race for governor, and I can easily imagine all of one's contribution allowance going to Keith Allred. How sweet would it be to send Butch and his cantankerous sidekick Mikey G into a retirement of choking doggies and combing in hair gel? And lest we forget, there are several legislative races that could use a few extra bucks, no doubt.

But for those of us in the Frothing First, there is an unease--if not a downright loathing—at the thought of sending the incumbent a contribution, just so's he can Congressionalize contrary to our dreams for another two years. I'm not wrong, am I, Dems? And with the dreadful prospect of what the Republicans offer in either Ward or his primary opponent Raul Labrador, never before has it been more clear that our vote may be one thing, but our money is another. So what to do with that dough that would have gone to a local Congressional race, were there a local Congressional race we could believe in?

Cast your pearls south, compadres! We have a next-door neighbor—one in whom we can trust and who has already done far more for America than all of Idaho's current crop of puny pols put together—in a spot of trouble this election cycle, and I doubt he would object to contributions coming from north of his border.

Yes, ship that campaign cash down Nevada way. Send it to Sen. Harry Reid. The soft-spoken scrapper, Harry Reid. The magnificent Harry Reid.

Last week, I couldn't resist having a little fun with Harry's apparent opponent, one Sue Lowden, who has gained national attention for her assertion that proper health care can be bartered for. But while the idea of trading chickens for tonsillectomies and hemorrhoid control may be funny, a serious candidate for Congress who would suggest such a thing isn't. That a person of her questionable caliber could come as far as she has in a race against a man like Reid is alarming.

The worst of it is, Harry Reid's re-election troubles are a result of his Herculean efforts to put through real health-care reform—the sort in which the only significant role chickens might play is in a soup with noodles. I am confident in predicting that within a decade, Harry will be regarded as a hero of the first order who, along with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, fought like an Iwo Jima Marine to bring America out of the ideological muck in which Republicans insist we wallow. And to those naifs who cannot excuse him for resorting to a back-room deal or two to get the reform passed, I say, "Grow up, babies! First you bitch that Congress accomplishes nothing, then you bitch about what it accomplishes."

Oh, and by the way ... the dubious art of politics in a complex democracy like ours is one, big, never-ending back-room deal. Always has been, always will be. That's how we manage to plod along somehow, in spite of the path being cluttered with toe-stubbers and ankle-clingers the likes of Sue Lowden and Vaughn Ward.

So chase away those Minnick blues. Harry helped us, so now let's help Harry. It'll be the best money you ever spent in Nevada. (Go to harryreid.com for details.)