A blog on progressive news and politics on both the California and Nevada sides of Lake Tahoe which aims at helping to elect Democrats and Turn Tahoe Blue. The blog is written from Germany by a former German exchange student at George Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Suboptimal Life of Jim Gibbons

Jennifer Steinhauer wrote an article for today's New York Times on Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons' first months in office. The headline "A Rocky Start for Nevada's New Governor" is by far the most friendly part of the article. It goes steeply down-hill from there.

Just take a look at the first few paragraphs:

Life these days for Gov. Jim Gibbons of Nevada might kindly be described as suboptimal.

In the last few months, Mr. Gibbons, a Republican, announced a plan to turn coal into jet fuel to raise money (problematic, as Nevada has no coal to speak of) and proposed paying for a $3.8 billion shortfall in highway construction money by selling water rights under state highways (it turns out the state did not actually own the rights).

He told a local editorial board he could not pronounce the name of his energy adviser because she was “Indian” — she is Turkish — and vetoed a bill that would stop budget-busting tax breaks for builders of “green” buildings before issuing an executive order to end them anyway (with the exception of four companies).

The article then goes on through all the mishaps and scandals. All this is old news to most Nevadans. However, imagine the reaction at the breakfast table of the average NYT reader this morning who has never heard of Mr. Gibbons before. That person probably isn't thinking too highly about Nevada voters right about now.

Apart from the usual scandals et al, the reactions were most entertaining. First to Brent Boynton, Gibbons spokesman, who "who answered questions via e-mail" (I've never read this line in an article before, so I'm assuming that this is highly unusual for a politicians spokesperson. Seems like they really wanted to control the Q&A and make sure they didn't screw up with the answers too badly):

“Many governors have seen similarly low numbers during their first terms and then seen the ratings rise later,” Mr. Boynton said. “Governor Gibbons is confident that the numbers were a temporary dip, and we have already seen signs that they are reversing direction.”

"A temporary dip" - ah, the lunacy of it all. And now to the game of low expectations:

“I think that probably there were some people who didn’t expect him to demonstrate a lot of intelligence,” said Michael Green, a professor of history at the Community College of Southern Nevada. “And that he might not have much familiarity about state government. But the degree of controversy that has surrounded him, I think, has been a surprise to everybody.”

As to the Governor's handling of the legislature:

“How do I give you a politically correct answer?” said Assemblyman John Oceguera, the Democratic majority leader. “He has a leadership style that is different than I am familiar with.”

However, I saved the best for last:

“Every time they think they have things under control, another shoe drops,” said Chuck Muth, a Nevada political consultant and conservative activist. “But at this point I would say that as long as Governor Gibbons stays true to his pledge not to raise taxes, as far as I am concerned he is a good Republican and he did well.”

It's great to see someone sticking to his principles, even if it is the principle of one. It seems the Governor could kill someone and certain "political consultants and conservative activists" wouldn't be bothered as long as he didn't raise taxes.

The lunacy of it all...

Read the entire article here. I really wanted to quote almost every paragraph. Ms. Steinhauer really did do an outstanding job. Nevada's governor will probably ponder this morning how much Nevada Democrats payed her for her service.



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