“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty famously said in Alice in Wonderland, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
It seems Nevada state Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio (R-Reno) took a page out of the Humpster’s book in a recent Las Vegas interview with NBC-affiliate station-owner Jim Rogers. For example, get a load of this:
“When we were running for office in 2008 – legislative candidates, gubernatorial candidates – no one anticipated the kind of an economic problem we were going to be facing. Ah, it developed during that time. Nobody was talking about raising taxes, particularly when there was some downturn in the economy.”
Pure, unadulterated USDA bull.
And I’m not just talking about the fact that no one was running for governor in 2008.
The state’s budget problems due to the slumping economy became front-page news in the winter of 2007. As matters got continually worse over the coming months, an emergency budget-cutting special session of the Legislature was conducted on June 27, 2008 to deal with the crisis where an “agreement forged by Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley and Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio passed both houses.”
If after that special session Sen. Raggio still wasn’t anticipating the kind of economic problems he was going to face in the ’09 session, he had no business being in that ’09 session.
In addition, prior to the summer of ’08, Speaker Buckley was conducting a statewide “listening tour” which she used to promote the notion of tax “restructuring” – which everyone with an IQ over room temperature knew was political-speak for tax hikes. Meanwhile, the teachers union was putting a gun to gaming’s head and demanding support for an increase in the room tax, while the liberal yahoos over at PLAN (Progressive Liberal Alliance of Nevada) were pushing for a corporate income tax as well as steep increases in the mining tax.
“Nobody was talking about raising taxes,” Sen. Raggio? Puh-lease.
Sen. Raggio knows darned well that people were talking about raising taxes – which is the primary reason he drew a conservative primary challenge from Sharron Angle that summer.
And because of that primary challenge, Sen. Raggio told the voters of his district that he wouldn’t support any tax hikes in 2009 – knowing full well how bad the economy was and how badly Democrats and liberals wanted to raise taxes to deal with it.
On July 8, 2008 – well after the emergency special session of the Legislature dealing with the budget crisis – Sen. Raggio said, “This is not the time to start talking about raising taxes. It is something that we can’t even consider.”
Less than a month later, and just days before the primary election, Sen. Raggio responded thusly to a voter in his district who had asked how the senator planned on dealing with the budget crisis: “Well, I’m not going to raise taxes, I can guarantee you that.”
And as we all know now, Sen. Raggio then went back on his word and pushed forward over a billion dollars worth of higher taxes last session. Which has now resulted in a recall effort by voters in Sen. Raggio’s district.
“Some conservative Republicans upset over tax increases passed by the 2009 Legislature are taking aim at Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio and discussing a recall effort against the veteran lawmaker,” reported the Associated Press on Tuesday.
“Organizer Dana Allen, a businessman who has been active in Tea Party rallies, said the Reno Republican is being targeted because he campaigned on a platform of fiscal restraint but helped push through nearly $1 billion in tax increases to plug a gaping hole in the state budget.”
An organizing email being circulated around the Internet declares that “It is time to send a message to elected officials that they can no longer mislead voters before an election and ignore them after they get into office.” Amen.
When asked about the recall, Sen. Raggio again disingenuously told the AP reporter that “Nobody thought we’d have to raise taxes,” adding that he “didn’t sign any pledges” not to raise taxes.
Well, no. He didn’t put it in writing. But so what?
On August 5, 2008, Sen. Raggio verbally GUARANTEED the voters of his district and the citizens of Nevada that he wasn’t going to raise taxes. He then raised everyone’s taxes by more than a billion dollars in the middle of a recession. Are we to conclude from Sen. Raggio’s example that a promise made by a candidate doesn’t count unless it’s in writing? And some people still wonder why I push candidates so hard to SIGN the Taxpayer Protection Pledge?
For saying one thing and then doing the exact opposite, Sen. Raggio has no one but himself to blame for the recall. If probably won’t succeed – these things rarely do. But it WILL send a powerful message that voters are sick and tired of politicians telling them what they want to hear in the campaign and then doing whatever they want to do once safely elected. Candidates, ye be warned!
One final point.
In that AP recall story, Eric Herzik, a “political scientist” at UNR in Reno, called the recall campaign “stupid.”
No, what’s stupid is for the media to continue quoting “political scientists” who’ve never run for office or managed a political campaign as though they are somehow experts on politics. In fact, when it comes to retail, real-life politics, Eric Herzik doesn’t know $#!& from apple butter.
Let the recall begin!