(Ryan Hamilton) – How is it that a man who voted with one of Nevada’s most conservative politicians can begin his campaign by dispatching hired goons to lie about the record of one of Nevada’s most established progressives?
During his two years as a state senator, Ruben Kihuen padded his embarrassingly light resume with a voting record that is, unfortunately for him, public record. It reveals something astonishing about the freshly anointed liberal scion of Southern Nevada: He’s not the left-wing ideologue he wants you to think he is.
In fact, he voted with Senator Don Gustavson (R- SD2) more than 80% of the time during his tenure in the state senate. That’s more than a little remarkable for a man who claims to be the heir apparent to the Nevada Democrat’s liberal mantle, and especially galling when one considers the fictitious nature of the attacks being leveled against former Congresswoman Titus.
Here are a few facts about Don Gustavson: He endorsed Sharron Angle in the race against Harry Reid. No big surprise here – except he did so in the primary, long before she was thought to have a shot at the nomination.
Gustavson is a self-identified tea partier who has been endorsed by two of Nevada’s most well known tea party-affiliates: Nevada Concerned Citizens and Grassroots Nevada. A litany of business interests supported his candidacy in the state senate, including both the Las Vegas and Reno-Tahoe Chambers of Commerce. During the 2011 session, he received a 100% rating from the American Conservative Union.
In short, he represents the right wing of the Republican Party. With respect to Mr. Gustavson’s record, he’s not the type of person one is out to be associated with when looking to pass one’s primary opponent on the left.
There is no disputing that Mr. Kihuen is a liberal. To try to convince anyone that he is conservative would be as hard as trying to convince someone that Dina Titus is. But to try to pass him off as some kind of liberal lion relative to Titus is pathetic. To be sure, it is about as low and disingenuous as one can get in politics. I’m sure she regards it, as most conservatives do, as a vicious lie.
To wit, her tenure in Congress was marked by votes cast for some for some of the most liberal initiatives imaginable. Obamacare? She voted for it. DREAM Act? Yes vote. She voted, as the President suggested, to extend the Bush tax cuts. The implicit argument here is that Dina Titus is about as liberal as the President is with one exception—she voted against a party-supported banks bill.
That’s it. No fire and brimstone, no drama. Just one lone out-of-place vote. Can Kihuen seriously be staking his congressional campaign on the single vote of a woman who was leading the progressive charge in Nevada when he was learning to read?
If that’s the case, his campaign strategy is likely to be as lackluster and dull as his resume is.