The news that John Ensign has bowed to reality and decided not to run for another term in the Senate has brought on an “anoint Dean Heller” campaign from what we’ll call the mainstream Nevada media pundits.
Not so fast.
First, you have to ask yourself how Dean Heller would vote if his congressional district were in Las Vegas instead of Northern Nevada.
This is, after all, a guy who voted to extend unemployment benefits to an obscene number of weeks at the eventual expense of the very Nevada employers who are struggling to stay in business.
And this is, after all the guy who, when he was Secretary of State, did virtually everything in his power to stop citizen initiatives from getting on the statewide ballot. That’s sure a Republican viewpoint.
He has, for the most part, behaved himself in Congress, but then his district is mostly conservative and too much flirting with the liberals would get him rapidly unelected.
It doesn’t work that way in the Senate. Ask Harry Reid.
You can become a liberal and still get re-elected in Nevada.
So we have to ask ourselves how much Heller can be trusted.
My answer is why take the chance?
Let’s look for a candidate who maybe isn’t on the media’s radar screen.
How about, say, Bob Beers?
You don’t have to worry about his conservative bona fides. And he’s got statewide recognition. He raised a million dollars without breathing hard in his losing race to Jim Gibbons in the 2006 gubernatorial primary.
He has a track record in the State Senate and the Assembly and he’s a CPA as opposed to being a lawyer. If there was ever a time you needed a CPA in the Senate, this is it.
He’s also the kind of policy wonk that Heller isn’t. When he was the de facto co chair of the State Senate Budget Committee, he knew the state’s budget line item by line item.
How many Senators even know the totals of the Federal Budget?
It seems to me that the Republicans ought to go to Beers and ask him to be interested because he brings a lot more to the table than Heller could if he were anointed by Harry Reid himself.
Republicans have always had a problem with candidates who got nominated because it was their “turn”.
That’s how we got Bob Dole in 1996 and John McCain in 2008.
Perhaps we ought to look at who might do the best job and then concentrate in getting those people to run.
Perhaps we ought to worry less about people’s feelings and more about what kind of a job a person would do if they got elected.
Beers has one other thing going for him.
He can bring the tea party types and the conventional Republicans together.
I’m not worried about a bloody primary.
I’m worried about a bloody aftermath.
I’m not prepared to have a candidate anointed and I hope my fellow Republicans aren’t, either.