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Red warnings
by Andrew Barbano
Oct 16, 2010 | 803 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“All I know is what I read in the papers”

— Will Rogers

That said, please be advised that today’s opening item is based on the same stuff you and I have recently been seeing via various media. I don’t have access to any polls or any inside information.

In a long-ago book, CBS political guru Jeff Greenfield noted that campaigns can’t help disclosing their strategies. We see where they think they stand on the street and on TV every day. More recently, Greenfield stated that we may be witnessing a wave election this year, one in which issues don’t much matter.

I agree. As I noted several weeks ago, process and policy doesn’t count when voters are acting on unreasoning emotion.

So what are major candidates telling us as evidenced by their recent strategies? With respect to  a couple of Democrats, a bad moon is on the rise.

Secretary of State Ross Miller — son of a 10-year Democratic governor ­— and genetically-perfect-for-TV Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto, have both broken their first TV spots. Both viciously attack totally unknown opponents.

Why? Because they have lots of money to spend? No. If that were the case, you’d see birds, babies and bunnies on their spots.

Because their opponents are running attack ads? Nope. Both guys have been as quiet as church mice at a tomcat convention.

The only answer is that Cortez-Masto and Miller have seen their unheralded opponents uncomfortably close in recent polls. Why? Because the opponents have an “R” after their names. More on that later.

Madcap Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick has the scarlet R, but nonetheless is attacking Democratic challenger Roger Whomes. Compared to Whomes’ scathing negative ads against Mr. Gammick, the DA’s commercial is softball. It could be normal candidate paranoia or maybe he sees Mr. Whomes’ ads eating into what should be a comfortable lead.

The strategies of Gammick, Miller and Cortez-Masto reveal where they think their campaigns stand with the voters. Gammick vs. Whomes may be a local aberration between two guys who genuinely don’t like each other. The statewide races are another story.

If we indeed face a wave election, then this year may be reminiscent of 1994 or 1980 when Republicans hit the political jackpot. Like this year, Republicans had effectively demonized the Democrat in the White House, the economy was the main issue and, alas and alack, Democrats responded ineffectively.

I just picked up rumbles along the infamous political grapevine that turning out the most loyal Democrats may prove the saving grace for some campaigns. More than nine of 10 African-American voters opt for Democratic candidates. The black vote in Gomorrah South as well as in many other states may save some elections for the Donkeyites. Anticipating such a strategy, Republican operatives are reportedly mounting a massive nationwide voter suppression and intimidation campaign. Without such, Dubya never could have stolen Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004. The Dems are also pleased that the 18-24 vote seems to be holding steady. Whether or not they turn out is another consideration.

Red warnings, part deux

I don’t envy the people in charge of Sparks City Hall in the next couple of years. More than $100 million in corporate welfare Sales Tax Anticipation Revenue (STAR) bonds remain unsold while existing bondholders are getting stiffed. In two years, Sparks must pay $25 million to the RED Development banditos from Kansas City. With STAR bonds in the morgue, city taxpayers will be on the hook. RED has already absconded with $9.5 million that the current council failed to restrict, which is why a lot of major construction at the marina complex has not happened. Adding insult to injury, Sparks citizens are now being asked to approve a regressive and shameful sales tax increase because the city can’t afford enough cops.

Reno red redux

Just as the undeveloping developers of the

forever-delayed Sparks Marina hotel-casino recently won extension of their non-existent project, Station Casinos, freshly out of bankruptcy, has announced similar intentions. Where Olympia Gaming got a two-year extension on their exclusivity from Sparks, Station is asking Reno officials for five years with a 10-year buildout for their Mt. Rose Highway project.

Strange bedfellows

In 1980, singer Wayne Newton played to a packed house at Reno’s MGM Grand to raise money for the re-election campaign of Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev. At 11 a.m. today, Mr. Newton will speak to senior citizens at Kona Gold in the Mira Loma shopping center at South McCarran and Mira Loma in southeast Reno. He will be there supporting Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.The times they are a changin’.


U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., will rally organized labor precinct walkers at the California Building in Reno’s Idlewild Park at 9 a.m. today. I guess that’s a step up from 2008, when actor and current White House aide Kal Penn did similar duty with union members.

Coming soon

The new season of Barbwire TV just in time for an election near you. No stone will be left unturned (along with a few heads), some stones will be rolling (along with a few heads) while voters rock ‘n roll to the polls. Support the cause at

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan and editor of E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.
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Red warnings by Andrew Barbano

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