Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 | 5 p.m.
“Don’t start a public fight you can’t win.”
That succinct evaluation of the Nevada-New Hampshire scheduling brouhaha comes from a Democratic operative, reflecting both the reality for Nevada Republicans and the glee that the opposition party is feeling as it needles the GOP for its imminent cave on a supposedly set-in-stone Jan. 14 date.
Whether it is Jan. 17 or 18th – or, as some geniuses suggest, Feb. 4 – Nevada seems poised to move its date, bowing to intense pressure from the Republican National Committee. The Nevada GOP spin is likely to be: “We did this to maintain comity among the states and inside the party.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval is expected to chat soon with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus – Priebus already made his position clear at The Venetian at the presidential debate – and I’d expect a caving announcement soon thereafter.
Beyond the New Hampshire supremacy clause – apparently it is in the Constitution – and the RNC begging Nevada to dig itself out of the hole it dug with toothless rules that allowed Florida to leapfrog four early states, unrest among the loony faithful also is driving this. Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian is facing an insurrection this weekend from the crazies – and there are many of them inside the central committee – so she is trying to head that off with an olive branch. Republican National Committeeman Bob List appears to have capitulated without a fight to Priebus and Committeewoman Heidi Smith has always sided with the wingnuts and has undermined the state’s moves since the kerfuffle began.
It’s over, folks, I fear; it’s just the terms and manner of surrender we are waiting for.
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner is still God – he said “jump” and Priebus & Co. leapt as high they could.
Does that make Gov. Brian Sandoval the state’s Neville Chamberlain?
Here’s what he said a week ago:
"We certainly respect Secretary Gardner's position, but we have a similar responsibility to protect our state's rights. A caucus is not the same as a primary election. Nevada has chosen January 14 and New Hampshire could easily choose January 10 for its primary and still preserve the intent of its seven-day rule as it applies to primary elections. This issue is really about Florida, not Nevada. Perhaps the Secretary should be asking Florida to change its position."
So how does he explain folding, if he does? Something like: “I am not doing this to appease New Hampshire, but Chairman Priebus has assured me….”
The legacy of this: Nevada looks foolish and weak, Gardner retains his mystical power and the state’s Republicans reaffirm they are not ready for prime time.