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May 6, 2015

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Nevada Republicans light fuse to self-destruction

If I didn’t know better, I’d think there was a Democratic Party plot afoot.

Is Prince Harry really this Machiavellian? Could the left wing really manipulate what the right wing is doing? Is there a mole at the top of the Nevada Republican Party?

How else can the ascension of one Michael J. McDonald to the chairmanship of the state GOP be explained? Where’s Allen Funt? Or Ashton Kutcher?

The Republicans, pounded by Democrats in critical races the last two cycles, have a reasonable chance to win the state for Mitt Romney, hold onto John Ensign’s Senate seat and take over the Legislature’s upper house. And the glue holding that all together — the man charged with raising money, attacking Democrats and articulating GOP principles — is a Laughlin constable and former strip club lobbyist found guilty of ethics transgressions by two tribunals and whose odiferous city land deal has revolted everyone (except the folks at Roundheels Central on Stewart Avenue), including a conservative think tank on Tuesday.

Come on, folks. This must be a joke.

No one can possibly benefit from McDonald’s elevation to this prominent post except Democrats and the Fourth Estate — Team Romney stayed clear of the balloting last weekend, and so did the GOP elected elite — and that is why my suspicions are aroused that the new chairman is either part of an elaborate and hilarious comedy show or a plant from the opposition. (I wonder if any of the GOP elected officials will talk to him without asking if he is wearing a wire. He’s done it before.)

Maybe state Sen. Michael Roberson was joking when he wrote an endorsement blurb for McDonald, saying, “Michael may also be the only person who can truly unite the differing factions within the state Central Committee.”

Unite the Central Committee factions! That is high-quality stand-up comedy stuff, senator.

Who cares if he can bring together the few hundred folks on the party central committee? They have nothing to do with whether Romney will take Nevada, Sen. Dean Heller can defeat Rep. Shelley Berkley or Roberson can become majority leader.

You know what might make a difference? A chairman who could raise money and be a forceful spokesman for the party.

McDonald can do neither. He risibly claimed that he raised millions as a city councilman to burnish his bona fides. So what?

Sheldon Adelson may give $21.5 million to help his friend, Newt Gingrich. But do you think Gondolier Numero Uno is going to trust the ethically challenged McDonald with his money?


As for being an articulate spokesman for the cause, McDonald, shortly before he became chairman last weekend, said during a podcast that “there is a good argument” for a red-light district in downtown Las Vegas. He also would not commit on “Face to Face” to backing the governor’s position, as Roberson does, for extending expiring taxes, accusing the titular head of the party of not communicating well why he took that position.

Come on, Mr. Chairman. Take off your mask. Is that really a Harry Reid staffer?

I want all of you — especially Gov. Sandoval, Sen. Heller and Rep. Joe Heck — to imagine it is October. CNN is here. Fox and MSNBC, too. You turn on your TV to hear, “Joining us now, the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, Michael McDonald.”

Do you:

A. Pray

B. Hold your breath

C. Both

As the Nevada Policy Research Institute said in a screed Tuesday: “You just can’t make this stuff up.” The conservative think tank was referring to McDonald’s latest juice job at City Hall, with NPRI correctly pointing out that McDonald has a pattern of questionable conduct. Indeed, McDonald almost was thrown out of office 11 years ago after the state Ethics Commission found “his loyalty to his employer motivated him to assist (his private sector boss) in attempting to overcome a difficult financial situation by using access to staff and other members of the City Council (which an ordinary member of the public would not have) and lobbying them to take action which would benefit (his boss) and, therefore, himself. ... There was absolutely no evidence that the action Councilman McDonald was advocating ... was a good economic deal for the City of Las Vegas and in the public’s interest.”

Some things don’t change. The ex-councilman’s history neuters him when it comes to assailing Democrats on anything. McDonald is not just a flawed messenger; he is a fatally flawed messenger.

Maybe Michael McDonald is right in arguing that no one will pay any attention to him, that he will unify the party and that he will lead the GOP to smashing victories in November. Or maybe, as Michael McDonald also once said, that’s what a fool believes.

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  1. Though he's only held the chairmanship for less than a week, for the sake of the Nevada GOP and the nation's success in getting rid of Obama, it's time for McDonald to step down.

    Steve Miller, Former LV City Councilman

  2. Enjoyed the article, Jon. But I wanted to point out that you didn't offer enough choices to the multiple guess.

    A. Pray
    B. Hold your breath
    C. Both

    I suggest you add this:

    D. Pass wind.

    After some serious thought, I'd go with D.

  3. Sadly, I must agree with the guy from Crook County, Il. For the Republicrats to choose a "leader" with the baggage McDonald has is not just perplexing, it is downright stupid! As a result, I have unsubscribed from the Republicrat's e-mail list and, as soon as I have the opportunity, will switch my registration from Republicrat to Independent. Unlike hard-core ideologues, left or right, I have the integrity to disavow unethical, immoral or unlawful behavior regardless of politics. As I could not support a party that celebrates the likes of Berkley or Collins, I cannot be a supporter of a Republicrat Party headed by such as McDonald! I think this stupid move proves that Republicrat "leaders" have lost touch with reality and the party should be replaced. It's time for the TEA Party to take the necessary steps to replace the Republicrat Party. If I am forced by the State of NV to have to register at all, I'm ready to register as a TEA Party member. Who's with me?

  4. It is said that Old McDonald had a farm. That must be the Republican Party, goats, sheep and pigs, all accounted for.

  5. I'll bet none of you have criticized McDonald to his face as much as I have over the past 15 years, but look what we have instead: A government determined to take every penny we make just to pay its employees. A government run by faceless union thugs who determine the winners and losers of elections and then go into secret session with their choices after the election to rake 80% off the top (of the billions paid by us in taxes) to hand out to their members. A government out to screw the taxpayer at every turn through its phony "bi-partisanship". A law enforcement arm that sits at every corner to collect fines, humiliate citizens, and keep full employment in jails, but can't be bothered to come to our burgled house or to obey the medical marijuana law.

    Yes, McDonald has issues, but I'll bet he doesn't support the trillion dollar wars that grind up our youth and innocent foreigners and that make the bi-partisans so happy. He may even try to legalize freedom and actually reduce the taxes, fees and fines burdens, which the hypocrites appearing on your program burden us with.

    Jon and Steve (never thought I would see that!), give the guy a chance. One thing for sure, McDonald has proven himself to be brazen. Only someone that brazen and unperturbed by the opinions of others can hope to chop up the self-serving web woven by special interests in order to entrap all of us. Maybe he won't, but we can be sure about the Steve Wolfson, Billy Vasilliadis, Jay Bingham types. Let's watch McDonald and then make comments. Did you ever imagine, Jon, that Carolyn Goodman would be doing such a good job? And now she has the Bobs--Beers and Coffin--to contend with and I'll bet she does even better. We could be in for some more surprises.

  6. I can assure you the Democrats had nothing to do with the comedy of clowns in the Nevada Republican Party - but the election of McDonald is a "gift" that has many snickering out-loud, in private! LOL!

    The inside word is that the Nevada Republican powers-that-be wanted someone who could bully the T.E.A. (Talked Enough Already) types and the Ron Paul Revolutionaries to come together, or, at the very least, to stop tearing each other apart publicly - so, they went with the only thug available!

    While, as you point out Jon, the elite electeds stayed away and will maintain their distance from the in-fighting! I doubt McDonald has any idea how he's really been suckered into a losing proposition politically? But, then, I'm sure he is all about himself and just making more money anyway he can to line his pockets, sadly!

    What will matter this cycle is the Democratic Party GOTV efforts amongst a diverse population - and the Non-Partisan / Independent turn-out!

  7. If there is an issue, it is not that the Republican Party lacks purpose, or that it does not serve as a useful counterbalance such as to check the perceived free spending of Democrats. Mr. McDonald's previous track record and associations should disqualify him from such a high profile party position. Trying to defend McDonald to protect the image of Republicans is the most awkward position the party has placed itself in.