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July 6, 2015

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j. patrick coolican:

First Berkley-Heller debate left so much to be desired



Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., debates his challenger, Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., at the Reno public television studios, Sept. 27, 2012 as Mitch Fox, center, moderates.

J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican

Some quick thoughts on Thursday’s debate between Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Shelley Berkley.

Overall, a weak display. The format wasn’t helpful, allowing only brief statements and responses that made watching it feel like you were watching the two candidates recite their own 30-second attack ads.

I was most disappointed in Berkley. She failed to make an affirmative case for the Democratic position, which President Barack Obama — with an assist from former President Bill Clinton — has made effectively enough to put him in a strong position to win re-election.

Here it is: We inherited one of the worst economic crises in recent history, losing 800,000 jobs per month. We stabilized the banks, we saved the auto industry, and then we passed the stimulus bill that cut taxes and sent money to the states so they wouldn’t have to lay off more teachers, cops and nurses.

We stabilized the patient, and now things are slowly improving.

Moreover, the knee-jerk anti-government rhetoric of the Tea Party is historically inaccurate. Public investments such as the land grant colleges, the Hoover Dam, the GI Bill, the Interstate Highway System and Department of Defense research — in other words, government projects and programs — helped build the middle class.

Berkley failed to make that case.

Instead, she groveled to the right, bragging that she’d stood with Republicans to cut the inheritance tax, which is nothing more than a massive tax cut for the children of the wealthy. Andrew Carnegie, the great steel industrialist, favored a steep inheritance tax: “The parent who leaves his son enormous wealth generally deadens the talents and energies of the son.”

She also came out for a balanced budget amendment. This is bad policy on its face — any attempt to balance the budget in a bad economy will worsen the crisis. This is exactly what’s happened in Europe.

Berkley also said she’d exempt programs for seniors and veterans. A fine sentiment, but the idea of a balanced budget without tackling Medicare is a farce. Can’t be done. Anyway, she said she won’t balance the budget on the backs of seniors and veterans — does that mean she’ll balance the budget on the backs of the disabled, children and the Pentagon?

As for Heller, if I had gone to a university that had a Greek system, and if I were the type to join a fraternity, then I’d definitely support him for president of my frat. He looks the type.

But he doesn’t belong in the U.S. Senate.

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  1. The format is just what Heller and Berkley wanted. Heller and Berkley are both borrow and spenders. Check out their websites. You won't find one specific budget cut they want to make. Other than social issues, there isn't much difference between the two.

  2. If Obama is reelected, the subsequent damage of his eight years will take a generation to fix. And that will include a bankruptcy.

  3. This is her MO. She has no original ideas, except for how to benefit Shelley. Sorry, she had an original idea for a facelift, but I guess that benefited her anyway. Not that Heller is any great shakes. But he should win against such a weak opponent.

  4. Good article Patrick ! Do I really have to vote for another Blanche Lincoln ? A lot of Democrats may be elected, the sad part is that they may as well be Republicans.

  5. Berkley is clearly the better of the two candidates for the job as US Senator from Nevada. But that doesn't guarantee a win. She made a huge political mistake and it will cost her this election. Instead of talking about who won the debate, clearly Heller did, and who will win the election, clearly Heller will, the real question is what is Berkley's future in politics?


  6. Mr. Coolican, why don't you tell us how you really feel? :)

  7. Can I take my blind fold off and my ear plugs out now? Is it over ? I swear if there was "any truth" to "anything" either party spit out of their mouths in the past months...EVERYONE would be in jail and doing life sentences. So give me a break !! This has been the dirtiest election in recent years on both sides !! By the time it comes to actually pull that lever...I'll have forgotten what the REAL election was all about,not that I knew in the first place with all this cr** being thrown around. This goes for the local and nation wide elections.As for those "undecided" votes....if you think for one moment you're making a statement by not voting you're wrong. Your lack of attention and misguided ideas only strengthen the wrong one getting in.Elections are way too important to be so frivolous to anyone of voting age.This is how your voice is heard,don't waste it. WE need to remind EVERY politician EVERYDAY...they are on borrowed time until the next election, then they are out by popular demand (YOU).