As kids we were taught that actions have consequences. But for years now moderate Republican elected officials in Nevada have been getting away with violating the party’s core principles on fiscal conservatism with impunity. Those days are now over.
For the last decade or so the state Senate has been led by moderate Republicans, and the state Assembly has been led by gun-shy go-along-to-get-along “Gumby” Republicans. As such, it’s not exactly a shocker that Democrats now control both legislative houses. And yet conservatives are told THEY are the problem, not the moderates and the “Gumby” Republicans.
To prove their point, moderate Republicans in the 2009 Legislature conspired with the Democrat majority to saddle Nevada with over a billion dollars worth of higher taxes. And make no mistake, without the support of moderate Republicans in the state Senate, not a dime’s worth of higher taxes could have passed.
So in that regard, the Billion Dollar Tax Hike is, like it or not, the Republicans’ Billion Dollar Tax Hike. Republicans could have stopped it cold. They simply chose not to. Which has finally pushed party activists beyond the breaking point.
At a hastily called special meeting of the Clark County Republican Party this week, members overwhelmingly approved a resolution officially censuring the six Republicans who voted for the bill (SB 429) raising sales and payroll taxes by a whopping $781 million dollars. The resolution notes that the party platform “is clear in its opposition to new taxes” and that “every Chairman of every Nevada County Central Committee” had signed a letter at the start of the 2009 session “urging it’s elected legislators to vote against raising new taxes.”
The resolution concluded that “the political damage caused to the Republican Party brand name from Republican officeholders who support higher taxes is tremendous” and instructed the Clark County GOP to refrain “from giving any assistance of any kind” in the upcoming campaigns to those Republican legislators who were censured.
Less than 24 hours after the Clark County GOP’s censure resolution passed, the Churchill County GOP passed their own resolution using almost the identical language. Other county organizations will now likely follow suit, and a similar resolution is being prepared for the Nevada Republican Party meeting next month.
The GOP’s foot-soldiers are tired of being used as door mats. They’ve had enough of voting for, volunteering for and raising money for candidates who run on the party’s label and then back-hand the very people they owe their elections to. As the saying goes, these folks are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it any longer.
Of course, the moderates will say they represent their entire district, not just the Republicans. Fine. Then run for office as an independent and see how far that gets you. Otherwise, if you’re gonna run under the Republican banner and use Republican resources, then Republicans have a right to expect you to vote as a Republican on core issues of party philosophy, especially those so clearly outlined in the party’s platform, as well as written instructions during the course of the legislative session.
And don’t think for a minute these resolutions carry no weight and will be quickly forgotten. Instead, bet the farm on a number of moderate Republicans earning themselves a primary challenge or recall effort – and these censure resolutions will assuredly be used against those RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) who have finally strayed too far off the fiscal conservative reservation one time too many.
Contrary to claims by the moderates – joyfully repeated by some in the media – this isn’t the party eating its own. This is the party thinning its herd of old bulls and weak links to make room for new, stronger, more vibrant, more effective, more principled, unapologetic and unafraid leadership. Rather than cementing the party’s demise, these resolutions are the first step toward the GOP’s renewal and reemergence as a worthy governing party.
Let the primaries begin!