One of my favorite Ronald Reagan quotes is this one: “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant; it’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”
Now, I’m pretty sure the Gipper wasn’t referring to liberal Nevada Assemblyman Pat Hickey. But he could have been.
Deposed as Republican Assembly Caucus leader by newly elected conservative caucus members before the start of this year’s legislative session, the Reno RINO (Republican in Name Only) has been relegated to the role of backbench blogger. And in a recent post, the bitterness of his defrocking was on full display.
The bee in Hickey’s bonnet continues to be Republicans who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising their constituents that they will “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
The man who never met a tax he wouldn’t hike simply cannot fathom how any candidate can make such a campaign promise, put it in writing, and then honor it. Indeed, Hickey declared that signing the pledge “flies in the face of the American spirit of individualism and self-determination.”
Um, no it doesn’t.
To the contrary, signing the pledge demonstrates solid conviction to the conservative principle of limited government. Among elected Republicans demonstrating such conviction at the federal level are Nevada Sen. Dean Heller and Reps. Joe Heck, Mark Amodei and Cresent Hardy.
Also, every declared GOP presidential candidate for 2016 has already signed the pledge, along with 219 Republican members of Congress, 49 members of the U.S. Senate and more than 1,400 state legislators. And the number of pledge signers in the Nevada State Assembly jumped from three during Hickey’s short reign in the 2013 session to 11 this year.
In other words — and using his own words — it is Hickey who’s the “ideological infidel” out of step with his party, not the pledge signers.
Nevertheless, Hickey claims that grass roots activists holding pledge signers’ feet to the fire is “simply not working anymore.”
Au contraire, mon frère. The GOP opposition to Gov. Brian Sandoval’s billion-dollar tax hike — and the liberal Assembly GOP mutant version of it — is coming almost entirely from pledge signers. As such, the pledge continues to work just as intended.
The problem is that pledge signers are still outnumbered, barely, by tax-hiking Hickey Republicans. So it’s not that the pledge isn’t working; it’s that we need to elect more pledge signers!
And that’s exactly what GOP primaries are for.
Although Hickey himself escaped a primary challenge last year, most of his hand-picked nonpledge-signing candidates lost to conservative challengers. And his left-hand man, Assemblyman Randy Kirner, survived by only 11 votes.
That’s without having Sandoval’s billion-dollar tax hike wrapped ’round their necks. Hickey Republicans won’t be so lucky next year.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.