Folks, I will beat this dead horse till the cows come home: Do not take as gospel anything any politician says on the campaign trail. A couple of cases in point:
In May 2010, while running for his first term in the state Senate, Ben Kieckhefer, with a straight face, said this to reporter Sean Whaley: “I consider myself a pretty darn conservative guy. Any notion of me as some pro-tax Republican is totally flawed. I’m not.”
Man, his nose grew so fast after that whopper that it poked Whaley right in the eye!
“Blue Dog” Ben went on to win his election — then voted for the $600 million “sunset” tax hike in 2011 — then voted for the $600 million “sunset” tax hike again in 2013 — then voted for the another $600 million tax hike on the mining industry last year, as well.
And that doesn’t even count all the smaller tax and fee hikes he’s voted for. Nah, he’s not a “pro-tax Republican,” is he? That notion is, like, totally flawed, dude.
But Kieckhefer is far from alone in speaking with forked tongue.
Here’s what Greg Brower said to reporter Ray Hagar about his position on tax hikes and decision not to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in January 2011, right before his first session as an appointed state senator: “We need to balance the budget without raising taxes. But I have not made a habit of signing pledges and I don’t foresee doing so in the future.”
Like Kieckhefer, Brower then went on to vote for extending the $600 million worth of “sunsets” last session — as well as the $600 million mining tax hike — as well as a bunch of other lesser tax and fee hikes. So, so much for balancing the budget without raising taxes.
Now remember, all of this came about after Brian Sandoval promised not to raise taxes or extend the “sunsets” when he was running for governor — but similarly refused to sign the tax pledge.
And here’s what I told Hagar about that in the Brower story: “I have to give Greg Brower the same benefit of the doubt that we all have to give Brian Sandoval. If he says he is not going to vote to raise taxes or fees, great. I hope he sticks with it. I would prefer, of course, that they sign the pledge because I’ve had so many bad experiences with candidates who say one thing then find loopholes. But I’ll take Greg at his word until it is proven otherwise.”
Of course, Brower, like Sandoval, proved otherwise. Which is why I no longer take any politician’s word for it when it comes to tax hikes. Sandoval was a federal judge. Brower was a U.S. attorney. Neither kept their word.
Our Founding Fathers would be so proud.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass-roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.