Commentary

Lombardo’s charm offensive, a ‘quarrel forgotten,’ Jan. 6, and of course, UFOs

July 3, 2021 9:27 am

Waving the white flag of peace, three well-intentioned Americans become the first casualties of an interplanetary war in the 1953 screen adaptation of H G Wells’ novel ‘The War Of The Worlds’. Because hey why not? (Photo by Haywood Magee/Picture Post/Getty Images)

Mark Hutchison is an area fancy-pants lawyer who was also a state senator (and also a lieutenant governor but that’s a part-time job with no inbox so merits only parenthetical mention). Now he’s working to get media personality and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo elected governor, and Hutchison placed an oped on that riveting topic in the Reno paper Monday.

After  “the horrific 1 October shooting,” Hutchison wrote, adhering to the tragedy’s official brand name created in the hope that Wikipedia would use that instead of Las Vegas shooting, “politicians from across the political spectrum sought out television cameras, but Joe got to work and was a steady hand as he worked tirelessly to get to the bottom of what led to the deadliest shooting in our country’s history.”

But Joe never did, did he? Get to the bottom of it. And the claim that Lombardo wasn’t basking in the klieg lights with everyone else is absurd.

Anyway, you may have asked yourself (I know I have) why Lombardo is running for governor. Hutchison’s column provides the simple, blunt answer, multiple times: What’s left of the establishment Republican Party thinks Lombardo is the electable one.

***

More from the Lombardo charm offensive. This week Lombardo got almost as many media hits as he was getting in the days following the Las Vegas shooting, er, “1 October.” And in one of them, he was quoted saying “We have a governor and Legislature focused on protecting their own party, guaranteeing single-party rule so they can introduce state income tax…”

As is so often the case with respect to things Republicans say, if only t’were true.

Lombardo’s handlers know full well Gov.Steve Sisolak has zero, which is to say not any at all, interest in or appetite for muttering the words “state income tax,” let attempting to create one. Lombardo should know that too. If he doesn’t, his handlers have done a piss-poor job getting him up to speed.

On the other hand, if Lombardo does know the truth — that Sisolak is not proposing or advocating an income tax — and Lombardo is asserting the falsehood anyway, he’s deliberately lying. 

Yes, the party of Lombardo and his handlers remains in thrall to a con man for whom lying is not only a central strategy but the default response to nine out of ten stimuli. But while I knew Lombardo was a little bit Trumpy, I guess I didn’t think he was that Trumpy.

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But is there any there there? Bookending Joe Lombardo’s hectic week of selecting finery and fittings for the GOP Gubernatorial Primary Debutante Ball, in a piece Friday Newsweek quoted a few locals and took a gander at Lombardo’s candidacy. Nutshell: The salient difference between our hero and that other Sheriff Joe — Trump-pardoned and grifter industry-approved Joe Arpaio — is that Arpaio is sincere.

Houston, we have a narrative.

***

The first rule of January 6 is, you do not talk about January 6. At least if you’re a Republican.

Only two House Republicans voted to create a commission to do a deep dive investigating how the building they work in was attacked by violent extremists attempting to overthrow the government.. 

No, Nevada’s Mark Amodei was not one of those Republicans. He and the vast majority of the rest of the GOP would like everyone to politely stop talking about the ongoing threat to the nation posed by the radical right as if it’s, well, an ongoing threat to the nation posed by the radical right. Better to just let the wild-eyed forces hell-bent on destroying the nation and its principles continue to plot and plan and recruit more followers, quietly and without interference, or so Republicans seem to believe.

Seems legit. After all, if the insurrection is taken seriously, that might place Amodei in the awkward and inconvenient position of having to articulate a position on the insurrectionists, as well as the danger they pose to the nation and the Constitution Amodei took an oath to “support and defend…against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” And who would want to inconvenience the hail fellow well met that is Mark Amodei? That would just be rude.

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“The quarrel forgotten.” Why do we have statues of traitors in the Capitol in the first place? Oh right, because the enslavers lost the war, but then they won the fight over the war.

108 years ago this weekend, Woodrow Wilson (who a reader says I need to tell you was a racist because evidently there is someone somewhere who doesn’t know that) gave a speech at a 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Addressing veterans from the United States and the former confederacy, Wilson waxed fondly about “what those fifty years have meant…

They have meant peace and union and vigor, and the maturity and might of a great nation. How wholesome and healing the peace has been! We have found one another again as brothers and comrades in arms, enemies no longer, generous friends rather, our battles long past, the quarrel forgotten—except that we shall not forget the splendid valor, the manly devotion of the men then arrayed against one another, now grasping hands and smiling into each other’s eyes. How complete the union has become and how dear to all of us, how unquestioned, how benign and majestic, as State after State has been added to this our great family of free men!

The quarrel forgotten! Gosh, what was that silly war even about? Woodrow Wilson couldn’t even remember!

As Wilson was speaking in Gettysburg, the former confederacy was a terrifying dystopia of lynching, suppression of rights and liberties, forced labor … not just discrimination but brutally violent oppression, authorized by laws established by elected officials in “state after state” in “this our great family of free men.”

It was a national reconciliation based on white supremacy.

And that’s how we got statues of traitors in the Capitol — statues that the U.S. House voted to remove.

***

UFOs are boring. I skimmed the summary of the big UFO, er, UAP report released last week, which inevitably reiterated the obvious: The investigation and study of unidentified aerial phenomena is, at best, remotely tangential to the genuine search for intelligent life in the universe.

I would not be shocked if scientific inquiries confirm “technosignatures” of extraterrestrial intelligence in my lifetime. In a mind-blowing human endeavor, multiple fascinating and ultra-sophisticated tracks are being pursued to detect signs of non-Earth civilizations.

But inasmuch as the study of unidentified aerial phenomena has any connection at all to those serious explorations, that connection is cultural, not scientific.

Don’t get me wrong. Unidentified aerial phenomena should be studied for a number of prudent and practical reasons. Discovering extraterrestrial spacecraft isn’t one of them.

***

Happy Birthday U.S.A. What better way to kick off a July 4th weekend than a Supreme Court stacked by an infantile demagogue and stolen by a morally bankrupt Senate majority leader – actions made possible by those perverse 18th century anachronisms, the electoral college and Senate apportionment – overturning the intent of the 15th amendment so as to allow states to deliberately suppress voting rights in the name of preserving white supremacy?

Just add hot dogs and that puerile Lee Greenwood song and we’re good to go.

(The above items are excerpts, some lightly massaged, others more heavily, of material published in the Daily Current newsletter, the editor’s opinionated morning news roundup, which you can subscribe to here.)

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

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