Wages of spin, Murren’s utter nonsense, and impeachment will leave a Mark

sounds like a lot
Greene's death threats are okay, but Cheney's not, says Amodei. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
sounds like a lot
Greene’s death threats are okay, but Cheney’s not, says Amodei. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The following are some excerpts from this week’s Daily Current newsletter, the editor’s opinionated morning news roundup, which you can subscribe to here.

Check out the big brain on Mark (Feb. 8). When I saw last week that only 60 House Republicans voted to remove Liz Cheney from her GOP House leadership post, I just assumed Mark Amodei was not one of them. After all, his brand is garden variety boilerplate right-wing ideology with an aw shucks flavor spike, not cuddling with QAnon.

Sure, he voted to let Marjorie Taylor Greene keep her committee assignments, as we already knew — even though among Greene’s greatest hits is that one time she grossed out virtually every other elected official in Nevada, including Amodei’s House colleagues, by suggesting the Oct. 1, 2017 massacre on the Las Vegas Strip was staged. But nearly all the other House Republicans voted against stripping her from committees, too, and Amodei has always been nothing if not a good little GOP go-alonger.

In Cheney’s case, a majority of House Republicans stuck with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to let Cheney keep her leadership post even though she told the truth about Trump that one time. But as the RGJ reported Friday afternoon, it turns out Amodei was one of the 60 Republicans voting to oust Cheney from leadership. By voting to oust her, Amodei was voting with the rump. Very out of character.

But these thing happen when you’re sucking up to the fruity right lest you surrender it to Adam Laxalt without a fight in a gubernatorial primary. I say go for it Amodei. As you admit in that RGJ story, it’ll be “fun” to watch.

Precious process (Feb. 9). Under pernicious yet dainty U.S. Senate rules, items can’t be passed by a simple majority under the budget reconciliation process unless those items have some impact on the budget. So the thinking in some, maybe most, quarters is that senators can’t raise the federal minimum wage under reconciliation.

But! The Congressional Budget Office says the minimum wage increase will add to the deficit. For one thing, the home health industry gets most of its money from Medicaid, and people who work in that industry would get higher wages. So let that sink in.

Granted, CBO projects the minimum wage increase would only add about three-tenths of a percent as much to the federal budget hole as what CBO said would be dug by the 2017 Trump/GOP tax cuts, at least by my early morning back o’ the envelope calculation. (The consensus now by the way is that the cost of the tax cuts will exceed CBO’s original projections, but just ask any Republican and they’ll tell you those corporate tax cuts are bound to trickle down sooner or later).

But! The CBO report may be moot because President Manchin continues to oppose raising the minimum wage, because of course he does.

In other words, Democrats in the Nevada Legislature, who have the votes to accelerate the schedule for raising Nevada’s puny-by-regional-standards minimum wage, aren’t off the hook.

Oh right he had a task force (Feb. 10). Wonder whatever happened to that? Anyway, former MGM poohbah and resort executive to the stars Jim Murren “pictures venues maintained ‘at an elite level’ compared to other parts of the world, and visitors taking tests both before they arrive and once they land in Las Vegas,” the RJ reports.

For the record, during the pandemic there has been nothing about the behavior and practice of the Nevada resort industry or the Nevada state and local governments it controls that renders Murren’s statement anything other than utterly absurd. If area conventional wisdom is true and casino executives, even former ones, are indeed the smartest people in Nevada, Murren knows he’s spouting nonsense.

This is going to leave a mark (Feb. 11). The House managers are making a devastating case. Trump’s deplorable actions not just in January or after the election, but his attempt to undermine democracy over the many months prior to the election (including of course here in Nevada), will likely become the thing most remembered about the malignant farce that was his presidency.

The rationale given by many House Republicans, including Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei, for voting against impeachment was that the “Capitol perpetrators,” as Amodei described Trump’s feral mob, had been planning their actions well before Trump’s Jan. 6 rally, so it couldn’t have been Trump’s fault.

So another consequence of the impeachment trial, and the case that House managers have presented so powerfully, is that Amodei & Friends’ contrived argument, deliberately obtuse from the start, grows even more preposterous with each passing day.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | 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.