The spawn of seething apathy has hibernated for a quarter-century.
I launched the None of the Above for Governor Political Action Committee (NAGPAC) in September of 1982 after learning that the major candidates were sending their printing out of state. Then-Gov. Robert List, R, at least had a sense of humor about my “semi-tongue-in-cheek” satire. The man who beat him for re-election has never forgiven me.
Dick Bryan is the perfect pol: He can fake sincerity and if you can do that, you’ve got it made. He could actually act like he had a sense of humor, all evidence to the contrary.
Dan Becan, the 1982 Libertarian candidate, at least treated me with respect. Because the two major party candidates were such colorless white guys, NAGPAC caught fire and made national news. With the nation in the middle of Reagan’s triple-dip recession, I announced its formation at the Depression Deli on E. Fourth Street. Appropriately, it’s now a strip club just in time for Great Depression2. (Barbwire 12-27-2017)
We even had a None of the Above for Governor lookalike contest at the legendary Delmar Station fern bar. (A fern won.) Our motto was “we only believe in what’s right.” Our only rule was that we would have no regular meetings. We would devote our energy toward electing the whole horse for a change.
Sometimes us poor jesters bring the body politick closer to the truth than the consultants and insultants. Witness that younger people get most of their political news from late-night comics these days.
When pure bureaucratic negligence led to a patient death at the Nevada Mental Health Institute in Sparks, NAGPAC took a serious turn and became the main vehicle advocating for the rights of the mentally disabled.
The “none of these candidates” option in statewide races was born of two big egos. Assemblyman Don Mello, D-Sparks, hated Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Al Gunderson. So Mello pushed the “none” bill through the 1975 legislative session to embarrass Gunderson in 1976.
The old judge did not draw opposition but still had to spend time and money trying to mitigate the vote of his mythical opponent. Mello, of course, made sure that non-statewide candidates, such as himself, were exempt.
Twenty-seven percent of the vote went to Gunderson’s legislatively-created ghostly adversary who stands to make a big comeback this year.
Although Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak beat his Democratic gubernatorial primary opponent Christina Giunchigliani statewide 50-39 percent last week, she beat him 52-39 in Washoe.
This validates the old rule of thumb that you can buy the south with media but not the north. He outspent her at least five to one statewide.
Giunchigliani’s fatal mistake lay in taking forever to respond to a March 21 hatchet job by an inexperienced Reno Gazette-Journal reporter who accused her of shunting almost half a million from her 2006 Las Vegas campaign to her late husband’s ad firm so that they could buy a house. By the time she answered on May 6, the big lie had metastacized.
Actually, the couple bought the house before the 2006 election. I once owned an advertising firm like that of the late, great Gary Gray. Ad agencies work like travel agents who get most of their pay via sales commissions from airlines, just as advertising agencies do from media. Mr. Gray’s actual income from the campaign thus amounted to pocket change.
Chris G’s May 6 response still could not explain in 500 words what I just did in the latter three sentences. Alas and alack, she apparently retained semi-pros from out of state who were not ad professionals. I guess NAGPAC’s lesson not to hire non-Nevadans needs to be re-learned.
Democrats should rightly worry about the “Bernie effect” (2016) or “Bobby effect” (1968) whereby disaffected young people simply don’t vote in November after their heroes have fallen. Republican nominee Adam Paul Laxalt can win just because he’s prettier on TV, kinda like his grandpa, the former governor and senator.
So perhaps it’s time for NAGPAC to sally forth once more unto the breach and demand that corrupt and colorless white guys address the hard issues and make promises they can actually keep.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>