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I don't know Markos's game here, but I think I'm not going to like it when I find out.

I worked in Democratic Nevada politics for over two months leading up to the 2006 election and for several weeks leading up to 2008's election (as one of California's Obama volunteers).  I've maintained contacts with my neighbor state (I'm closer to Las Vegas than San Francisco) since then.  Over time, I've formed an impression of Rory Reid -- and it does not include the phrase that Markos led off with in today's Midday Open Thread item:

""nepotistic hack"

Wow.  I suppose "nepotistic" is an inevitable slam.  But one could say the same about Al Gore, Chris Dodd, John Dingell, and Nancy Pelosi.  Each had very successful fathers in politics; each made their own mark on their own terms through their own skill.

But "hack"?  I don't see it, I don't hear it from Nevada contacts, and I don't know where Markos gets it.  Does he even know what Rory Reid has done in Nevada as chair of the Clark County Commission, often considered more powerful than the state legislature?

"Hack"?

I find Nevada politics -- well, I'll use the word "difficult," like New York's interest group infighting without the history and charm.  (Plus, it's hot.)  But I've met some good people there.  Rory Reid is not my favorite politician in the state -- that would be Barbara Buckley, who I had hoped would run for Governor -- but his reputation is for being decent, smart, hardworking, progressive and dedicated to his constituents.  Not exactly "hack" material.

So let's theorize about what crawled up Markos's leg and cause him to dub "Rory (reid)" (as the great Hugh Jackson of the Las Vegas Gleaner called him in this past election) as a "hack."  Markos provides three hints in his own writing, which consisted only of:

Nothing like nepotistic hacks trying to ride their name into office. ...

Rory got crushed in the governor's race in Nevada last year, even as his dad easily beat Sharrrrron Angle in the Senate race.

OK, let's look for clues.

Theory 1: He is Harry Reid's son.

Could be, I guess.  Would be unfair, though.  Rory had developed his own record over his time on the Clark County Commission, and from all reports in Nevada he knew that his unpopular father's campaign made his job harder, not easier, in 2010.  (That's why his signs referred to him as just "Rory.")  And again, experience in politics allows him to be judged on his own record.  Markos presumably knows that Rory has his own record, which makes this charge odd.  We're not talking about Ben Quayle in Arizona here.

Theory 2: He lost the Governor's race.

Indeed he did!  Never had much of a chance against former Federal Judge Brian Sandoval, who Jackson calls the country's new Bobby Jindal.  So does Markos think that losing a race for Governor against a very popular, handsome, smooth, well-funded Latino Republican -- makes one a hack?  According to polls, Rory would have beaten the other nominees.  The problem is that Sandoval was very hard to beat, especially in a very Republican year.  No Democrat had a real shot against Sandoval unless he made a huge gaffe -- and the state media let him get away with a rose garden strategy while the Senate race (and to a lesser extent the Titus-Heck race in the hotly contested NV-3) sucked up all of the oxygen.

And, because I consider it axiomatic that Markos is no dummy, surely he knows that Reid squeaked by Angle only after doing his utmost to ensure that he would be running against the weakest and looniest candidate -- and that only after she obliged by going full-bore wocka-wocka over the course of the campaign.  Yet he's implying that Papa Reid's victory over Obtuse Angle means that Rory should have been able to duke it out effectively with Sandoval?  Surely, as an informed political observer, he does not.

If Markos wants to know more about the Governor's race, he can read the Gleaner and ideally Desert Beacon -- it's on my blogroll -- from which I was linked to this fine story from the Nevada Appeal, from which I chose these three paragraphs about the election:

To try to close the gap, Reid has tried to provoke Sandoval. He launched television ads seeking to portray Sandoval as beholden to banking industry lobbyists — a group apt to draw scorn in a recession-battered state that leads the nation in foreclosures, bankruptcies and joblessness.

Sandoval's campaign counter punched with its own ads denouncing Reid as the bank lobbyist and a dishonest politician. In other ads, Sandoval has called Reid a poor leader and a liberal spender.

Reid has issued position papers outlining his plans for public schools, higher education, the hemorrhaging state budget, green energy jobs, and his vision for Nevada's economic future — and taunted Sandoval for staying mum.

Yeah -- not totally hacky, is it?

Well, that pretty much leaves us out of theories, since that's all Markos wrote.  Oh, wait, there is a big quote in the middle, from a story in the state's flagship Las Vegas Review-Journal about Nevada's long-overdue fourth Congressional district:

[Rory] Reid is known for using his wry wit to defuse combative situations. Friends and colleagues say his ability to handle disputes and to work with people served him well as an elected leader.

And some predict Reid, 48, who is leaving office this week, will run for Congress.

Reid won't confirm or deny the speculation, though he makes it clear his passion for public service hasn't waned.

"I always want to be involved in working for the public," Reid said. "It's who I am."

Hey -- how odd that Markos should quote that story!  That suggests that there might be a ...

Theory 3: Markos wants someone else to win the NV-4 race

Nevada is about to go from a 1-1-1 state -- the Democratic NV-1, the Republican NV-2, and the swing NV-3, to what will probably be a 2-2 state, safe seats for both parties.  (Sure, they could get creative, but Nevada is so much in flux that if Republicans don't draw NV-3 to be a safe one for Joe Heck's re-election ther could end up down 3-1.  They have more to lose than to gain from two competitive districts.)

Now I am not saying that Rory Reid is my choice for NV-4, for one basic reason: he isn't.  Nor is he not my choice.  I don't know who else is running -- will Dina Titus move over a district, for example?  And -- I won't impute this opinion on Markos, so I'll claim it for myself -- it would be nice to have a Latino Democrat in Congress from this heavily Latino state, although no name immediately springs to my mind.  I could easily see not favoring Rory for the nomination -- although I'd be happy to see him in Congress.

But if that's Markos's motivation -- keep the seat open for somebody better -- he should just goddamned say it.  Seriously.  I can respect "this should be a Latino seat.  I can respect "this should be a union member's seat."  I can respect "this should be a ______ seat."  As I said, I know Nevada politics to be ... "difficult" ... and people often think in these terms (and not just there.)

But for Markos to trash the accomplished and decent Rory Reid on grounds that he should know were bogus in this snippy little hit piece?  I expect more from him.  Democrats can do better without that sort of bullshit politics.

I don't know what got Markos thinking that a poorly-justified brass-knuckled nut punch was what Nevada Democrats needed this week, but I hope that he'll explain himself -- and if he has another dog in the race, declare it rather than waving a shiv.  Markos is usually a lot better than that.  Hardly anyone seemed to notice, but this had the earmarkings of more along these lines to come.  So, if he's going to start a jihad, maybe he can explain why that is a lot better than he did today.

Otherwise, people are going to come to think that he's a ... what's a good word for it?  Oh yeah:

"Hack".

Originally posted to Doane Spills on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 08:53 PM PST.

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