In the latest cat fight between area newspaper company executives who have so much time on their hands they pretend to be columnists, Sun poohbah Brian Greenspun suggests R-J poohbah Sherm Frederick has a relationship with, an affinity for, or is, a transvestite. But Greenspun didn't mean it in a nice way, so now he owes transvestites an apology.
Meantime, the ostensible point of Greenspun's column was to mount a spirited defense of the conduct and character of Harry Reid. Greenspun's gushing Reid apologia was prompted by a wholly inconsequential piece in which the Sherminator regurgitated fashionable speculation about how Reid's Democratic leadership obligations jeopardize his re-election chances -- you know, when Reid is on the ballot again, in 2010, three election cycles from now.
The appropriate response to a typical Sherm Frederick column is to ignore it. Oh, when Frederick first started publishing regularly at the start of the year, it was sort of entertaining -- goodness, who knew Sherm was so obsessed with bodily functions? But the novelty soon wore off, and it's become pretty clear that Frederick's idle ramblings. sprinkled as they are with reminiscences of Sherm on the golf course, Sherm on the phone, Sherm in a business meeting, etc., along with the oddly frequent use of the word "fart," don't really belong in a metro daily newspaper column, though they might make for a fine MySpace page.
But instead of ignoring Frederick, Greenspun, never one to respond appropriately, instead assigned Sherm's musings some measure of relevance, as if they constituted an assault warranting a response. For instance, Greenspun blusters about Frederick's "not-so-subtle reference to Harry's religion. Who does that in this day and age?"
Well, Greenspun's right -- there was nothing subtle about it. Frederick said outright that Harry Reid is a Mormon. "Who does that in this day and age?" asks Greenspun. Um, Harry Reid, for starters. Harry Reid's clear favorite for governor, Jim Gibson, is also not averse to touting his Sainthood.
And if lack of subtlety is the crime, Greenspun himself is guilty: "The truth is that Sen. Reid is the kind of politician our Founding Fathers envisioned -- a man who holds strong moral and religious beliefs and a man who is guided by that moral code," Greenspun writes. Oh my.
Inasmuch as Greenspun has revealed so certain an insight into one of the most complicated and mysterious phenomena in all of Nevada, or for that matter national, politics today -- the forces guiding Harry Reid at any given time -- perhaps Greenspun would care to 'splain something that Reid hitherto has not.
With extremely rare exceptions -- or with the obvious ones like Yucca Mountain -- every position for which Reid bashes Bush and the Republicans in Congress, whether domestic or foreign, is a position also held and supported by Republican Sen. John Ensign. If Bush/Republican policies are as pernicious and harmful as Reid contends, how is the much-celebrated Reid-Ensign non-aggression pact possibly in the best interest of either the state or the country? Given the arrogance and incompetence of Bush and the GOP Congress that Reid is always, always squawking about as if he means it, shouldn't Reid be doing all he possibly can to get a Democrat elected to the Senate this year in the one place he could presumably have the most impact, i.e., his own back yard?
Yes, when asked, Reid will say he "supports" Democrat Jack Carter's bid to unseat Ensign. But as Greenspun's own newspaper has pointed out, Carter and congressional candidate Tessa Hafen, a former Reid staffer who enjoys Reid's full and genuine support, have no more than a half-dozen campaign contributors in common, and Reid clearly is not as interested in raising money for Carter as he is for Hafen. Of course, when Reid runs through the roster of states where Democrats can pick up Senate seats, he never, ever mentions Nevada -- not even when he talked about possible Senate gains at the Nevada state party convention in April.
To hear Reid tell it, the GOP is wreaking havoc on the republic and all for which it stands. Yet Reid is, as we like to say, harboring a known Republican senator in his own state. How is that the action of, as Greenspun likes to say, "a man who holds strong moral and religious beliefs and a man who is guided by that moral code?"
The Reid-Ensign love-fest is what renders Frederick's column, and its prediction that Reid will lose in 2010, so ridiculous. Just as Reid is protecting Ensign this year, it will be Ensign's turn to protect Reid from facing a formidable and well-financed Republican challenger in 2010.
It's possible, s'pose, that the unholy alliance between Reid and Ensign could unexpectedly unravel, or expire, between now and then, and Reid could find himself in trouble. In the event, Frederick will have been, no matter how accidentally, prescient.
But if Reid gets up-ended by a Republican in 2010, the indignity of a gloating Frederickian "told you so" would be nothing compared to the tragedy wherein Reid's coddling of Ensign this year proves to be even more catastrophically pointless than it already is. At least Reid will always be able to count on glowing and blindly unquestioning praise from Brian Greenspun. No matter what.