With candidates now publicly and openly confirming what your Gleaner has been saying all along -- Nevada GOP presidential caucus, meh -- and threatening to boycott the irrelevant non-event, this is probably just piling on. But to paraphrase Republican campaign strategy circa 2004, if one can't belittle Nevada Republicans when their caucus has become a humiliating joke, then the terrorists have won.
So a little comparison, just for the nonce...
Unless your Gleaner is mistaken (no, seriously, it happens), Tuesday's GOP debate at Sheldon Adelson's House of Wingnut and the events surrounding it, taking place roughly three months before the caucus, will mark the very first time that more than one of your Republican presidential hopefuls will be in Nevada at the same time for the same thing.
By contrast, the first event that attracted nearly all of the Democratic candidates in the run-up to the 2008 caucuses was, near as I can tell, a forum sponsored by AFSCME in Reno in February 2007. nearly a full year before the caucus. That was followed in March by a Culinary rally attended by most of the candidates and a health care forum sponsored by SEIU the next day. Individual candidates were visiting the state regularly, hiring staff and building organizations even before those early events, and basically for more than a year prior to the 2008 caucus, nary a week went by without Hillary, Obama, Uncle Joe Biden, pervy John Edwards or some other presidential candidate (to say nothing of their stand-ins) wafting through the state rallying crowds, meeting voters and answering questions (even those posed by writers of obscure little local websites). Local endorsements were lined up and trotted out almost daily. The papers were filled with stories -- and not just about the horserace horseshit, but -- gasp! -- actual policy stuff. I'd venture a guess -- and it's just a guess but I think a not unreasonable one -- that there was more --and more serious -- local coverage of, oh, say, Bill Richardson's health care plan in 2007 than there has been of Willard's economic plan in 2011. Local Democrats were fired up, and fighting spiritedly and sometimes bitterly among themselves, you may remember. The party took advantage of all that energy and organization, registering new voters by the thousands and generally kicking ass and taking names. The whole damned thing was fun.
Meantime, in 2011...
The candidates' threat to spurn the caucuses represents yet another blow to the Nevada Republican Party, which has struggled to get its presidential contest on the map as an important milestone on the way to the GOP presidential nomination. Few contenders have visited or campaigned in the state, and local elected officials have mourned a wasted opportunity.
Obviously one hopes that all this Nevada Republican fail manifests itself in continued party organizational buffoonery and ultimately hinders GOP performance up and down the ballot in 2012 and beyond.
But if one were to look at this turn of events not as a sensible person of the left, but merely as a Nevada citizen, at least on some level it is sort of sad that Nevada Republicans couldn't convince their party's presidential candidates to show more than a minimally passing interest, if that, in Nevada and Nevadans.