Guinn: Dudley Do-Right defrocked as Nowhere Man
He's a real
sitting in his nowhere land,
making all his nowhere plans
John Lennon & Paul McCartney
My wife had the right idea when I invited her
to accompany me to Gov. Guinn's maiden State of the State address
last Monday night.
"I'd love to go, but I love Ally McBeal more,"
she said. Turned out to be right, as usual. Network comedy offers
much better writing. If the guv's handlers want to sell any more
fantasy and fiction, they should hire some guys from Hollywood
who know how to put on a show.
Kenny Guinn put on a cartoon. He opened by telling
us what we were there for: "the budget."
Bull. I was there to respectfully listen to the
new governor's view as to the current state of the Silver State.
I didn't hear it. I got technocratic jargon cloaked in doom and
gloom for the state portrayed by chamber of commerce types as
the most prosperous in the nation.
Doesn't have a point
knows not where he's going to,
isn't he a bit like me
NOWHERE MAN AS DUDLEY DO-RIGHT. "I
will save you, Nell!" the cartoon Canadian mountie would
shout as he galloped to the rescue while seated backwards on
his long-suffering steed.
I found myself asking the distressed damsel Nell's
Why does Dudley Do-Right always do wrong?
Twenty years ago, political commentator Jeff Greenfield
gave the best political advice I've ever seen for newbie pols.
First and foremost: don't reorganize the government.
"It is always such an astonishing waste of
time that it prevents an incumbent from accumulating anything
like an impressive record," Greenfield wrote.
President Jimmy Carter, Guinn's idol, reorganized
to the point that he created a Department of Education and elevated
the old Atomic Energy Commission to cabinet level as a new Department
It came "with a budget of some $11 billion,
more than the combined profits of the six major oil companies,"
Greenfield wrote in his 1980 bestseller "Playing to Win."
"It has also spent so much time moving furniture
back and forth that energy policy has become nonexistent. One
report told of regulations stalled for months because the office
responsible for issuing them has been busy moving 19 times, often
back and forth among the same three buildings."
Nowhere man, please
You don't know what you're missing.
Nowhere man, the world
is at your command.
KENNY OF GOD. He giveth and taketh away.
As I predicted, Guinn reverted to type during the first full
moon of his governorship. Just as he did when he helped his predecessor
and fellow Gaming Party governor cut the budget in 1991, Guinn
took dead aim at the weak: babies, children, the physically and
He announced major cutbacks for family outreach
and children's health insurance early in his speech. A few minutes
later, Guinn promised no one will be turned away. That's nowhere,
KENNY THE CRONY. While slicing money for
the least among us, Guinn found more than a million dollars for
the state nuclear projects office. I don't mind an entity charged
with keeping the feds honest while they try to administer a high
level nuclear suppository, but the history of that thing has
been one of providing fat cat contracts to political hacks. I'd
rather see the dollars go to help sick kids and new families.
Nowhere man, don't
Take your time, don't hurry.
Save it all till somebody else
lends you a hand.
Guinn's square jaw and affected solemnity indeed
reminded me of Canadian Mountie Do-Right. But the real Dudley
would not have used affected gestures, such as presenting six
black teens from Las Vegas as a de facto apology for politicking
on Martin Luther King Day.
Then, Guinn promised them and all other Nevada
students with "B" averages that their college educations
would be paid for by money from the national tobacco settlement.
Turns out that he could not make such a promise.
The feds may take the lion's share as reimbursement
for Medicaid payments to care for cancer victims. The rest of
the dollars are supposed to go to health care.
The tobacco deal is a deal with the devil anyway.
It makes governments partners in the cancer business because
the money comes from future profits extracted by hooking those
same brilliant teens Guinn proposes to help. Nothing like well-educated
He's as blind as he
just sees what he wants to see.
Nowhere man can you see me
PULLING A SNIDELY WHIPLASH. The guv leaked
word that his speech would contain major tax reform. It didn't
happen. We got a two-year study committee instead.
Guinn sees the same tax revolt I've reported brewing
statewide and wanted to ride that horse in the direction it's
already going. But Dudley got on backwards, as usual. He couldn't
make the numbers work and remain true to the gambling industry
overlords who made him their $6 million man.
When he said "no new taxes," he didn't
need to add "especially on casinos." That's understood.
KENNYISMS. As an orator, the
guv rivals Dan Quayle. (For proof, go to Guinn
His first major speech arrived interlarded with
regrettable laughables and one sobering reminder that scoundrels
quote the admirable to sanctify the despicable.
"The time is always right to do what is right,"
Gov. Guinn said, expropriating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Guinn then promptly announced wholesale firings
of state workers.
"Many good people with families will lose
their jobs," he said. "I ask you to view these deep
cuts with the same compassion as I do."
Beware. When someone says "this is going
to hurt me more than it hurts you," you can bet that it's
only going to hurt you.
Dan Quayle, gearing up for a presidential run,
recently asked people to join him in demonstrating compassionate
conservatism. Guinn signed up early.
Nowhere Man will pay a price for putting babies
on a diet while feeding us pie in the sky.
THE RETURN OF TRAVUS
T. HIPP. Just in time to play bump and run with the 1999 legislature,
the greatest talk show host in the world returns all too briefly to Nevada
airwaves. After a six year absence, Hipp joins Bruce Van Dyke to analyze
the news on Tuesday mornings at 8:30 on The X, KTHX 100.1 fm in Reno.
Call CTX Mortgage at (775) 829-8555 and thank them for sponsoring the
great one's renaissance.
Be well. Raise hell.
1982-2005 Andrew Barbano
Barbano is a member of CWA Local 9413. He is a Reno-based syndicated
columnist, a 30-year Nevadan, editor of U-News
and was campaign manager for Democratic
candidate for Governor, State Senator Joe Neal.
Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily
Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.