For the 4th District: Elect Danny Tarkanian to House of Representatives
Posted: Oct. 16, 2012 | 2:02 a.m.
In the race for Nevada's new and open 4th Congressional District seat, the biggest knock against Republican Danny Tarkanian - businessman and son of Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian and former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian - is a failed real estate investment by his family and other reputable investors. That deal resulted in them being hit with a $17 million court judgment, currently under appeal. In a worst case, Mr. Tarkanian and the rest of the investors might have to seek some form of bankruptcy protection.
Far more disturbing was Democratic candidate Steven Horsford's "pay to play" proposal, when the state Senate majority leader offered access to committee chairs in exchange for large campaign donations, and the trip to the Bahamas he accepted from an online poker company seeking major legislation in Nevada. These were official, political matters, not personal business.
With what's happened to property values and small businesses over the past four years in Las Vegas and across the West, being upside down on a land deal is hardly a mark of moral depravity. Besides, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas, is seeking re-election despite having filed for personal bankruptcy protection related to his own family business failure. Democrats appear to have no concerns about his fitness for office.
In the end, the 4th District race is about who will do a better job for Nevada and who has the best ideas for tackling Washington's dysfunction and deficit spending.
Sen. Horsford offers a memorized talking point, saying he opposes "balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class to maintain major corporate subsidies for Big Oil." When asked who signs those big federal subsidy checks to "Big Oil," Sen. Horsford told us he assumes the secretary of the Treasury signs them. There are no such checks, of course. The "subsidies" are deductions oil companies are allowed to take for exploratory drilling costs - similar to deductions the IRS allows many other businesses.
That politicians use such memorized windbaggery to avoid thoughtful discussion is bad enough. But a candidate who doesn't even bother to ask his handlers what the words mean?
Sen. Horsford says he would "work to protect" Head Start and Pell grants, and he favors continuing "investment in renewable energy" rather than allowing expanded oil drilling. Entitlement reform? Not a priority. Like President Obama, he believes raising taxes on job creators will create jobs.
Mr. Tarkanian, who graduated third in his class at the University of San Diego School of Law, says free-market principles will get Americans back to work. He opposes tax hikes and supports tax simplification. He favors keeping Medicare and Social Security solvent by raising the eligibility age, pointing out that "life expectancy has gone up 19 years, but the age of eligibility has only been bumped up two years." He wants to give states control in deciding how to spend federal money, and he wants Nevada's surplus of federal land released for private development.
Danny Tarkanian has studied the issues. And in the face of a looming fiscal crisis that has most Washington insiders in third-stage denial, he's not afraid to embrace common-sense reforms, even if they're outside the comfort zone of many established politicians.
Washington needs fresh thinking and tough decisions. Mr. Tarkanian is the only viable candidate in this race capable of both. The Review-Journal endorses Danny Tarkanian for the U.S. House of Representatives.