Can’t we negotiate?



During the course of the last few weeks, embattled leaders have more than once offered compromises and appeared willing to sit down and talk with the demonstrators.  For the most part, the demonstrators have turned the offers down and continued to demand a complete regime change.  Sometimes, begging forgiveness and asking for a second chances works, at other times it does not work.  As we know the leaders of the Tunisia and Egypt waited too long and offered too little – the citizens just wanted it over, they demanded a divorce. No second chances for them.

Nevada is having its own mini version of an embattled leader asking for forgiveness and a second chance. Nevada’s Senator John Ensign was forced to admit last year that he had an extra marital affair; but he is not ready to give up his job and would like to be re-elected.  This week he is meeting with voters around the state to ask for forgiveness and a second chance.  I have no idea how people in general feel about Ensign and his adultery, but I think if he would lie to his wife, he would lie to me; as I said a couple of days ago honesty and trust are fundamental to our society and political process – he failed the basic test.  Looking at the faces of the people in the audience, I do know one thing, I would not want to be trying to convince those people of anything – they are not buying what he is selling.

One of his colleges got a like response yesterday.  Senate majority leader Harry Reid came back to Nevada for a visit; he thought he ought to stop by the state legislature and offer some guidance on public policy in the state.  Reid apparently does not have enough on his plate in Washington and feels a need for a larger leadership role, who knows he maybe touring Europe and the Middle East next offering advice and guidance.  Unlike Ensign, Reid is not campaigning for a specific office.  He just dropped by on his way to the office to share his views on Nevada with the lawmakers as they struggle to find a way to balance the state’s budget.  Reid did not appear to have much in the way of financial advice, but he did have some moral and political advice.  Reid thinks Nevada should outlaw prostitution and eliminate term-limits.  I am not sure how those two fit in the same sentence – but possibility Reid does.

Reid and Ensign did have one thing in common this week – the dead silence their opinions generated.  Again just looking at the faces of the women in Ensign’s audience I don’ think he got a standing ovation.  And while I have no pictures of the faces of Reid’s audience, we do have press reporters of the total silence that met his grand statement: “Now is the time for Nevada to outlaw prostitution!” I suspect he thought he was going to get a standing ovation and a photo to take back to show his Republican counterparts just how popular he is in Nevada – regardless of the outcome of the last election.

The reporters say Senator Reid stopped and waited for the applause – but after several moments of an embarrassing silence, Reid moved on.  I have no position on legal prostitution ,  term-limits (both sides have very good arguments) nor do I have an absolute position on adultery.  But I do have a position of public behavior – do what you promise to do when you ran for office and don’t try to use the power of your office for personal gain.  Mr. Reid should not be trying to influence Nevada legislation at that level and Mr. Ensign should rethink public service as a career.  But of course that is just my opinion, isn’t it?


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February 2011
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