Embattled U.S. Sen. “D.C. Dean” Heller (R-NV) has been riding his high horse of late demanding that his colleagues — who have turned a deaf ear to his entreaties — work 24/7 to confirm President Trump’s conservative judicial nominations.
“We need to start working around the clock, nights and weekends, whatever it takes to overcome this gridlock Democrats are using to obstruct getting conservative judges on the bench,” Heller wrote on Oct. 19. “I’m fighting to ensure Senate Leadership will make the Senate work 24/7 and get these conservative judges on the bench.”
But like so many of the senator’s other positions on critical issues, that’s a 180-degree flip-flop.
The fact is – and facts are, indeed, inconvenient things for Mr. Heller – if he’d had his way, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch wouldn’t be sitting on the Supreme Court today.
“Nevada Sen. Dean Heller has become the first Republican senator to break with his party’s leader and say President Barack Obama should nominate a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court,” the Associated Press reported on Feb. 17, 2016, just days after Scalia’s untimely death.
Let that sink in.
“Senator, though I liked you upon meeting you, I do not admire you,” wrote conservative talk-show host Hugh Hewitt in a letter to Heller the very next day. “Far from it in fact. Admiration depends upon fealty to principles, not likability.”
“I doubt very much I will be supporting your re-election in 2018,” Hewitt continued. “I suspect I will support a primary challenger to you or perhaps even your Democratic opponent … I’d rather lose the Senate majority with a fight over first principles than the Supreme Court of the United States without a fight.”
But Hewitt was just getting warmed up: “Because your statement Wednesday indicated you are not a fighter, but a word-salad-flinging, finger-in-the-wind pol willing to sacrifice my free exercise rights for your re-election, I have no choice in this matter of whether to support your re-election. Better a Democrat who believes in his or her vision of a ‘living Constitution’ than a jelly-spined Republican who wants to ‘wait and see’ what benefits his or her re-election.”
Indeed, Heller’s “around the clock” demand is nothing but a PR stunt designed to help him in his reelection campaign, since he knows there’s no way Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Senate colleagues will ever go along with him.
It’s just like his meaningless “No Budget, No Pay” proposal, another PR stunt he knows will never go anywhere.
More importantly, it’s the same stunt he pulled in 2015 when he voted to repeal Obamacare knowing President Obama would veto the bill – only to turn around in 2017 and vote against the exact same Obamacare repeal bill knowing President Trump would sign it.
It’s these kinds of D.C. parlor games and political forked-tongue double-talk that has so many Americans supporting President Trump’s call to “drain the swamp.”
Heller is a D.C. swamp creature. He’ll say anything and change his position on a dime if he thinks it will help him remain on his stump in the swamp.
When he thought he needed to be a moderate and support allowing President Obama to appoint a replacement for Justice Scalia, he did it. Now that he needs conservatives to win his GOP primary next year, he’s back to full-throated support for conservative nominees.
The bottom line: You just can’t trust Dean Heller.
Tarkanian is a Las Vegas businessman and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Nevada.