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Silver State Sound of Silence

Last Friday, Vice President Mike Pence snuck back into Southern Nevada to boost U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R) and Gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt (R) with just two months left until Election Day. While Pence, Heller, and Laxalt refused to answer any questions that local reporters tried shouting at them, Nevadans nonetheless have a lot of questions surrounding their recent actions (or lack thereof).

So is this what we can call the sound of silence?

Even if he didn’t write the op-ed, he’s ready for his close-up
Photo by Andrew Davey

Yes, they’re still talking about the anonymous New York Times op-ed. And yes, Vice President Mike Pence still insists he had nothing to do with it.

Though he didn’t (directly) address “L’Affaire de la Dame Grise” during his stop at Nellis Air Force Base last Friday, Pence did try to put to rest all the speculation about President Donald Trump posing a threat to national security from inside the White House by delivering some happy talk about Trump and Heller doing so much to help military veterans. Never mind the actual facts at hand, Pence wanted to do his part to perpetuate Heller’s misleading attacks on Jacky Rosen (D).

Speaking of doing his part, Pence is certainly doing that in terms of (at least, publicly) playing the role of Trump’s loyal lieutenant. When he’s not playing his role in the hottest parlor game to hit Capitol Hill in decades, he’s attacking the media while shining in the media spotlight, something that always makes his boss so proud. Of course, he’s also making his boss proud by keeping silent on the content of the op-ed (and, more substantively, the new Bob Woodward book) that’s far more disturbing.

Oops, he did it again.

Photo by Andrew Davey

After the brief speech-cum-photo-op at Nellis, Pence was whisked away to a private fundraiser benefiting Adam Laxalt and the Republican Governors’ Association. If you’ve still been wondering why Laxalt clings so tightly to Trump, Pence, and the far-right, neoconservative D.C. Beltway clique in what’s become a light blue swing state, wonder no more. He needs them to prop him up, as he continues to suffer very bad blood with the top Republican elected official (other than Heller) in this state.

Though he has less than four months left to his term in office, Governor Brian Sandoval (R) has been trying to make his legacy a lasting one by speaking out on the need to protect it. He did so again today by providing comment to The Nevada Independent on Steve Sisolak’s (D) recent ad praising Sandoval’s push to raise taxes to provide more funding for public education.

Normally, an outgoing Governor doesn’t speak ill of the candidate from his same party who’s vying to succeed him. However, this is no normal election. Though Sandoval won’t publicly endorse anyone in the race to succeed him, he probably knew what we was doing when he had his spokesperson say, “For Governor Sandoval, it’s not about Republican or Democrat, it’s about education.”

Remember that Laxalt wants to repeal the Commerce Tax that forms the foundation of Sandoval’s 2015 revenue-raising tax reform package, and don’t be surprised if/when this quote appears in a new Sisolak campaign ad soon.

“Silence, like a cancer, grows.”

At Nellis Air Force Base on Friday, neither Pence nor Heller answered questions from the press. So no, they didn’t say anything about the op-ed. They also didn’t say anything about Laxalt’s (and Heller’s) strained relationship with Sandoval. They didn’t say anything about Heller’s latest health care bill that doesn’t really protect anyone’s health care. And they certainly didn’t say anything about the Trump administration’s ongoing war on immigrant communities (including children).

Like the classic Simon and Garfunkel song, people were talking without speaking, and hearing without listening. There’s another line in that song that’s really getting to me today: “You do not know, silence like a cancer grows.”

Whether it’s Mike Pence keeping his silence on the truth about Donald Trump’s Presidency, Dean Heller staying silent about the truth that’s causing harm to his constituents, or Adam Laxalt trying to maintain silence on what he actually intends to do as Governor, we have some prime examples of what happens when our public space is overtaken by the sound of silence.

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