Ira Hansen, Your New Favorite Nevada Wingnut, Already Calls It Quits
Just after we proclaimed him our favorite new wingnut and looked forward to a 2015 full of brilliantly idiotic quotes and policy positions, Nevada state assemblyman Ira Hansen has announced that he will not become Speaker of the Nevada House of Representatives after all.
It seems like only Friday we were all in love with the prospect of a never-ending stream of idiocy coming from the guy, and now he's taking his Confederate flag and going home. Or at least back to the recesses of the House -- he hasn't actually clarified whether he's also going to resign his seat. We're going to assume he's going to insist on hanging around, considering his commitment to being a self-righteous jackhole, but then again, we never expected him to give up the Speaker's job merely because he was making an entire state and its Republican Party look bad.
Last week, the Reno News & Review ran a series of excerpts of columns in which Hansen said that women should be homemakers, gays were mostly child molesters, Martin Luther King was a "hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud," and that blacks -- though Hansen preferred the term "negroes" well into this century -- simply didn't show enough gratitude to whites for ending slavery on their behalf, the ingrates. He also noted that he kept a Confederate flag in the office where he wrote his column, because Heritage, but also complained about Latinos waving their Messican flags around and talking about their heritage, which is not even American.
As you'd expect, Hansen knew exactly why his past writing had caused so much controversy: now that he was in a position to oppose higher taxes, a coalition of liberals and RINOS was out to smear him. In a statement, Hansen explained:
The tens of thousands of people who both read my columns and listened to my radio shows through two decades in the media know this has been a carefully orchestrated attack to remove a conservative Republican from a major leadership role in State government. The deliberate character assassination and the politics of personal destruction have totally distorted my views and record. Ultimately, this whole attack has very little to do with my views. The powers that be are planning a massive, more than one billion dollar, tax increase and I stood in the way as Speaker. I have already served two terms as an Assemblyman without any of these vicious attacks. It was only when I had risen to leadership that this smear campaign occurred. That is the real reason for this and it is vital the public understands that.
He's just misunderstood, you see. Also, no, the tax package being pursued by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval is not a "billion dollar tax increase," according to Nevada political columnist Jon Ralston, who also notes that if Hansen had remained a back-bencher, no one would have been paying any attention to him.
Please, America -- let's stop assassinating people's character by quoting them verbatim.
We had such high hopes for Ira Hansen, but now he's going away -- maybe not entirely, but out of a position of real power. We can only hope that maybe the Nevada GOP will pick his ideological soulmate Michele Fiore as a replacement. She's the genius who so strangely defended Cliven Bundy on the Chris Hayes television program, refused to say for sure whether she recognizes the authority of the Federal Government over federally owned land, and vaguely hinted that federal agents need to be shot, saying that the feds shouldn't “come here with guns and expect the American people not to fire back.” She doesn't appear to have written anything explicitly racist, so she may be just the conservative solution the Nevada GOP needs (oh please, oh please).
Finally, let's remember the real victim here: Sarah Palin.