Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stuck in the middle, again

The Senator from Nevada, Dean Heller
, finds himself in a bind. There is only one of him but three different political power points want more than a piece of him, they want all of him.
Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, is the man everyone wants. This has not been a good thing for him.

Brian Sandoval, the governor of Mr. Heller’s home state, is a Republican, but he is counting on Mr. Heller to provide what could be a crucial vote to maintain President Barack Obama’s health care law, which has been a boon for small businesses in Nevada. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader who this week will be rounding up votes to fulfill his party’s biggest promise of the last decade — repealing the Affordable Care Act — is trying to prevent Mr. Heller from undermining that goal.

Democrats also want Mr. Heller, but in the form of an unemployed senator. As the only Republican who is up for re-election next year in a state that Hillary Clinton won, he may be their only shot at picking up a seat. Democrats and health care interest groups have been unloading on Mr. Heller all spring with no end in sight.

Far-right Republicans in his state — who strongly support President Trump — also have their eyes on Mr. Heller to see if he will abandon the president. Already a group that Vice President Mike Pence has supported is preparing a seven-figure ad campaign against the senator.

“He’s in the eye of the storm here,” Mr. Sandoval said Friday at a news conference in Nevada as Mr. Heller stood next to him, looking vaguely miserable as Mr. Sandoval announced his opposition to the Senate bill. The legislation could affect 210,000 Nevada residents insured through the health care law’s expansion of Medicaid.

On Friday Mr. Heller said that he, too, was against the bill as it is currently drafted, leaving himself just enough wiggle room to continue his longstanding practice of being the senator in the middle, the man who wants to see the Medicaid program phased out, except when he decides he doesn’t. (Mr. Heller has taken both positions publicly.) He has also voted to take away money from Planned Parenthood, but tells some select audiences that “I have no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Mr. Heller, whose spokeswoman said he was not available for an interview, said Friday at his news conference that “this bill, that’s currently in front of the United States Senate, is not the answer. It’s simply not the answer.’’
Tough spot because Mitch can't give in to what Sandoval wants. If Sandoval backs off then both he and Heller are more vulnerable to the Democrats. And the Democrats and the lunatic Teabaggers both want Heller gone, though they have different ideas on his replacement. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes but if he does his best Republican Turd imitation he may well float to the top.

Having encountered both Sandoval and Heller in Nevada politics, it's an easy bet. Sandoval is one of the last "decent, reasonable conservatives" and Heller is basically a used car salesman dressed up as a slimy weasel. So the rabid right will go after Sandoval.

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