I finally got around to watching the latest bootleg recording of Dean Heller Says Stupid Things (apologies to Alan Cummings), recorded in Las Vegas earlier this week, because I wanted to check something that was nagging at me ever since Heller’s performance was first reported in the Indy: When Heller said the Trump administration “is pretty incredible,” did he really mean it in a nice way?
After all, online Webster’s first definition of “incredible” is “too extraordinary and improbable to be believed.” The dictionary’s examples of incredible in a sentence (perhaps germane to the matter at hand) include, “I find his explanation pretty incredible,” and “It’s incredible to me that such a lazy person could be so successful.”
And who among us hasn’t used the word “incredible” when discussing the Trump administration — “the mendacity and venality of these people is incredible” — something along those lines?
Alas, if you watch the video (which is really audio), when Heller described the Trump administration as incredible, it was indeed more along the lines of, “Wow, this sea salt caramel ice cream is soooo delicious! It’s incredible!”
Here’s Heller’s full quote on the Trump administration’s incredibility:
“I’ll tell ya, this administration is pretty incredible. And I stand in front of you as someone who wasn’t his big supporter, a big supporter, going into the election. But I’ve had every one of his nominees come into my office. And do you know what these nominees are talking about? The first time in ten years in Washington D.C. that I’ve heard these two words — economic growth.”
This statement is, well, incredible, on multiple counts, of which I will address only two.
First, the topic of conversation once someone is ushered into the portrait studio portion of Heller’s office is not economic growth. It’s “seriously what’s up with the shitkickers on an occasional table is that some drugstore cowboy thing?”
— Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller) January 4, 2017
Second, Heller’s assertion (in a dialed-back version of an earlier absurdity) that the Trump administration marks “the first time in ten years in Washington D.C. that I’ve heard these two words — economic growth” is asinine.
I only bothered to check Obama’s last four State of the Union speeches. “Economic growth” (or in 2016, “grow the economy”) is in all of them. Presumably, Heller was there.
One of Heller’s committee assignments is Finance. When Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew talked about “economic growth” repeatedly during Finance Committee hearings, like Lew did at this one last year, or this one the year before, or this one the year before that, evidently Heller was either not listening or playing hooky.
One could ask Mr. Google to find countless other examples of Obama administration officials saying, as Heller put it, “these two words — economic growth,” and no doubt Mr. Google would comply. Sure, Heller was just tossing around standard anti-Obama hyperbole. But why be so sloppy about it? It might be because he has no respect for the intelligence of his constituents, even — especially? — the Republicans who made up most of the audience he was speaking to earlier this week. Or maybe he’s just sloppy.
Titus, Kihuen, Horsford and Miller, in no particular order, all have undergone heavily funded opposition attack ads of varying brutality (though it’s been a while in Dina’s case). In other words, they’ve been vetted for an ugly campaign, which is crucial because distorted personal attacks on his opponent will be the sum total of Heller’s assuredly ugly reelection campaign. I still think there’s a good likelihood that the Nevada race won’t matter to control of the Senate. But if Democrats do let Heller sneak by next year, as they did with John Ensign in 2006 or Brian Sandoval in 2014, jeepers what a blown opportunity.