Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Heller Gets Spanked by Jane Ann Morrison

We've been reporting, rather infrequently, on Heller's problem of simply returning a reporter's phone call since he was sworn into office - here and here. In the latter AWOL post we wrote the following:

The Las Vegas Review Journal seems to be tired about the "Heller did not return calls" line and seems to be trying to shame him into answering by singling out his spokesman:

Heller has been singled out as a target by Americans United, which aired television ads slamming his war stance in Reno earlier this year. His spokesman, Stewart Bybee, did not return phone calls or e-mail Thursday.

What good is it to employ a spokesman (who's paid by the taxpayer) who is not speaking to the media?

One day later Jane Ann Morrison of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote a nice little opinion piece about Nevada's Republican delegation in Congress and their stance on a pardon for Scooter Libby. But when you read the whole piece you get a feeling that this was a set-up by Ms. Morrison to deliver a much needed spanking to Rep. Heller. After laying out how Sen. Ensign and Rep. Porter responded, she turns on Dean "Helluva" Heller:

But that was better than the silent treatment from Heller's office. My e-mail Monday morning to press aide Stewart Bybee explaining my questions was ignored. So were four calls to Bybee's voice mail and cell phone. An e-mail to Heller's chief of staff, Mac Abrams, also was not worthy of a reply.

Was this personal? After a few enquiries, I learned Heller's office just doesn't get back to the Review-Journal often. That seems foolish because Heller said in May that he will run for governor in the future. And part of his district is in Clark County.

Perhaps ignoring Southern Nevada voters is Heller's preference. Perhaps Heller doesn't know how often Bybee ignores news media questions. Perhaps Bybee is really busy. There are 16 press releases on Heller's Web site this year. That would take time.

But Congressman Heller, Nevadans would still like to know how you feel about pardoning Libby. Unless that's too tough a question.

Ouch! It'll be interesting to see how Heller's attitude towards the media will develop in the future. But one thing is for certain: if you ignore the paper many of your southern constituents in Clark County and beyond (Pahrump for example) read regularly, they may just be inclined to not only let you feel it when you run for governor (good luck with that, btw) but might also be willing to take a closer and more sympathetic look at your challenger in 2008.

One more free piece of advice: ignoring the biggest conservative paper in the state? That's just stupid.

Want a capable representative in Congress? Join the Helluva Heller - Defeating Dean Heller in 2008 group at the Democratic Party's PartyBuilder social networking site!

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