Chuck Muth: RINO in the Midst

In the Republican primary for state senate last year, then-Assemblyman Joe Hardy, R-Clark County, falsely advertised himself as a conservative in order to get elected.

For example, he said in campaign literature that he "voted against tax increases" and "believes in low taxation" without disclosing that during his short tenure in the Legislature he managed to be the only Assembly Republican to vote for the largest and third largest tax hikes in Nevada history.

As an assemblyman, Hardy also supported a bevy of nanny-state, big government programs and regulations, including one law governing the operation of bicycles and another changing the term "manicurist" to "nail technologist," as well as forcing manicurists - er, nail technologists - to be licensed, taxed and regulated by the government.

And let us not forget that when it came time to co-sponsor critical legislation designating September as "National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month," Assemblyman Hardy was right there.

I remind you of all this because Assemblyman Hardy is now Sen. Hardy, and Sen. Hardy is up to his old "progressive" tricks again this session.

For example ...

While teens are free to trot down to the local abortion clinic without parental permission, Sen. Hardy voted with the Democrats for a bill that would require them to get a note from mommy before patronizing a tanning salon.

He also introduced a bill this session that would tax and regulate grant writers who help raise money for charities such as the American Lung Association and Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Oh, and he also voted to license, tax and regulate "music therapists."

In addition, only one Republican senator voted for a Democrat bill to ban Cheetos, Twinkies and other snacks from public schools: Joe Hardy. He also was the only Republican senator to vote for a ridiculous nanny-state bill requiring auto repair shops to check your tire pressure under penalty of law.

If these are the acts and votes of a conservative, I'm a rocket surgeon.

Which is why Sen. Hardy may have introduced a rather strange bill this session. I call it the "Lisa Murkowski Act." In short, the bill would allow a candidate who loses a party primary - let's just say, for argument's sake, a liberal Republican - to then file and run on the general election ballot as an independent write-in candidate.

Fortunately, when the bill came up for a vote in the Senate, it went down in flames. In fact, Joe Hardy was the only senator to vote for it.

Conservatives have a derisive term for Republicans who talk like conservatives but vote like liberals: RINO. It stands for "Republican in Name Only." And looking at Sen. Hardy's rhetoric and comparing it to his record, I'd say Nevada has a new RINO King.

When's the uprising begin?

• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach. He may be reached at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment