Jon Ralston:

Sandoval meets with Romney to talk about his role

Sun, Jun 24, 2012 (2 a.m.)

So Gov. Brian Sandoval has finally agreed to be an enthusiastic, no-hold-barred supporter of Mitt Romney, and the two had a meeting last week in Carson City to discuss his role:

Brian Sandoval: “Welcome to our beautiful state capital, governor. I’m honored to have you here.”

Mitt Romney: “The trees aren’t quite the right height – you don’t have many trees here in Nevada, do you? – but I am still happy to be in your state. I am sorry to hear about your high unemployment rate, though. Still almost 12 percent.”

BS: “It’s true. But things are getting better, governor. I sense the gaming industry is coming back, our redevelopment efforts are paying off, things are starting to happen. We are coming out of it.”

MR: “Excuse me, I didn’t hear you, governor.”

BS: “I said I am brimming with optimism, governor. The old Nevada is returning. We are on the mend.”

MR: “I’m sorry, governor. Maybe it’s my ears, but didn’t you say the state would be doing much better if it weren’t for the president’s policies and that small businesses have been devastated by the prospect of Obamacare?”

BS: “I’m not sure how we could be doing much better in the last 18 months, governor. And confidence in the business community grows every day, especially because I have put the kibosh on talk of new taxes. Things are very sunny.”

MR: (turning stern): “Governor, I think you are missing my point. All that sunny talk is for the birds – or for people who want us to lose in November. I can’t win Nevada with you out there shining rays of hope and change all over the place. You know who you sound like? I need some gloom and doom, governor.”

BS: “I’m not sure I can pull that off with any credibility, sir.”

MR: “Let me give you an example. If the president comes here, you put out a release asking how he is going to help the Nevada economy, which has been devastated by the foreclosure crisis because of his policies.”

BS: “But that’s not really true, governor. The bottom fell out of the housing market here after decades of escalating prices. What could the president have done to stop that?”

MR: “You don’t have to get specific, governor. Just blame him. Listen, this is just us, but the dirty little secret of this campaign is it is as ridiculous for me to blame him for the terrible economy as it is for him to blame me for the Massachusetts economic problems when I was governor. Of course it’s much more complex than that. But that’s how the game is played.”

BS: “But I have been bragging about our foreclosure mediation program, calling it a model for the country. And I have been talking about just how much better things are and how we are going to create 50,000 jobs. We are well on our way. In fact, the private sector here is doing fine.”

MR (shocked and exasperated): “What?? Are you kidding me? You can’t say that. You are popular and young and – if you’ll excuse me, governor – Hispanic. I need you to win this state. But I also need you to start getting on board with the pessimism. No Gov. Sunny stuff on this campaign.”

BS: “But my policies are working.”

MR: “No, they are not.”

BS: “Yes, they are.”

MR: “No, they are not, governor. Or at least not yet. Let’s make a deal. They can start working on Nov. 7. Until then, everything you have tried has failed.”

BS: “What? I can’t go that far.”

MR: “Governor, do you want me to win?”

BS: “Of course.”

MR: “Governor, do you want a future in this party?”

BS: “A future?”

MR: “Senator? Ambassador? Cabinet post?”

BS: “Are you promising me something?”

MR: “No, no. Just making a point. You scratch my back this year and your back may need scratching someday.”

BS: “I can try. What if I say, ‘Gosh, darn it, the economy is doing well and the private sector is doing fine. But it could be better.’ That works, right?”

MR (throws arms in air): “Governor, you can’t be serious. Give me something so I have some comfort you can help me on the trail.”

BS: “How about this? I can take on Harry Reid for you? He runs the Democratic attack machine here.”

MR: “I know all about Harry. He has said some pretty nasty things about me and we go to the same church. Maybe you can just attack him?”

BS: “No problem. Listen, I took on his son, which essentially was running against Harry, except without the money and the machine. I will take him on. I am fired up, governor.”

MR: “So you think you could hold your own with Harry Reid?”

BS (smiling that radiant smile): “That’s a clown question, bro.”

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