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The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz

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Well, give them one thing: Warring candidates Brian Krolicki and Barbara Lee Woollen have managed to “push through the clutter” and elevate the visibility of a summer primary race for a do-little office that Nevadans generally ignore -- that of lieutenant governor.

Sensing that illegal immigration is a hot-button concern these days, Ms. Woollen has been campaigning on that issue -- and thumping state Treasurer Krolicki for failing to do anything to cut off state benefits to illegals. (Actually, Mr. Krolicki did try to impose a citizenship requirement on recipients of the state’s Millennium Scholarships, but was stymied in that effort -- both in 2003 and in 2005 -- by the state Legislature and the state attorney general’s office.)

The irony is that the limited duties of Nevada’s lieutenant governor -- ceremonially “presiding” over the state Senate and, um ... remaining alive in the event the governor ceases to do so -- have rarely been noticed to impinge much on immigration policy, which falls more under the federal purview.

Ms. Woollen explains she’d use the traditional allocation of two bill drafts to the lieutenant governor’s office to submit proposals to cut back benefits for illegals. Fine. Though if she were to run for the Legislature, of course, she could actually VOTE on such proposals.

Mr. Krolicki shoots back that Ms. Woollen hasn’t voted in a GOP primary in 12 years, and never voted at all when she lived in California from 1992 to 1998 -- meaning she failed to vote on a California initiative to deny benefits to illegal immigrants: her key issue.

Fine; valid point.

Last week, however -- apparently unhinged by polls which show a big-spending Ms. Woollen closing in a tight race -- Mr. Krolicki upped the ante by airing a TV ad accusing Ms. Woollen, who brags of her conservative, traditional values, of being a pornographer.

“Barbara Lee Woollen talks conservative,” intones the TV ad’s announcer, “but Woollen owns a company that works on pornographic films. ... Woollen earns money from the adult film industry. Barbara Lee Woollen: X-rated values, and too risky to be our next lieutenant governor.”

Goodness. Was that Ms. Woollen slathering on the cocoa butter in Mimi Miyagi’s 2004 classic, “East Eats West”? (Thank goodness we never see anyone like Ms. Miyagi seeking office, hereabouts.)

No, no, no. Ms. Woollen’s company, Cinelease -- with 130 employees in three states -- rents out lights and other filmmaking equipment to filmmakers. Apparently after poring through lists of thousands of titles filmed in part with Cinelease equipment, Mr. Krolicki’s “opposition researchers” decided they could brand three of those films “porn.” One of them, “Red Shoe Diaries,” aired as a series on the Showtime cable network, whereupon one reviewer unexceptionally dubbed it “soft porn with a woman’s touch.”

“She’s involved in the adult film industry,” Krolicki campaign manager McKay Daniels reiterated last week. “She has not demonstrated that the facts in the ad are untrue,” added Mr. Krolicki, presumably turning aside to bite some body part so as not to burst out laughing.

A frowning Ms. Woollen explains her company can’t read and pass judgment on the script of every production that shows up to rent some bulbs and cable. But Cinelease does not “actively or knowingly seek out pornographic projects to rent equipment to,” she insists. “Personally, I’m offended by pornography. I don’t watch pornography,” etc., etc.

Oh, please.

One might have wished for a word in defense of the right of filmmakers to make any darned movie they please, so long as it’s legal and they pay their bills. But the point is that in Mr. Krolicki’s desperation to drum up a campaign issue he may actually have outdone former state Sen. Ray Rawson, who decided his defense against 2004 challenger Bob Beers (a man who married his scoutmaster’s daughter) would stand or fall on the bizarre fact that the local Boy Scout council once honored Sen. Rawson with their Silver Beaver award.

Needless to say, Mr. Rawson is no longer a state senator, though he can presumably console himself that he will always be a Silver Beaver. I could ask whether the Krolicki staff would categorize “The Silver Beaver” as pornography, but this is a family newspaper.

Gov. Kenny Guinn once served as president of Southwest Gas, for heaven’s sake. Did his gas heat the hot water in the studios where “On Golden Blonde” was filmed? Pornographer! And what about Water District chief Pat Mulroy? Did any of those porn queens drink Pat’s tapwater on the set of “Brassiere to Eternity”?

But if you thought our tale was silly up to this point, Ms. Woollen announced Tuesday she has filed a lawsuit against Mr. Krolicki, charging him with defamation. It’s factually inaccurate to describe films including the Playboy DVD “Women: Stories of Passion” as X-rated, she explains, because -- hang on -- they actually carry no MPAA rating, at all.

In fact, Mr. Krolicki’s “porno” ad was merely designed to -- no, really, I’m not making this up -- “distract from the important issues in the campaign,” Ms. Woollen charged.

Hee-haw. And to think how some of this town’s stand-up comics struggle, while with this pair the hilarity flows till there are tears running down our cheeks, and they make it look so effortless!

Should Ms. Woollen ever actually darken a courthouse door with such an action, she and it should be summarily booted, of course. In a practical sense, however, she now offers voters a choice between a desperate goofball and a lady who’s beginning to look a bit self-righteous and humor impaired.

Will all this “look-at-me” nonsense pay off with more voter attention, come Aug. 15? Probably.

But it’s perfectly possible voters will consider the judgment, the gravitas, the sang froid being exhibited by these two increasingly hysterical Bozos, and notice there’s at least one candidate on that GOP primary ballot -- local neurosurgeon Lonnie Hammagren, who has the advantage of having done the job before.

Or should that be, “having not done the non-job before”? To everyone’s satisfaction, Lt. Gov. Hammargren once hired a number of stand-ins so he wouldn’t have to disappoint any of the towns that had invited him to appear in a handful of simultaneous Fourth of July parades, hundreds of miles apart.

Hardly anyone noticed.

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