Mount St. Michele

“Get your facts first,

then you can distort them as you please.”

Mark Twain

You could feel it coming. Like a line of gunpowder that once ignited burns slowly until it reaches the dynamite stick and then BOOM! the fireworks go off.

I’m talking, of course, about Assemblywoman Michele Fiore’s evening outburst, when she told her Legislative colleague Chris Edwards, on the Floor of the Assembly, to Sit your ass down!”

It happened during a line of questioning Edwards was pursuing regarding (AB 408), the bill Fiore sponsored on behalf of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Mt. St. Michele went off — and reverberations from the violent death of decorum on the Lower House Floor could be felt as far away as the Mirage volcano on the Las Vegas Strip.

The repercussions were also felt just across the Capitol courtyard. Governor Brian Sandoval called the controversial conservative firebrand to the proverbial woodshed (his office) last night for his own late-night version of “sit your tuckus down.” Oh, to be a fly on a wall…

(That particular plot is thicker than some may surmise. For those who don’t know, the uncivil Assemblywoman has been quietly [yes, she’s capable of that] sending signals through the Governor’s staff that she would be willing to drop her opposition to any and all taxes in exchange for the passage of her numerous gun bills. Quid. Pro. Quo.)

It’s been rumored for some time that the embattled Assemblywoman has been begging the Governor, just as she begged for his endorsement during her campaign, for some kind of rapprochement that might bring her back into the fold and resurrect her sagging political fortunes in Carson City. Last night’s outburst has put the usually “tough as nails” politician in a very vulnerable position. Michele now seems to be losing credibility even among her closest allies and more conservative colleagues.

No, things have not been going well for Ms. Fiore since being ousted from her position as Assembly Majority Leader and Chairman of Taxation. The fact that she has been losing influence with fellow Republican Assembly members was evident on Monday night when she pleaded on the Floor of the Assembly that “her team” stay united as a bloc in voting with her.

News flash:  When you’re begging your own allies to stay with you, you have a problem.

As if that wasn’t enough, the efforts of her libertarian “Rootin’-tootin’ Rasputin” and so-called mastermind of strategy, Chuck Muth, have again come into question as of late. With the announcement of Senator Harry Reid’s retirement, one of Muth’s long-rumored, not-so-secret financing sources — that is, one Harry Reid, aka The Meddler in Chief — are endangered.

(If you didn’t know, Reid’s political tentacles have long been tied to the financing of Muth’s ongoing efforts to discredit quality Republicans who hold Nevada leadership positions, a tale believed to be true because it’s well known that Muth has sold his opinion — or his silence — on various issues and that he would hack off and hand you his own right arm for the right price. The Reid money story is probably the one political rumor Muth hasn’t yelled from the mountain tops and spread far and wide on his blogs and email blasts.)

Muth’s latest brain child — creating a new paper tiger position for Michele as Chairman of the just-created “Assembly Policy Committee” — has many GOP Assembly members wondering at what point will she stop seeking the prominence and influence she hasn’t earned the old fashioned way—by gaining the respect of her colleagues. This “committee” is a meaningless ploy that will lead to nothing as it dwindles down to a membership of one.

Another Fiore ally, State GOP Chairman Michael McDonald, has also lost what little luster he had with Republicans around the Legislature. It’s been known for years that the former Vegas City Councilman has been a local government representative for the Culinary Union, which has been opposing many of this session’s Republican reforms. But the news that McDonald recently signed on to lobby for one of the Nevada Justice Association’s top trial lawyers so he could oppose tort reforms like construction defect reform legislation that Republicans have long sought has brought a new level of “Wow” to the mix.

Yesterday, I talked about certain lobbyists “selling guns to the Arabs, and dynamite to the Jews.” There is no better example of that than Michael McDonald and Chuck Muth.

Many Republican lawmakers have noted that Fiore has hitched her wagon to the state’s biggest rumor-monger (Muth) and a once-almost-indicted public official (McDonald), both of whom are oh-so-willing to sell their (political) wares to the highest bidder and neither of whom have any present-day political alliances worth a hill of beans.

Whether Michele Fiore will continue going off like Mt. Vesuvius on the Floor of the Assembly, remains to be seen. But one thing, for sure, is true…

If you don’t respect the rules of the game, you tend not to play it too well — and you lose.