Niger Innis, in bed with ExxonMobil and running for Congress in Nevada, is a story to watch

Niger Innis is running for Congress in Nevada on the tea party side of the GOP nomination process; ultimately, he’d face Steven Horsford in a general election (if he gets that far). This is for the Nevada 4th District, a new district created off the 2010 census that’s mostly Clark County. Obama won it, 54-44, in 2012. Innis is another interesting, put-a-Google-News-alert-on-this-guy-because-he’ll-say-some-crazy-shit-during-his-campaign Tea Party candidate, kinda like Steve Stockman (who now appears to be missing). Innis has said gun control is racist and that “slaves had food stamps too; scraps from Massa’s table.”

Basically, how Innis has been supporting himself for the last decade or so is working with a group called CORE — which has dad runs (his dad is also on the board of directors for the NRA). CORE basically takes the approach that environmentalists are bad via the race card — they’re taking jobs away from blacks by arguing in favor of the environment. From 2003 to 2008, CORE was given over $300K from ExxonMobil, mostly for “climate change outreach efforts.”

Mother Jones has the best rundown of Innis’ many remarks over the years, including:

During that time period, Innis teamed up with or founded several groups to push for greater domestic energy production. He frequently characterized environmentalists as elitist or the remnants of “the anarchists, socialists, communist types of the 1960s.”

A representative sample of Innis’ message can be seen in video taken by Right Wing Watch, a website that tracks conservatives, in 2008. Innis had convened a press conference with CORE and Americans for American Energy, a non-profit group financed by an energy lobbyist, to launch a campaign titled “Stop the War on the Poor.” In his remarks, Innis proclaims the fight to allow drilling in places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be “very much like the civil rights revolution in its diversity and in its moral passion.” A representative of Americans for American Energy dinged green activists as “environmental racists.”

Sheldon Adelson is one of his backers, apparently, but the Nevada 4th is about 85 percent Democratically-leaning (but in 2012, Horsford only won just above 50 percent of the vote — and he was running against the son of Jerry Tarkanian, the only UNLV basketball coach to bring the school a title in the past 30 years). In a down year for Obama, the GOP believes they could win in Nevada-4 if they throw money at it (see: Adelson). The other announced GOP candidate for the primary is Cresent Hardy, considered a “no-nonsense conservative.”

Tea Party = modern civil rights movement.

Here’s a tweet from the author of the Mother Jones story that pretty much sums up the circle of hypocrisy in the Niger Innis’ candidacy for Congress:

Hard to be an outsider when a bulk of your salary for the past decade has been paid by a company that’s consistently among the top three companies in the world, no?

Politics should be effective at advancing issues and causes and helping “everyday citizens.” It’s not. The system is broken. So until we find a way to make the system right again, which could be a long way off, I tend to view politics as theater. If you look around at most of my 2014 election posts, they always focus on crazy shit that’s happening, not necessarily actual ideas. I have no faith that ideas will go anywhere — but I do have a deep faith that guys like Niger Innis will generate some cool headlines leading up to his primary (June 10) and then into the general if he gets that chance.

Ted Bauer