Co-dependency, primary colors and Vegas hair
From the 11-8-1998 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 10-26-2010

"Hurt me, beat me, make me write bad checks."

— Obscure country song by Betty J. Barbano, 1941-2005

Somebody call the Committee to Aid Abused Women. Nevada girls apparently love being on the receiving end.

How else can you explain why some 100,000 Nevada females voted to make Las Vegas Republican Congressman John Ensign into a U.S. senator?

Mr. Ensign veritably flaunts his membership in Promise Keepers, the male supremacy cult founded by former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney.

They hold guys-only, mass-male-bonding rites in football stadiums. I would guess that their team colors are black and blue. The proper poster for such an outfit was developed back in the '60s: a fist sticking out of a zipper captioned "power to the penis."

At least the poster was a put-on. Ensign and Promise Keepers are not.

Some women apparently want to be stomped on, emotionally and otherwise. Some might even agree with that ultimate male chauvinist pig, the ever-cute Sean Connery. The erstwhile James Bond reportedly said that women need to be slapped around every once in awhile.

He was just kidding, he later noted. Who am I to doubt the word of the British Secret Service?

Last Tuesday's vote provided vindication of the Connery standard. If ever an election was decided on co-dependency and cosmetics, this was it.

The stalwarts in the Biggest Little Newsroom in Sparks will attest to my correct prediction in late October that Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones, D, would lose her second bid for governor.

I rushed into the Tribune office having seen the sign in the sky. Well, at least it reached for the sky at the corner of Victorian "B" Street and Rock Blvd., next to a laundromat ironically (see below) once owned by late Reno Mayor Roy Bankofier.

This billboard showed her honor in typical Las Vegas heroic posture, puffy hair and expensive clothes. Instead of red, white and blue, the Jones sign was decked out in red, white and lavendar.


Nobody gets elected governor of this yahoo state using lavendar. High-hair or not, Jan Jones was toast before the poster paste dried.

In contrast, Rep. Ensign used macho colors and combed his 'do in typical Vegas high-style. The LV cut was foreshadowed by Ronald Reagan, pioneered by Elvis and refined by Wayne Newton. It is sacred in Gomorrah South.

I have incontrovertible evidence that women voted for Ensign because of his hair. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who beat Ensign by a whopping 401 votes, gave me the proof. On his main campaign brochure, Reid's hair had been computer-doctored to look high and gray, like St. Paul Laxalt's.

Harry Reid is a natural blonde. He's got graying, thinning, wispy hair, but not on his brochure. He knew that he had to appear high-haired to be competitive like the anointed of casinos, Kenny Guinn.

Apparently, Reid's hair spray lasted just long enough in the heat of battle. His first name may just have provided his razor-thin margin of victory.

BODY OF EVIDENCE. For those who would seek political advantage in the future, your model in macho Nevada is not Minnesota Gov.-elect Jesse "The Mind & Body" Ventura. Copy Lyle Lovett, or maybe Kramer from the Seinfeld show. High hair is the ticket to high office here in the High Desert Outback of the American Dream. Bald guys like Jesse The Upset Stomach need not apply.

While many women say they find British actor Patrick Stewart an absolute turn-on as Star Trek's Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, remember that cue-balls have rarely been elected president. John Quincy Adams won 174 years ago. Dwight Eisenhower had a wisp of fuzz remaining in 1952.

Sens. John Glenn, D-Ohio, and Alan Cranston, D-Calif., learned that lesson the hard way when each ran topless for the top job. Knowing that political viability varies inversely with scalp visibility, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., long ago underwent a painful hair transplant.

Which is why Jan Jones initially scared the bejabbers out of Kenny Guinn. She had the properly-Vegas female version of high hair. It made her competitive early on, until she ran into the buzzsaw of 100,000 Promise Keeper groupies brought to the polls by cutesy John Ensign. They apparently loved Kenny's avuncular car-salesman cut and, like the men they stand by, loathe lily-livered light-loafered lavendar.

Should Jones ever run again, she should either hire Wayne Newton's stylist, or just wear a black and blue baseball cap.

THE CITY HALL GRAVEYARD. Her honor was the fifth Nevada mayor to lose statewide in the past three decades. Starting with the late laundromat owner and Reno Mayor Roy Bankofier, who ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 1970, mayors are batting 0-for-9. While Sparks mayor, Jim Spoo ran for congress in 1988. Former LV Mayor Bill Briare ran for light-guv in 1994. Former Reno Mayor Pete Sferrazza scored a dubious hat trick. He lost twice for congress and once for state controller. Holding local office just creates too many enemies. If anyone can find me someone who went from mayor to statewide winner, please let me know. I've struck out so far.

NO PAIN, NO ROGAINE. Opposing his re-election in 2000, balding U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., will face off with either Mr. Ensign or the equally hirsute Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev. Sen. Dickie, call your pharmacist.

SMOKING THE OPPOSITION. Dan Rusnak of Laborers Union Local 169 called with a shocking observation: pot is apparently more popular than the new governor. The medical marijuana initiative outpolled GOP Gov.-elect Guinn by some 17,000 votes. In contested races, only Secretary of State Dean Heller and State Treasurer-elect Brian Krolicki bested the pot onslaught. Neither had Democratic opposition.

SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW? "Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated." So said the late, great Will Rogers many decades ago.

'Twas ever thus.

Be well. Raise hell.


Copyright © 1998, 2010 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a member of CWA Local 9413. He is a Reno-based syndicated columnist, a 30-year Nevadan, editor of U-News and was campaign manager for Democratic candidate for Governor, State Senator Joe Neal.
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Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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