When it was announced that Republican Ira Hansen would become Nevada’s Assembly speaker earlier this month, the news came as a surprise. At least that’s how the Reno Gazette-Journal described it. That’s because Hansen’s ascension represented something of a coup over the party’s more-moderate current leader Pat Hickey.
Now, it turns out, Hansen will bring along with him a long history of controversial writings that date from his time as a columnist, from 1994 to 2010 according to his state legislative biography.
Dennis Myers of the Reno News & Review rounds up a slew of controversial quotes on a range of subjects from Hansen’s columns in the local Sparks Daily Tribune. Online archives are unavailable before 2007, so Myers’s round-up is based on a review of offline archives, he writes.
The Tribune did not go online until relatively recently, so access to and knowledge of most of the Hansen columns has not been easy. We reviewed every column on microfilm for this piece, covering a period of 13 years, plus a few that did make it onto the Trib website. In these columns, his viewpoint evolved very little. In fact, some columns ran unchanged time and again as the years passed.
Hansen weighs in on everything from abortion to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., whom he once called “a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud.” Here’s a look at some of the things Hansen has written, both in columns unearthed by the Reno News & Review and more-recent writings reviewed by The Post, which reached out to Hansen for comment on Thursday afternoon but did not receive a response in time for posting.
Martin Luther King and the ‘cult of negro worship’
In a January 2009 column available in online archives, Hansen lamented what he described as the myth-making “cult of negro worship” surrounding King.
People who dare to look at the reality behind the mythical aura and challenge the cult’s status quo surrounding King are greeted with all the enthusiasm Darwin would receive at a Pat Robertson revival meeting. If his halo is so pure that he alone of all Americans has earned the sole claim to sainthood via his own holiday, why the lockup of the facts?
A year later, in a column on Democratic hypocrisy on race, he criticized MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Sen. Harry Reid for living “in lily-white wealthy worlds of gated communities and private schools and token Negroes who they take pictures with.” He went on to criticize Democrats for using race as a political tool:
Racism and its supposed evil is not the issue. Power and the accumulation of power is what it is all about, and pounding your opponents over the head with the racist club is simply a tool, a means to an end. Negroes since Reconstruction times have been pawns in the game.
According to the Reno News & Review, he once compared the relationship between blacks—whom he calls “Negroes”—and Democrats to slavery.
The relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies. For American blacks, being denied choice and forced to attend the failing and inferior government school system is a form of involuntary servitude. Let’s call it what it truly is—educational slavery.
The ‘absurdity’ that women are a minority
Hansen takes issue with “the liberal’s favorite theme of the supposed ‘glass ceiling,'” in a September 2008 column.
In liberal theology, women are officially a “minority,” an absurdity they never address since the facts are that women outnumber men in both real numbers and in voter registration.
In his writings, Hansen criticizes the “women’s liberation movement” using quotes around the phrase. According to the Reno News & Review, he once wrote that “Thanks to the ’sexual revolution’ and the ’women’s liberation movement,’ women chose to act as foolishly as men, and illegitimacy also went through the roof. … Abortions get about one out of every four children conceived.”
In that September 2008 column, Hansen also said traditional values protected women:
“If you want my daughter, buster, you put a ring on her finger first.” Men watched out for their family, and if the cart got before the horse, “shotgun weddings” forced the male to accept responsibility for his offspring.
A perfect world? Hardly. But the idea that traditional moral rules are based on an antipleasure, guilt trip mentality ignores the reality. Just as with adultery, there are major ramifications to any form of sexual behavior. To protect the innocent victims, especially children and women, rules were established, as ancient and as timetested as the Ten Commandments.
Gay people and molestation allegations
Hansen has repeatedly portrayed homosexuality as deviant by its very nature as well. In his report, Myers turned up repeated—and unsupported—suggestions that gays are overrepresented among pedophiles:
His preoccupation with the notion turned into a sort of hobby. “Yet another child molester has been discovered locally, accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy,” he once wrote. “I’ve been keeping a rough tally on homosexual/heterosexual molesters as reported locally, and roughly half of all molestations involve homosexual men preying on boys.” Hansen gave no details, nor did he publish his list, nor did he explain how he knew the sexuality of the alleged molesters.
Hansen is scheduled to formally take the reins of his party in the state in February.