Ronald Reagan-lovers and conservatives are upset, and maybe a little heartbroken, after an effort to name an obscure Nevada mountain after the 40th president was derailed. That's because Rep. Dina Titus, a Nevada Democrat, submitted a one-page bill in the House to name the mountain after the state's first female lieutenant governor instead.
Titus's bill superceded pro-Reagan efforts and, as The Washington Times put it, "has killed the project with a legislative move." Or, as Real Clear Politics noted, Mount Reagan has "come to an abrupt end thanks to partisan maneuvering." Fox News went with "thwarted," as in conservatives were thwarted when "naming a Nevada peak after former President Ronald Reagan turned out to be too steep a climb." As a country we haven't progressed far enough to have a Reagan landmark in every state, apparently.
Conservative activist Chuck Muth's Mount Reagan Project is associated with the Ronald Reagan Legacy project — an effort to get something named after Reagan in every state. There's a Ronald Reagan hospital in California, a Ronald Reagan building in D.C., and a Ronald Reagan Elementary School in Wisconsin. The name of most popular Republican president of recent memory is everywhere, but not quite from sea to shining sea. For that we can all blame Titus.
In September, the Nevada Board on Geographic Names signed off on Mount Reagan, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. But on October 30, Titus submitted a short bill to name the mountain after Maude Frazier. As in, not a president. As in, not even a member of Congress. According to the Associated Press:
Frazier was a teacher, principal and superintendent of schools in Las Vegas. She was elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1950 and served for 12 years. She also is credited with being the driving force behind the creation of what is now the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Also, and this seems relevant, Frazier was actually from Nevada. That's how Titus' spokeswoman, Caitlin Teare, justified her boss' attack on Mount Reagan. “It is simply an effort to name a Nevada landmark after a notable Nevadan,” she told the Review-Journal. “What could be a better way to celebrate Nevada’s 150th birthday than honoring one of our own?” In the Review-Journal, columnist Steve Sebelius noted that Reagan's main association to Nevada is the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, and "the so-called Screw Nevada bill in 1987." Muth, who has been actively planning this since last August, wasn't convinced. “This was a cheap, petty, partisan political stunt,” he said. He also, as noted by the Washington Times, said:
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Frazier – who you likely have never heard of – isn’t deserving of being honored, especially as the state’s first woman lieutenant governor. But she should get her own mountain or other natural feature; not the one the Nevada Board on Geographic Names already approved for President Reagan!
So what's next? Will the Silver State ever get its Reagan monument? Only time will tell. The Republican led House has no plans to vote on the bill, and Mount Reagan can't go forward as long as the bill is in limbo. Also, it's possible that both Frasier and Reagan wouldn't want the mountain — right now it's Frenchman mountain — named after them. As the Review-Journal notes, it's treeless, bordered by a trash-littered desert and an old garbage dump, and home to illegal dumping, parties and target shooting. Basically, it's gross and not worth all the fuss.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.