Promises for the LJS

Sometimes people ask how I come up with things to write on the blog. My response, and the response of many political writers is, “I read the papers, and what angers me most is what I write about.”

I thought about that when I saw this Lincoln Journal-Star article currently FEATURED on their web page:

LJS story - Schulte 01

 

What’s the story?

Well, Lincoln Public Schools Board member Matt Schulte is not going to send his Kindergartner and 2nd grader to Lincoln Public Schools.

And the REASON for the top-of-the-headline, 689-word story?

When asked during the campaign if he’d send his kids to Lincoln Public Schools, he said yes. But now? He has changed his mind about where he will send his 5 and 7 year olds to school.

That’s the sum of this TOP story, on the LJS.

Now keep in mind, Schulte was asked during the campaign about this. He didn’t run on it. And he didn’t make it the focus of his race.

He and his wife made this most-important decision about THEIR TWO LITTLE KIDS. Not about ANYONE ELSE’S KIDS.

Now it’s not as if — OH I DON’T KNOW — he changed his mind on whether he was going to raise the Gas Tax for all Nebraskans!

Or — OH I DON’T KNOW — he changed his mind about how he was going to vote on abolishing the Death Penalty.

You know, things that AFFECT THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED YOU.

But you know who THIS decision affects?
Schulte, his wife, and his two little kids!
NO ONE ELSE!

(Gee, ya think I’m a little wound up about this?)

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the kind of CRAP that keeps people from running for office.
THIS is the GARBAGE kicked out by the “news” papers that make perfectly reasonable people figure, “why the hell would I want to get involved with that?”

But make no mistake peeps: This was an attack.

Why?

Wellllllll, for starters, Schulte and his wife are a pair of those “outliers” who have chosen to home-school their kids.

I don’t know why they made that decision. I don’t know about the value of that decision. It’s none of my business. And I don’t care.

Oh, but shouldn’t it matter to the voters if he is part of the school system he votes on???
Well, here’s some news: People have to make decisions all the time about where to send their kids. If your vote is going to be based on how a family deals with their personal life, I’d suggest you find some new criteria. Because they are going to make personal decisions — which may change — based upon their family, and not what voters think.

Can there be value of having your kids in the public school system, particularly as a Board Member? Maybe. But there are good reasons for Board members NOT having their kids there. I can think of many.

But beyond that, there is more to the idea that the LJS is trying to convey that Schulte somehow lied to his constituents. Because what sort of animal would change his mind about the best thing for his kids after he told some reporter another thing? My gawd, the deceit is practically Nixonian!!!

Oh, but then there’s this little matter:
In a recent LPS Board vote regarding the budget, there was a proposal to put $10 million into a “cash reserve”.

Schulte maintained that there was no need to put that much into cash reserve — that they could lower that amount in cash reserve and return some money to the tax payers.

Oh, and LIBA and AFP made a big push to collect signatures and encourage people to send emails to the school board about lowering the tax levy and the amount into reserve.

In the end, Schulte was the lone member to vote for the idea of a lower amount.

And then, all of a sudden, the Lincoln Journal-Star puts the focus on just what sort of home-schooling, non-public-education-using, lower cash-reserve-wanting monster Schulte really is.

See, right in the freaking middle of an article about the PROMISE Schulte made to the PEOPLE OF LINCOLN where he would send HIS OWN KIDS…

As the lone vote against the district’s proposed budget, Schulte aligned himself with fiscally conservative groups including the Lincoln Independent Business Association and Americans for Prosperity. Both groups wanted LPS to lower its tax rate in light of an 8.9 percent increase in revenue.

Wait. What does that have to do with where his 5 and 7 year old are educated?
Abso-fricken-lutely nothing.

But there you go readers.

This is your press.
This what they do.
And this crap never stops.

What say you?

***

Hey on this Carl Curtis Open-Comment Friday here are a few more political fragments out there…

***

Aaron Trost, general consultant to the Don Bacon for Congress campaign — featured on The Wheels Down Politics Show just a few weeks back — will be the State Director for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s Presidential campaign in Iowa.

Trost, you may remember, managed U.S. Senator Deb Fischer’s primary campaign win over Jon Bruning and Don Stenberg, and general election win over Bob Kerrey. He also managed Attorny General Doug Peterson’s campaign last year. He hooked up with the Bacon camp this year for the Nebraska 2nd Congressional District race.

Huckabee has made a major focus on Iowa and is currently generally polling in the middle of the pack in that state.

***

And just to keep things snappy, Leavenworth St. received an email late last night about a NEW candidate in the #NE02 GOP race.

He is 25 year-old Dirk Arneson.

Dirk describes himself as “an everyday American with a full-time job living paycheck to paycheck to make a better life for my family.”

He says…

We need to stand United and become the United States of America Again. We Need to stand up and say Washington You are FIRED. We need to come together as working class Americans living in District 2 and end the rich get richer policies in Washington.

You can (maybe) learn more about him by going to Dirk Arneson for Congress on Facebook.

Inside the signature collecting process

IMG_0938 (1)The signature petition process to get reinstatement the Death Penalty on the November 2016 ballot has ended.

It is nearly certain that with 166K signatures boxed, they will meet the approximately 59,000 signature threshold.

Then there was the issue of getting repeal itself put on hold. That takes around 114,000 signatures, with meeting that 10% threshold in 38 of the 93 counties. They not only met that number, AND hit the 15% mark above that — which many see as the point needed to reach to go over the “bad signature” mark — they topped that amount by another 55,000.

When you are involved in this type of endeavor, you see trends. Things are different in the urban areas than rural areas. Different between big and small towns. Different at different events.

So here is some info gleaned from folks involved within the signature petition process.

***

They had great success in Madison, Norfolk, Columbus and Stanton.
The were generally 300-400% over the 10% goal in those areas. You will remember that the deadly 2002 bank robbery took place in Norfolk, and folks in that area have long memories.

They also did well in Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney.
Dodge and Washington counties were also very good.

In general, the signature-getters found that county fairs were very productive. (For instance, this was especially so in the Scottsbluff area.)

Areas outside the two metros of Omaha and Lincoln had more events during that period which brought in signers.

However, in the metros, they didn’t have that advantage during the time period. No Creighton basketball games. No Husker football games. No Septemberfest.

In the end, the organizers decided to concentrate on area where they knew they could capitalize on collecting signatures, and capitalize, they did.

***

So because of that…

Douglas and Lancaster Counties were not overarching in reaching their 10% numbers. Both may ultimately meet the 10%, but it will be seen if they end up with that, after any knock-outs. Sarpy reached as well, and will likely stay at the 10%, but that could be close.

But, meeting 10% in the largest counties is also tougher than some others, when you can’t count on a large turnout at something like a county fair.

Because of that, the collectors didn’t concentrate on Douglas and Lancaster. They went where there were better concentrations for signatures, and events where they could get more signatures.

In the end, to reach the 10% goal, they needed 10% in 38 counties.
They got that in 70 of the 93.

***

And the more anecdotal stuff…

Many give a lot of credit to state Senator Mike Groene. They note that he made it a personal mission to not only collect signatures, but to look at WHERE he was collecting them.

So he and other volunteers (on their own volition — NOT at the direction of Nebraskans for the Death Penalty) went specifically to counties where Senators who voted for repeal lived. They wanted to show that the vote of Senators who voted for the Death Penalty repeal wasn’t necessarily representative of the feelings of their constituents.

State Senators Matt Williams, Mark Kolterman and Laura Ebke, they are looking your way.

Signature seekers found a lot of anecdotal evidence that their constituents are NOT happy with their votes. (The folks in the Crete area, particularly peeved with some of the non-responsiveness.)

***

What will happen next will be fascinating.

Stopping the Death Penalty in big red Nebraska was seen as a major turning point for the anti-Death Penalty movement. Stories were written about it worldwide.

To see it get a 180 slam from the actual people of Nebraska — as opposed to convincing 30 state Senators — would be a crushing defeat to the Anti folks.

So…

Do not count on them going quietly into that Good Night.
Do not count on them taking a defeat lightly.
Do not count on them bringing bean-bags to this political fight.

If they lose the Presidential vote, but win the Death Penalty vote, they would gladly take that trade.

Gird yourself for the ensuing fight accordingly.

Signature effort concludes, Campaign gears up

Sig PetNebraskans for the Death Penalty will be submitting their signature petitions to the Secretary of State at 3pm today, and will hold a press conference along with it.

Leavenworth St. will update here as the news goes up.

**UPDATE at 3pm**

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 3.01.03 PMSignature Petition signers get over 160,000 signatures.

Needed about 114,000 to stop the Death Penalty repeal from going into effect.

***

@NE4DeathPenalty has said that they (likely) have the 57,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot in November 2016, but have been mum about whether or not they will be able to put the new law repealing the Death Penalty on hold. That would take about 114,000 signature.

As we have noted before, the CW is that you need/should have around 15% more signatures than you need, to insure against contested sigs, etc. The computers tell us that number puts the “desired” tally around 131,000. OWH reporters are Tweetering that @NE4DeathPenalty peeps are getting an additional 1,000 signatures TODAY, to bolster their position.

Considering those numbers, efforts, and press conferences, it would seem likely that they will be over the 114,000 mark. The question is just “by how much?”

There has been some info that says they are up to at least 150,000 and that they have validated, on their own, more than 120,000 — seeing validation amounts around 75%.

We won’t be surprised to see them hit that number, or even better.

***

All of this says they have put out the very difficult, and expensive, effort to get where they need to be on this.

And of course this is only Step 1.

Paul Hammel of the OWH was Tweeting that the five to six weeks it will take to verify signatures could mean LEGAL questions could pop-up about the Death Penalty in the mean time.

Back in the Law School days, the prof would point out that the issue of Ripeness arises first. In other words, if there ain’t a REAL issue before then, no one will pay attention to an imagined question. The Governor and AG would have to a) Get the drugs required and then b) Press forward to put someone to death before the signatures are counted.

Which won’t happen.

***

But the Death Penalty questions will get more heated as the campaign rolls along. The OWH recently gave two opposing views in their Opinion Section a whirl. The first, J. Kirk Brown — he of the recent dustup regarding the Heineman admin pursuing the Death Penalty — gave the Pro stance. Retired Judge Ron Reaganinterviewed on The Wheels Down Politics Show a few weeks back — gave the Anti stance.

Interestingly, Brown gave essentially the same opinion as Jonah Goldberg gave when I spoke to him on The Wheels Down Politics Show. That is, the questions of cost, and deterrence, and sentencing advantages and fairness, are all side questions to the main one regarding the Death Sentence: Do some people deserve the ultimate penalty for certain crimes?

Brown endeavors to answer that question.

Judge Reagan, on the other hand posits that the main reason for sentences are to deter crimes. Reagan literally chuckled on my show at the idea that the Death Sentence is a mere “punishment”. But as Brown, Goldberg and others have pointed out, if deterrence is REALLY your goal, you can come up with much better deterrents than jail or even death. Heck, go to the middle east where theft can cause you to lose your hands. Or maybe Malaysia where littering can get you a caning. Those are probably pretty effective.

Now you can certainly disagree that death is an appropriate punishment for certain crimes. (And there is also a decent argument that there should even be a higher standard than “beyond reasonable doubt”.)

But the punishment question is really the ultimate question in the Death Penalty debate, that must be answered before all others. All the rest are side questions.

Announcements & Endorsements

Mike & Heather Hilgers and their daugthers, Alice (4) and Elsie (1).
Mike & Heather Hilgers and their daughters, Alice (4) and Elsie (1).

Mike Hilgers, who came in third in the Attorney General GOP primary in 2014, and lost a squeaker in the Nebraska Legislature in 2012, has announced that he will run again for the Unicameral in Northwest Lincoln’s LD 21.

Hilgers lost to incumbent Democrat Ken Haar in 2012 by 85 votes, in what was then the most expensive legislative race in Nebraska history. He then drew 23% of the vote to Doug Peterson’s 35% and Brian Buescher’s 25% in the AG GOP nomination race in 2014. (Peterson went on to roll in the General.)

In his campaign announcement, Hilgers said,

“Our campaign will focus on reforming government to reduce spending and lower taxes, ensuring a quality education for every child, ensuring that the young people we educate stay in Nebraska, and building the environment for innovators and entrepreneurs to grow our economy.”

Hilgers is the co-founder of the Gober Hilgers law firm, which has offices in Lincoln, Omaha, Dallas and Austin and specializes in complex intellectual property fights.

***

General Don Bacon, candidate for the GOP nomination for the 2nd District Congressional seat, announced today the endorsement from Douglas Kindig, Mayor of La Vista. (Did you know…La Vista is the 12th largest city in Nebraska, just behind Papillion and Columbus and ahead of Scottsbluff and South Sioux City….)

Bacon has also been endorsed by Mayor of aforementioned Papillion, the former Mayor of Gretna and former Governor Kay Orr, among others.

Bacon has locked down a number of these officials early, and that has to be part of keeping the current GOP primary field very, very slim.

Of course another name could always come through, and still gather a slew of endorsements. But the calendar pages keep turning in favor of the Bacon campaign for the nomination.

***

The National Journal today has a story about U.S. Governors “sitting out” the Presidential primary season thus far, as far as endorsements go.

Nebraska political consultant, and featured guest on The Wheels Down Politics Show, Jordan McGrain is quoted regarding Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts sitting on his hands thus far — despite the heavy involvement by his family in the Scott Walker campaign:

“I would be shocked if it were anybody other than Governor Walker” who gets Ricketts’s support, said Jordan McGrain, a former executive director of the Nebraska GOP who worked for Ricketts’s opponent in the 2014 primary. “Internally here we all pretty much assume it’s going to be Scott Walker, but I would guess they’re withholding it for strategic purposes and trying to get a little bit closer to when people actually go vote in Iowa.”

NJ notes that Governor Rickett’s father is the top donor to the Walker campaign and his brother Todd is Walker’s national finance chair.

And unnamed GOP source tells NJ that Ricketts has said that he’s a “Walker guy” and, “at some point I think (Ricketts will) lead a lot of Nebraskans to Walker.”

***

Nebraska’s 3rd District Congressman Adrian Smith announced today that he will vote against the Iran Nuclear deal.

Smith said,

“Nebraskans continue to express their deep concerns to me about the deal the Obama administration has negotiated with Iran. I am opposed to the Iran deal and have cosponsored the congressional resolution of disapproval. Lifting sanctions would allow monetary resources to flow into Iran and empower its leaders to do more harm to the United States and our allies. We should be mindful of our closest ally in the region, Israel, whose leaders continue to gravely warn us of the dangers of trusting the Iranian regime.

“When our national security is on the line, reaching no deal is better than advancing a bad deal. President Obama has stated our options are either accepting this deal or going to war, but this rhetoric is irresponsible. Congress needs to reject this deal and allow U.S. negotiators to go back to the table. We must pursue a stronger agreement which enforces greater accountability measures on Iran and prioritizes the safety of our country and our allies.”

***

Hey, in the Wheels Down Politics network today, you can hear my interview with Rep. David Young of Southwest Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District — which runs from Des Moines to Council Bluffs. I talk to him about his plans for voting on the Iran Nuclear deal, some of the issues in the upcoming Congressional session and walking around his state with so many Presidential candidates.

You can hear his interview, and all of the podcasts for The Wheels Down Politics Show at WheelsDownPolitics.com.

…If Monday’s black…

On this busy day, we start with a Separated at Birth sent in by a loyal reader:

State Senator, Dr. Bob Hilkemann (LD4 – Omaha) and eHarmony’s Neil Clark Warren!

Hilkemann - Warren - SAB 02

***

And otherwise, we will open up the comments section!

The Stock Market — buy low, right?
Trump — Flat Tax? Or is that “The Rich” pay more? Hmm.
Walker — Whither Anchor Babies?
The Iowa State Corn Kernel Poll results — Trump, Carson, Fiorina. Still better than an online poll?
Libraries — More visitors: OPL or Virtual?

***

This week’s market?
Tuesday, Wednesday heart attack
Thursday never looking back
It’s Friday I’m in love.

Maxwell announces announcement

Chip-Maxwell-02 (1)Chip Maxwell will formally announce his candidacy for the GOP nomination to Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional seat on Thursday, September 10th at 10AM at the Omaha Press Club.

He will follow up that evening with an “announcement event” at the UNO Thompson Center.

***

You will remember that Maxwell changed his party registration to “Independent” back in 2013 to prep for a bid against Lee Terry in 2014. In the end, he decided not to run — though he held back on “endorsing” Terry — and had announced that he would run for the GOP nomination in 2016.

Since then, Maxwell has been speaking to Republican groups, but did have a dust-up with the Sarpy County GOP’s Jerry Anderson, who said

“I don’t consider him to ‘really’ to be a Republican. He changed (his party affiliation) then so that he could run as a Nonpartisan or Independent. He is another Brad Ashford that was a Registered Republican, Independent and now a Democrat.”

The question now is, will Maxwell run what some would call a “serious” campaign? Will he be raising big money, have a serious staff and make it a real race between him and Don Bacon?

While Bacon hasn’t produced stunning financial reports, he has made it clear that he will be a very competitve candidate against anyone in the GOP primary, and against Brad Ashford. He has secured major endorsements, has an experienced campaign manager and has thus far run a pretty flawless roll-out and campaign.

Will Maxwell do the same?
Or will it be shoe-string?

***

On this Carl Curtis open comment Friday, you can hear a short clip from an interview on the Adam Carolla Show podcast this week. Adam was interviewing John and Morgan Langley from the show COPS, and they discussed the shooting death of sound engineer Bryce Dion at the Dodge Street Wendy’s in Omaha last year.

I wasn’t sure if that full story had ever been printed, so I asked permission from Carolla’s peeps to put up the segment.

You can hear it here:

You can hear the entire episode which includes the interview with the Langleys by clicking here.

***

A long time reader wanted to note this one:

Ivanka and Chelsea

Ivanka and Chelsea are buds.

***

And this one via The Facebook is clever:

Dad And His 8-Year-Old Son Are Creating A Pun-Fueled Food Map Of Every US State

And…I’m just going to spoil it for you.

Nebraskabab

***

And don’t forget to pick up the rest of those schools supplies from Amazon, by clicking on the Leavenworth St. Amazon banners! Great deals for you, and you’ll send a little anonymous love to Leavenworth St!

I’ll send an SoS to the world…

Nebraska's most famous Secretary of State (...aw crap...)
Nebraska’s most famous Secretary of State (…aw crap…)

The Death Penalty reinstatement petition has a week to go and Twitterers are noting that they are getting robocalls to sign.

While that may indicate that they still want signatures, there are different levels for that.

The word right now is that they definitely have enough signatures to get the issue on the 2016 General Election ballot (around 58,000). But they would like to stop the law from going into effect — the 10% level, or around 115,000 sigs.

The CW is that you need around 15% more than the actual number to feel safe about your totals, since many are thrown out or challenged for various reasons. So while 115K is the actual number, what they are really shooting for is closer to 133,000.

It could be tight. If you want to have this issue on the ballot — while holding up the law in the mean time — you should contact one of the offices and put pen to paper.

The guess here is that they do get the totals they need.

***

In yesterday’s podcast on The Wheels Down Politics Show, Jordan McGrain and I discussed some of the excitement around the down-ballot races in Nebraska.

That’s right, excitement.

Why?

Well, it is assumed that Secretary of State John Gale will be hanging it up next year in 2018. And what a great, non-term limited gig it is.

[Yup, got a little ahead of myself. The SoS is not up ’til 2018. Well, everyone can have longer to think about it. Same rest still applies…]

Unlike the 2nd District Congressional gig that involves lots of commuting and fundraising every two years, the SoS job can be a bit more family-friendly.

So who is interested?

Well here are a few names that have been floated to Leavenworth St., in alphabetical order (FLOATED, mind you. No confirmation from any of these folks.):

Attorney Bob Evnen
State Senator Tyson Larson
State Senator Bob Krist
State Senator John Murante
State Senator Ken Schilz
State Senator Jim Smith

How’s that for a list for ya! (We will add to or remove from, as necessary — particularly if any of those do NOT want to be listed.)
CNN will need to take a poll to whittle down the Reagan Library debate field when the time comes!

Of course, as I asked McGrain, how you separate as the TOP person for SoS in that field? And then IF you do, how do you let the voters know?

That’s some serious techno-GOTVing going on there.

Leavenworth St. will provide you with the scintillating details of this race as the candidates announce, and as it progresses…for 3 more years.

(It is very possible a Wipe-Out style obstacle course will be developed for the primary…)

***

Hey did you catch pundit Ann Coulter the other day? She was harshing on Carly Fiorina because Carly said something anti-Trump…

Coulter then said this:

I have turned against her (Carly Fiorina) as of yesterday with the hot, hot hate of a 1000 suns.

First, I admit I was suspicious, because I hate this, “ohh a woman can talk, isn’t that great.” Why not Sid Tillsdale, he ran for Senate in Nebraska, he is a wealthy banker, he’s worth a few billion dollars.

He ran for senate and lost; she ran for governor and lost.

Well, it is fairly apparent that she was referring to Pinnacle Bank President Sid DINSDALE — oh, and Fiorina ran for Senate in California, not Governor (she may be thinking of Meg Whitman).

Not sure who Ann was kvetching with prior to the show to name-drop Dinsdale, but I disagree with her in general.

There are plenty of female candidates out there at all levels. Bachman, Palin and Clinton are a few that come to mind immediately. I don’t think any can hold a candle to how Fiorina can deliver a response on many issues. That ain’t just “talking”, otherwise any Miss America contestant would be running for President.

And when we compliment a man for a good response, do we EVER say, “ooh he can talk, isn’t that great!” No, it’s one of many ways we judge them. Mike Huckabee is a perfect case in point where he’s a great speaker, but people are judging him on many other aspects.

They will do the same with Fiorina.
Whether Ann Coulter likes it or not.

The Wheels Down Politics Show — Jordan McGrain – Back to School!

(Click above to play in the browser or Direct download by clicking here, or by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.)

Senator Marco Rubio & Jordan McGrain in Council Bluffs, July 2015.
Senator Marco Rubio & Jordan McGrain in Council Bluffs, July 2015.

Jerry Kratochvil interviews political consultant Jordan McGrain in a very special Back to School episode.

Jerry and Jordan first discuss Governor Pete Ricketts’ appointment of Nicole Fox to the District 7 Legislative seat in the Nebraska Legislature. They talk about her background in politics, and her chances for victory when she runs in 2016.

They then talk about the 2nd District Congressional seat, and the current two-man GOP race in what many thought would be a crowded field. They discuss who could yet get into the race, and what the deadlines may be for an unknown or non-self-funding candidate to get in the race.

Jordan then talks a little about a group he is connected to — PublicSchoolOptions.org, and their work in changing laws regarding alternative schools for kids around the country. They also delve into the discussion of whether Charter Schools would be effective in Nebraska, and some differences he may have with Millard Public School Board member, Mike Kennedy.

Finally Jordan takes part in the first Wheels Down Politics game: Back to School with Nebraska Politics. Can Jordan score a passing grade? Or will he have to go…Back to School!

Twitter: @JordanMcGrain
On the web: PublicSchoolOptions.org
Twitter: @PubSchoolOps

***

You can find this, and all of our podcasts at WheelsDownPolitics.com and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.

NRCC on TV vs Ashford & a new State Senator

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) will go on TV with ads hitting three Democrat Congressman.

One of them is Nebraska Democrat Rep. Brad Ashford.

See it here:

And here is the ad text:

Ashford: “This is a very serious threat to our country, and to the world.”

Commentator: “Ashford says, ‘We cannot ignore the threat from ISIS terrorists.'”

Narrator: “The truth? Brad Ashford voted to cut funding for troops fighting the war on terror. And to end airstrikes against ISIS. Ashford even voted to allow suspected terrorists to be released from Guantanamo Bay, sending them back into battle. Brad Ashford’s record? Dangerous.”

Early and often will clearly be the drumbeat from the NRCC in #NE02.

According to Roll Call:

The NRCC will spend a combined six-figure sum on a month’s worth of ads hitting Democratic Reps. Scott Peters, Brad Ashford and Rick Nolan on national security issues, according to the source. The early buy is a sign Republicans will still play offense against vulnerable House Democrats in 2016, even as the GOP defends a number of seats Democrats often carry in presidential cycles.

They also note:

Ashford represents a district GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried by a 7-point margin in 2012, making him one of the most vulnerable House Democrats this cycle. His race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.

It was no surprise that the NRCC has been targeting Ashford, but it is a little surprising that they are going after him 15 months out. They do always like Omaha’s cheap media market, and likely figure they can get some bang for their buck.

As far as the message?

Anyone watching Ashford’s first term can see that it has all been about trying to please everyone — without offending anyone.

Boy he sure hates that Iran deal, but….on the other hand…he is still willing to listen!
He’d sure like that Keystone pipeline to go through, but…on the other hand…let’s not rush the President and his 7 year timetable.
Gee Planned Parenthood is a good organization, but…on the other hand…if OTHER members of Congress want to “investigate” how they spend their abortion money, who am I to stop them!

And here, while “criticizing” some of the worst people on the planet, he isn’t willing to stick his neck out and call for steps to actually stop them.

Themes catch on for a reason.

2nd District voters will probably give Ashford leeway to run down the middle on a lot of issues. But they also won’t tolerate a squish. If Ashford isn’t willing to stand up and show his convictions with votes, they will look elsewhere.

Oh, and this is only the first hit Ashford will be taking in this loooong season.

***

Nicole Fox 01Governor Pete Ricketts has chosen Nicole Fox to replace Democrat State Senator Jeremy Nordquist for South Omaha’s District 7 in the Legislature. Nordquist quit the job voters elected him for to go work for Brad Ashford.

Fox’s forte is healthcare policy and teaches at Nebraska Medicine. She said she has advocated for health care policies in the past.

She has never held office before, but is an active Republican.

She has been active in the Douglas Co. GOP as the District 7 rep and in the Nebraska Young Republicans and has volunteered in campaigns.

Nicole Fox 02From the Gov’s office:

Fox, 40, works as a Nutrition Therapist Specialist at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha where she provides medical nutrition therapy to patients undergoing a variety of cancer treatments. She is also an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) lecturing for several programs including Medical Nutrition Education, College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, and the Physician Assistant Program.

Fox is a Registered Dietitian and a Licensed Medical Nutrition Therapist. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Oncology Nutrition Dietetics Practice Group, Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Omaha District Dietetic Association.

Fox has delivered numerous lectures for organizations and has been published by a variety of outlets.

***

Millard School Board member Mike Kennedy was in the news today leading the spokespeeps regarding Millard Schools dumping the “class ranking” system in favor of a “Latin” “Summa Cum Laude”, “Cum Laude”, etc, system.

(Unfortunately, since Millard doesn’t teach Latin anymore, students will have to take to Rosetta Stone to find out what those words mean…)

Apparently this is a trend nationally among high schools, and kudos for Kennedy and his colleagues on the Millard board for getting ahead of the curve on this. Not quite sure how students trying to “game” the system to get a high class rank will differ from students trying to game the system of Latin ranks, but people in the college ranks apparently think its different.

If you didn’t get a chance to listen, Kennedy gave his thoughts on other changes Millard has made and his criticisms of some of the plans others have regarding Charter Schools, Magnet Schools and vouchers in the system, on The Wheels Down Politics Show.

You can listen to the podcast here — and find all of the podcasts at Wheels Down Politics.

Ashford’s House of Waffles

Brad Ashford 107When it comes to the Iran Nuclear Deal, Democrat Congressman Brad Ashford tells the LJS’s Don Walton that he “won’t vote for this if I had to vote today.

But if he had to vote the EXACT SAME DEAL…tomorrow?
Whoa there Nelly! That’s a WHOLE ‘nother deal!

Why?

Well…

“I won’t vote without further assurances. I’m always open, but I am in the ‘no’ category now.”

Wait, what?

So if the wording is the EXACT SAME, but if President Obama calls him and gives him “further assurances”, then new ball game?

What the hell?

Secretary of State John Kerry has yelled at those looking for a “better deal” that there IS no better deal! This is as good as it gets.

And Ashford (presumably) has read the exact same proposed agreement that Deb Fischer, Ben Sasse, Adrian Smith and Jeff Fortenberry have read.

Yet, he’s hoping there’s some reading between the lines that he doesn’t know about? Some penumbra to take solace with?

Maybe something written on the back in invisible ink? (Get your lemon juice and a hair dryer!)

So what else is Ashford waiting for?

“Assad has to go (in Syria), Iran needs to agree to release its hostages, Iran needs to state that its policy to destroy Israel no longer exists.”

Oh is THAT all.
Well then. His fence straddling isn’t unreasonable at all…

***

And then let’s jump over to the Planned Parenthood scandal.

Once again, the four other members of Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation say that Congress should defund Planned Parenthood, so that taxpayer money doesn’t support the organ harvesting scheme they are running, among other things.

But Ashford?

Speaking to the Nebraska Radio Network, he says…

“I have no problem with an investigation at all, if that is what the Congress desires.”

So, once again, what is Ashford’s position?

He has “no problem” with Congress demanding an investigation?
If that’s what “Congress” desires?

Didn’t the voters of Nebraska’s 2nd District elect Ashford to make decisions?
To vote?
To, at the minimum, express an opinion?

They did not elect him to “go along” with however anyone else votes.

Is this what it’s going to be for the next 15 months?
“Well, on the one hand I might do this, but on the other, that’s a good idea, but hey who knows! I’m an open book!”

***

And while we’re at it, there is word that the President may be making a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Ashford has said he is in favor of the pipe, but the President seems to be leaning against what the majority of Nebraskans prefer and instead will take the radical environmentalist stance.

Will Ashford be taking the lead on that?
Will he call the President?
When the Prez lobbies him on Iran, will he bring up this aspect of energy independence?

Or is this another one of those either/or scenarios?

***

On another subject…

There’s one of those internet theories going around (I’m not saying from whom) that says…

“Vote for Trump! He will prosecute Lois Lerner and the IRS! He will prosecute Obama! He’ll prosecute his good buddy Hillary! No one else will! He’s a wild card! He’ll probably go after them just for fun! Who KNOWS what he’ll do???!”

Right. And also for fun he might give us Scotland’s health care system.
Or maybe Canada’s.
Maybe he’ll start a trade war with China and Japan.

What else?
Who knows!

But there are those out there who seem to think going with the mysterious grab-bag is just what America needs.

I’ve seen the, “We’ll need to accept this to find out what’s in it,” plan.
I’m not interested in that again.