Pre-Thanks

by Street Sweeper on November 25, 2014

A very quick post on a couple of topics.

We had noted when Chuck Hagel was up for the job for Secretary of Defense that he probably wasn’t qualified. Much of that was based on the fact that Hagel’s Senate committees were foreign relations related and not defense.

When he got to the Obama administration, he butted heads with Susan Rice over policy that was more centered towards foreign policy than arming troops and killing the enemy.

It’s a wonder that didn’t succeed, huh?

***

I am sure that everyone wants to talk about Ferguson this morning. All I would note is that it is a wonder to me that reporters and Twitterers think they know more, and have better info, than the members of the Grand Jury.

And for those jumping on the stupid Twitter meme that the Ferguson looters are just like the idiotic post-World Series rioters, we would just note that there aren’t usually 12 fires still burning the day after the game.

***

For those of you who say it’s too early to talk #NE02 2016, we say it’s only too early if you haven’t had your coffee.

So two new names:

  • Garth Glissman, Kutak Rock attorney and former Husker QB
  • Dave Lopez, Asst Attorney General

Another name being tossed again is Rex Fisher, but were suspicious of him for the House.

More on these guys later.

***

Readers, please note there are were a massive number of typos here, that will be fixed soon we fixed. We wanted to get a post up ASAP for you to comment, and this is the best that can happen on an iPhone…

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The Impression That I Get

by Street Sweeper on November 20, 2014

First Class Brad 01You only get one shot at a first impression, right?

Well, if that is the case, Nebraska 2nd District Congressman-elect Brad Ashford started out looking unorganized at best and probably flaky at worst at the gathering of Freshman Congresspersons to choose their new House Office Building Congressional offices. In any case, it isn’t as one would have hoped to be portrayed on the first move at the Congressional orientation.

Ashford is already running in circles trying to explain the whole matter. A mini-shock went around the room of the gathered frosh and their staff as Ashford was a no-show at the office picking meeting. (An Arkansas reporter Tweeted, “New members abuzz“.)

Ashford HAD been there earlier when he picked #11 out of 57 for the choice on offices. But after the break to view the potential digs, Ashford, and apparently his staffers, were not present when #11 was called and time ran out.

So the OWH’s JoeMorton tweeted that Ashford said, “Oh I don’t care if I end up on the 5th floor with no elevator access! I’ll get more exercise (har har har).” Well, except that Morton later reported that Ashford’s staffer DID show up, albeit late, and asked to pick, before being told they had been relegated to #57, after missing.

We noted yesterday that the Cannon 5th floor offices are notorious for being tiny, having almost no meeting space, and being a bit disheveled across from storage “cages”.

And then Ashford ended up getting a 1st floor office.

Well, so much for that “extra exercise” Ashford wanted. And we can only imagine what those 1st floor digs are like if they come in behind the 5th floor “Freshman dorm”.

***

Yet, many will declare — and by “many”, we mean “many Ashford supporters” — that none of this means anything. Who caaaaares where your office is? (Well, if Ashford really didn’t care, why did he show up in the picking process in the first place?)

But Ashford keeps talking about all of those 50 buddies he is going to make, and even as a Frosh in the minority, how he is going to move some mountains in the new Congress.

Which is fine. Except a move like that, in front of ALL of your new colleagues, right after Roll Call listed you as a possible one-and-doner, doesn’t exactly instill more confidence from all those new pals of yours.

***

And this just in.

We are told that on their way back to Eppley Airfield, Congressman Lee Terry and Congressman-elect Brad Ashford were on the same flight.

Except that while Terry is flying Coach, the new watchman of the purse-string for the 2nd District…

First Class, baby.

(Wonder if he’ll go with the prime rib or the wasabi encrusted salmon?)

(And our MAIN question: What color is that sweater? Orange? Salmon? Persimmon? Help us out here.)

***

And hey about that Roll Call story

They went ahead and listed those THEY think are possible contenders in a 2016 GOP Primary.
Included were:

  • Former Omaha City Councilman Dan Welch, who lost a bid for mayor of Omaha in 2013.
  • Current Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, the first woman elected to that office.
  • Attorney Bryan Slone, who lost a bid for governor in the Cornhusker State.
  • State Sen. Beau McCoy, who also ran an unsuccessful bid for governor in Nebraska.
  • Omaha City Councilwoman Aimee Melton.
  • Chip Maxwell, a tea party Republican who toyed with an independent bid in 2014, already announced his intention to run.

All of whom we mentioned right after the election as well.
And we noted, just a little wryly, that we were aware that some of those individuals really have no intention of running.

We felt that way about Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert — though we included her anyway as the 500 lb Gorilla who would arguably have right of first refusal. She confirmed very soon after that she does not have any interest in the gig. We get it.

We tossed in Mike Kennedy’s name as well, but he has assured us that he is not into it.

But all those above from Roll Call?
Sure, why not?

A few that we think — and hear — are taking a very hard look at it (beyond those who have already announced):

  • Bryan Slone
  • Shane Osborn (though not for certain)
  • Dan Welch
  • John Murante

Which isn’t to say that the others we listed AREN’T interested, but we hear things off and on, and are sharing with you.

The list will be changing and flexing and receding and who knows what it will look like in 6 or 8 months.
But in a coming election year, when there are no statewide races, this one will likely slurp up most of the political oxygen.

***

President Obama said numerous times that it would be outside of his Constitutional powers to enact Immigration Reform. So we are only slightly surprised that he is going to announce that he is circumnavigating Congress to push something through that is arguably against the will of the people.

But of course, that never stopped him before. Remember all of the Republicans he got to go with him on the unpopular ObamaCare initiative?

No? Oh, yeah, the number was zero.

So what a giant surprise to learn, as we noted on the Twitter the other day, that ObamaCare premiums are going up across the country. Deena Winter at Watchdog put together a nice piece explaining how Nebraska rates are going up (oh, unless you want to more than double your deductible to $5,000).

The NYT put together an interactive map showing just how much, on average, ObamaCare rates will be rising across the country. (Click to engage.)

Obamacare Rates Rising - NYT Map 01

And the USAToday did an investigative piece about how OabamaCare is the cause for many rural hospitals closing, and patients (in the Georgia example they give) having to drive 40 miles to the nearest hospital.

Expect to hear more and more of this in the coming months.
And be on the look-out for more answers to these questions — as opposed to just the questions.

Things will get a little topsy turvy.
And that ain’t a bad thing.

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Bold Desperation

by Street Sweeper on November 14, 2014

Pete Sasse and Ben Ricketts 01Jane Kleeb and Bold Nebraska are desperate these days to justify their political existence.

We chuckled heartily at Nebraska Democrat Chair Vince Powers arguing with Boldy Jane about who was going to take credit for Democrat Brad Ashford’s 2nd District Congressional win.

(There has to be a German word — similar to Schadenfreud — for this, right?)

The suggestion that 2nd District voters had anything on their minds regarding the Keystone XL for the Terry-Ashford vote is beyond silly. And there is that little note from the Democrat savior Brad Ashford: He is in favor of the pipeline!

But the distinction is important for Jane Kleeb’s Bold Nebraska. Her group is not really against the pipeline — it is about growing the Democratic base.

The initiative petition for the minimum wage clearly achieved that goal, at least for this election — arguably tipping the scales to elect Ashford over Terry. But considering all of the money poured into Bold Nebraska, they don’t have any real legislative accomplishments to show for it.

Bold Nebraska isn’t about Nebraska rights. It isn’t about saving the environment. It is about community organizing. And if they don’t have a legislative victory then one would question the entire point of their organization.

(And when we say “one would”, we mean those who fund them.)

The House and Senate are looking, at some point, to vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline. The President would likely veto, but you never know.

In the mean time, Kleeb and Bold Nebraska get credit for holding up the pipeline. But to what end?
No one thinks their efforts are really about “Nebraska property rights” — beyond the basic NIMBY-fication of it all. (And don’t even get us started on the whole Ogallala Aquifer aspect).

And of course, it isn’t REALLY about stopping development of Tar Sands oil in Canada. Those will get developed whether the pipe is built or not.

So the New York Times spelled it out earlier this year that the “Stop the Keystone XL” movement is really about building up their enviro coffers with fundraising dollars and email addresses. That way they can push their agenda to likeminded liberals.

But what happened to that Bold Nebraska freight train on the way to the 2016 election?
Zilch.

Heck, they knew they couldn’t push Dennis Crawford through in the 1st Congressional District, so they endorsed Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, for Gaia’s sake! If that ain’t desperation to claim “victory” we don’t know what is. (“We have also endorsed the sun rising tomorrow morning!“)

And hence the move of Jane sticking her nose into Brad Ashford’s, and the Minimum Wagers’ and Vince Power’s victory celebration.

Vince Powers’ pushback against his fellow Democrat Jane, shows that even the Democrats know better.

***

The OWH and LJS confirmed what Leavenworth St. noted last week — that Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman was never interviewed for the University of Nebraska President gig.

Both papers confirmed that this was old news that they were using up good ink on dead trees to push to the public.

(Ha!)

***

We will give this to 93 County-losing Senate candidate Dave Domina (but, wow, all 93 counties…): His ghost, along with former Democratic Chairman, and now retiring Federal Judge Joe Bataillon, have changed how Nebraska election law will operate for some time to come.

With the decision that initiative petitions don’t have to get a certain number of signatures in every county, Democrats can now concentrate all of their efforts for handing out petitions — as well as absentee voting requests — to a much smaller universe in Omaha and Lincoln (and maybe Saline County).

**UPDATE – we have been informed that Dems in Saline Co. “have suffered a 20% decline in the number of registered voters in just 10 years. ” Their 5% advantage over GOPers is “ the smallest it has been since the Depression Era.”**

It would seem that to satisfy constitutional requirements, you could — and probably should — still break it down by Unicameral district. But that is likely for another avenue of decision, as opposed to such an edict coming from a Judge.

***

We got the note yesterday that Senator-elect Ben Sasse was betting with Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan on the Husker-Badger football game tomorrow. Sasse put up some Holdrege, Nebraska “”Lucky Brand” beef jerky, against Ryan’s smoked gouda.

(Interesting side note, that Sasse is not challenging a fellow-to-be Senator, but instead one of the highest profile House members, and former Vice-Presidential candidate…)

In any case, props to the Senator-elect for taking it a step further and degrading cheese, in general, in comparison to steaks.
(Sasse’s line was, “Husker steak is too good to wager against just cheese.“) An aspect of any good wager is also digging at your competitor, letting him know about the lameness of his lame ante.

Well played Ben.

(And now you have lost the Wisconsin vote on that Presidential bid Watchdog has you down for.)

***

And that photo up above is an example of some of the frightening things we find in our inboxes from time to time…

***

Go Huskers!!!

{ 88 comments }

Honoring Veterans

by Street Sweeper on November 11, 2014

VeteransDay

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Who is to blame in #NE02?

by Street Sweeper on November 7, 2014

First a quick Separated at Birth (suggested by longtime reader Chuck Isom), featuring…

Attorney General-elect Doug Peterson and former Husker Volleyball Coach Terry Petit!

Peterson - Petit - SAB 01

***

This morning we were CC’d on an email that Chip Maxwell sent to the local media in response to some radio discussions.
Here is what Chip sent:

I imagine the conversation has moved on, but in case it comes up again, I’m told there was chatter on KFAB blaming me for Lee Terry’s defeat.

If you want to “blame” somebody other than the candidate, it would be Dan Frei. I don’t blame Dan and no one else should. The seat is not anyone’s birthright. But it was Dan who exposed Lee’s vulnerability. The DCCC ignored that race until watching Lee spend nearly a million bucks in the primary to barely beat a guy with little name recognition and money.

Go back at look at the news account immediately after the primary. I wasn’t part of the story. The DCCC got involved, and then I took out a petition, because anyone taking an honest look at the numbers from 2012 and 2014 could see that Lee was on a fatal downward trajectory. He was losing ground among hardcore Republicans, never mind the general voting population.

I stood down and publicly urged people to join me in voting for Lee. I’m sorry he lost because conservatism lost a little more ground to the left in DC, and because in 2016 I would rather have faced incumbent Lee Terry in the primary election than incumbent Brad Ashford in the general election. Republicans who have secretly wished for this result are fools.

Lee used to crush liberal/progressive Democrats like Ashford (White, Thompson, Kiel, Simon, Scott). He didn’t lose because of me or Dan Frei or anyone else. He lost, even in the midst of a regional and national Republican wave of success, because too many members of the conservative majority in our district, conservative Democrats and Independents as well as Republicans and Independents, quit voting for him.

The seat might have been saved if the people complaining now had taken the opportunity after the primary to convince Lee to go out a winner and throw his support to me for the general election in order to rally the conservative majority in our district. That of course did not happen and the conservative majority did not fully engage this year. It will in 2016.

And here is my response to Chip:

 

Chip,

I don’t agree that you were to “blame” for Lee’s defeat.

But…

Had you and Dan Frei immediately, after the primary, done some sort of “unity” thing — saying you disagreed, but Lee Terry is the conservative candidate, and everyone should vote for him — it would have gone a long way towards shoring up conservative support. It may have meant fewer protest votes for Steve Laird. It may have meant more of those conservatives who voted for Sasse , Ricketts … and Ashford would have instead voted for Terry.

Instead Frei ditched the unity meeting, and you, Chip, set out to run as a third party candidate. That left conservatives who may have been on the fence about Lee to continue to grouse — and find you and Dan Frei as the outlets for their frustrations.

In the mean time, the Democrats saw your third party challenge and immediately realized the seat was theirs for the taking with a split GOP vote. Sure, eventually you backed off, but arguably too late.

And then Frei makes his half-assed “support” statement a week before the election? Please.

If you and Frei really meant that you wanted Lee to win, you would have immediately supported him after the primary, and nipped any dissent in the bud. Instead you let it grow and grow and fertilized it a little. And then when the house was covered in the vines of dissent, a meager effort was made to trim a few leaves with a rusty pair of clipper.

Toooooooooooooooooo late.

Look, if it was your goal to help Lee Terry win the race because he had the best chance to keep a conservative in the seat, you failed miserably. Same with Dan Frei.

But I suspect you got what you really wanted — an open GOP primary for 2016.

(And Eric Cantor’s loss in Virginia likely inspired you and others to figure you could wait it out and really take the incumbent down in 2016.)

Now does this mean you, or Dan Frei, are “to blame” for Terry’s loss? I think that may be a stretch.
Terry’s past close races, his dumb statement(s), the Minimum Wage early voters and a non-full Democrat candidate who couldn’t be easily tied to Obama were big, big factors.

But were you a contributing factor?
Hell yes.

I get what you, and Frei with his last minute ad, are doing.
You are trying to deflect any blame for the Republican losing in 2014, as you enter the 2016 race.

Good luck with that.
I guess we will see how long the elephant’s memory really is.

-Street Sweeper

**UPDATE at 1:55pm**

We offered Chip the opportunity to respond to our response.
And he took us up on it:

There are local insider Republicans who need scapegoats so they don’t have to own the consequences of their internecine fevers, but my petition adventure was irrelevant to the DCCC. The DCCC was gearing up for a major effort based on the primary result. Such high-level strategic decisions are made by people who don’t even know I exist. National Democrats might have been amused by and welcoming of my petition effort, but they weren’t making 6-figure financial commitments to the Ashford campaign based on my doings. That was in motion before word of my petition became public.

The problem here is that I had the nerve to point out how likely it was that Lee would lose the general election. I said to conservatives: Let’s be honest about this and make a bold move now to change the game in our favor. You and your crowd trashed it. That’s OK. That’s the rough-and-tumble of politics and I accept it. But now you want to come back and hang it on me?! Come on! Man up and admit that you and your crowd own this failure.

As for cultivating dissent and unity rallies and that whole line of speculation, the only place where that kind of stuff happens and matters is this blog and other places where political junkies congregate. Most voters aren’t marinating in the insider debate that happens here. They don’t care about Dan Frei or Chip Maxwell or Leavenworth Street or the DCRP or the state GOP. I don’t think most voters track or care about high-profile endorsements by the OWH or the governor or the mayor.

What happened is that the shutdown-check gaffe got more traction than it should have because there was no robust conservative persona and body of work to hold the conservative majority that carried Lee for 16 years. No endorsement or unity rally or other political theater can make up for it. In the absence of a strong conservative candidate, the gaffe sapped the energy of too many voters who used to vote for Lee – and did vote for Sasse and Ricketts – but couldn’t muster the will to vote for Lee again.

I was going to stay completely out of it. Some pro-lifers urged me to speak up, so I did. Lee sought a meeting and asked to use my statement and I said sure. I went out of my way to tell how I lost an election because conservatives stayed home. You say it was too little, too late. The statement was issued in mid-September. I’m not sure anything issued before Labor Day weekend would have mattered. Actually, I’m not sure my input mattered at any stage for the reasons outlined above.

That reminds me, you apparently were not impressed with Dan Frei’s endorsement ad for Lee. I thought the ad was rousing and strong and classy. The only problem with it was that it reminded us of what might have been. Remember that Lee ran ads making Frei look like a satanic minion of Obama and Pelosi. Give Dan some credit for rising above that.

I don’t mind if people have different opinions or think my views are dumb, but I do bristle at being called a liar. I have the advantage in that I know my own mind and heart. Actually, you know it, too, because I have shared the truth. I’ll do it one more time and then leave it alone.

I wanted Lee to win. I don’t like losing ground to the left. As for my self-interest, it isn’t served by Lee losing. I was convinced that I would beat him in the 2016 primary. I have been laying a foundation for that. Now the primary environment will be unpredictable and some allegiances might shift depending on who runs. More importantly, an incumbent Democrat will be waiting in the general election, with all the local and national advantages that come with incumbency.

This is NOT the environment I wanted, but life doesn’t always follow my script.

I hope you and others take my comments in the upbeat spirit in which they are offered. My goal is to clear the air for a brighter future. There is a conservative majority in our district, but we’ll need all hands on deck in 2016.

And we would just say, go back to our original response.

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Leavenworth St. Exclusive: Heineman was denied an interview for Nebraska President job

November 6, 2014

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents, lead by Regent Howard Hawks, announced on Monday their four finalists for the open position for President of the University of Nebraska. That list of four finalists did NOT include outgoing Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, who had applied for the job. Nebraska Regents signed non-disclosure agreements and cannot [...]

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#NE02 GOP 2016 – the BIG list

November 5, 2014

As Congressman Lee Terry graciously bows out after his loss to Brad Ashford, it is time for us to gear up! Taking a cue from Senator-elect Ben Sasse to “Go Big or Go Home”, we have come up with the BIG list of contenders for the 2016 GOP 2nd Congressional District nomination. We have included [...]

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Time for Lee Terry to take a knee

November 5, 2014

**UPDATE at 11:30 am** The OWH is reporting that Lee Terry will concede. *** Lee Terry is a big Nebraska football fan, so we will put it in terms to which he can relate: He already chucked the 70 yard Hail Mary when he had the chance to actually affect the outcome of the race. [...]

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Big wave surfers

November 5, 2014

When the big storms hit, there are always those crazy surfers who take advantage of the giant surf to ride their boards on the biggest waves possible. Ben Sasse and Pete Ricketts did that last night. (Lee Terry on the other hand, was more like Ralph Malph on a broken ironing board, just trying not [...]

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2014 Election Night Results

November 4, 2014

We will be updating the major races from the Secretary of State as soon as we get them, after the polls close at 8pm. *** Updated at 3:30 am Nebraska Congress 2nd District Brad Ashford (D): 48.64%% Lee Terry-I (R): 46.01%% Steve Laird (I): 5.35%% Nebraska U.S. Senate – RACE CALLED Ben Sasse (R): 64% Dave Domina [...]

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Election Center

November 4, 2014

Latest Nebraska Polls (particularly for those outside of Nebraska coming today to see what is going on.) U.S. Senate (open race for Mike Johanns-R retiring seat) Ben Sasse (R): 59% Dave Domina (D): 30% This race was decided in the GOP primary — which newcomer Ben Sasse won handily in a  tough race. Sasse is [...]

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