Nelson Has No Coattails

Democrats have taken the House.
Democrats have likely taken the Senate.
Ben Nelson won with 63% of the vote.

And he didn’t bring a single Nebraska Democrat with him.

Not Scott Kleeb, the Dems’ golden boy who received national adulation from fawning Dems, and a late endorsement from Nelson.

Not Maxine Moul, Nelson’s former Lieutenant Governor who was supposed to be a fierce opponent for first term Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.

Heck, not even Kate Witek, a sitting office-holder and the new darling of the state Democrats.

Nope, Ben didn’t or couldn’t spread the wealth around for a single other statewide Democrat. (You could also argue that he couldn’t help recruit a decent candidate for Governor either.)

And by the way, for those Nebraskans who voted to keep the House of Representatives solidly Republican, and lost, note that Pete Rickett’s last ad pointed out what no one wanted to think about: In January, Ben Nelson’s vote will put Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Chuck Schumer in charge of the Senate. Looks like the Bugaboos have come home to roost.

40 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to all who voted to keep Nebraska’s House members solidly Republican. Now, instead of having the three most powerless representatives in the majority party we have the three most powerless representatives in the minority party. Now that’s the definition of politically irrelevant, and we have you to thank.

  2. Don Kuhns says:

    For once I agree with you, S.S. I’ve been saying for months that if Moul, Esch, or Hahn achieved victory, it would come in spite of The Nebraska Democratic Party AKA The Ben Nelson Reelection Committee, not because of any “coattails”.

  3. lawyerinnebraska says:

    And why do you describe them as powerless? To just throw out derogatory terms without backup leaves your argument with exactly that description… powerless. And the fact that you can’t even put a screen name to your post?

    I agree, stsw, Ben has no coattails. He’s able to fool the good people of the state as to himself, but not as to others. If only people actually looked at what they’re getting in years other than a reelection year. He’ll end up supporting the exact same immigration plan he supported in ’05, and that Ricketts supported in the campaign, and that Nelson called amnesty lite. He’s nothing but a self-serving hack who had plenty of money to throw around. I liked Pete, and voted for him in the primary because I thought we needed the $$ he could bring to combat Ben. But, with his personality, maybe Kramer would’ve been a better choice. Ah well, Kramer and Ricketts both have time to seek other offices in the state.

    And unfortunately, we’re stuck with wayward Ben for another six years, because Nebraskans believed campaign year promises.

  4. 'Sker says:

    I don’t hear many Nebraska Democrats gloating this morning despite the national results. Their champion won re-election by pretending to be a Republican…safely distancing himself from Democrats until he knew he was safe. For all their saber rattling leading up to the day, it’s unfortunate the Democrats don’t strike a more conciliatory tone in the face of defeat. They did admittedly have victories in the legislature. Any word on Mike Foley’s replacement in Lincoln? Probably safe to assume it’s not going to be a Democrat.

  5. One Out In The Third says:

    anon…

    I look at things through a slightly lighter shade of the old “rose-colored’s.” I see three solid votes for what the majority of Nebraskan’s believe in. You might think we have lost it all…but we are still riding the right pony.

  6. Anonymous says:

    lawyerinnebraska, check out the October 27 post denigrating Nelson’s effectiveness as a Senator. I am simply using Congress.org’s power rankings, the same rankings that SS cited to justify the criticism of Ben. It’s applying the identical logic used by SS. I

  7. Eric says:

    Good point SS. Why couldn’t Nelson do more to help other candidates? Did he really think allying himself with other Democrats would cause him to lose?

    I saw Lee Terry at a polling place in Bellevue yesterday, and the man was putting up campaign signs for four different candidates. If the Democrats worked together like that, they might do a little better.

    But do you think Nelson was out planting Jim Esch signs? No Democrat wants to be viewed as a partisan, so they don’t help each other. Maybe just once they ought to try it and see if it helps because the current plan doesn’t seem to be working.

  8. Anonymous says:

    lawyerinnebraska:
    Not only are the Republican representatives powerless, but the President is powerless. Study the House of Representatives—the minority power has absolutely no power whatsoever (no true, obviously, in the Senate). They can not even get meeting rooms without the consent of the majority party.

    Look for Lee to resign after not being able to bang his gavel in order to be fed to the Jon Bruning slaughter in 2008. Dan Welch versus Jim Esch could be interesting…two years is an eternity.

  9. Eric says:

    By the way, did everyone see that Jim Esch has already announced his candidacy for 2008. It’s on his blog. Not sure what to make of it, but perhaps he’s trying to parlay his better-than-expected showing into a win in a possibly open seat in 2008?

  10. Street Sweeper says:

    Feel free to whet your appetite with the 2008 talk, as we will be posting on this subject before the week is out.

    But before you go comparing Jim Esch to Dan Welch, note that Welch is an actual practicing attorney, WON his election, and chose to earn his way up the political ladder, as opposed to Esch’s late-night bar-bet campaign.

    But like I said, we’ll have an actual post on this Thursday or Friday.

    Leavenworth Street will be your political forum for a while.

  11. Eric says:

    Alright then. Everybody is betting on Jon Bruning or Lee Terry for the 2008 Senate, but I think Jeff Fortenberry could be a strong dark horse candidate.

    I always thought Matt Connealy would do well in a state-wide race, but he couldn’t even get elected PSC. I’m going to say Fahey is the Dems’ best bet and that Esch should try to replace him in the Mayor’s office.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Look for Lee to resign after not being able to bang his gavel in order to be fed to the Jon Bruning slaughter in 2008.”

    WTF? AYKM???

    anonymous – you have two years to figure out how to get your head out of your…

  13. lawyerinnebraska says:

    I think there are several potential candidates for Hagel’s seat, assuming he doesn’t run again, and runs for the presidency, which I think is everyone’s assumption at this point. But I wouldn’t bank on anyone getting into the race until Mike Johanns has decided whether he’ll run or not. He’s the powerplayer that everyone else will check off of. I don’t think even Jon will try if Mike decides to run.

    And again, point me to something that dictates that they’re powerless. The rankings certainly didn’t do it. They’re about where you would expect them to be, for strong representatives from a state with the population we have.

    And don’t kid yourselves… the Dems having control isn’t going to be the cakewalk on legislation that you think it will. They’ve assured gridlock amongst their own by supporting many bluedog conservative democrats in Republican districts, reps who won’t think twice about challenging the liberal leadership. So the complete power the Democrats think they’ll have in the House is far from assured.

    And the majority truly does have to work with the minority to get many things done, believe it or don’t. The minority may have lesser power, but it isn’t the lack of ANY power you’ve tried to make it out to be.

  14. Anonymous says:

    eric,

    “I’m going to say Fahey is the Dems’ best bet and that Esch should try to replace him in the Mayor’s office.”

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

    (ha)

    get real!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Now that Nelson doesn’t have to be worried about being re-elected (for all intensive purposes, this is his last go-round) it might be interesting to watch just how ‘moderate’ he really is. My opinion is he knows that an R is going to take his place when he turns 72 and retires, thus he is going out on a liberal bang.

    But let’s remember his good ole sloganeering…..Nebraska First, Always. I guess we’ll see if he is a man of his word.

  16. Eric says:

    HA HA HAnonymous,

    So if Fahey is not the Dems’ best bet, who is?

    Is HA HA HAhn your guy?

    I’ll remind you that Ben Nelson is not allowed to hold both Senate seats and that there are no Democratic constitutional officers nor are there any Democratic congressmen.

  17. nepolwatcher says:

    Sweeper – I guess the bile in your belly just couldn’t stay down huh?

    As for Ben’s coattails, I’d look at the unexpectedly strong showing in each of the three House races and the quality of the candidate recruitment by Barry Rubin et all and say the NDP is alive and kickin’. To call a Democratic defeat in the 3rd anything other than expected is just silly. But Kleeb got so close you guys had to pull your own fake cowboy in to save the storage king’s butt.

    Ben Nelson got 64% of the vote when his opponent spent $12 million (so far -and i do predict Pete owes himself more money – he does have to pay his audio tech who did that bangup Bush radio forgery), a 200,000 voter registration disadvantage, the enitre NEGOP glitterati pounding him every day, incessant lies on television, a hostile media corps, the muddling of Chuck Hagel, the ethically challenged LouAnn Linehan’s irrational kookiness, and the whispering, worst-ever campaign manager Jessica “bitchin’ and” Moennig. I’d say, as do most pundits in this country (you sweeper must be Canadian, or European, or Brittish or Virginian based on your analysis) that Ben Nelson socred no less than an historic, overwhelming, unexpected, and truly significant victory.
    And good thing too, Now Nebraskans will have a Senator with a voice in the Majority and not just a Senator in the Majority with a voice for the Sunday talk shows. And Bulldog, here’s another name you can add to your list of names for Ben Nelson: Chairman.

    I know its hard to accept – most of you on this blog are blindly partisan (I am too, the difference is I know it and I am proud of it) – But Ben Nelson won. This senate seat is his as long as he wants it. He scored a mandate last night, and even if he veers left Nebraskans will still give him 70% or better approval ratings.

    One more thing: Sweeper and Bulldog, doesn’t it chap your butt that 64% of Nebraskans voted for a “tax cheat”? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    HA.

  18. Street Sweeper says:

    Here’s the thing nepolwatcher: We didn’t expect Ricketts to win, and stated so up front. And a “hostile” media corps towards Nelson? Wha-huh? Have YOU been living under a rock?

    So now you’re looking for moral victories, b/c Kleeb, Moul and Esch all got left out in the cold in a year when the rest of the Dems stormed the castle? Didn’t your boy Kleeb have a poll out a week ago showing him UP by four? Wasn’t Moul supposed to be the Dem who gave that newcomer Fortenberry what-for? By Nelson winning so huge, and no other Dem even coming close in a watershed year, that says that Nelson had a little cult of personality and nothing more.

    But I’m glad you’ve finally come to grips on the Tax Cheat issue. See if you can get him to pay that now huh?

  19. lawyerinnebraska says:

    And to add to what stsw said… it wasn’t even close to a historic victory… popular Democrats have done this before. There just aren’t too many of them. Ever hear of Exon or Kerrey? Kerrey is still an enigma to me… course, I’ll always believe it was his rock star status that got him elected.

    And don’t be too sure that we don’t have people that could knock Ben out. Heineman will have been around for quite a while by that time, and he’s the guy that took out the big man himself. And Nelson wouldn’t have the seat if Johanns hadn’t chose to take the Ag Sec’y position. Nelson wouldn’t have stood up to that.

    So I wouldn’t count your chickens that Nelson automatically has that seat. And I’m not so sure, with his age, that Ben will even run again. But we can and will continue to put up battles.

    And btw… the only victory you can take from the House races is a moral one in your own mind. Because the closest were ten points, and a race for an open seat in the third hadn’t been that wide for either Smith or Barrett when they ran. Osborne was a different story, but he always is.

    Nebraska Republicans are still here, and still dominate.

  20. Anonymous says:

    damn right NE Republicans are still here and still dominate. Look at Fortenberry’s campaign. The moderate, progressive 1st District is no longer. Fortenberry won academia liberal Lincoln yet again. Congrats to him and his campaign…..they are changing the face of the 1st District.

  21. Hillbilly says:

    First to eric: You had a shot at making point if only you knew anything about the Douglas County effort on the Dem side. Your point about Ben putting up Esch signs is well taken, but what you failed to realize was the cohesion of Dems on a local level. Union workers and members of the Esch campaign (and perhaps others) were out in full force yesterday morning staking signs for Potter, Ewing, Esch, Kleine, Rhoades, Higgins, etc.

    “No Democrat wants to be viewed as a partisan, so they don’t help each other. Maybe just once they ought to try it and see if it helps because the current plan doesn’t seem to be working.”

    There are a couple of thinking politicos on this blog, whose views I respect. Maybe just once you, eric, ought to try thinking before you type because your current approach seems to be horribly embarrassing for the others in your camp.

    Now to SS:
    I’m sorry, but do you honestly think that a “late-night bar-bet campaign” could legitimately garner 45% of the vote? I had no idea that the Dell and Barrett’s had such a wide sphere of influence. I’ve never seen much of an African Amercian or Latino presence at either of those watering holes, not to mention the security moms living out in Nelson’s Creek. But then again, I didn’t spend any time in either of those bars – I was actually out knocking on doors, like Jim and the rest of our staff.
    Look, your guy won – fair and square, and it was a postive race that I think the whole district can feel good about. Making statements like yours does nothing but denigrate both candidates and all of the people on both sides who worked so hard for their causes.

    “Leavenworth Street will be your political forum for a while.”

    You need to decide if you’re going to continue to be inflammatory and have a political entertainment blog, or if you’re going to honor your choice of the word “forum” and offer substantive commentary.

  22. nepolwatcher says:

    Lawyer – does your JD stand for “Just Dumb?” Remember, Nelson turned down a perfect opportunity to exit without a fight when he REJECTED Bush’s invitation to join the cabinet. Then, knowing Ben had no intention of giving up his seat without a fight, Johanns accepted the ticket to Washington and lobbydom so he wouldn’t have to take on Nelson. Then Heineman and OSborne both declined to run against Nelson. THen Dave Karnes. Then Hal Daub. Then Lee Terry. Ricketts was “Plan Z” simply because he was stupid enough to give Chuck HAgel his checkbook. Nice try rewriting histoy – you have a future as an activist judge.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Let’s be clear about something, Democrats. Most of you active-types are liberals, and your liberal ideology motivates and informs your politics. You crow about how Ben killed his opponent when the elephant in the room (pardon the partisan pun) is your atrophied ideology. Let’s ask the question that isn’t being asked in the media: How did liberals do in Nebraska? Ouch. Democrats were able to garner competitiveness insofar as they were able to persuade folks they are conservatives. Quit hiding behind the conveniency of the Democrat Party, liberals. You all got squashed because you are poison to Nebraska – and we know it. I consider Ben Nelson’s victory proof of the perception of conservatism more than an indictment of any political party.

  24. Don Kuhns says:

    ‘sker wrote: “I don’t hear many Nebraska Democrats gloating this morning despite the national results…it’s unfortunate the Democrats don’t strike a more conciliatory tone in the face of defeat.”

    Not quite sure what your trying to say there, ‘sker, but as someone who gave his all for Jim Esch(and what he could spare for Scotty Kleeb), I’m feeling pretty darn good today. Yesterday was a great day for Democrats and Nebraskans played a part. If Bush had gone elsewhere instead of rescuing Smith’s campaign, we might have lost the Senate. And let’s take stock of what Team Esch accomplished. We gave Lee Terry his closest race yet, despite:

    Zero PAC money,
    zero special interest money,
    zero national party money,
    zero state party money,
    zero help from the Ben Nelson machine,
    zero help from the liberal blogs,
    Ben Nelson’s swing to the extreme right,
    and of course a less than friendly local media.

    Not bad. And Street Sweeper, you may have to rethink that “uber-red state” remark.

  25. Anonymous says:

    kind of wonder after the fact if many NE R’s had their vote back today, considering the D’s are gonna have the Senate now.

  26. Eric says:

    hillbilly,

    I am just speaking from the experience I had yesterday. I was out all day volunteering for a Democrat in Bellevue. From what I saw, the Republicans had their act together a lot better than we did. I’m not saying some people didn’t try, but Democrats are still not as organized and cohesive as Republicans.

    And as far as Democrats not wanting to seem partisan – it’s true. Democrats in Nebraska try to run as an “independent voice” whereas Republicans run on the party line.

    And yes, I’m picking on Nelson because the post was on his lack of coattails.

  27. Hillbilly says:

    okay, eric. Thanks for clarifying. It is true that R’s tend to outorganize D’s and that D’s necessarily feel they must distance themselves from one another so as not to frighten the typical NE voter. I’m sorry I came after you . . . knowing that you were involved changes everything.

  28. ptg says:

    As far as the dismal showing that Republicans made nationally, I blame Chuck Hagel. He isn’t the only one I could blame, but he is the only one who purports to work for me and my fellow Nebraskans. His constant criticisms of President Bush’s policies were heard far and wide.

    Spring for a call to let him know what you think. If you are a Nebraska Republican, tell him you won’t be supporting or voting for him again. If you are a Democrat, you owe him a big thank-you. His number: (202) 224-4224.

    Ben Nelson has always been a better Republican than Chuck Hagel.

  29. lawyerinnebraska says:

    Interesting comments, folks.

    nepolwatcher – Nice personal attack there. Course, should I expect anything different from the party in Nebraska that has as their golden boy the master of personal attacks?

    And for the record, I believe the White House denied ever offering the Ag position to Ben. So nice try at re-writing history yourself. Ever think maybe Mike took that position as the dutiful party person, or maybe that it’s tough to refuse a cabinet position when it’s offered? Nancy didn’t want Tom to go back to Washington for six years, or Ben would’ve been toast had Tom run against him. And Dave wanted to stay in the position he was an incumbent for. Can’t really fault him for that, although, after seeing the campaigner he is, any office he runs for will be fair game and probably easy pickings for him. Karnes and Daub? Guess I never truly heard their names bandied about for the position, but they’re also both have other things going on, and may just not have wanted to play. Could be they didn’t want to run against Ben either, but unless you know them and their hearts, I don’t think you can really say why they didn’t run.

    I think Pete’s campaign could’ve gone better. I also think that Nelson is a heckuva competitor and a good campaigner. I wish maybe we could’ve had Dave Kramer’s personality and Pete’s money. Who knows, but Ben won this time. I just think the circumstances played into Ben’s hands, and he should consider himself fortunate for who didn’t run for the position, regardless of why they didn’t run. I do think any of the Republican heavyweights would’ve beaten Ben.

  30. Neb Reagan Republican says:

    PTG – hope you’re happy now. Nelson election means Democrats in charge in the Senate. Let’s see how “republican” he is to you now that he’ll have to face legislation from the majority party of Kennedy, Boxer and Kerry.

    As for Hagel, I hardly think his criticism of Bush hurt Bush or the party nationally. Bush and his incompetent adminstration did just fine on their own.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Hey, HillBilly Esch,

    Yes you were putting up signs for other candidates. Very kind of you. I will warn you again though, don’t ever cover another Lee Terry sign again-got it??!!

    By the way, my kid could kick your butt in poker!

  32. Anonymous says:

    oh jeez lawyer – if the “heavyweights” didn’t have the balls to take Nelson on, that means they seriously thought they’d lose. If it was a gimme, they’d have run this time. The factor in the quality of the opponent isn’t just who wins the primary; it’s who chooses to make a go of it. It’s very telling that none of your heros even bothered. Because they knew Nelson was formidable and they’d likely lose.

    The fact is that Nelson was outspent 2-1 in a state that has a huge Republican registration advantage and the “best” the party could put up went down to pitiful defeat. Of course, the Ricketts campaign was god-awful and Nelson ran a tight ship, but he couldn’t have coasted to that kind of victory without a substantial record and the approval of Nebraska voters.

    Here’s the final analysis – Nelson won because of the VOTERS. Not because of the grand poo-bahs of the GOP deciding who should be annointed to the seat, as you clearly think it should have happened. And you, sweeper, hagel, and ricketts are just going to have to live with that. For six sweet years.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Sweeper – refresh my memory – how close was the Republican margin for the House seats in ’04 and ’02? And how close was it this year? I’m thinking Nelson had some coattails, but even those won’t close the entire gap Democrats face in this state.

    I also notice that you have so real sour grape posters here today and yesterday – must be all those Ricketts staffers now off the gravy train.

  34. hillbilly says:

    Anonymous 4:46pm said,
    “I will warn you again though, don’t ever cover another Lee Terry sign again-got it??!!”

    You’ll warn me “again?” I guess I didn’t get the first warning. Oops. I guess I better go and put back all of the Terry signs I stole.

    Are you people for real?

  35. lawyerinnebraska says:

    anon that directly responded to me –

    Not really into responding to those that can even bother to put in a screen name, but I will to yours.

    Evidently you didn’t read my whole post. I did give kudos to Ben for being a heckuva campaigner and strong competitor. But don’t automatically assume that those that didn’t run did so because they thought they’d lose. Specifically, knowing Osborne on a somewhat personal level, it was being bandied around by many people that know him well that Nancy didn’t want him in Washington anymore, be it in Congress or the Senate. And Senate was never in the cards for when he started to run for office either, because he didn’t want to commit for six years. So the next option was for a state office, and the only one he really wanted was Governor. I believe Tom is truly out of politics. But don’t kid yourself, if he had wanted to run, running against Ben wouldn’t have stopped him.

    Mike made the commitment to the Ag Sec’y. position to the end of Bush’s term when he took the position in late ’04 – early ’05. And I know it’s hard for many liberals/Dems to understand the meaning of ‘keeping your word’, but again, knowing Mike on a somewhat personal level, he’s always been a man of conviction, and once he made that decision, he was going to be there for the duration. Whether that means he’ll campaign in ’08 or not, I have no idea. But in any case, I’m not particularly worried, since the Dems don’t have a strong winning candidate, with the exception of Fahey, to run for the position. And I really don’t believe Fahey’s style will play outside of the Omaha area. Heck, y’all couldn’t even take our castoffs and parlay it into a winner, even when Witek was endorsed by the World-Herald and the Journal-Star.

    And I have no doubt that if Dave had wanted to run, Ben would’ve had his hands full, and been lucky to pull out a victory. That’s a two percentage race at most. You saw what Dave did with Tom, and Ben doesn’t have near the clout in this state that Tom did. So please don’t kid yourselves that these folks were afraid to get into the race. If you believe that, then you truly don’t know anything about these men.

  36. nepolwatcher says:

    lawyer – are yu arguing against yourself? I have a question for you: What did you think of President Bush’s attack on lawyers? He said we have too many in Washington – kinda like Republicans in Nebraska.

    as for what you “think” about Bush offering Nelson the cabinet slot – it happened – it was widely reported in NE and antional media. The WHite House never denied it.

    Now I know you beleive everything you read in the newspapers – why else would you say Ben Nelson is the elading attack politician in NE? I guess you didn’t watch any of the Ricketts ads.

    Facts are facts – Nelson got 64% of the vote in NE – a no-name republican should have done better than that. None of your leaders w ould have had the resources (and I mean money) that Ricketts had. Pete had 100% name ID – same as any of the others. They all bowed out – every one of them – and only Pete was dumb enough to run. And Ben waxed him good.

    After a showing like that, I cant see another Republican even considering taking on Ben Nelson. He was allegedly the most vulnerable Dem in the nation. by the end they didn’t even mention him in the deom takeover equation. You’ve got to give him credit for running a flawless campaign and for not falling for Ricketts low ball tactics.

  37. Street Sweeper says:

    “nepolwatcher”: before you go flying about making declarations here, know this: Nelson was every step as negative/comparative as Ricketts was. Leave that “St. Ben” crap somewhere else. He was playing hardball, just like Ricketts.

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