The Nelson way

There was quite a bit of hub-bub (bub) with the “Nebraska Democratic Party’s” poh-em and caricature ad about John Bruning yesterday.

That NDP is in quotes, because obviously Ben Nelson is the leader of the party in Nebraska, and a full page ad in the two biggest papers in the state does not get the go ahead, unless he says so.

You may remember the last time Nelson put up a full pager against his opponent like this. That would be 2006 when he had the Pete Ricketts “Cat in the Hat” poem and caricature — what looks to be by the same artist. They seem to have a thing for whiskers and big teeth.

At the time the state’s largest newspapers castigated Nelson for his lack of “seriousness” in buying the ad and how it brought down the race. But of course, that was all tempered with a “both sides better cut it out” finger-wag, and Ricketts put up the “Farmer Nelson” TV ad and all heck broke loose.

Point being, you are not going to see that this time around. The OWH will not wag it’s mighty finger at Nelson when Jon Bruning is on the line. And you probably have not heard the last of the complaint of “where did Bruning make his money” when the OWH begins to investigate. [I swear to Gaia, I wrote that sentence before reading the OWH’s story this morning.] And of course, the LJS’s Don Walton is very unlikely to begin lecturing Ben Nelson here either. At the very least, he may tut-tut the party, but the point will be that Bruning brought it on himself.

Believe it or not, there was even a time when the state’s chief liberal blogger even noted that he “was not a fan” of the caricature and poem ad (back in 2006). That it was beneath the office, etc.

In any case, when Ben Nelson is threatened, expect a long, drawn-out, dirty fight from him, no matter who the candidate is. If Bruning does not get the nod, Don Stenberg or Deb Fischer can expect their garbage to be rummaged through and have newspaper ads and mailings and all the like against them.

That’s the Nelson way.

But is it the Nebraska way?


And we liked this line in Robynn Tysver’s OWH story today on how Bruning made his money:

Bruning’s financial dealings became an issue Wednesday after Nebraska Democrats questioned how the attorney general found time to make all those investments — and to serve on his companies’ boards of directors — while working for the state.

Riiiight. THAT’s when it “became an issue”. Why, that article didn’t take any investigative effort at all. It just wrote itself. Boy it sure is a good thing the NDP published that ad (and ominously labeled it “Part 1”) or the OWH probably never would have published that long, front-page, above the fold, extensively researched piece.

My that was a coincidence.


We were watching with a tiny little bit of interest at the “arrest me!” protests at the White House against the Tar Sands Oil the past week. Maybe it is coming in the next wave, but we were pretty sure we were supposed to see some bigger names involved.

Jane Kleeb mentioned that Margot Kidder got put in the slam to cement her hate of oil from America’s neighbor to the north. And some actress from Dances with Wolves made her “brave” statement by being politely booked by DC police and given $100 fine.

But where was Martin Sheen? Where was Danny Glover?

Well, Glover may have had bigger fish to fry. You see, like Al Jazeera news covering the oil pipeline debate out on the Nebraska plains, Glover also has nailed down his interest in America’s oil importation.  Like All Star blow-hard Sean Penn, he is a buddy of… Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez!

Aww how nice. Wonder if Jane will get Danny and Hugo to come to the State Department’s Sandhills field hearings. And the whole thing can be covered by Al Jazeera. Oh it’ll be a scene, man.


  1. NE Voter says:

    Methinks Jon Bruning got his investment strategies from his pal David Sokol.

    By the way, if you compare the top ends of the disclosures by both Bruning and Nelson, Bruning is more that THREE TIMES wealthier than Nelson.

    Now, if Nelson is 47th on somebody’s list of the welathiest members of Congress, where does $61 Million put Bruning?

    [Crickets chirping]

    Oh, and everybody has a frat buddy or two that hook you up with multimillion dollar invisment opportunities, right?


    Wake up, people!

  2. Banker says:

    You do realize that Bruning’s banking partnerships saved those small town banks and made sure they were properly capitalized.

  3. anonymous says:

    Clearly Bruning is the guy the Dems fear. Don and Deb look like Rick Santorum did in the Iowa straw poll debate: Hey, what about me?? Don’t forget about me! Ask me a question!

  4. Broke Retiree says:

    Ask Ben Nelson about his involvement with Executive Life of California. Lots of pensioners are eating dog food while he eats turkey from his front yard.

  5. JB's Frat Brother says:

    You can bet the “bank” that JB is involved day-to-day with these so-called investments that he has gone into debt for. No one takes out multi-million dollar loans just to sit back and let things happen.

    To “Banker” — you make these investments sound like charitable contributions to rural Nebraska. Let’s stop kidding ourselves.

    Also, A $700,000 “cabin”? That hardly helps with Bruning’s “man-of-the-people” schtick he’s trying to learn from Heineman. Oh, Jon. Fratastic forever!

  6. Turkey Trot says:

    What is the value of Ben Nelson’s Platte River Estate? Does JB claim a tax exemption to avoid paying taxes????

  7. Anonymous says:

    Leave it to Ben Nelson to bring another election into the gutter by hiding behind the NDP’s skirts. He sports a gentle Ben face while being running one after another nasty campaign. If Jon is so rich in making money perhaps he is the one to send to Congress to best show how to grow the economy. We all could benefit from his expertise. As for the ad itself? Childish blather void of message in a great idea brought by their candidate. How pitiful that you have to make yourself look good by knocking the other guy. Maybe Ben needs to run ads in how he plays both sides of the fence and got caught in a national spotlight December 2009.

  8. MacDaddy says:

    Did the OWH charge extra for the front page story or was that an in-kind contribution to the democrat party?

    I hope Nelson realizes that it matters not one iota which Republican wins the nomination. He’d still lose. The only way he could win again is if his opponent got caught with a live boy or a dead girl. Of course, I don’t think Nelson will run in 2012.

  9. Kortezzi says:

    The World-Herald website has featured this Bruning hit piece for 2 consecutive days now. Clearly they are in the Nelson camp. Let’s stop hearing people accuse the OWH of being a Republican paper, OK?

    Nothing in the article featured any evidence of wrongdoing by Jon. Given how hard the NDP has been looking, I conclude there isn’t any. That’s why they went with the insinuation instead. Less chance of a libel suit.

    Nelson better be careful with this early no-holds-barred attack campaign on Bruning. If he manages to knock Jon down before the Republican primary, he could very well face Stenberg or Fischer instead. Either of them would have an easier time using these “how did you get rich on a public servant’s salary” questions on Nelson.

    Bruning needs to respond quickly and forcefully to this – – not with attacks of his own on Nelson, but with a thorough and unapologetic explanation of his business success.

  10. Chairman of the Board says:

    It seems the Boards Jon Bruning sits on are profitable ventures that employ Nebraskans. Ben Nelson sat on a board that decimated the lives of many pensioners. How much money did Ben Nelson make at Executive Life???

  11. Anonymous says:

    SS – Couldn’t help but notice that the label on the second money pot is cut off. Did it not fit in with your end game here?

  12. 10:57,
    I’m sure it doesn’t fit in with your NDP’s plan for as much free media as they can get outta their ad.
    However, my point in including it at all, was to compare with the NDP Cat in the Hat/ Ricketts ad. Had the Bruning caricature had no tail, you would see no pots at all in the blog post. If you want to see your whole ad again, there are many media outlets that will link it for you.
    And thanks for reading.

  13. Anonymostly says:

    Kortezzi said: “Nothing in the article featured any evidence of wrongdoing by Jon. Given how hard the NDP has been looking, I conclude there isn’t any. That’s why they went with the insinuation instead.”

    Kortezzi, the “wrongdoing” they wish to expose is the fact that Bruning is rich. That’s just wrong. In the democrat world where they ttry to inflame class envy as much as they can, being rich (unless you support liberal causes) is a sin. Being rich is especially sinful if, as appears to be the case with Jon Bruning, you didn’t work for it.

    But they get to turn this into a double-whammy by saying not only did he not reallly “earn” his wealth, but he must not have been putting much time in on his elected position if he managed to get that wealthy. I know, those are mutually contradictory positions, but one of the Hallmarks of Dem strategery is to throw as much crap against the wall as you can because some of it will stick.

  14. Sweeper, can you, or anybody else for that matter, find any information on some recent comments purportedly made by Ernie Chambers? I stumbled across a piece in which the author claims Ernie Chambers said the following on his 8/13/2011 TV broadcast on CTI 22:

    “…you all heard about the U.S. Chinook helicopter that got shot down…a Taliban fighter who shot down the military target … he was a hero, truly a hero.”

    Because it’s someone else’s summary of what Ernie is alleged to have said, I’m withholding judgment until the quote can be verified. I figured maybe you or some of you Omaha folks might be able to find more about this than I can here in Lincoln.

  15. Anonymostly says:

    The thing that scares the pants off the Democrats about Jon Bruning is his age. Stenberg and Fisher are geezers. If they get elected, that spot will be open again before too long. But if Little Jonny get’s elected at age 42, he could hold that seat for 30 years or more. And once he gets in, it’ll be more difficult to get him out than to stop him in the first place. So, this election is the whole shooting match. And, knowing Democrats as I unfortunately do, there is no depth to which they will not sink to achieve their ends.

  16. Old Joe says:

    Robynn Tysver mailed it in once again! Are there ANY real journalists out there who could ask:
    Jon Bruning is a relatively young man, age 42, who has spent his entire professional career on a government salary. Yet, he is worth between $12 million to $60 million. Moreover, his net worth has nearly quadrupled during the worst economic times since the 1930s. How did he do it? Who helped him?

  17. MacDaddy says:

    I think the OWH has really given themselves a black eye with this. Questions they need to answer ASAP:
    1. When did you learn of these allegations and when did the story get planned?
    2. When did you learn of the contents of the ad?
    3. Was there any communication or requests between either parties as to the timing of the article and the timing of the ad?
    4. Did Mr. Kotok, the managing editor, know that this ad was going to run and what day it was going to run on?
    5. Was the Democrat party the initial source for the story?
    6. If the Democrat party was the initial source, was the decision made before or after the ad buy to research the story?
    7. Did the Democrat party know that the story was being prepared?
    8. Did the democrat party seek the ad buy before or after they knew about the story?
    9. Was the ad buy contingent on the OWH running the story?

    As it stands right now, the OWH news room can be bought for the price of a full page ad. The burden is on them to clear that up.

  18. Ivy Marie Harper says:

    The truth: Members of Congress don’t really run America; Corporate Contributors do because they purchase politicians of both parties. It’s pretty simple, really. Albeit sad.

    It will matter little whether Ben Nelson or Jon Bruning win; both are beholden to the Big Battalions of Insurance, Pharma, Oil, Defense, Big Ag, Big Data, & the biggest of all: Big Bankers/Private Predatory Student Loan Lenders…who have done more to harm hard-working American students and their beleaguered families than anyone.

    Bruning & Nelson are joined-at-the-hip with Lincoln-based Nelnet, a company who tried hard to defraud the U.S. taxpayer of more than ONE BILLION DOLLARS (they “only” made off with several hundred million dollars in “unwarranted” taxpayer money) via Project 9.5, which the U.S. Department of Justice recently called a “scheme” to bilk the U.S. Treasury.

    To Kortezzi: Like media everywhere, the OWH is neither a Republican or Democratic paper, it’s a Status Quo paper because as a great Congressional critic once said: “The GOP & the Democrats are Twiddle-Dee & Twiddle-Dum in D.C. For proof: look at the media treatment of Ron Paul.

    Here’s the paradox: Both A.G. Bruning & Senator Nelson are, ultimately, good men who – in their hearts – of course, sincerely really do want what’s best for Nebraskans. They should NOT play into the OWH’s self-enriching, let’s-ratchet-up-the-vitriol-cuz-it-sells-our-dying delivery system.

    The OWH engenders scorched-earth political antler-bashing. Don’ fall for it, guys. Voters don’t like it.

  19. Brian T. Osborn says:

    I see that the NDP ad was “PAID FOR BY THE NEBRASKA DEMOCRATIC STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE.” I wonder if the NDP SCC even had a clue that they were behind all of this?
    This is exactly the kind of thing that burned my ass when I was still involved in the NDP as one of its officers. Ben Nelson’s campaign committee runs the money through the NDP so that it doesn’t have to claim responsibility for it, giving it plausible deniability, yet the people who are SUPPOSED to be the watchdogs of the party are fed a steady diet of bullshit and blinded by smokescreens. The SCC is SUPPOSED to make the decisions on such expenditures, but I’ll double damned guarantee you that it wasn’t done according to Hoyle.

  20. Interesting on Terry Haters says:

    Can’t we mix the discussion up a bit here? Where’s the post from the Terry Hater–it’s been hours since we had an insult …

  21. Not a D- R's dislike JB too! says:

    If Robynn Tysver were Bob Woodward and the OWH were the Washington Post, Richard Nixon would be considered one of the greats.

    There are so many unasked questions about Bruning’s disclosure it’s almost painful. He can’t just say he “got lucky” in the year or so out of college where he wasn’t taking a government paycheck and invested it wisely with the SigEp’s (not Sigma Phi’s, Robynn). Even if he “did well”… having $350K liquid in your 20’s/early 30’s for investment? AND you own a $500,000 home in Lincoln and a $700,000 cabin on the Platte river? Seems funky. And that is the explanation for just one of the LLCs.

    And about that fancy cabin – he owns it with NELNET executives – remember Bruning was in trouble in 2007 for his involvement with trying to help Nelnet scam their way out of national trouble and then he tried to forgive them a million dollar fine before he got called on the carpet by a national watchdog group. Our Chief Prosecutor said he would never apologize for being a “defender” of Nelnet. Huh? And a year later he “buys in” to an LLC with Nelnet executives and gets this fancy cabin at Big Sandy. Cute.

    Even worse – it seems like most of his investments have built in conflicts of interest. He bought banks. Well – as AG did he have access to confidential NE Department of Banking ratings? That might help him find investors and get these banks at a good price. He bought nursing homes? That means Medicaid payments – so how is he going to investigate Medicaid fraud?

    Oh, I believe he has been hard at work all this time. Working full-time in fact: feathering his nest, arm-twisting support and campaign cash, and pining for the next office to feed his own ego.

  22. Terry Lee says:

    Hopefully you had an opportunity to hear my Medicare conference call with Dr. Novak. I do not really understand Medicare or Medicaid so I had her on the phone. I look forward to your support and destroying benefits for the elderly so my big oil buddies Can keep tax breaks. On an unrelated not 61% of my campaign contributions come from Texas. Is Texas in the 2nd district???

  23. Jacob says:

    So, the Dems are begrudging Bruning for investing in small town Nebraska on the advice of friends he made at the University of Nebraska?

  24. Interesting on Terry Haters says:

    TL–looks like you started to hit the bottle or bong pretty early this morning…

    Still waiting for the ‘target’ list the Terry Haters claim exists…

  25. Ben says:

    So while Bruning was investing in companies, which creates jobs, Nelson was passing job killing bills like the health care and stimulus bills. Bruning wealth shows that his has made good investment, which in turn creates jobs. Bruning is the real job creator in this race. Nelson and the state Dems are shaking in their boot right now.

  26. Old Joe says:

    Speaking of earmarks…Bruning asked…wait for it…BEN NELSON for a $1 million earmark for a pet project in the AG’s office, and, yep, he GOT IT! Oh, but now he’s totally against earmarks. We can do better Nebraska!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Conflict of interest, not doing your job, but these were never issues that bother Republicans (as long as the perp is a Repub).

  28. Anonymous says:

    Oh the endless bitching and complaining. ITS not against the law to make money. IF it was illeagle I’m sure we will get the FACTS, as it is right now there is nothing more than inuendos and such.

    Nelson made a lot of money, Bruning made a lot of money, and so on…….

    Now the POLICY of the candidates is what is really important.
    – Sen Nelson voted for a bill he hadn’t read, and which had BLANK pages in it.
    – The Obamanation Healthcare bill has been found to be unconstitutional to a point and will most likely be found so by the Supreme Court
    – Sen Nelson recently said he still supports the bill
    – Sen Nelson sold his vote for the Corn husker KICKBACK

    Here is a clue to politicians, IF what you do secures you a favor that has KICKBACK in its moniker you just might not get RE-elected.

  29. Never left the Neb says:

    And funny enough that all this information was gathered via required financial disclosures that all elected officials must file. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. How rich is Harkin? How rich was Jane Harmon? Both Members of Congress (one former now) that had major bank. Oh, and both Democrats. Also, coincidentally, both have very successful spouses.

    Apparently, you are supposed to be stupid and poor to run for office in Nebraska? Sorry, that only works for CarpetBaggers in the 3rd-oops, I forgot, it didn’t work for them. I’ll come up with a better example………………………………………………Sorry, I can’t. Successful office holders tend to be people that have seem some sort of success in their private lives.

    Starting a business; operating a business; doing well in school; paying your own bills and taking care of your family and property.

    You people are choice, if someone serves in an elected office with no other “wealth”, they have taken advantage. If they serve in elected office and invest well not using the advice of a paid professional, they are corrupt. Which is it?

    BTW, good luck finding elected officials that are experts on every subject under the sun. When you find him or her, please tell them I said they are full of shit.

    All knowledge is learned and I appreciate my elected officials bringing in experts in the various disciplines to prove to me they are getting outside information, not just the stuff floating at the top of the fishbowl called D.C.

  30. Matt Pinkerton-Waters says:

    Never left Nebraska–great points

    “Successful office holders tend to be people that have seem some sort of success in their private lives.”

    Unless you congressman Terry

  31. Never left the Neb says:

    Sweeper, how long will you allow someone to use the name of a former NEGOP staffer in their posts when it is obviously not that staffer.

    I think I might start posting as Jane Kleeb or Diane Nelson. That might be fun.

    BTW, I know paying your own way and starting a business while serving in your community isn’t the same as having mom and dad pay your tuition and letting you get a job with no debt after college, but it says a little something about a person to me. For those of us that have watched the younger Terry since the mid 70’s, we have always known that he had it in him to do great things.

    Frankly, holding this Congressional Seat out of the hands of a Democrat since 1999 is a pretty big accomplishment in itself and it isn’t like the Dems running weren’t qualified or well funded in the absence of qualifications.

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