Thank Gaia it’s Federal Friday

On this Federal Friday (where we bring up, and ask you to weigh in on the Presidential races), we will first start with the Senate race in Nebraska, where things have turned a bit this week.

While everyone waits for Ben Nelson to make his decision on whether or not to retire, the speculation on Dave Heineman’s candidacy has increased. And the question immediately jumps to…who will run for Governor!?!

Wait. We’ll give that a couple days.

No, the next Q is, who will and won’t stay in, if Governor Dave jumps in. Joe Jordan has been stalking the GOP candidates, and the other day cornered Deb Fischer in a diner and got a “I’ll let you know” out of her.

But next on his plate was Don Stenberg, and in his video interview today on Watchdog, Stenberg tells Jordan that he will stay in, no matter what — posing himself as the next Marco Rubio.

See Joe’s interview here:

It is interesting that Joe, and Don, try to frame Heineman getting into the race as an NRSC driven thing. And that may or may not be true, but let us be real here: Stenberg’s campaign barely had two nickels to rub together until he kissed South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint’s Tea Party ring. Only then did the money and ads start flowing. McConnell and the boys “like to run things”? Well, add that to the hissy fit that DeMint has thrown ever since Heineman has expressed a few thoughts on the race.

There may be a lot of variables in the upcoming GOP primary. But make no doubt that the DeMint and his groups are trying to place their guy, Stenberg, in the seat. No matter what Nebraskans may feel about it.


So we still have the Mitt and Newt show running, with less than a month until the Iowa Caucuses. While the polls sway this way and that, the harsher spotlight is once again on Newt and his history.

Some these days are calling Newt out on his big government ways — where he is all for government to fix things, just as long as they use HIS ideas. And his ideas usually have the adverbs “fundamentally” or “sincerely” or “radically” associated with them.

And then there is the little matter that many feel that Barack Obama and his campaign team could slap down Newt like a narc at a biker rally. Not necessarily in debates and all that. But in the CAMPAIGN. Big difference that.

And Mitt? Our favorite Onion-esque headline we saw the other day was, “Romney considering adultery to boost poll numbers.” Ya gotta do what you gotta do.

So could Romney be a successful conservative President, or is he just your friend’s Dad who never seems to take off his tie? Is Newt the next Churchill, or the next Cliff Clavin?

Have at it on these, or other topics of your choice. (Please keep it to the political, not personal, and be kind to your neighbor.)


And go Jays Final Four soccer!!!!!!
(See a great write-up of Creighton and Jays soccer in the New York Times, here.)


And we will just tell you that after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon is STILL running specials all week for your holiday shopping. We wouldn’t say that you’re a sucker if you don’t click and take a look. But we wouldn’t say you’re not a sucker, in that matter, either.

Oh, and please click through Leavenworth Street’s links, as you will then send us a little anonymous love back when you purchase — at no extra cost to you. And THANK YOU to all of you who have already done so.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Funny to watch Stenny act as if he were for real. He reminds me of a little fella who picks fights at bars because he has a couple of big friends. Without his big backup he is nothing more than a yip yip dog you would push out of the way. Just another yap dog crossed with the wizard behind the curtain in Oz.

  2. Jon Bruning just gave a $100,000 bribe, paid for by Nebraska taxpayers, to the Nebraska Farm Bureau. Isn’t THAT exactly the kind of thing that has so many of you Republicans upset about Sen. Ben Nelson?
    I’m afraid I have to admit that, given all those with their hat currently in the ring for the 2012 Senate seat, the entry of Gov. Heineman into race would be a welcome breath of fresh air. I’m not a huge fan of the Governor’s, but I find that I have fewer reasons to dislike him, and more reasons to respect him, than I do for ANY of the other candidates currently seeking the job.

  3. The NDP Facebook page is asking, “Jon Bruning is handing out $100,000 of state money and favors while he seeks higher office. What do you think?”
    I would reply exactly what I think, but I have been banned from the NDP’s Facebook site. This is yet another of NDP State Chair Vic Covalt’s way of silencing the voices of any Nebraska Democrat that disagrees with him and his master, Sen. Ben Nelson.

  4. RWP says:

    I did some research on the AG’s Supplemental Environmental Project Fund. It gets topped up with court settlements for environmental violations, and the boilerplate wording of the settlements is that the money is to be spent “at the sole discretion of the Nebraska Attorney General’. You can find dozens of settlements with this wording on the Google. It seems to be standard.

    The fund has in the past been used to give grants to the Ag. leadership program at UNL, etc..

    The point is, this seems to be standard procedure. Frankly, i think it’s lousy policy to give the AG or any other executive branch official a massive slush fund to play with, but there’s nothing unusual about Bruning having control of this fund or in his usual it as he wishes.

    In other words, this is a concocted scandal.

  5. Ghost posters? says:

    Someone posts something negative about Bruning and the next moment… IT’S GONE!

    Wonder whose pocket SS is in?!

  6. Dennis says:

    Heineman appears to be backing off from running for the Senate. My educated guess is that Heineman has recognized that the Senate race wouldn’t be the cake walk for him that many Republicans are expecting.

  7. Hey kids (and I do mean kids),
    Any time you post a comment on Leavenworth Street that contains a personal rumor about someone, it will most likely be deleted.
    Or if you put up a stupid poem, with a Jerry Sandusky “joke” in it — because aren’t those hilarious?! — it will get the axe.
    We hope to have a political discussion here. Comments that don’t fall under the guidelines posted up above, will get disappeared.
    Got it? Good.

  8. RWP at 4:14 PM wrote, “I did some research … In other words, this is a concocted scandal.”

    It isn’t a “concocted scandal.” It is a scandal – one that is long overdue, and applicable to ALL office holders that benefit from such egregious misuse of tax dollars.

    We have had all kinds of petitions in this state. Perhaps it is time that we the people took back the reins that control government by using our power of petition to legislate from the grassroots. Obviously our4 inability to receive the government we deserve by electing representatives to the various offices isn’t working out too damned well. Eliminating this kind of thievery would be a good place to start.

  9. RWP says:

    It’s not tax dollars, BTO. It’s money from court settlements of state environmental prosecutions, which routinely contain an earmark for the Nebraska Supplemental Environmental Protection fund. In effect, these are fines.

    I can speculate (though I don’t know) that these settlements are drafted by the AG’s office.

    EPA does the same sort of thing at the federal level. Back in Clinton’s days, UNL was bullied into a court settlement that required us to buy a piece of absolutely crap (I mean, barely functional and intensely user-unfriendly) software from a politically well-connected company, to keep track of chemicals. My lab, which exclusively uses Macs and Linux machines, had to go buy a Windows PC because the damn thing wouldn’t run on any other platform. It went obsolete very quickly, the company stopped supporting it or went out of business, and EPA stopped caring (presumably, with the change in administration, settlements were to be directed to donors to the other party). We now track chemicals with a bar-code scanner and Excel.

    Environmental regulations are, in some cases, a good idea. In practice, they’re another mechanism for collecting graft.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So sweeper? If its not just a rumor, how does one prove to you it’s not? From my understanding the ‘rumor’ you keep deleting is a pretty well known fact in this community.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Friday and its pretty quiet around here. BTO RWP and their haters. Heck Hal of the posts here anymore are either those two or their detractors. I don’t mind RWP or BTO, but those bashing them are getting tedious to be sure. Guess if you can’t use your wit to engage you just bash away bash away:-) A classic example of a repressed little mind wanting so desperately to be seen as relevant. Yet ends up annoying and causing the grown-ups to pack the children up and go home. Except we are at home already:-)

  12. Lurker says:

    BTO – RWP is right, what part of court ordered settlement fund don’t you understand? Court ordered settlements: aka money paid by companies for breaking environmental laws as part of a settlement with the state. NOT THE SAME as tax dollars. No surprise the NDP is doing so well in Nebraska!

  13. Lurker, RWP already pointed out my error. What are you, some kind of friggin’ parrot?
    The important part of my post is that I believe elected officials should NOT be using ANY kind of public funds – be it taxes, fines, investments, slush funds, you name it – to benefit their own political leverage or personal finances. I know I have some pretty wild ideas: like the government belongs to the people and the representatives we elect should serve the public and not just themselves. Maybe that’s why I seem so freakin’ crazy to those who believe otherwise. It is their usual modus operandi to denigrate the bearer of bad news.

    I have a great story about anonymous lurkers, but I don’t want to bore Sweeper’s readers with it. It involves a mother’s basement, pyjamas, a fat, drooling cretin with Cheetos stained fingers on a keyboard. I think Mike is familiar with THAT one too.

  14. TexasAnnie says:

    Brian: I agree that elected officials should not be in control of dispensing “public monies.” And I do believe fines paid from every source become public monies.

    There’s another kind of public money that elected officials routinely give away: TAX INCENTIVES to businesses for doing business! While I lived in Nebraska I noted that just about every business in Omaha took T.I.F. financing from the City Council, and every company opening for business or expanding it’s business in Nebraska took sales and income tax subsidies. These tax expenditures always came with a promise of new jobs and capital investments which would increase local/state revenue. Yet when the numbers were crunched, often the new revenues were not to be forthcoming for thirty or more years and/or the new jobs were temporary (such as the Keystone XL jobs will be) or were simply displacing jobs being cut off (i.e. telemarketing, insurance, railroading). And Brian, I am positive that the legislature and four governors who have been “serving” the people of Nebraska since tax incentives were first granted in the late 1980’s have known that the tax incentives do not yield additional revenue after additional costs to government are taken. Yet they keep on giving away the tax base to corporations nonetheless… What do you think about this type of bribe, Brian?

  15. Julie Schmit-Albin says:

    Nebraska AG’s office has been distributing funds from national class action settlements for some time. I recall a case from SASS Womens’ Shoes some year’s ago being distributed to some of Nebraska’s Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which do not advocate politically on the abortion debate. I belive the funds were designated for educational outreach to women at risk of abortion. Nebraska Right to “ife also has an Educational Trust Fund but I presumed we were not considered as a desgneed due to our very active PAC which would create the appearance of rewarding the PAC for political endorsements.

  16. Texas Annie, I think a federal law outlawing tax incentives by every state would be a good one. Corporations, farmers, ranchers, etc., should be looked upon as welfare recipients. There are those that are braying about requiring all people on welfare to be drug tested, having their homes “inspected” for any kind of violation, and their personal expenditures scrutinized. If that is supposed to be good for those receiving public housing and food stamps, then why shouldn’t we do the same for those rich folks that receive “gimmees” from public funds?
    Gifting public funds to corporations that donate to a candidate’s campaign should be considered a violation of the RICO act and those guilty of giving, and receiving, should be in prison.

  17. ricky says:

    NEWT “fundamentally” sounds like a pseudo-intellectual and the Tea Party thinks he is a great thinker.
    If I hear one more thing about how smart NEWT is I will puke. He’s not that smart, but to the Republicans he is.
    Also I spoke briefly with Senator Nelson at the Film Streams event and he sure seemed to me to be running for re-election.

    ricky from omaha

  18. Kortezzi says:

    Stenberg’s recent fundraising success will easily keep Don going through the primary. Even if the cash dries up, he knows how to run a shoestring campaign. And why would he allow himself to get pushed out? I’ve yet to see a poll matchup that shows Nelson would beat Stenberg.

    Just because Bruning started out with a big lead doesn’t mean he’s the inevitable GOP nominee. Fischer has yet to break out (or even try); she’s the one who needs to either campaign like she’s serious, or back out.

    The parallels between Stenberg and Rubio are indeed there (the most conservative guy in the race, the underdog, the non GOP establishment candidate).

    But I’ll freely concede the similarities end there, as Don is long on age and short on charisma. Fortunately, this isn’t Florida, and those aren’t serious shortcomings in our Senate race.

  19. SoWhat??? says:

    Ricky…Newt is smart. Pause….wait for it…hurling yet Ricky??? I don’t suppose that couple of million dollars worth of TV ads starring the Benator was any kind of tip-off he’s running again???

  20. GOOSE says:

    anon 5:33
    Just because YOU and a few others in Camp Stenberg “believe” rumors are true does not make them true. If the “rumors” were so true details and facts would have been out a long time ago.

    Get over it. Your little Hail Mary stunt has failed and your candidate is running thrid in a three way race.

  21. GOOSE says:

    Kortezzi –
    Stenberg compared to Rubio??? Hold on while I pick myself up off the floor from laughing.

    Stenberg shouldn’t have lost to nelson the first time, yet he did. He is uninspiring and campaigns EXACTLY that way. He shouldn’t have run for treasurer when we had other qualified candidates who actually wanted to do THAT job instead of truning around and immediately running for Senate. My God, the guy was giving Senate campaign speeches before the election results were certified.

    I and a lot of others in the party completely bailed from that ship after that stunt. Stenberg will not be the nominee.

  22. TexasAnnie says:

    Julie: The tobacco settlement funds could have been used to meet overdue needs of those taken into state custody, such as the developmentally disabled… But state senators, like attorneys general, always act politically. And Jon Bruning’s record spans both career experiences. Do you think Jon Bruning believes the lost BSDC lives were “sacred?”

    Brian: AMEN, brother!

  23. Lil Mac says:

    If Stenberg knows the NRSC prefers Heineman, why is that so? The NRSC has the most vested interest in not having Nelson there. Are Tea Partyers (who seem a healthy thing for conservative principles within the GOP) are they going to push Don to the middle where he’s electable by the apolitical majority of November voters? No. Don will once again be what he has always been, i.e. a perfectly principled Republican Chairman determined to cram that imperfectly, and unelectably, into elective office where his inflexibility on issues wouldn’t represent the majority of his constituents. Stenberg is an ideologue who stupidly avoids being the party chairman he was meant to be. But stupidity isn’t new to Don. He told the OWH that that Major Ronald Reagan wasn’t a veteran. And in his own hologram moment, Stenberg said he didn’t serve in the military during wartime because they didn’t let him be an astronaut. He lacks executive governance and legislative experience, he is a lawyer whose governmental job was basically to be a lawyer, and he’s lost more races than Jenny Craig’s lost pounds. In the end, Don’s ego is to the GOP what Ben’s ego is to the Democratic Party. It ain’t pretty.

    Bruning squandered his lead, Deb would likely bow out, and Don would run against his own grandma.

    I agree Heineman is a flinty guy. But as BTO and others point out, the man has the resume. People who equate his background to that of the current field are more hopeful than thoughtful. And none of us should be happy where hope has gotten us so far.

    Other than that, thank you Sweeper for sweeping the street here. Some of the horses passing by drop piles of poo. The rest of us appreciate not having to step in it. Thank you.

  24. Street Sweeper a question says:

    Why no story on Lee Terry’s robobill. It is a national story and in the OWH yet again. It is a tremendous bill with bi-partisan support.

  25. The bozos that want to allow advertisers to call me on my cell phone had better be willing to put something in the bill that says they have share my cell phone payment. If they’d give me five dollars a minute to listen to their spiel, I think that would be reasonable. Maybe Mr. Terry can help us all out a little bit with that.
    Oh crud! I forgot. He’s already taking money from those S.O.B.s. Oh well! It was a thought.

  26. Unicameral Watcher says:

    I see the Dems filed a whole bunch of candidate for unicameral yesterday. These candidates are a bunch of clowns.

  27. BTOdict Arnold says:

    It’s sad to see someone like BTO get involved in politics because they believed in something, then become consumed with failure, jealousy, and destructive bitterness and end up betraying everything they originally believe in.

  28. Benedict, the sad thing is I still believe in the same things I started out with, but I found that the leadership of my party wouldn’t recognize a principle if it stared them in the face. The problem is that too many Nebraska Democrats are too complacent and they ask too few questions. It is my nature to question authority, and I’ve found a lot of the “authorities” within the NDP incapable of providing honest answers.

    I’ll admit that I failed to reform the NDP, you can’t say that I didn’t try. But that can’t be done by one person; it will require a lot of Democrats waking up and realizing the change that is needed. I am not jealous of those that hold the power, I am sorry for them. I have come by my bitterness honestly and I have betrayed nothing of my own principles. I have only damaged those who have betrayed Nebraska’s Democrats.

  29. Anon says:

    Goose, how do you figure Stenberg is third in a three way viable line-up when he has the best name recognition of all of them and Fischer’s ID is non-existent. Wishful thinking there. You can’t just astro-turf Fischer ahead of Stenberg or Bruning in name ID. Ask the Kleebs how that worked.

  30. dondedondon says:

    Watch that Stenberg interview again. In it, he is asked if he thinks he has a chance of beating Heineman. He doesn’t just say “Yes.” He instead goes for a David vs Goliath example by reminding everyone that “No one gave Heineman a chance against Tom Osborne”, which in turn requires everyone remember that Heineman beat the tar out of the unbeatable Osborne, in case they had forgot why Heineman is governor right now. And that says what about Sten’s chances?

    For a lawyer, Stenberg offers a damaging defense of his own strength and candidacy.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how much the in fighting in the GOP will affect the party after the primary? Just how will the AG, Treasurer, and Sen Fischer get along in the upcoming legislative session? It will be interesting to see if the Gov jumps in as it would set up some interesting conflicts to say the least:-) 🙂

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