Post-Kerrey

A new video up on YouTube by Don Stenberg today. See it here:

Very, very strange that Don would actually say this:

“Former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey announced that he would not seek re-election.”

(uh…seek what?)

“Which means that the winner of the Republican primary will be Nebraska’s next Senator.”

Well, OK, we get it. And we have said as much. And other politicos have said it. And you could maybe get one of your non-campaign supporters to say it.

But that doesn’t mean the CANDIDATE should say it!

If you’re a Dem or especially an Independent, doesn’t that piss you off a little or a lot? Really Don, you’re suggesting that the November election is a foregone conclusion? If you capture the nomination, does that mean you’ll quit campaigning at that point and just head to the drapery and carpet stores for the new office?

Just a little tiny bit ham-fisted, no?

And can Don please get through one donation plea without referencing Jim freaking DeMint? We get it, he endorsed him. But the more he keeps this up, the more and more it looks like Stenberg will simply be on DeMint’s lap should he get in. Has a Nebraskan ever entered a national office with that kind relationship? Owing that much to the Senator from another state?

We are just a little skeeved out by the whole thing.

***

The “Republican Liberty Caucus – Nebraska” (RLCNE) debate is this Saturday in Kearney. Taking part in the event will be Stenberg, Deb Fischer and Pat Flynn.

At this point Jon Bruning has declined to take part — citing that the primary field is not officially set. We sort of see where he was coming from, strategy-wise, when it may have looked like Dave Heineman might still get in the race.

Now, with Heineman 99.99999% out, that note is a little flat. Bruning is taking the same strategy that Don Stenberg took in 2006 when Stenberg was the “front runner” and refused to debate Pete Ricketts and David Kramer. Which of course now means Stenberg’s complaints to Bruning have little heft.

And ordinarily we would be a little more critical of Bruning’s tactics, Stenberg’s hypocrisy notwithstanding.

But anyone see @RLCNE on Twitter of late? They have sent out a barrage of Tweets and reTweets harshly critical of Bruning’s positions and (old) statements.

In essence, they have become a mouthpiece for the Stenberg camp.

They call Stenberg “the conservative champion”. The say Bruning is “a lot more like Harry Reid”. And then they’ve gone to openly mocking him the “#WheresJon” hashtags.

Which is fine and all that, we suppose. They are certainly free to endorse and support whomever they like.

But why in the world would Bruning agree to join a debate by an intra-party group that is openly campaigning against him? How could he expect any fair questions or treatment? And why would a strategic campaign agree to that in a million years?

We wish he would have agreed to it, just for the sport of the whole thing. But the way Ron Paul slanted RLCNE group has acted, we would call campaign malpractice on the Bruning camp if they joined that event.

***

With that in mind, can we at least agree that Deb Fischer needs to come out guns-blazing and win the debate against Stenberg to establish at least a little traction in this race?

We have no idea what the oppo-research is on Stenberg, but a flat or even-keeled performance by Fischer will do her absolutely no good. (Unless her campaign is looking at a million bucks somewhere that we don’t know about..)

***

On the all-things-Brad-Ashford front, we have learned that he has gone from “thinking about running for Omaha Mayor” to announcing that he is running in the first week of May.

Apparently he has former Hal Daub supporters Bill Protexter and John Blazek working for him as well. Could be a weird Mayoral election season, huh?

54 comments

  1. Dan Brown says:

    I sure hope there are other choices for Mayor. I would hate to think that I would have to hold my nose and vote for Suttle over empty-suit Ashford.

  2. Schmo-neezy says:

    Over-acknowledgement of any opponent (even worse, the imaginary kind that never ever were your opponent) is a sign of poor leadership talents. Only leads to a reactionary mindset.

    Like any preschool teacher will tell a student: “Worry about yourself.”

    For V-day, you could actually purchase “The Reactionary Mind” by Corey Robin on Amazon to give to your amor.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Where is Dan the PR Man? Ye-gads. Doesn’t anyone in the Stenberg camp know how to shoot a video, background, etc. etc.

  4. Schmo-neezy says:

    Right on Anonymous, and the fact that he talks mostly about Bob Kerrey (who was never in the race!!) and Jon Bruning (who you claim to be better than) than yourself!!

    Don, do you have anything to say about yourself and your campaign?? I mean, besides the fact that you Rand Paul, DeMint, etc. support you? Hell, aside from the 3rd grad courier new type at the beginning of the piece, I don’t think you mentioned the name “Stenberg” once.

    It’s sad to think that many Republicans prefer a thoughtless, old, white lifelong politician to EVERYTHING else. “Bruning used to be a huge liberal and has off-the-field issues”, “Fischer doesn’t have the money and is a giiiirrrrlllll”…………..so they’d vote for Stenberg??!! WHAT?

  5. Anon says:

    “Establishment Republican opponent” meaning that Don is some outside candidate or has been shunned by the Republican party in the past? He is setting himself up as a outside, new blood, teaparty candidate and that is the most insane claim made by any of the big three in the race so far. Unless it follows the fashion rule of something that was popular 30 years ago will be popular again.

  6. RWP says:

    It’s sad to think that many Republicans prefer a thoughtless, old, white lifelong politician to EVERYTHING else.

    Yeah, I get so sick of Republicans supporting people like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid… Why can’t they come up with someone who’s done something else significant in their life, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan, Mitt Romney, Rick Scott…?

  7. RLC-NE Chair says:

    I would just like to clarify something with respect to the event we are hosting on Saturday:

    1) The tweets that are made mention of are critical of AG Bruning because we believe that he should be at the debate. It would be different if there was a scheduling issue, or even if we really thought that the “field isn’t set,” but how many of us really believe that? We would, to be clear, be every bit as critical of Don Stenberg if Bruning were going to be there, and he wasn’t. The fact that our objection to Bruning’s refusal to participate is consistent with Stenberg’s campaign’s position is NOT indicative of any kind of an endorsement. Some of the tweets that you have referenced are retweets, that–while they may be critical of Jon Bruning–especially for not being willing to participate in a debate that may very well decide who is the next U.S. Senator (something we suggested in a press release announcing the debate a couple of weeks ago)–they are not intended as an endorsement, but rather as a dialogue. The fact that the original tweet (not RLCNE) endorses Stenberg does not imply our endorsement–indeed, if you read the tweets carefully, you’ll note that ours are critical of Bruning. If that was made less than clear in 140 characters, well, that’s unfortunate.

    2)To be clear, we have not endorsed anyone yet–and indeed, may not. Our endorsements of federal office seekers are made in conjunction with the national Republican Liberty Caucus, and only occur after the candidates have submitted a request for endorsement, along with a candidate survey. We look carefully at the candidates’ stands on various issues important to those who see themselves as libertarian conservatives, and if there’s no candidate that meets our expectations, we don’t endorse. Only one federal candidate in the state has been endorsed since our chartering in 2008: Adrian Smith. None of the Senate candidates, to date, as submitted the necessary paperwork.

    3) The debate this weekend is a first opportunity for citizens to see their potential future senators, compared next to each. We’re proud to be able to sponsor that debate, and are disappointed that Jon Bruning doesn’t believe that the citizens deserve to see those comparisons. But the invitation is still open to him, and if he shows up, we’ll happily make a place on stage for him.

  8. RLC-NE Chair, Laura Ebke,

    YOU Tweeted:

    “Which #NESEN candidate is “a lot more like Harry Reid than the conservative champion”? http://bit.ly/yroZO6 Saturday”

    So YOU compared Bruning to Harry Reid and YOU referred to Don Stenberg as “the conservative champion”, while linking to an article written by a Stenberg supporter.

    Yeah, we get it: You’re miffed that Bruning isn’t coming to your show. But frankly, after that obvious expressed bias by you as the coordinator of the debate, I don’t know why Deb Fischer or Pat Flynn would stick around either. You talk about not endorsing a candidate, then compare one candidate to the Democrat Senate leader and clearly endorse another candidate over all the others — including those who are coming to your gig.

    We stand fully by our criticism Laura. And if you think they should be there, you owe Fischer and Flynn an apology and should retract your statements.

    But hey, you do what you gotta do.

    SS

  9. Buck Turgidson says:

    Ebke writes, “they may be critical of Jon Bruning–especially for not being willing to participate in a debate that may very well decide who is the next U.S. Senator…”

    THIS debate may decide our next US Senator? Geez, grandiose much?

  10. Brent,
    I am / we are, neither.
    (Who do you think it was that re-published Bruning’s Daily Nebraskan columns that the Stenberg camp is so fond of?)
    But then again, we are not sponsoring a public debate either. We are specifically talking about Nebraska politics.
    But if the Stenberg or any other camp said, “Hey you’ve been critical of us in the past. We won’t send you stuff / respond to you, etc.”, we’d understand. But our site is very different from a debate sponsor who should be neutral.
    Who could blame Deb Fischer if she dropped out at this point? Except that she needs the press, so probably can’t. Someone makes a strategic move not to attend the debate so the SPONSOR hammers them? I can understand Stenberg doing it. But RLCNE? Sheesh.
    SS

  11. BS says:

    Whatever helps us all sleep at night. Except I can’t fathom the night terrors that rush through Gerard’s head at night. SCARY STUFF

  12. Unfair StreetSweeper says:

    Oh, ‘cmon StreetSweeper – in no way is Ebke endorsing anyone with that tweet, give us a break. I for one am one of the many “undecideds” out there, and am excited to see several of these debates. As for the AG not attending, I see that as a smart political move, and he’s paying the price for it by getting smacked around a bit by RLC-NE. Totally fair game!
    Hey SS – Why are you trying so hard to get other US Senate candidates to back out of this debate? Seems really weird that you would take that approach on an anonymous blog; it’s making us all wonder… I think this is the first time I’ve read your article and comments and completely disagreed with you! Keep up the great work, but this time, you’re wrong bro.

  13. Real Republican says:

    It seems if I was running for office I would not want their endorsement. In 2011 the RLC endorsed 10 candidates and only 1 won. Jon is smart not to attend.

  14. RLC-NE Chair says:

    Read the linked to article, SS. The ARTICLE referred to Bruning as being more like Harry Reid, we merely teased it. And just because FreedomWorks–which does a lot of good work in a lot of areas–supports Don Stenberg doesn’t mean that promoting their article implies promotion of their candidate. Jon Bruning may, indeed, be THE conservative candidate in the race–but if so, why isn’t he willing to come and defend himself in front of the public. We all have changes of heart over time, so if that’s the case, lay it out in a public forum, so that the people you want to vote for you can see your sincerity.

    You really have no idea what you’re talking about with respect to our “bias.” If and when we endorse, we’ll make it public, and frankly, I have no idea who that will be (if anyone), since the Board hasn’t talked about it, and we haven’t had the debate yet to even get feedback from our members and friends. If you talk to the Fischer and Flynn campaigns (did you note the tweets where we thanked them for participating, and retweeted some of Sen. Fischer’s tweets?), I think you’d find that we have gone out of our way to be fair. We have extended the same courtesies to every candidate–including Spencer Zimmerman, who you haven’t even mentioned in all of this. They’ve all been given the same opportunity to submit questions, and they’ve all been included on each mailing we’ve sent out–including, by the way, the Bruning campaign. You would have a very hard time finding that we had even criticized AG Bruning before yesterday, as we had been holding out hope that he would change his mind (until his appearance on a radio show yesterday, when he made it pretty clear he wasn’t going to participate). Our previous comments had been along the line of “these 4 have indicated they’ll be there, Attorney General Bruning has yet to commit.”

    If Sen. Fischer or Pat Flynn ask me for an apology for the way they’ve been treated, I’ll make it.

  15. RLC-NE Chair says:

    Buck,

    Didn’t mean to imply grandiosity with respect to the debate–just a mis-use of words. What I meant to say was that in a PRIMARY that would likely determine who our next senator is…

  16. RLC-NE Chair says:

    Real Republican–not sure what you’re looking at for endorsements. RLC National? They endorsed (not RLC Nebraska) several senators and congressmen who won in 2010. RLC-Nebraska has nothing to do with endorsements outside of our state, and since there were no elections in Nebraska in 2011…

  17. Unfair StreetSweeper says:

    I challenge SS to watch the debate on Saturday and include how Stenberg was promoted or given special treatment during the debate by RLC-NE in Monday’s post. ‘Cmon SS – if RLC-NE wanted to endorse or support Stenberg, do you really think they would host a debate? Of all of the candidates (Spencer included!) Stenberg is easily the least competent speaker and debater. If RLC-NE truly was secretly supporting Stenberg, hosting a debate would NOT be the way to promote him! None of what you’re saying makes any sense.

  18. 3:38,
    “Establishment”? Am I to understand that the former TWELVE year Attorney General, current State Treasurer, 2000 party nominee for the Senate and brief 2006 Senate front runner is ANTI-establishment??? Oh brother.

    Laura,
    YOU rewrote the words from the article. And then YOU linked the article. Oh, but now it’s just a “tease” huh? That’s how you’re selling it? Well, OF COURSE you’re promoting Stenberg. Get back to me when you call Deb Fischer or Pat Flynn — or even Bruning — “the conservative champion”.

    Who cares what you’re mailing? Your biggest audience is currently your Tweets, and you’ve shown your bias in those tweets. I would say that I don’t know if your org’s tweets are representative of the whole group (whatever that consists of) or of simply you or whomever else may have control of the keyboard. But we’d suggest that if you are sponsoring a debate, you leave it to the campaigns to hammer each other and you stay out of it.

    But hey, maybe that’s just us.

    SS

  19. 4:05,

    At this point I would expect RLCNE to be as polite as….someone who’s really polite… after we pointed out how biased their Tweets were against one candidate and in favor of another.

    Good thing we pointed it out, eh?

    SS

  20. Unfair StreetSweeper says:

    My establishment reference was about being so completely anti-RLC and having absolutely nothing to do with any candidates, SS. I stand by what I said regarding the lack of logic in the RLC supposedly promoting Stenberg by having him debate – really absurd theory you’ve really been steamrolling today.

  21. 4:16,
    I pointed out RLCNE’s obvious and blatant bias prior to them hosting a debate, so that makes me “establishment”?
    And am I to understand that somehow RLCNE is influencing Stenberg on whether or not to debate? WTF? Here read it again: The debate sponsor is picking sides and promoting one candidate over the others prior to the debate. They shouldn’t do that.
    If you can’t see that, I don’t know what to tell you.
    SS

  22. Real Republican says:

    Its on the RLC dot org website for the National group. In 2011 they endorsed 10 candidates and only one won. I read on that same website that your group had Ron Paul as a chairman. Ron Paul is a joke!

  23. Unfair StreetSweeper says:

    If RLC-NE was secretly endorsing Stenberg, the last thing they would want him to do is more debates. He’s a shakey wobbley old man who needs a scribbled cocktail napkin to introduce his wife to someone. He’s not a smooth talking politician – it shows and we all know it to be true. There’s just no way any organization endorsing Stenberg would think he would do well in a debate, even if he was debating a hard boiled egg. The tweets prove nothing, I just don’t see it. Anyone can be easily misunderstood in 140 characters. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree on your analysis on this one.

  24. 4:38,
    Who said anything about being secretive? If they were trying to keep it a “secret”, they’ve simply been sloppy. And if they didn’t want to push Stenberg, they’ve done an EXTREMELY poor job.

    And sure, you can misunderstand a Tweet. But when you do it again, and again, and again, things clear up pretty quickly.

    I’m also aware of RLCNE’s affinity for wobbly old men. Especially those whose suit jackets don’t quite fit in debates.

    You can feel free to disagree with my analysis. All that does is make you wrong.
    SS

  25. RLC-NE Chair says:

    Gee, SS, will this suffice?:

    I apologize to Sen. Fischer and Pat Flynn and Spencer Zimmerman, and whoever else. I have apparently violated the secret Twitter protocol, and left Street Sweeper with the totally mistaken impression that we have favorites in this race. We do not, and merely intended to tweak the candidate who chose not to show up. Regardless of my ineptness in quoting from articles or retweeting in a clear way, we really don’t have favorites–I couldn’t get a majority vote for endorsement of any of the candidates today, and have no idea myself who I’d personally support. Really. Believe it or not, it’s true. We look forward to having all of the debates present who choose to make themselves available, and we look forward to learning more about their positions on issues important to our organization.

  26. Kortezzi says:

    Shakin’ my head at the Stenberg campaign…this ad is precisely the wrong approach to take. Don needs to have everyday Nebraskans talk about why they like Stenberg’s policies, and why they trust his conservative instincts. If this keeps up, Bruning will run away with it.

    As for Brad Ashford’s pending Omaha mayoral candidacy – – this is worrisome. Jean Stothert appears inclined to run on the Republican side, and she’ll run away with it. But if Ashford runs as an independent, he’ll draw more support away from Stothert than from Jim Suttle. You have to know that, Brad – – and you don’t have a chance of winning yourself.

  27. To Brad Ashford says:

    I have yet to see LB 912 scheduled in your committee Brad. Planning on killing McCoy’s bill? Do you support the Suttle/Gray discrimination ordinance? Seems like Omaha is going to wake up to your support of a radical gay agenda Brad.

  28. RLC-NE Chair says:

    “To RLC-NE Chair”:

    Ron Paul is not on our Board of Directors. He is listed on the RLC National’s “Board of Advisors”–along with people like Barry Goldwater, Jr., and an assortment of past and present members of Congress, academics, and state officeholders.

    Our State Board is made up entirely of Nebraska Republicans, most of whom are trying to work within the Republican Party on many levels–including as members of County and State Central Committees, County Chairs and Vice Chairs, etc.

  29. RLC-NE Chair says:

    Interested:

    It’s more or less public record I suppose. Our board membership is grassroots; no “big names.” It consists of myself (Laura Ebke), Jon Tucker, Ron Schwab, Nick Sulser, Zachary Dean, Brian Petermann, Amy Haberman. Three of us live in the 3rd District, one in the 1st District, 3 in the 2nd District.

  30. 1994 says:

    I remember Brad Ashford. He ran a 3rd place in a failed Congressional candidacy that touted abortion rights and gun control. Seems like somethings don’t change 18 years later.

  31. Dan Brown says:

    Brad won’t take away any votes from Jean Stothert. No Republican would ever vote for him. He might get some from Suttle though.

  32. To Catholic voter says:

    There are videos of Brad from 94 out there on his liberal positions as well as tape from his years on the unicameral. His campaign will go nowhere fast. Having Fahey’s support won’t help him either.

  33. Typical Voter says:

    I hope Republicans run on a platform of ‘every sperm is sacred.’ We will see how well that works for them. I’m sorry, it’s 2012, not many people are abhorred by contraception anymore.

  34. Voter who wants choices says:

    Dear Sweep,
    How about a run-down on other races. Wednesday is the last day for incumbents to file for any race and March 1 is the deadline for others. Check out Douglas Couty Election site and there are a scary bunch of blanks….I don’t mean those who have filed. Where are those potential leaders, whether it’s legislature, MUD, NRD, etc.??

  35. BkDodge42 says:

    I don’t understand Brad Ashford’s comment that he will definitely run for mayor and that he is announcing today that he will announce his intentions in May? So is he still on the fence since he’s giving himself until May to actually announce what he announced today?

  36. Susan Smith says:

    Senator Assford is probably counting on votes from his protected illegal alien community here in Nebraska. I mean he and five other Socialists on the Judas Committee refuse to advance any of the illegal immigration enforcement bills to the floor for a debate and vote — HOWEVER, he did make Nebraska a DeFacto Sanctuary State by declaring that illegal immigration was a federal issue and blamed the citizens who have been opposing illegal immigration since 2006 for not being able to change the minds of the six Socialists on the committee. I think Colby Coass made the same kind of comment in the press too. He, in essence enacted Sen Brenda Council’s LR39 stating a “hands off illegal aliens, cuz it’s a federal issue – Nebraska Compact. Pretty slick and slippery of ’em!

    Senator Assford while on the floor passed on this advice to the newbie senators…”…Don’t let the people on the outside of the glass looking in….” Oh and yes how about when he got red in the face and raised his voice threatening to table LB403 (the only immigration enforcement bill passed in NE)
    if the in-state tuition for illegal aliens was not stripped out of the bill?

    You kissed it goodbye Senators when you proved you care more about illegal aliens than citizens and legal immigrants.

  37. Susan Smith says:

    Well, Millionaire Don Stenberg, his SUPERPAC and “Grassroots” Mouthpieces’ arrogance is nothing new. When the news was abuzz with the possibility of Gov H getting into the Senate race Stenberg and his SUPERPAC sent out and email claiming a need for donations and don’t let “…a candidate who is less capable than Don……”. I mean can you believe that they were saying DON STENBERG was more capable than Governor Heineman? Man, I rolled on the floor over that one.

    That’s right you don’t hear DS propping himself up on this track record – he even tried to put himself across as just the average joe trying to make ends meet and come to find out HE’S a millionaire too. Sure didn’t stop him from bashing JB for being financially successful and what about Freedomworks endorsement – a PRO-AMNESTY organization? I’ve never seen DS at any of the public hearings on illegal immigration enforcement, haven’t seen him comment on any of the illegal alien issues in this state atleast since 2006 EXCEPT for an Opinion he wrote while attorney general stating illegal immigration was a federal issue – the same Opinion the Fremont City Council used to persuade citizens to NOT vote in favor of the immigration enforcement ordinance. And how about DS promise that he was going to run his campaign against Ben Nelson and not on the other Republican candidates? Or how about him representing his clients with issues overseen by the attorney general’s office – would that be considered a “NEWTism” — a conflict of interest, knowing the ins and outs of that office and policies, making money being a lobbyist?

    Plenty of broken promises,inaction, credibility and trust issues – both while in office and as a citizen.

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