The Kerrey Kickback

Chuck Hassebrook got elbowed out.
And Harry Reid made certain “promises” to Bob Kerrey.

Welcome to the Bob Kerrey candidacy folks.

When word went out last night that Hassebrook was ceding to Kerrey, no one was really surprised. Most suspected that either local Democrats would lean on Hassebrook to convince him he was being a drag on the party, or someone sweetened the pot for Chuck.

Let us all be honest. Jon Bruning got out of the way when Mike Johanns left as Agriculture Secretary to run for Senate. Whatever the reason, Bruning saw the light that he wouldn’t beat Johanns and got out. Hassebrook has done this as well.

Of course, Johanns didn’t humiliate Bruning by first promising that he was out, then coming back and saying, “I got a hall pass from my wife! She said it is OK to run!” You know, like Bob Kerrey did. But Hassebrook’s exit does raise a few eyebrows, nonetheless.

See, Johanns and Bruning would have been running based on pretty much the same ideology. But there were other forces at work on Kerrey — and they saw an outlet in the more liberal Hassebrook. Groups like were taking out ads touting Hassebrook as the “progressive” alternative to Kerrey — citing his support of the gulf wars, entitlement reform and a couple other semi-conservative positions.

And as we mentioned the other day, liberals the Daily Kos and Progressive Change were openly hostile towards the Kerrey candidacy, and may have looked to Hassebrook as the savior for their Occupy attitudes. This may have forced Kerrey to the left during a primary which could have been fatal before leaving May. (The other side of that is that without any real fear of losing, Kerrey could have kept Hassebrook on his left to be come more palatable to Independents and some Republicans.)

In any case, with Hassebrook out, Kerrey can be his own Cosmic self, without having to worry about what Chuck is up to.

And what does Kerrey do when no one is watching?


Why, he cuts back room deals!

Nebraskans may not be paying too close of attention, but the Kerrey Kickback has become a Big Freaking Deal in political Washington, D.C. Ever since Kerrey admitted that he got “promises” from Harry Reid that were “important” to him, DC wags have been tonguing…wait a minute, reverse that….about what these promises were.

Of course everyone figures these promises must concern Kerrey’s Senate seniority and whether he would get it back if he won the race.

But just like everyone hates cutters, there are few Democrat Senators below Harry Reid who are ready to bow to a triumphant Bob Kerrey return.

New Jersey’s Frank Lautenberg, for one, is currently 46th in seniority. But if he got his seniority back — which he lost after he left, then came back to the Senate — he’d suddenly be 10th in line. My how he would like the same deal Kerrey would get! Then there is the suggestion that Kerrey would be awesome as Chair of the Intelligence Committee. Uh except that Diane Feinstein is already there, and she sure as hell has no intention of leaving. And then there was the idea that Kerrey could chair the Ag Committee. Well, except that Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow won’t be budging from that spot anytime soon.


So what did Kerrey get for, for NEBRASKA…from Harry Reid? Well apparently some sort of a promise that Reid would “respect Kerrey’s seniority“? What the hell does that mean? No one knows. Unless Bob and Harry know, with a wink and nod, and won’t tell anyone. But Bob assured us that Reid’s promises were “important” to him and that these promises helped to convince him to screw Chuck Hassebrook…er, change his mind and run.

But what of all these backroom deals? When the Cornhusker Kickback surfaced, Ben Nelson tried to tell Nebraskans that he only sold his vote, just for them! And Nebraskans then told him where he could shove his deal.

So what is Kerrey trying to sell? Oh, you see Nebraskans, with Kerrey having seniority, he can really bring home the bacon for Nebraska! Why, more bicycle bridges for everyone! We will build a bridge from Offutt to Memorial Stadium! The cranes can have their own bridge over I-80! And who wouldn’t take a bridge from Chimney Rock to Scotts Bluff National Monument? THAT’s what you’d get with Cosmic Bob! More, More, More!

But isn’t that what Nebraskans said they were sick of when the Cornhusker Kickback reared its shellacked head? Nebraskans were embarrassed by the suggestion that they just wanted more for themselves. Nebraskans want good, limited government. Not one based on backroom deals that pit one state and one military base against another. Or one that dangles more bridges to Council Bluffs as your prize for electing the guy who wanted to be Mayor of New York.

After the Cornhusker Kickback, Nebraskans gave Ben Nelson the boot back to his turkey ranch. We will watch as Nebraskans get their head around the Bob Kerrey Kickback. And then send Kerrey back to spend time with his family — who, by the way, don’t live anywhere near Nebraska.


And speaking of political, back room deals, the Senate just nixed a plan to take approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline out of the President’s hands finalize it. This, after the President made personal calls to Senators to get them to put the kibosh on the bill.

Message: If you want more of President Obama’s plans, Bob Kerrey is your man.


For those of you itching to chat about the Omaha City Council’s ordinance votes, we will be discussing the politics of it tomorrow.


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  1. ricky says:

    Blah Blah Blah; what you see and hear from the G O P is quaking in their boots because what they thought was a shoo-in for a Republican pick up in the U S Senate does not look too good right now.
    Kerrey can run rings around A G Bruning.

    Ricky From Omaha
    PS looking forward to the subject of Ben Gray’s ordinance discussion. As of right now Chancellor Perlman is none-too-happy that Ron Brown made it seem like he was representing “One Memorial Stadium” with his remarks.
    Wouldn’t it be sweet if Brown got fired from NU and it were because Franklin Thompson invited him to speak before the Omaha City Council? (my theory).

  2. Really want to leave this for tomorrow, but just to say…
    Whenever I see Ron Brown drive in from Lincoln, sporting a hoodie, to address the Omaha City Council, on a gay rights ordinance, my FIRST reaction is, “Gee! He MUST be representing the entire University here!”
    But hey, maybe that’s just me.*

  3. Kortezzi says:

    Bruning and Stenberg are favored by 22 and 18 points, respectively, over Kerrey in the latest Rasmussen polls.
    Ricky, if you think the GOP is “quaking in their boots” about Bob Kerrey, you are kidding yourself and not many others.

    I read the OWH article on Harvey Perlman’s statement about Ron Brown. The “reporter”, Juan Perez Jr., stated that Perlman “took assistant football coach Ron Brown to task”. BUT HE DID NO SUCH THING. Perlman merely said Brown’s views don’t represent those of the University. Brown himself never said they did. Read Perlman’s statement, and it does NOT contain any reprimand of allegation (in the words themselves, or even the tone) that Brown claimed to speak for the University.

  4. Lil Mac says:

    Let us not confuse Bob’s deal with Ben’s. Whereas Ben’s deal forced all Nebraskans to become complicit in robbing every other taxpayer in America to line Nebraskans’ pockets with that loot, Bob’s deal appears to screws only Democrat US Senators. I cannot imagine one Democrat, Republican or Independent voter in Nebraska objecting to that. I am not advocating for BK. And sure BK may be beatable. One needs look only to the unbeatable coach Tom to see what a few years out east can do to one’s invulnerability. Yet the guy who beat Tom isn’t today running against Bob. So let’s not stand too firmly on early polls. And don’t underestimate BK. He’s cosmic but not stupid. He’s not that boob Nelson.

  5. RWP says:

    I disagree with Ron Brown about most things, but he has every right to speak his mind. And he doesn’t have to preface every single thing he says with ‘I don’t speak for the university’, because nobody but a moron would think he did.

    What is it about libs that they want to use any possible excuse to shut up speech they don’t like?

  6. RWP says:

    Mind you, Harvey’s statement was unintentionally hilarious

    Perlman: Only the board can speak on university policy and practices.

    I’ll take self contradictory statements for $100, Alex.

  7. Perlman? says:

    Who was speaking for the university when Petersen wrote blank checks to himself and Callahan that final season?

  8. not impressed says:

    Stenberg has been tested before and he’s failed 3 times in a bid for the senate. If this guy is such a great candidate why can’t he find support in the state?

  9. ricky says:

    One bad thing going against Coach Ron Brown in this matter is that NU President Milliken has proposed a “plus one” system of health care for University employees. An issue that so far the N U Board of Regents has not seen eye to eye on with the University President (thanks a lot Super Regent Hawks). Same sex health plans are the wave of the future for Universities and President Milliken knows that. It’s a good idea IMO.
    But Coach Brown took it upon himself to come up to testify before my Omaha City Council. Now he is in hot water with the bosses. However my Omaha City Councilman Thompson gets to bask in the limelight for another few days.

    ricky from omaha

  10. historian says:

    Anonymous 7:57 last night, I’m not sure most people would characterize JB unseating an incumbent state senator in his first bid for office in his early 20’s as “untested.”

  11. @ricky says:

    Everytime you speak do you preface it with “my views don’t necessarily represent those of my employer”? No, of course not. Coach Brown has every right to speak his opinion without worrying about losing his job. You libs are so hypocritical. When someone like Bill Maher uses degrading words to describe a woman you call it free speech, but if someone from the other side like Limbaugh uses degrading words to describe a woman the president gets involved and everyone demands he apologizes and be taken off the air.

  12. Oh ricky… Fear? Hardly. It’s just a predictable result of the fact that Democrats have already picked their guy, so the campaign begins. Maybe if you guys didn’t want the mudslinging on Kerrey to start so quickly, you should have let Hassebrook stay around a little longer.

  13. Some Thoughts says:

    Does Ron Brown live in Omaha? I guess I just assumed he was a Lincoln guy because of his job.

    University employees should be free to speak their minds on political issues as long as they are not speaking in their official capacities. Brown has blurred that line before. Did Perlman ask professors who testified if they had disclaimed their university association beforehand, though?

  14. Kortezzi says:

    The following views do not represent Ricky from Omaha.

    I like Ron Brown.

    I do not support special rights for homosexuals.

  15. Whatever says:

    In 2008, Bruning stepped aside for Mike Johanns after the national party recruited him and sent him back to Nebraska from his home in Arlington, Virginia to run for Senate (Johanns didn’t even have business ties in Nebraska, and didn’t have a ‘home’ until about 3 months after he announced).

    Welcome to yet another “It’s okay if you’re a Republican” moment.

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