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 BoldProgressives.org 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 himself..er, 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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