How Deb did it

by Street Sweeper on May 16, 2012

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Underfunded and outstaffed, with no national groups to help her, Deb Fischer pulled out one of the most unlikely victories in recent memory.

You are likely to see some national media outlets who are quick to paint Fischer as some sort of upstart tea partier who toppled the GOP establishment candidate in Jon Bruning. Should you see that conventional wisdom, note that it is wrong on both counts.

First, Bruning is not and was not the Nebraska GOP establishment candidate. He received no endorsements from the elected delegation, not even a subtle pat on the back. The National Republican Senatorial Committee did not offer even tacit support. In fact the national party leaders did not even want Jon Bruning. The real establishment candidate was Governor Dave Heineman, who chose not to run.

Bruning was and is a hard worker, and great fund raiser who had made it clear that he was going to jump into the Senate race. As the last man standing after Heineman and Fortenberry and Terry and a number of other names passed, Bruning assumed the front-runner nod. But just because he was the front-runner, did not mean he was “establishment” in the Dick Lugar sense.

And Fischer is no upstart Tea Partier. In fact, she is arguably more moderate than the other candidates in the race, and certainly was not out trying to stir the pot just for stirring’s sake.

How she won? A lot of luck and good timing. But just like Ben Hogan said, “Golf is a game of luck. The more I practice the luckier I get.”

Many people were clearly uncomfortable with the prospect of a Jon Bruning nomination — and outright fatigued by the prospect of a Don Stenberg nomination. The sheer number of late undecided showed that. In the mean time, many Republicans were sort of sticking with guy who had the most money and seemed to be the winner.

But without Jim DeMint and the Club for Growth, no one would have been able to drive up Bruning’s negatives. Fischer certainly could not have done that on her own. (But while DeMint wants to take some sort of credit for defeating Bruning, DeMint was never in it to just defeat Bruning. He was in it to be the King-Maker. He absolutely picked the wrong guy in Stenberg, and may just be hoping that he can pull Fischer to his side at this point. Don’t count it likely.)

But we all watched that final week by the Fischer camp, and campaign manager Aaron Trost.
There was the initial Fischer poll — at a time while we and others were asking why they were spending money on a poll, when they couldn’t do TV!
But someone must have suggested that before anyone would endorse, the campaign needed to show that they had a chance to win.

So Kay Orr masterfully pulled the Sarah Palin card out her sleeve and the momentum really picked up.
Jeff Fortenberry, sensing the GOP discontent took a bold stand and endorsed Fischer giving her needed credibility — and a display that a state party leader was willing to take a big risk on Fischer. If he could, so could you.

And then the final question was, Well the endorsements are all well and good, but can she get on TV? Enter Joe Ricketts. Knowing Stenberg was doomed, he poured cash in to help Fischer out and just pounded Bruning with a devastating ad.

Nebraska GOP voters? The undecideds were watching and in some ways hoping for a breakthrough.
And they got it.
More polls trending toward Fischer, and the momentum never stopped.

Oh, and we will tell you right now, that of the three, Deb Fischer is the one the Kerrey camp has feared the most. (There have been Democrat operatives literally skipping around with a plan to take down Bruning and enshrine Bob Kerrey. They may have been wrong in the end, but that was absolutely the CW in DC and beyond.)

Deb will still have work ahead of her. She will have to be much more diligent about raising money, though that should also come a bit easier. And she will have to be a quick study on some of the international issues that may come up. But she is not going to be seen as some ultra-partisan who Kerrey thought he was running against. And oh my, but Bob Kerrey has a Congressional voting record to look back at.

But Nebraska Republicans picked a game changer.
Get used to the idea of Senator Deb Fischer. (And that’s “Senator” without the “state” in front of it.)

{ 140 comments }

1 Bob Loblaw May 16, 2012 at 12:32 AM

Absolutely correct on National pols reading this result wrong. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of Christine O’Donnell comparisons and a lot of mama grizzly stuff to. But I think you’ve laid out perfectly how Deb won.

Now who gets the blame at the Bruning camp for not seeing this coming and stopping it. What a complete failure in the last week of this campaign. Has anyone ever dropped a lead as fast?

2 Yes we can! May 16, 2012 at 12:40 AM

This proves that the Art Knox/Charlie Thone/Kay Orr old guard wing of the party is not dead and still knows how to win an election. Us younger folks could learn something from them. Jon Bruning did tonight.

3 To: IO May 16, 2012 at 1:44 AM

Yoo hoo!

Interested observer…..go back into your cave. JACKASS!

4 Bam May 16, 2012 at 3:53 AM

Bruning lost by constantly drooling for the next highest office he could find. It’s not a trait Nebraskans like.

Stenberg lost by failing to understand that Nebraskans don’t want him as their face outside the state.

Hope this serves as the final nails in the political coffins of these bums.

5 The Grundle King May 16, 2012 at 6:05 AM

I think people aren’t giving enough credit to the Sarah Palin endorsement. As much as I can’t stand Sarah, I think a lot of the rural folk still identify with the Wasilla Huntress. I don’t get it, personally, because listening to her talk for 5 minutes pretty well clears up any misconceptions about her IQ level. And as someone pointed out on the other thread, she can’t seem to finish anything she starts.

Regardless, congrats to Fischer. The GOP voters need to start getting behind her, because she’s a hell of a lot better than the alternative.

6 ricky May 16, 2012 at 6:15 AM

So long AG Bruning. You lost the raccoon vote and the twitter vote. How did you get so rich by being a state worker anyway?
Tip of the hat to Nebraskan’s who saw through Bruning at last. Now watch him start running for Governor starting today. But I have a better idea for Mr Bruning and Mr Stenberg; why don’t you do the job Nebraskan’s elected you to do like Ms Fischer did in the Unicam?
Should be an interesting race between Fischer and Kerrey.

ricky from omaha

PS bad month for Scott Lautenbaugh. First his racetrack bill fails then he endorsed Bruning and then he watched the Feds come in to monitor his former office, the Douglas County Election Commission.

7 Icky Ricky May 16, 2012 at 6:26 AM

Can you explain why it’s a bad month for Scott when the feds come in to monitor his former office? And that was nothing by showboating by Eric Holder at DOJ. As Charles Krauthammer correctly noticed last night, Holder is nothing more than a political hack.

8 Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 7:04 AM

Hopefully, after Fortenberry’s win in 2004, and Deb’s win last night, Club for Growth will see they help win elections in Nebraska — just not the win they were hoping for!

9 Lil Mac May 16, 2012 at 8:11 AM

Sweeper, your reasoning was clear re Deb, Don and Jon, but then switched to hope re Deb and Bob. She ran a brilliantly timed primary campaign. But that only proves she has sharp short-term acumen and vision. Bob wants to get back in the Senate. Hope is no defense to that.

Bob’s billionaire is bigger than Deb’s billionaire. Deb no longer has the luxury of two opponents she can pit against each other. And November undecideds, many who previously voted for Bob and embrace NE nonpartisan populism, are a new ball game for Deb. And being from NY insulates Bob from being “part of the Obama machine”. Bob will claim his own health plan would have worked without waste. While GOP primary voters cared about the socialism of it, Nov votes care about it wasting their money. Plus, as Buffett’s rag noted, Deb is one of few ranchers who raises her cattle free at taxpayer expense. That and whatever else Bob can dredge up and release in October. — Sweeper, you are right that Bob has a known record. It is Deb’s we don’t know that worries me. And it is just silly to surmise that Kerrey’s camp dredged dirt on Jon because Deb was clean. Now its her turn.

On the positive side, registered GOP numbers are up to 48% of the total NE electorate. If they come storming out against Obama in Nov, that’s very good for Deb. But plenty of those same Republicans voted for Nelson and Kerrey in the past. And Nov voters habitually elect Democrats to office. This Senate seat has been Democrat 34 out of the last 36 years, a dozen of those held by Kerrey himself. If Wife/Rancher Fischer can beat SEAL/MOH/GOV/SEN Kerrey at his own game, Fischer will be a force to be reckoned with in the U. S. Senate. That would be good.

You say Bob fears Deb the most. I feel you pulled that out of your butt. I hope your butt is right.

10 Political Genius May 16, 2012 at 8:27 AM

Deb didn’t win the primary. When she was on her own for 10 months she did nothing. Jim Demint, the OWH, Palin and Ricketts got her elected. She better get ready for Paul Johnson’s love taps and for the OWH scrutinizing her.

11 The Grundle King May 16, 2012 at 8:35 AM

BTW, get ready for the Dems to declare war on this woman.

12 Some Thoughts May 16, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Sweeper, I agree completely. The national spin from this morning’s outlets seemed to be just what you predicted: tea party outsider sweeps in on a wave of reformist zeal. That’s not true. Let’s not forget that Deb is Jerry Strobel’s daughter, and already has been a successful legislator. This win represents an older old guard of Nebraska Republicans. A lot of these people still look upon Bruning as the ambitious younger upstart.

13 Roger Snowden May 16, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Good analysis, Street.

14 RWP May 16, 2012 at 9:17 AM

There’s a shout out for L St. on National Review’s The Corner blog

15 Street Sweeper May 16, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Very nice piece, referencing L. St. by editor Jack Fowler:
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/300083/deb-fischer-s-cornhupset-jack-fowler

16 Senator Snowplow May 16, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Did they say anything about me?

17 Political upset of the year May 16, 2012 at 9:35 AM

The Wall Street Journal & Hot Air have good stories on the political upset of the year in Nebraska. Except that Hot Air can’t even spell “Stenberg” (they spelled it Sternberg and Stenberg in the same story). That’s a bad sign when the media can’t even spell your name. Bruning was done in by his raccoon remarks and negative ads/image. Deb will represent Nebraska very well in the Senate but it’s going to be a titanic battle. To Bob Kerrey I say: GO “FISCH”!

18 Up in Omaha May 16, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Congrats to Deb for winning. Since most voters in Omaha don’t know who Deb is, she better start focusing on them. Deb will win the west. Omaha is a different animal. It’s a block by block political fight and she needs to put most of her resources in this city. If she understands that, she will beat Kerrey running away.

19 Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 9:44 AM

As this story gets retold and retold and before the Bob Kerrey false narrative that Fischer owes her win to Ricketts sets in, it is important to remember a few things. Fischer surged on her own to “within the margin” before Palin, Ricketts, Fortenberry, etc. Jon Bruning had a commanding lead, but it was never built on a strong foundation. Remember all the undecideds? Nebraskans well knew Bruning and Stenberg and still remained undecided until late in the process. Jon Bruning was susceptible to the attack ads because they confirmed what many Nebraskans felt but couldn’t articulate. Many people who came into contact with Deb in her extensive campaigning throughout the state liked her but didn’t think others knew her or would vote for her. When her campaign released the poll showing that she was closing, it gave her the credibility spark she needed. Then, Palin, Ricketts and Fortenberry just closed the deal. It wouldn’t have happened if Deb hadn’t blanketed the state campaigning and if people hadn’t remained uneasy about Bruning.

20 Wow May 16, 2012 at 9:55 AM

My Democratic operative friend just said the same thing as Sweeper about whom the Kerrey camp would have least wanted to face: Fischer. Because she doesn’t have the negatives of Don or Jon; because she’s a she; and because she comes across as authentic. She has a record in the legislature, but from this person’s perspective, she’s been consistent during her 8 years and true to her principles. So, there ya go. This was just a spontaneously volunteered perspective not offered in the context of “do you agree with street Sweeper?” Perhaps Sweeper’s butt got it right.

21 Interested Observer May 16, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Political Genius at 8:27 got it right! Dirty, out of state millions of dollars of Bruning bashing ads made whoever was still standing the top vote getter, by default.

Up in Omaha at 9:42 got it right! Most voters in Omaha don’t know who Deb is. So, why did they vote for her? Again, because of all the dirty, out of state millions of dollars of Bruning bashing ads.

It will be interesting to sit back and observe all the Nebraska voters get to know Deb, as I do, during the next 6 months. I’m pretty sure that she won’t get a “by” in the fall like she just did this spring. It will be fun to be an Interested Observer this summer and fall. Stay tuned . . .

22 Interested Observer May 16, 2012 at 10:16 AM

In Deb’s acceptance speech last night she said, “I never planned to run for the United States Senate.”

The only thing is that about 20 years ago, one night at the Pepper Mill in Valentine, I personally heard Deb boast that “one day I’ll be a United States Senator”. Of course, that’s why she’s been working on her resume all these years. With that one goal in mind. But it just proves, once again, that I don’t believe everything that she says, because I know better.

23 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Deb Fischer’s family having grazing permits is not “sucking off the government teat” ok?

Back when I was a farm kid, we didn’t graze our cattle on federal land because we grazed them on our own land. If the federal government wasn’t in the business of owning grazing land in the middle of cattle country, the Fischers might own that land and wouldn’t have to pay rent to the federal government or anyone else. It ain’t the Fischers’ fault that the government chose to own land and then set the terms of the lease.

And don’t go spouting off meaningless statistics about what percent of cattle ranchers have those leases. Unless you can tell me what percent of cattle ranchers live anywhere near federal grazing land. We sure didn’t. I’m not driving 5 hours one way to check cattle. If I couldn’t find pasture within 30 minutes of home, I’m not renting it no matter how low the rent.

You city slickers seem to think all cattle ranchers live right next to Deb Fischer’s federal grazing land. I suggest you all pull out a map and acquaint yourselves with Nebraska geography.

24 JC May 16, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Fischer’s win seems, at least to me, somewhat comparable to Santorum’s Iowa win last January. Nobody really liked the frontrunner Bruning that much, they were tired of Stenberg, so all the undecideds finally settled upon Fischer as the best alternative and because she a blank slate. No one really looked through her record that much, undecided voters saw her as a new alternative with no negatives because no one bothered to look for the negatives until she already had the momentum.

Don’t get me wrong, she is better than Kerrey on most things, but when people start examining her record, such as her role in raising gas taxes and funding roads with general fund sales tax money, then some of the enthusiasm might fade.

She’s a moderate on just about everything, and while Nebraskans like their Democrats to be moderates who work across the aisle–an image mastered by Nelson and Kerrey–they like their Republicans to be staunch conservatives, and I’m not sure Fischer’s record is really that conservative.

25 Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Deb Fischer’s family having grazing permits is not “sucking off the government teat” ok?

It’s still welfare only available to a select few no matter how you try to spin it.

26 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 10:48 AM

And one more thing. Suggesting that its somehow hypocritical for a supposed fiscal conservative to accept such a great deal (aka take advantage of) from the federal government is absurd. It’s like the argument that if you opposed the stimulus, then you should refuse any stimulus money else you’re a hypocrite. That’s just dumb. I opposed the stimulus but it passed and my tax dollars went to pay for the damn thing. If those Obama bozos are going to spend my money, I damn sure want to get as much of it back as I can, and I would expect Heineman to do the same. And if the federal government is going to lease grazing land for below-market rates, Deb Fischer would be stupid NOT to take advantage.

27 AnOnYmOuS May 16, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Oh hell…why do I keep coming back to read this drivel? You don’t really expect people to believe that Bruning wasn’t the establishment pick and Fischer wasn’t the pick of Nebraska’s Constitutional Conservatives do you?! I know it pains you to have to report that your boy lost the election and that you are out of touch with the majority of the state’s Republicans. You have your loyal following of readers and many are your little cronies. You stay in your own little world while the rest of us move the GOP in Nebraska into the future! Lead, follow or get out of the way!

28 Kerry for NYC Mayor May 16, 2012 at 11:06 AM

For those who think Fischer will have a hard time raising money – think again. Her win is now national news and there are countless conservatives nation-wide that will do almost anything to keep Kerry from becoming NY’s third senator.

Kerry traditionally pulled his swing votes from females and all of that potentially goes up in smoke while running against Fischer. Don’t be surprised when Kerry now hits the airwaves in force to try to define Fischer before she has a chance to define herself. He will do everything to define her as an extremist while feeding voters his typical BS about how he works across the isle for Nebraska…despite his liberal voting record.

The only way Kerry can try to beat Fischer is to destroy her character before people get to know her. He knows this – that is why Fischer was the last person he wanted to run against in this election.

Watch the money start poring rapidly into Nebraska – Kerry will need all his buddies from DC and NYC to pony up if they want his liberal voting record back in the Senate.

29 Lincolnite May 16, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Bob Kerrey comes across as inauthentic as they come. He’s a NY liberal whose come back to little old Nebraska to save us simple folks from our own ignorance. We’re just too dumb and naive to know the real ways of the world.

That is the problems with liberals in general. They think they know so much more than the common man. Such patronizing, arrogant, asses. Please elect a real Nebraskan this fall. Vote Fischer.

30 Macdaddy May 16, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Now that Kerrey is the official Democrat nominee, is he going to bother trying to establish residency here? The Consitution says he has to be a resident here on election day. Kerrey might want to brush up on Nebraska residency requirements. So far he ain’t a resident here.

31 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Oh geez, here we go with someone whose only rebuttal is to call my informed argument “spin.” It’s only available to a select few because there are only a few folks with cattle in the area of those lands. And its not welfare because its not being given. The government is a willing seller of leases that sets the price for those leases. The Fischers are willing buyers. That’s not welfare; its commerce. Pity you Occupy types don’t get the difference.

32 Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Those leases are well below market value. So Fischer gets a benefit not available to most others that increases the $$$ in her pocket. That is welfare not that she needs the subsidy. Now you can blame the government for pricing the leases way too low, but why are they so low? Because rich donors to elected government officials want them low.

I’m betting you have an issue with those (racoons!) who get food stamps. Hypocrite!

33 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

The Interior Dept sets the lease, not an elected politician over which some rancher in the (precious) sandhills would hold sway.

34 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Is it the “precious” sandhills or the “pristine” sandhills? I forget. Anyway, the current Secretary of the Interior is Ken Salazar. If you have a complaint about what the Fischers pay in order to lease grazing land under his authority, take it up with him. I think you can reach him at hopeychangey.org.

35 Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

And who appoints the Sec. of the Interior? Doesn’t make a difference, Dem or Repub. Money rules the day.

36 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Actually Obama appointed Salazar. Share that with all your Occupy friends when you get back to your tent.

37 Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Did you read what I said? Dem or Repub. Why are you assuming that I’m an Obama supporter? Because I had something negative to say about Fischer? Too many here have lost all ability to critically think. Newsflash; not everything is black or white, and your “side” is not always right. You do tend to go quickly to personal insults when your arguments lose steam.

38 Levi May 16, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Oh, that dirty damned liberal Bob Kerrey. He was born and raised in New York City! He went to school in Manhattan and graduated from a New York City college. Then he opened a bunch of businesses in New York City. If it hadn’t been for those few years that he served as Governor in Nebraska, where he lived in a house paid for by the taxpayers, from 1983-1987, he wouldn’t have any ties to the state at all. After he ran for Senate he lived in that other stronghold of liberal thought, Washington D.C.!
I’ll bet you that Deb will still live in Valentine after she becomes a Senator. She’ll probably get up extra early every day so that she can drive to Washington. She won’t be taking any of those private jet trips funded by her billionaire friends. You can bet on that!

39 Sweetwater Observer May 16, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Who was that person who early on was commenting here that Deb Fischer was a winner? Oh yes, that would be me.

And who was that person who commented here often that the people in Cherry County (Valentine, for those of you who live on the East Coast of Nebraska) would never vote for Fischer? Hmmmmm. Just as I thought……crickets.

40 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 2:03 PM

No, doofus, its not that you said something negative about Fischer. It’s that you used the language of class envy. “Doesn’t make a difference, Dem or Repub. Money rules the day.” That’s the language of the Barackupiers.

41 Anonymostly May 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM

This federal grazing thing is one of the most specious attacks I’ve seen in awhile and only a little bit of time with the google machine could help anyone figure that out. Sweeps doesn’t like links, but this is straight from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management’s website:

“The Federal grazing fee, which applies to Federal lands in 16 Western states on public lands managed by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, is adjusted annually and is calculated by using a formula originally set by Congress in the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978. Under this formula, as modified and extended by a presidential Executive Order issued in 1986, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM); also, any fee increase or decrease cannot exceed 25 percent of the previous year’s level. (An AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.) The grazing fee for 2012 is $1.35 per AUM, the same level as it was in 2011.

“The Federal grazing fee is computed by using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per AUM for livestock grazing on public lands in Western states. The figure is then adjusted each year according to three factors – current private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. In effect, the fee rises, falls, or stays the same based on market conditions, with livestock operators paying more when conditions are better and less when conditions have declined.”

Oh, and there’s more. Here are some of the benefits of allowing grazing on federally-owned land (according to Ken Salazar’s Bureau of Land Management website):

” Intensively managed “targeted” grazing can control some invasive plant species or reduce the fuels that contribute to severe wildfires. Besides providing such traditional products as meat and fiber, well-managed rangelands and other private ranch lands support healthy watersheds, carbon sequestration, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitat. Livestock grazing on public lands helps maintain the private ranches that, in turn, preserve the open spaces that have helped write the West’s history and will continue to shape this region’s character in the years to come.”

And you, too, can get a grazing permit:

“Any U.S. citizen or validly licensed business can apply for a BLM grazing permit or lease. To do so, one must either:

*buy or control private property (known as “base property”) that has been legally recognized by the Bureau as having preference for the use of public land grazing privileges,
*or acquire property that has the capability to serve as base property and then apply to the BLM to transfer the preference for grazing privileges from an existing base property to the acquired property (which would become the new “base property”).”

So, happy-happy, joy-joy, go get your own lease and quit complaining about this federal program that benefits the environment.

42 Frank A May 16, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Did the one commentater ever figure out who Deb Fischer is?

43 Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Who’s Jon Bruning?

44 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Ok, thanks, anonymostly. So, this program benefits the environment, the government gets paid for it based on terms the government decides on, and anyone who has certain “base” property can apply for a grazing permit. And Democrats consider this to be “welfare.” That tells us a lot about Democrats, doesn’t it?

45 Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 3:03 PM

LPAITB^ It doesn’t say a thing about Democrats, nor Republicans for that matter. What it does do is tell us that you are a biased fool.

46 Sandy May 16, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Grazing permits are only allotted to a few and those were snapped up by the ancestors of current residents. The permits are passed down from generation to generation. It’s impossible to acquire one if your relatives didn’t do it years ago. Ranchers who rent land pay $35/cow/month, while federal rent is $1.35. Figure 1000 head for 5 months (summer season) and you approach $200,000 in benefits for these permit-holders every year in a non-competitive, protected basis. Thousands of head run on federal lands in Nebraska. It needs to be on competitive bid in my opinion. There are others living near Fischers that would jump at the chance to have the subsided grazing they do.

47 Thinker May 16, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Besides Deb Fischer – what do Kay Orr, Jeff Fortenberry and the Ricketts family have in common?

48 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Whatever. The only people I’ve known to ever complain that this kind of government program was tantamount to welfare were liberals attempting to portray conservatives as hypocrites for opposing various handouts to the poor. Kinda like the anonymous poster above who called me a hypocrite based on the assumption that I had no objection to Brunings’ comment about raccoons..

49 Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Sandy, you explained this issue very well. As I said, Let’s put an issue to bed is unable to critically think and can only throw out slogans like “class envy” that he heard on Fox News.

50 @ thinker May 16, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Taylor Gage?

51 Some Thoughts May 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

The only people I’ve heard complaining about grazing permits were those who didn’t want Deb Fischer to win the primary. I have no doubt that Democrats will be happy to warm up that stale argument again, though, so thanks a lot for handing it to them. Omaha voters may not understand, well, anything about cattle or land use!

52 Macdaddy May 16, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Is that what you guys have against Fischer? She’s renting land from the government whose prices were set in 1978 by an idiotic Democrat Congress and signed by an even more idiotic Democrat President? Umm, OK. Bring it on.

53 anon May 16, 2012 at 3:58 PM

As modified by that idiot Reagan in 1986.

The only people I’ve heard this attack from were/are Bruning supporters.

54 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Sandy, I don’t think your numbers add up. How many acres per cow-calf pair per season up in Cherry County?

55 @Thinker May 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM

om. NO.1 out of 3 doesn’t count.

56 Interested Observer May 16, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Let’s put an issue to bed, First of all, the McKelvie National Forest, where Deb has her welfare grazing permit is part of the U.S. Forest Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture, not the Interior Department.

Also, the BLM and USFS rules are very similar. I can not just go get a Forest Service grazing permit like Deb has. As Sandy just pointed out, most of the permit holders are the same families for generation of welfare after generation of welfare after generation of welfare. About the only other way to get a welfare grazing permit, other than inheriting it, is to go buy it, by buying either the land or the cows that go with the permit.

Last fall a ranch was auctioned off southwest of Valentine. Jack Bond sold his real estate and his McKelvie grazing permit. The permit went with the place and was valued at approximately 2 times the general market value of a cow, so, approximately $3,000 times the 900 + capacity of that permit. It came to something over 2.5 MILLION dollars, that Jack Bond got, not the American citizens. The total sale price of that ranch, including the grazing permit, came to almost 12 MILLION dollars.

It’s incredible to suggest that any wealthy investor who has that kind of money available actually “NEEDS” or “deserves” welfare grazing! This is no simple, old fashioned, small family farm that might need a little help to get started.

It’s also incredible to suggest that any family that has lived off the American taxpayers for 3 generations should have some divine right to expect to continue that welfare for a fourth or fifth generation. Even United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough”.

Let’s put it to bed, to answer your question, McKelvie welfare grazing is usually around 3 – 4 Acres per AUM (Animal Unit Month, the amount of forage needed to support 1 cow and her calf per month). Sandy is correct again in stating that thousands of head of cattle run on federal lands in Nebraska.

Let’s put it to bed, it’s interesting that by you bringing up this topic in here today, you’ve personally helped keep this issue alive in here all day long! I guess you didn’t get your wish to “put it to bed”. Are you secretly working for Bob Kerrey’s campaign? If so, you’re doing quite the job there.

57 Interested Observer May 16, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Also, Let’s put it to bed, to quote Shakespeare in Hamlet, Act 3, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

I’m not quite sure why you have such an issue with Deb’s welfare grazing, unless either you have some welfare grazing yourself and are sensitive to the issue or you’re very close to her campaign.

58 ricky May 16, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Oh and one more thing; a not-so-sad goodbye to the former influential Nebraskan’s Jon Bruning and David Sokol. Nebraskan’s saw Bruning for the opportunist he is and Sokol got fired from Berkshire for insider trading and now is snubbed as the bully he was.
And Sokol was a Bruning sugar daddy and Bruning was hurt by his immediate comment that Sokol was not guilty of anything.
And speaking of somebody of the same Republican ilk as Bruning and Sokol, when oh when is Tom Osborne going to retire? His reign as Athletic Director of Nebraska has produced nothing but deficit spending and gave us BO and Ron Brown. Let’s make it three for three and somebody whisper in Osborne’s ear his time is up. The emperor has no clothes.

ricky from omama

59 Let's put an issue to bed. May 16, 2012 at 5:27 PM

So, anonymous at post 32 takes a shot at Fischer for her grazing contracts and takes a shot at Bruning for his raccoon comment. I guess that would be what, a Stenburg supporter?

60 Anonymous May 16, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Nope, 32 is just an interested observer that is laughing at the fact Nebraska Republicans basically voted for “None of the above” when they cast votes for Fischer. Good luck against Kerrey. Every Republican I’ve talked to today thinks he’ll destroy her in a campaign.

61 Interested Observer May 16, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Anonymous at 5:46, I agree completely. Too bad Stenberg didn’t remember Ronald Reagan’s famous Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”.

62 Interested Observer May 16, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Actually, I understand that he works out a lot and is in top condition.

63 That's it? May 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM

The best that Deb Fishcher has is the same manure that’s been spread too thickly here on Leavenworth Street, that Bob Kerrey isn’t a “Nebraskan.” That’s it?
Bob was good enough to be born in Nebraska, raised in Nebraska, educated in Nebraska, went to the service from Nebraska, came back to start several businesses in Nebraska, was Nebraska’s Governor and Senator, but because he lived in New York City for a while, he no longer has a right to call himself a Nebraskan? That’s it?
The brain drain from this state owes much to the demented attitudes such as those demonstrated by Deb Fischer in her acceptance speech last night. If you aren’t an inbred Nebraskan that is too afraid to ever leave this state and leave your mark on the world, then you aren’t worthy to represent it? That’s it?
You should all feel privileged that someone who went out into the world and was still successful, deemed Nebraska worthy of coming back and wanting to go to work for it.

64 Street Sweeper May 16, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Bud Pettigrew featured in Politico!
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/76419.html

65 Dan Brown May 16, 2012 at 6:44 PM

It will also be to Fischer’s advantage when turn-coat Hagel endorses Kerry!

66 RWP May 16, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Oh I think Deb Fischer has a lot more than that. Bob Kerrey has a record to defend, from his votes for Clinton’s tax increases, to his votes for partial birth abortion and against welfare reform, to his endorsement of PPACA and his claim it wasn’t extreme enough, to his bizarre one man mission to amend the US constitution to abolish political parties, to his decades of sleazy business dealings.

His bizarre ‘return’ to the state is only the beginning.

67 Bam May 16, 2012 at 7:06 PM

@That’s It – Naw, he lost his right to call himself a Nebraskan when he had no more need for it. Once he ran for his last election, he moved out, got himself a New York girl, a New York job, a New York residence and New York friends. The only time he’s shown affection for Nebraska in the last ten years is when he wanted something, i.e. a temporary address. More than half in the state are done with Bob.

68 Bud Valentine May 16, 2012 at 7:24 PM

I’m glad that David quoted me. Do you have any idea how many times I had to call him and tell him what an important person I was?

69 What the heck!!! May 16, 2012 at 8:04 PM

How in the world does Lindstrom pull in 23% without raising much money, no name recognition and no political experience?? Heidel has some name recognition and so did Freeman and put together still did ot do as well as Lindstrom. Something smells funny

70 Ricky from Omaha is an idiot May 16, 2012 at 8:12 PM

If you think that an advocate of partial birth abortions, tax increases, expanding Obamacare is going to be our next senator then that notion is crazier than Brian T. Osborn french kissing a snapping turtle while watching an episode of hit TV show Webster on top of a unicorn!

71 Some Thoughts May 16, 2012 at 8:33 PM

To “What the heck”, I have the same question. Where did Lindstrom find all that support?

Interested Observer, if anyone needs to respect the “don’t speak ill of your fellows” rule now, it’s you. We understand that you’re not a fan of Deb Fischer, but you’re a day late and dollar short.

For several months now, almost everyone who comments on this blog said Fischer had no chance. Perhaps it’s time to stop all the “wise” prognosticating and start getting serious about November.

72 some thoughts is right May 16, 2012 at 8:44 PM

conventional wisdom is out the window with the fischer win and a 31 year old with NO political experience Lindstrom grabbing 23%.. it is a brave new world

73 Interested Observer May 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Small Thoughts, Reagan’s advice was directed to Republican candidates in primary election campaigns.

74 RWP May 16, 2012 at 9:29 PM

The crap about ‘welfare grazing rights’ is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen on this blog for a while, even from a liberal.

The State controls the beach from the high tide line down. Does that mean that when I go to the beach, I’m a ‘welfare bather’? The State arrogates to itself control of the radiofrequency spectrum. When i use my home wireless router for free, am i a ‘welfare wireless user’. Hey, when I walk down the street, am I a welfare pedestrian? If I go to a national park and camp for less than the free market rate, am I a welfare camper?

No, obviously not. The state has no ownership rights over anything. We vest in it the right to regulate the commons. That does not make it any less the commons. It’s reasonable to charge a fee for maintenance of the commons. That is all.

Samuel McKelvie isn’t a forest under any sane definition of the term, as anyone who’d ever been there would realize in 5 minutes. It’s a travesty it’s called a National Forest and administered by the Forest Service, and the US Govt. has no business ‘owning’ it. it should be auctioned, with the proceeds used to reduce the deficit. But while it’s under federal control, it’s completely reasonable it should be used by adjacent landowners, in a regulated fashion.

They, like me, pay their taxes, Probably, like me, far more than their fair share. They don’t live, breathe, or operate their business by permission of the state.

75 RWP May 16, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Perhaps it’s time to stop all the “wise” prognosticating and start getting serious about November.

Some wise thoughts.

76 Bud Valentine May 16, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Who knew, RWP is a socialist!

77 Anonymostly May 16, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Right on, RWP. Someone upthread pointed out the idiocy of Democrats who try to claim that the grazing permits were a form of welfare, to which there were fervent denials that this had anything to do with Democrats. Why, it might just be Bruning people raising this issue. (Yeah, sure.) But then “interested observer” comes along and repeatedly calls these permits “welfare grazing” while complaining that the wealthy farmers who have these permits don’t need them. Sounds like Democrats trying to make it an issue to me.

78 RWP May 16, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Pretty much any original landowner in Nebraska ultimately received the land at no cost under the Homestead Act. Are we all welfare recipients?

79 Ikon May 16, 2012 at 10:14 PM

You JUDAS SS!! You’ve been pimpin for Jon “Raccoon” Bruning since day one & now, in your anal-ysis, you pretend that you really were all along for Fischer & that the high school campaign she was running was really clever! Her campaign was ZERO until Ricketts did HIS thing!! Your leader is typical GOPER crap!! BTW; was “Raccoon” making hefty donations to LS??

So here’s my critique of the situation;

#1. Glad Mr. Ego Nutjob got his Corrupt Pretty, Gay, Arse kicked.

I know all you greedy, selfish, social parasite GOPERS just loved him to death. Let’s just hope that yesterday was his political demise!!

#2. Deb Fischer is in the Little Leagues when it comes to politics. We’ll see how fast she can get up to corrupt Bruning speed which will be a marker of her Washington corruption potential!

I suspect Ricketts, for some reason, had a hard on for Bruning which was why he slit the slimball’s throat. Anyone know what that’s about? I also suspect that Fischer had NOTHING to do with the Ricketts great & cheap TV bomb that blew Bruning to bits. Course “Raccoon” Brunings been on a self-destruct path since day one & like a thieving social parasite, true Red GOPER that he is, serves no purpose other than his, feeding his own!

Not lastly but lastly, in most intelligent, cultured, reasonable places in this once great country, people usually have to go through the Ranks to make it to the US House of Lords, ie Congressman, Governor, rarely Mayors of large & great American cities but rarely but not in Nebraska where some part-timer, $12K a season anybody State Rep. with virtually ZERO experience get’s nominated. Now I ask all you brain dead, diehard NE Republicans, now do you understand why you’re called Fly-Over country & why J. Bob Kerrey, still a Bright Star & a born & bred son of, believe it or not, Nebraska, will & SHOULD be your NEXT US Senator????

Sarah Palin endorsement? Anyone with a Brain would have said NO-WAY to that Ultra Bimbo!!

Ya know Nebraska is a Great State with one major problem, GOPER Nebraskans!

80 Ikon May 16, 2012 at 10:27 PM

BTW; RWP, if you didn’t know it, YOU are the STATE!

I really hope that you are not working in higher education! Grade school perhaps, High school a stretch but definitely NOT at the university level!

81 anon May 16, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Time to put the bottle down for the night, Ikon. You’re incoherent and rambling.

82 Interested Observer May 16, 2012 at 10:37 PM

The point is that only an incredibly select few ranchers hold these permits, for generation after generation and pay about $.03 on the dollar compared to the actual fair market value. If the federal government sold this land and the new owner paid Cherry County real estate tax, they’d have to pay almost 10 times more, per acre, than Deb pays now.

Again, the Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds manages more than 1.3 million acres in Nebraska and generates, I believe, over 60 million dollars each year to help pay the cost of K – 12 schools in the state.

The federal government spends around $140 million a year to manage grazing land and the collects only about $21 million in grazing fees. Doing the math, and multiply the $21 million by a factor of 30 (back to the $.03 on the dollar) means the federal government is leaving almost $600 million on the table.

To paraphrase Everett Dirksen, “600 million here, 600 million there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

The federal government might consider adopting the successful Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds business model and apply it to federal grazing permits to allow the holders of those permits to actually be self sufficient finally and to help pay down the deficit and national debt, WITHOUT raising taxes on everybody else.

83 Interested Observer May 16, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Doing what I just said has nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat. It’s just good business sense.

84 anon May 16, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Omg, shut up already about the land permits. Go argue about it somewhere else. So someone got a better deal on their land than you did. Cry about it. That’s life. It’s all legal. You’re boring us all.

85 Maverick May 16, 2012 at 11:42 PM

I’m actually enjoying the “interested Observer” commentary. Sounds like he may have “struck a nerve” with ‘ole Anon and his/her fellow Fischer supporters… or …. does the “truth” simply hurt?? Bruning spent months at the onset of his campaign “explaining” the alleged investment and banking “ill-legalities”… Seems only fair that Fischer should have to explain ripping off the taxpayers as well. What’s the saying?? “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”?

86 Bud Valentine May 17, 2012 at 12:22 AM

I live just down the street from Deb. Can I graze my sheep in her yard?

87 Native Son May 17, 2012 at 12:33 AM

If you were born, raised, and lived your’e entire life without ever stepping foot outside of this state then you can run for office here. If not, we don’t want your type around here. Get off of my lawn!
Any one that has ever left this state isn’t welcome back, and has for all you folks that moved here from somewhere else your welcome to pack your bags. And get the hell out of here too! Nebraska is for us Nebraskans. Dont you ever forget it!

88 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 6:17 AM

Except for ol’ Baton Rouge Jeff Fortenberry and ol’ Osage, Iowa Mike Johanns? They’re OK, aren’t they?

89 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Anon, what do you think of the old cliche of the low income, minority family living in the ghetto, reservation or where ever, who has never had a job, lived on welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing, WIC, etc. obsessively smoked cigarettes, abused alcohol, etc for 3 generations while at the same time, you’re working hard, paying your taxes, paying off your car, your house, your student loan and making your own living and paying your own way and doing without some things and trying to get ahead in this world?

Are those welfare recipients all just getting a “better deal”, because “it’s all legal” and “that’s life”? Should the United States taxpayers have to continue to support all those cliche, low income, minorities for 3 more generations?

This welfare grazing is EXACTLY THE SAME THING!!!!!

90 Anonymostly May 17, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Interested Observer, nice effort at spin. Your argument persuasively makes a point but not the point you seem to think.

Hey, from what you say, it sounds like the Federal Government could charge more for rent permits. There’s probably another side to the story but everything you’ve laid out argues for the conclusion that some changes could be made to the grazing permit process.

But that’s where legitimate conclusions stop and your hysterical assertions about the grazing permits being a form of welfare begin. The point was well-taken above that suggested it says something about you goofball liberals that you think grazing permits are like welfare.

The fact it may be a “better deal” or “all legal” or “that’s life” doesn’t make it welfare. Welfare is when the government takes money from productive people and redistributes it to the unproductive.

These grazing permits involve productive people paying money to the government (although perhaps less than you think they should but, again, there’s probably another side to the story) for activity that benefits not only the productive people but also benefits the government.

91 Anonymostly May 17, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Hey, interested observer, a question: Is the process whereby the Federal Government prioritizes minority-owned businesses for governement contracts a form of welfare?

92 Lil Mac May 17, 2012 at 8:44 AM

If you think Republicans mentioning Democrat criticisms of Fischer is party treason, pack your blog bags and move to a political monastery where you can illuminate epistles to Deb, or go bark at the moon on her behalf. Every candidate appreciates their mindless guard dogs. But that’s not what a thoughtful political blogger does. We come here to evaluate candidate strengths and weaknesses and to assess strategies. If you seek to change minds, the grocery store has undecided voters, not a political blog.

The Washington Post says, Democrats have criticized Fischer “for benefiting from a federal program that leases cattle-grazing land at a huge discount… And she lost some support for backing the Keystone XL pipeline”, which is controversial among ranchers. A DSCC spokesman says, what “Nebraskans know about Deb Fischer is that while she talks tough on cutting waste in government, she personally profits off a sweetheart land deal subsidized by taxpayers.”

This is the current Democrat/Kerrey attack strategy. However, if we look at this argument we can see its flaws. In point of fact, NE Ranchers are mostly Republican and they voted in huge numbers for Fischer while already knowing about the grazing matter. Plus, most Nebraskans are in favor of the pipeline. So the Democrat argument that some of you are so deathly afraid of mentioning here, when logically analyzed by this political blogger, comes apart.

The argument Democrats are using to cripple Fischer turns out to play to Fischer’s strength. And that in turn means when Nebraskans come out in droves in November to vote against Obama’s wreckage of our economy, Bob Kerrey is will probably be crushed by Deb Fischer. Not beaten but crushed.

That assessment comes from us analyzing criticisms of Fischer by those who oppose her. If that is too stressful for you, go hand out stickers at the grocery store.

93 Wow May 17, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Ikon, you’re in the wrong place if you’re looking for social parasites. Those people occupied Wallstreet. You can probably still catch up with them, though. They probably haven’t moved their tents very far.

94 anon May 17, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Look, there are similarities between the grazing rights and welfare. It’s the same as special tax deductions. All of them are government redistributing wealth from one person to another or just trying to manipulate a market.

Honestly, I don’t have a problem with anyone getting the benefits that the law allows them to get. So long as they are playing by the rules, I’m not going to expect someone to go against their own self interest and forgo cheap grazing or a welfare check. The beneficiaries are just playing the game Congress set up. What needs to change is the system. Sell the land and let market rates prevail for grazing rights and get welfare back to a safety net rather than a system that perpetuates poverty across generations.

Deb could quickly turn this issue on its head by acknowledging what a great deal she get and that it screws the taxpayers, but you can’t blame her for doing what any sane business person would do in the same situation. Then she could announce a plan to introduce a bill, once she’s in the Senate, to have all federal grazing land sold at auction.

95 RWP May 17, 2012 at 9:13 AM

BTW; RWP, if you didn’t know it, YOU are the STATE!
Read Leviathan, submoron, and get back to me. It’s probably way beyond your grade level, though.

I really hope that you are not working in higher education! Grade school perhaps, High school a stretch but definitely NOT at the university level!

I’m devastated at this critique of my intellect by a submoron.

96 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Anonymostly, I am one of the most conservative, Valentine area ranchers that I know. You couldn’t be more wrong or insulting by calling me a “goofball liberal”. So, as a conservative rancher, I am self sufficient and don’t rely on or even accept welfare from the taxpayers. I think the country would be a far better place if more people worked hard, were self sufficient and paid their own way and didn’t expect handouts.

The simple fact is that that Deb only pays about $4,700 to graze her cows on public property all summer and you would have to pay about $165,000 to graze the same number of cows. That is a HUGE difference. This is not some simple, innocent little %5 cash discount or anything like that. Then, when you also consider that this has been going on for over 50 years at this level, amounts to a really, really, HUGE difference. Perhaps as much as TEN MILLION dollars of “discounts”. What other family in Nebraska has received that much “discount” (welfare grazing) in the last 50 years?

Anonymostly, you said, “Welfare is when the government takes money from productive people and redistributes it to the unproductive.” Deb’s Financial Disclosure Form showed her liabilities to be in the range of $1.7 million- $6.5 million. How “fiscally conservative” can anyone be when they’ve received perhaps as much as $10 million of “discount” grazing and still have that level of debt? Doesn’t that almost seem a little bit like being “unproductive”, using your word?

Welfare grazing IS the definition of welfare and someone who has lived off welfare grazing her entire adult life is not a “fiscal conservative”, but is a hypocrite.

Anonymostly, you said, “activity that benefits not only the productive people but also benefits the government.” Remember that the federal government spends around $140 million each year managing public grazing but only brings in $20 million in grazing fee income. Losing $120 million on a federal government program does NOT “benefit the government”. Especially when that same program, if managed effectively like the Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds is, could bring into the federal government over $600 million each year. All Uncle Sam would have to do is follow what Nebraska has been doing successfully for 145 years.

97 RWP May 17, 2012 at 9:16 AM

If the federal government sold this land and the new owner paid Cherry County real estate tax, they’d have to pay almost 10 times more, per acre, than Deb pays now.

And this is undoubtedly what the Federal Government should do, but it won’t. It’s hardly the fault, however, of people who find themselves beneficiaries of the situation.

98 Paula May 17, 2012 at 9:19 AM

So feeding at the taxpayer’s expense is okay if you are a republican/conservative businessperson?

99 RWP May 17, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Welfare grazing IS the definition of welfare and someone who has lived off welfare grazing her entire adult life is not a “fiscal conservative”, but is a hypocrite.

You’re posting via an internet that was developed entirely with tax dollars. if you followed your own rules, you’d stop.

Which would not be a bad thing, in any case.

100 CC Music Factory May 17, 2012 at 9:23 AM

LilMac – Well stated. We have to be able to rationally talk about the arguments if we want to be able to refute them. I think the point that RWP and others were making above is that IO was taking it to extremes that aren’t necessary for that discussion, and he’s making it personal. While for him it may be, (I guess that’s assuming IO is a him, if not, I apologize) for most of us that issue wouldn’t be. And your point about ranchers going for her in large numbers is spot on, and basically begins to moot the discussion of this issue. Will she be hit with it routinely? Of course. But most Nebraskans will take one look at the issue, decide it has no merit, and begin to ignore further conversation about it.

I do think the party had it right yesterday in that the party needs to coalesce behind Deb. I think anybody looking at the race rationally that supported any of the three Republican candidates can easily see that the policies of both Jon and Don are so close to Deb’s as to be negligible, and the differences between Deb and Bob are chasms. Shouldn’t be much of a choice, really.

For those that want to get into the whole Bob Kerrey being looked at with a critical eye, while Fortenberry and Johanns aren’t looked at so critically, I think at least one poster above had a good analysis of it: It’s not that Bob moved away and came back. It’s that it’s so obvious that he hasn’t even COME BACK, that he’s still living in New York, and that he’s ONLY here to run for Senate, and that his living in New York has even further radicalized his ideas to Nebraskans. That couldn’t be said of Fort or Johanns. They both lived here for quite a while before running. Even Hagel had lived and worked here for a few years before running for senate. And ultimately, that piece isn’t even truly a factor for me. Live here, don’t live here. It’s ultimately that his ideas are disastrous for Nebraskans. I love how people assume he’s going to be the stronger campaigner, etc. This is someone who just came out (no pun intended) for gay marriage, and tried to tie his ideas to Dick Cheney to somehow make the position more palatable. That’s ultimately a losing position in this state. He’s already stated he wants to RAISE TAXES to balance the budget, ultimately another losing argument in Nebraska. And yes, I understand he’d do that after supposedly invoking spending cuts… I don’t believe him that that’s the way it’ll happen, but it’s still stating you’re going to raise taxes. He has voting against the ban on partial birth abortions, which will be played up in this election. Pro-life is still a VERY strong issue in this state. I’ve talked to many people who still think that’s how Fort originally got elected, was his stance on pro-life issues. Agree or disagree, it certainly played a part, against a former state senator who had a decent pro-life record himself. And then we get to his support of Obamacare, and the fact that he’s publicly stated he doesn’t believe it goes far enough. Does anybody actually think that’s a winning side to take in this state? We’ve been fully behind those that have taken the oppostie view, rather than those that want to put us even further into a thinly veiled effort to move us to government-run healthcare. While the Supreme Court may soften that issue somewhat, it’s still the point of having someone who SUPPORTS single-payer in office in the Senate. Those issues play a MUCH bigger role in most people’s opinion of Bob Kerrey than the carpetbagger piece will. It’s easy to put out there, but ultimately won’t be the reason Kerrey will lose. He’ll lose on his horrible policies and his record.

101 RWP May 17, 2012 at 9:24 AM

So feeding at the taxpayer’s expense is okay if you are a republican/conservative businessperson?

It’s not clear that this is at the taxpayers expense. The land does need to be grazed. Incidentally, if the land is grazed by someone who isn’t an original permit holder, they pay a considerable surcharge. The economics are not as bad as IO claims.

If Fischer did not graze the land, the permit would be transferred to somebody else, and the taxpayer would be no better off. The key is to drastically reduce Federal government ownership of land.

102 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 9:26 AM

It has been discussed in here the last few days that some of Deb’s neighbors don’t all support her. The Nebraska Secretary of State’s website shows that in Cherry County, in the Kennedy precinct, which is the west part of Deb’s ranch and continues west through many of her neighbors for a long ways, that Deb got a total of 5 votes, Jon Bruning got 7, Don Stenberg got 3, Elander and Flynn each got 1 vote.

So, Deb actually lost the Kennedy precinct that is just immediately west of her ranch house. She did actually win the small, rural precinct that actually includes her ranch house, though.

103 RWP May 17, 2012 at 9:27 AM

This is looking awfully like a personal vendetta.

104 Wow May 17, 2012 at 9:32 AM

So, interested observer, what you’re saying is that you’re jealous that you don’t get the same deal as the Fischers. Did the Fischers create the program? No. Would the program continue as is and someone else step in and obtain the grazing permit if the Fischers declined to continue their permits? Obviously yes. Could the program be changed and updated? Sure. Does any of that make it welfare? Don’t be stupid.

What it does show is that the Federal Government has no agility when it comes to responding to changing circumstances. It’s incompetent at managing anything. And these types of bureaucrats are the kinds of people Obama wants to put in charge of our healthcare.

105 CC Music Factory May 17, 2012 at 9:35 AM

IO, if you’re as conservative as you say, there isn’t much choice in the election in November, is there? This is an argument to be had prior to the primary, which we had, and you pointed these things out. To talk about them rationally makes sense. You’ve stated your position. At som point, though, when you analyze the issues for November, are you going to let this one issue overcome the rest of the policy differences between Fischer and Kerrey? There’s no doubt that Deb’s voting record was, at worst, right of center, and conservative on several issues. I voted for Jon, but at this point it becomes a moot issue. We have to pick the candidate that would best represent our positions in Senate. For me, I KNOW that isn’t Bob Kerrey, and it isn’t even close. So for you, I guess the question is, is this one issue that important to you that you’ll let it overcome the other policy issues? Because being upset or mad about the primary isn’t going to change the outcome. We have to move on from here.

106 CC Music Factory May 17, 2012 at 9:37 AM

And Wow, definitely agreed with you above, but he probably didn’t need to go to Wall Street. Ikon could look in Lincoln or Omaha. I’m sure the squatters that were on Centennial Mall in Lincoln are probably still lurking around somewhere.

107 Not Joe Ricketts May 17, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Who’s Jim DeMint?

108 LD 27 May 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Interesting results from Lincoln–in District 27, Colby Coash bear Kyle Michaelis by more than 2:1.

Wonder if some of the voters who met Kyle thought his campaign attacks came across as “vile”.

109 bad logic May 17, 2012 at 10:35 AM

I can not vote for Deb Fischer. A few weeks ago, there was a groupon deal for a $20 dinner. Deb was one of the first 100 people, and she got the dinner for $20. I had to pay $100 for the same dinner! Outrageous! She should have refused the groupon deal and paid full price. No fair, no fair, no fair. Sucking off the groupon teat!

110 TexasAnnie May 17, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Federal land leases, tax incentives/subsidies, roadways & sidewalks, et.al., are LIKE federal health care initiatives: THEY ARE WELFARE! It’s okay with me if everybody gets the same benefits; it’s not okay with me if selected beneficiaries get what others are being denied.

When I first signed on the with Libertarian party in 1998, I thought I was with a group of like-minded egalitarian (policy equity, not communal) proponents. By the time I stopped paying dues to that organization in 2008, I realized that as Ayn Rand had expounded for us, everyone is in it for their own self-interest whether they admit it or not! And in this sense it is true that Deb would “be a fool” to forego the govt. lease. But as a “small govt. activist,” should she try to change the leasing mechanism which advantages her upon ascendency to the U.S. Senate? Of course she should. Will she? Therein lies the rub…

Wealth and power beget more wealth and power. Acknowledging this truth is NOT IRRATIONAL.

111 RWP May 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM

TA, things may be different in Texas, but in Lincoln, property owners pay for sidewalk construction.

You should read up on the Sagebrush rebellion; there was a major movement a couple of decades ago to reduce federal land ownership in the West. It mostly failed; envirals didn’t want the feds to give-up land ownership.

We all pay for roadways. Those of us who pay more taxes pay more. Its pretty silly to call something ‘welfare’ when you’re paying for it.

112 CC Music Factory May 17, 2012 at 11:43 AM

I also think that Deb’s draw may be more powerful than many realize, and may be because people were simply tired of the others.

I know of at least two people I know that voted for Deb, and will do so in the fall. These are folks who would have been VERY torn about voting for Jon in the fall. My wife is one, and while we were driving home from work on the day of the election, I asked her who she would vote for in the fall if Jon won. She stated that she really didn’t know what she would do, and it had basically to do with her perception of Jon, one that was developed well before any ads or this election. My father-in-law was the same way. Deb has garnered a lot of respect from those she has worked with (both my father-in-law and my wife have worked with her while she’s been in the legislature). There are reasons that theme keeps coming up, and it’s not just election-speak. There’s a lot of truth to it. I think that will serve her VERY well as she goes forward into the general.

I also tend to think that Don’s voters will DEFINITELY vote for her, and many of Jon’s voters will as well. Only time will tell whether Bob can narrow the gap that I believe has already been established in Deb’s favor, but I’m excited to get the general started, and glad she’s already touring the state.

113 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 11:47 AM

OK, so let’s try this another way. How many of you think that the $150 screwdrivers for the Department of Defense is a good thing? How many of you think the “Bridge to Nowhere” is a good thing? How many of you think that any of the countless examples of ridiculous federal waste are a good thing?

How many of you think that a good, true “fiscal conservative” would like to help cut out some of the terrible federal waste that we have today? How many of you would be willing to support a change in one specific government program that currently looses $120 million every year and benefits a very, very tiny little group of special interest recipients? Especially when that very same government program could be bringing in well over half a BILLION dollars every year to help reduce the federal deficit and then the national debt?

Can you relate to this issue in this context?

114 RWP May 17, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Per Rasmussen, Fischer leads Kerrey 56:38 among LVs. Fisher’s fav/unfav is very strong. Kerrey is going to have to go negative very quickly.

115 Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I’ll wait for a credible pollster.

116 TexasAnnie May 17, 2012 at 12:23 PM

No, RWP, we don’t pay for sidewalks here in my county. We don’t have any. And perhaps I will read about the Sagebrush rebellion, but not today. As to “welfare,” I remember acutely how Nebraskans characterized (constitutionally-required) public school for my child with disability while we were living there. Under leadership of then Gov. Nelson and Omaha movers/shakers, but carried to fruition in the unicameral, some children like my child were denied a public education all together! It was being called “welfare” and Nebraskans had undertaken “welfare-reform” during the mid-to late 90′s.

Let’s skip the semantic rebuttals defining “welfare” and get to the chase: Laws Which Benefit Some to An Exclusion of Others Must Be Squashed! Do you agree? And if so, do you believe upcoming Senator Deb Fischer should work to eliminate all agricultural preferences/subsidies/benefits of every type, extant in our originally agricultural society? Simply understanding why the preferences were built into the economy, does not justify their continued existence. Should “small govt. advocates” advocate elimination of govt. preferences they enjoy?

It’s a matter of ethics, RWP.

117 Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Go Deb Go.

118 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Did you all see that Joe Ricketts is now going to spend ten million dollars to expose Obama’s connection with Rev. Wright?

119 Salami Lickem May 17, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Wait a minute! I thought Barack Hussein was a Muslim! Isn’t Rev. Wright a Christian? I’m so confused.

120 RWP May 17, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Did you all see that Joe Ricketts is now going to spend ten million dollars to expose Obama’s connection with Rev. Wright?
Already denied by Ricketts. You’re swinging and missing a lot.

121 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Then RWP, check the New York Times article titled: “G.O.P. ‘Super PAC’ Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama”.

122 RWP May 17, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Out of date, and factually incorrect even when it was written. See the Caucus.

“Billionaire Rejects Proposal to Revive Jeremiah Wright Controversy”

Did you get lost on your way to the New Nebraska network? If so, please tell Kyle I’m still waiting for him to correct his tweet claiming Deb Fischer made brutal personal attacks on Bruning. I suspect, though, he may still be dazed from the whooping Colby Coash gave him on Tuesday.

123 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Sorry RWP, I don’t understand any of that. But that’s OK.

124 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 1:59 PM

I don’t know much about Coash, so I just looked him up. I knew his dad back when they had the fertilizer business in Basset years ago, but I don’t know the son.

125 Wow May 17, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Interested observer, geez, you think you’re scoring points but, dude, you’re not.

Are you familiar with the concept of relative scarcity? Would you agree that federal grazing land exists in quantities and locations that only a relatively small number of people can use it? No matter what, it will only benefit a small number of people, right?

But even though, at most, only a small number of ranchers could take advantage of grazing permits, you’d agree, would you not, that grazing on federal land is beneficial and should be done, correct?

So, a program that is beneficial but only a small number can take advantage of should still exist in some form. You’d agree with that, right?

126 Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 2:33 PM

RWP, how many times can you be wrong in one day. First, property owners in Lincoln do NOT pay for sidewalk construction. Used to be that way years ago. And if you further read about Ricketts, it looks more like he’s walking back from his proposal. IO was right. Perhaps Joe realized that it might hurt his Ameritrade business.

127 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Wow, up here we don’t usually go around calling a rancher a “dude”. That’s more like somebody from the big city, like Lincoln or Omaha, who doesn’t know even the first thing about ranching.

Yes, I would agree that federal grazing land exists.

No, I absolutely, strongly disagree that only a relatively small number of people can use it. Last summer and fall, tens of thousand of cattle were moved from Texas, thousands of them to Nebraska. Hundreds of thousands of tons of hay were hauled through Valentine from points north all the way to Texas. There were scores of hay trucks driving south on Highway 83 and through town 24 hours a day. Proximity was irrelevant to those cows or their owners. The Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds holds lease auctions almost every year for the public land they manage, quite a bit of it in Cherry County and much very near McKelvie National Forest. People bid on the various School Sections who live many, many miles away just because the demand for additional grazing land is so high. Farmers from hundreds of miles out of the Sandhills area ship their cows here every spring to graze. The Forest Service has a requirement in their leases that a permit holder has to own land somewhat near the forest, but there are many, many more ranchers within that vague distance that do not currently have any federal grazing permits and could comply just as well as the current permit holders. They would be glad to have a chance to even be able to bid to use that ground, even at the going, fair market rate for grazing land. This proximity requirement may very well be one more aspect of the Forest Service leasing that could be corrected. Thank you for bringing up this important point.

Yes, I do agree that grazing on the federal lands is a good land use management tool and can accomplish various goals far better than almost any other use.

No, again, I very strongly disagree that only a very small number can take advantage of federal grazing and that is the whole point. So, your contention is, in my opinion, completely and utterly false. How did you actually arrive at that conclusion in the first place? What is your basic premise supporting that? What are your specific facts that you feel substantiate that the number of ranchers that could do this is so small?

128 Wow May 17, 2012 at 2:56 PM

IO, since I know you’ll answer yes to all of my above questions, I’ll just move on to the next set.

Having established the relative scarcity of federal grazing lands and that, no matter what, only a small number of people could ever utilize those lands, you would agree, of course, that the relatively small number of grazing permits (what you called a tiny group of special interest recipients) is not a legitimate argument against the program, true?

And the size of the program in terms of number of permits available is likewise not a legitimate critique of Deb Fischer, correct?

129 Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Perhaps Joe realized that it might hurt his Ameritrade business.

Turns out my surmise was correct. See the comments section on the NY Times article “Billionaire Rejects Proposal to Revive Jeremiah Wright Controversy”. Lots of chatter about closed and closing Ameritrade accounts.

130 The Grundle King May 17, 2012 at 3:11 PM

@Anon #126, we DON’T pay for sidewalk construction? Then where the hell is my property tax money going? I mean, all we ever hear is that there’s not enough money in the budget for sidewalk construction/repair…so if they’re not spending that money they don’t have on sidewalks, where is the money going? If I could have mine back, maybe I could afford to fix the 4-inch heave in the sidewalk in front of my house.

@Interested Observer, it sounds to me like you have a problem with the program and you’re taking it out on Fischer. I mean, I’ll admit, it does seem counter-intuitive that a candidate backed by EndingSpending utilizes a program built on government spending, but she appears to be playing by the rules that someone else wrote. If you don’t like the rules, take it up with the rule-makers. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to present a quick parable…in my summer softball league, the rules state that each team is allowed only 2 over-the-fence home runs, and that subsequent over-the-fence home runs are counted as outs. Last year, for the first time ever (and without trying to do so), I hit an over-the-fence home run…AFTER two of my teammates had already hit home runs…meaning my first ever home run was actually an out. I was ticked-off that I got screwed by the rule…but I didn’t go bat-shit-crazy on the opposing pitcher.

131 Wow May 17, 2012 at 3:17 PM

IO, I guess you must have been typing so you slid your answer in between my posts. Ok, you disagree that federal grazing land is scarce. Let’s try this word. How about finite. You’d agree there’s only so much land, right? And, therefore, only so many cattle that can graze that land. And, no matter how many people might like to have a permit, there are only so many ranchers who could actually get them, right? Probably more demand than supply, which is why you think the price is too low. Changing the program won’t make vastly more permits available, true? However you distribute them, there are only so many acres available, correct? You called it a tiny special interest. With 330 million people in this country, its never going to be more than tiny when you’re talking about special interest groups in this country, right?

And, again, the size of the program isn’t a fair critique against Deb Fischer, is it?

132 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Wow, the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona have almost 325 million acres of Forest Service and BLM land. That amounts to, perhaps as much as, 40% of the total land mass in those states. That does not equal the relative scarcity of diamonds. So, therefore, I have completely disproved your “theory of relative scarcity” of federal grazing land. Also, as per above, I have already completely disproved your “theory of the small number of people eligible” to graze. Therefore, any conclusion you might try to draw from your flawed premise is equally fatally flawed.

But your theory that “the relatively small number of grazing permits (what you called a tiny group of special interest recipients) is not a legitimate argument against the program” is the most incorrect thing that you have suggested so far. In fact, the tiny group of recipients is the absolute core of my argument. I always kinda thought that the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause was supposed to make it illegal to have one protected class of citizens afforded special privileges that were not allowed to all other classes of citizens.

My basic premise about Deb is that she has benefited from a special privilege that is not available to all other classes of citizens and that her special privilege has amounted to, perhaps as much as, 10 million dollars during her adult life on the ranch. Now, she is running as a “fiscal conservative”. THAT is my issue. Her campaign claim is utterly divorced from the reality of her situation and is, therefore, false.

The ball’s back in your court and as Captain America says, “I can do this all day”.

133 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Wow, now we’re getting somewhere. Yes, I like your word “finite”. That works very well here.

Yes, I agree there’s only so much land. And yes, I absolutely agree only so many cattle that can graze that land. And again, yes, no matter how many people might like to have a permit, there are only so many ranchers who could actually get them. See, we’re getting along very well now that we got past the whole “dude” thing.

Now, we’re re-entering the realm of Supply and Demand. The market solves the fundamental conflict of supply versus demand for goods or services.

Probably more demand than supply. And THEREIN lies the solution. Put those finite permits up to public lease auction in the manner that the Nebraska Board of Lands and Funds has done for 145 years for the benefit of all Nebraskans. Perhaps a 10 year lease would allow the stability a rancher needs to make plans. It works so well now with the School Sections.

Problem solved. Then Deb can bid on a grazing permit and be the high bidder is she so chooses. THEN she can say that she’s a “fiscal conservative” all she wants because then she wouldn’t be receiving a special privilege that is not afforded to all other classes of citizens. And we can “overlook” the 10 million dollars she’s already received and move on. Nuff said.

134 Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

IO, you have to understand the ideological straitjacket that constrains most of the posters on this site. They start with fixed ideological positions that will never change, despite massive conflicting evidence. That is why their spin will never end over the issue of federal grazing land. Now if it were Kerrey instead of Fischer taking advantage of this welfare program, the argument would have ended long ago with everyone in agreement with you. Which tribe one belongs in is much more important than the validity of an argument here.

135 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Anonymous, your insight is spot on and I applaud you.

136 Wow May 17, 2012 at 4:05 PM

IO, you haven’t disproved the concept of relative scarcity; you’ve only proven that you don’t understand or aren’t familiar with the term. Try googling it. Meanwhile, you’ve described ranchers with grazing permits as a tiny special interest group. The size qualifier in that statement can only be understood in terms of comparing them to other special interest groups. And my point is that, no matter how you structure the program, the number of ranchers with government grazing permits will only ever be tiny compared with other special interest groups like women or blacks or what have you. But that’s not a valid argument against the program nor is it a legitimate critique of Deb Fischer.

137 Wow May 17, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Anonymous at post 134, you’ve actually just described yourself. To a T.

And IO, do you guys not have cable up there? Dude is common parlance throughout this land. I have my cattle-raising bona fides. I showed steers at Aksarben. I’ve pulled calves in the middle of the night during a driving snowstorm. Probably didn’t have the numbers you have. Wouldn’t have been able to get a grazing permit but neither did I bitch about it.

138 Interested Observer May 17, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Wow, no we don’t have cable way out in the country here at the ranch. Do have one of those little satellites, but don’t get ANY Nebraska commercial TV channels for some messed up reason. I understand they don’t get any Nebraska commercial TV channels in town on cable either. At least we never had to suffer through all those miserable political ads the last month, so that’s about the only good part of it all.

139 Some Thoughts May 18, 2012 at 11:01 AM

No cable, but plenty of internet!

140 Progressive Oasis May 19, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Conservatives sure love their socialistic entitlements! Graze free on the land, and then keep those riches in a socialistic Swiss Bank account, Mitt Romney style mine!! And it doesn’t create any American jobs either.

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