Attorney General, and Nebraska Governor candidate, Jon Bruning went on Omaha’s 1290 KOIL Tom Becka Show yesterday — while Becka was out sick. He instead was interviewed by Jeremy Aspen and Crash Davis, who more or less let Bruning chat about his candidacy. (You can hear all of this at KOIL’s podcast page.)
Aspen did try to throw a couple of off-speed pitches to Bruning, trying to get him to respond about the Nelnet controversy and a few other topics. Bruning audibly bristled at the questions, and basically rejected the premises — which was not an unreasonable thing to do.
Bruning did also immediately bring up his bout with colon cancer and noted it several times throughout the interview. The hosts asked several times if Bruning felt he was a “changed man” because of the health scare, and he confirmed it.
Going back to the original story about him coming back “in the papers”, Bruning had said,
“I learned that political campaigns are not for the faint of heart. When you go through a health scare like I did, you start to realize that what’s important is your family and friends.
And suddenly political attacks are a lot less important and a little less jarring.”
Well, Becka didn’t take this very well, from what sounded like the pneumonia ward (sounding not like his usual Woodpecker on Crack, but more like Mickey Mouse on Meth). He jumped on at the end of the interview, essentially challenging why Bruning would call into his show when he was out. Before this, Bruning even noted that he would call in again — as long as Becka was in Samoa.
So after Bruning hung up, Becka stuck around for the next segment.
He called out Bruning for being afraid to be on his show.
He propounded (and repeated to us, after we followed up with him),
A Changed Man would mean he’d start answering questions!
A Changed Man would mean that he might not run since he was planning on running before the cancer!
A Changed Man might mean he’d be in his office and do his job as attorney general instead of spending taxpayer money as he campaigns!
A Changed Man wouldn’t come on a a show just because he knows the host is out sick!
So why has Bruning been stiffing Becka all this time?
Becka says it goes back to when Bruning was prosecuting an issue in the AG’s office that Becka felt was unfair. Becka then followed up later, questioning Bruning on the Nelnet controversy and other issues, and Becka says that Bruning then stopped answering his calls — whether he agreed with him on the issue or not.
Then things get a little weird. According to Becka…
Fast forward a year or two and Bruning decides he’s going to run for Senate and now he wants to come on my show. He comes into the studio and still won’t answer questions much like he wouldn’t answer questions about Nelnet with Jeremy (Aspen) yesterday. Instead he shows me how he had downloaded my book on his iPad and he was wearing a t-shirt under his regular shirt that said I (heart) Becka. He also brought me a similar shirt. I declined the shirt. He wasn’t honest. He wasn’t sincere. He was just going to use me.
I am unimpressed with pandering like that and let him know it. We haven’t spoken since.
We noted here on Leavenworth St. back in November 2012…
We were notified that Jon Bruning was supposed to record an interview on Tom Becka’s new KKAR show today, but that, for whatever reason, he backed out.
Since Tom has been a bit of a Bruning basher, he agreed to let Jeremy Aspen conduct the interview, but Bruning apparently declined at the last minute. Draw your own conclusions.
So clearly Becka wants to sic his teeth into Bruning, and Bruning is having none of it.
But…can you blame Bruning, either?
In the Governor’s race, Becka had taken to The Facebook (since removed) and declared,
- Personally I like Ricketts and Sloan (sic)
- If he agreed to be on my show the first question I’d ask him was who was your cancer doctor. #fastrecovery
- Bruning announced he running (sic) for Governor and thousands is (sic) Nebraskans announced they’re looking for homes in other states
If you are his political consultant, do you suggest he go on a show with someone so outwardly hostile? As near as we can tell, Becka seems to be asking above if Bruning really had cancer.
Maybe some of this is meant to be humorous. Then again, we aren’t sure what benefit Bruning gets from chatting with Becka.
From a comment from Tom Becka:
I too am a cancer survivor. I never said or implied that Bruning faked cancer. I took the post down because people were saying that’s what I was saying.
From my experience with my father’s colon cancer when lymph nodes are removed there is follow up chemo or radiation. Now I’m not a doctor nor do I know Brunings type or stage of cancer. But if his doctor can get him up and running so fast he obviously is a very good doctor.
So what do we see?
Well, on the one hand, Becka is probably letting some of his personal bias get in the way. The “would a Changed Man do this…” kind of stuff is mostly a “maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t.” Just because Bruning had part of his colon removed doesn’t mean he has to come out like Warren Beatty in Bullworth and start rapping his campaign slogans and “making it all real”. He’s a politician. He is still going to be cautious on certain issues and likely run his campaign a certain way. He had colon removed, not brain.
(We also can’t blame Bruning for campaigning while in office. Unless everyone else is forced to quit their political jobs as well — including Auditor Mike Foley and state Senators Beau McCoy and Tom Carlson — then we are sure Bruning can manage his office from the road, if he has to.)
But Becka also has some points. It was Bruning who said he was a “changed man”, not Becka. As noted above, it was Bruning who said, “political campaigns are not for the faint of heart.” So it is not unreasonable for Becka to figure that Bruning would be willing to take on his challenging questions.
It is also not out of line for Becka to feel like it was a cheap shot for Bruning to come on his show while he was out sick. You could certainly make an argument that Bruning owes Becka one for this — and it would also make for some decent political theater for all involved (if it was something the Bruning campaign actually wanted).
And, particularly noting those above, Bruning may feel like Becka has taken his own cheap shots.
Of course the other campaigns are likely just kicking back and chewing their Good and Plentys while all this is going on.
Then again, they may all be reconsidering going on Becka for a while. (Or doing so, and making it a point of distinction.)
Our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Nebraska political commenter Doug Patton. Patton was a weekly writer for the Objective Conservative blog.
He clearly had a passion for America.