Hassebrook goes negative

Democrat Nebraska Governor candidate Chuck Hassebrook wasted no time going negative against Pete Ricketts.
See his recent ad here:

Hassebrook rolls out a bunch of talking points that Ricketts knocked down, one by one, in the debate that no one watched. So we will let the Ricketts camp plow through those again below.

But let us hit the one item that has come up before: Pete’s “dad’s ads”.

Hassebrook spent 85% of his time in the debate complaining that Ricketts has a billionaire supporting him and paying for ads.
Well, this may or may not be the case. Back in the primary it was “Ending Spending” “American Future Fund” doing the ads, but this time it’s the Republican Governor’s Association. (See, they have this goal of electing, uh, Republicans as, um…Governors. See how that works?)

Now is Pete’s dad, or maybe his brother the ultimate payee of the NGA ad?
(Well, very specifically, as noted below, no.)

But maybe Joe Ricketts asked Thurston Howell IV to buy it? Possibly? Maybe?
Who cares?

Because are we to understand that there is some sort of billionaire supporter gap in this race?

Let’s see, who supports Hassebrook? It’s one of the top 3 richest men in the world… and it’s not Melinda Gates… and it’s not the Telemundo guy… Oh yeah! It’s the owner of the Omaha World-Herald and Borsheims!

And here’s the other thing: A few months ago, while Chuck Hassebrook was kicked back choosing Bryl-Cream varieties, Ricketts was getting pummeled by 9 different Republican Governor candidates 8 ways from Sunday.

Heck, Ricketts should get 4 or 5 free hits on Hassebrook before the General even starts. Since Pete is too nice a guy to actually punch Chuck in the bicep, a few hammers from whatever branch of the RNC, Koch Bros. or the Chicago Cubs should do.

So Chuck, man up and take your lumps.
We’re sure Warren will be there to massage you with some gold bars when it’s over.


In the mean time, we will let Team Ricketts respond to the rest:

Falsehood #1: Hassebrook’s ad says Ricketts is benefitting from ads “backed by his billionaire father” that are “misleading” about Hassebrook’s record.

Truth: The Republican Governors’ Association (RGA) produced the ads Hassebrook cites. They highlight Hassebrook’s well-documented support for and defense of Obamacare. The RGA operates independently from any campaign or candidate and publicly discloses contributions. Joe Ricketts has never contributed to the RGA.

Falsehood #2: Hassebrook’s ad says Ricketts wants to raise insurance rates. He cites Ricketts’ opposition to expanding Obamacare in Nebraska as support.

Truth: Nebraskans know the culprit behind drastic increases in their health insurance costs: Obamacare. Many individuals and families lost the plans they liked and are now incurring double-digit percentage increases in their premiums and deductibles. Even so, Chuck Hassebrook supports Obamacare, calling the measure “historic,” and saying people would support it if they understood it.

Falsehood #3: Hassebrook’s ad says Ricketts wants to single out reduced tax rates for “the rich and . . . corporations.” His only cited source is a newspaper report about two legislative bills Ricketts has made clear he has always opposed.

Truth: Tax reform for the benefit of all Nebraskans has been a main tenet of the Ricketts campaign. Ricketts has released detailed plans for property tax reform, which would be the top priority of a Ricketts administration.

Falsehood #4: Hassebrook’s ad says Ricketts’ plan would raise taxes on 80 percent of Nebraska families. The ad cites a report from a left-leaning think tank about Governor Heineman’s LB 405 and 406.

Truth: Pete Ricketts has publicly denounced the two bills in question, stating their impacts on Nebraskans and the state’s largest industries, agriculture and manufacturing, would be detrimental to the state. Instead, Pete has a plan to bring about tax reform that will help all Nebraska farmers, small businesses, and middle-class families.

That’ll do.


We were listening to the recent podcast the OWH’s Mike’l Severe did with Democrat NE02 candidate Brad Ashford. Severe does a good job with his questions and follow-ups, and podcasts are the much superior form for this kind of stuff — as opposed to the constantly chopped up and abbreviated radio. Just the way it goes.

But we were struck by a few things that Ashford said (and not just that it may have seemed that Severe did lots of agreeing with Ashford):

Ashford bragged that…

1) He is big into “Social Justice”. Ah that magical term.

And what does “Social Justice” mean? Well, it means wonderful things! Good things! And most of all, it means whatever the people saying the word want it to mean. Jonah Goldberg did a fantastic summary of this goofiness in a vid for Prager University. We are going to post it again here, just to drive home what some of these nonsense terms mean.

2) But Ashford segued from his Social Justice theme and proudly pointed out that he pushed hard to implement Hate Crime legislation.

Now we’re not going to get too deep in the the Hate Crime stuff, as legal beagles have written tomes and dissertations on the topic. But here is the gist:

Committing a crime is bad. But doing it because you hate someone is much, much, much worse.
Oh, and I am a better person, because I don’t hate anyone, and I’m against hate crimes.

And don’t you feel much better about yourself now, because you don’t hate anyone?
(Except Republicans, but that’s cool.)

3) And finally, we just rolled our eyes and sighed at the stuccoed ceiling as Brad pointed out how awesome Medicare Medicaid expansion would be because…we don’t even have to pay for it!

(No? Who is paying? Germany? The Brazilians? Those Godless Swedes? Who???)

The Federal Government is going to pay for it!

So it’s, like, FREE!


And THAT friends, is who wants to go to Washington to decide how your cash gets spent.


Democrat Senate candidate David Domina says, ““Corporate deserters” are taking trillions of dollars per year from U.S. taxpayers.

Now is he talking about Burger King or Tim Hortons?


And we’re glad to see that the OWH has ID’d the Numero Uno, top of the fold – with a photo! – issue in the Governor’s race.
Tom Osborne is laughing maniacally at his computer screen right now.


  1. OWH Conflict of interest says:

    At least the stunningly object Erin Grace noted that Hassebrook lives in a mansion and not a one bedroom farmhouse.

  2. Macdaddy says:

    Hassebrook and every other Nebraskan should keep in mind that Buffett doesn’t just give money away. He expects a return. On every dime. Every time. And he gave $100,000 to Hassebrook. So the question for Chuck is,”What is Buffett going to get for that money? What are you going to do for him?” Choose your answer wisely, Chuck, because the answer you want to give, well, everyone knows that’s a lie.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How can Hassebrook bring up Joe Ricketts with a straight face when Warren Buffett gave like $100K directly to the Hassebrook campaign? Who knows how many more shadow PACs out there will benefit from Buffet or Soros donations directed at attacking Ricketts. Unreal.

  4. Interested Observer says:

    How much money did Charles W. Herbster give directly to the Beau McCoy campaign? Wasn’t it a little over $100,000? Like almost twenty times that much?

  5. Ricky says:

    Looks like even Mr Street Sweeper falls for the Tea Party line of bad bad Obamacare and how it’s the bane of our existence . More people have health coverage than not now by a large margin, rates are not rising as fast as before, not one sad old story of an Obamacare wronged victim stands up to scrutiny.
    Face it head in the sands GOP stalwarts : Obamacare works and it’s not an issue most people care about anymore.
    Ricketts and Mr Street Sweeper are stuck in the mud on this issue.
    Move on rightys.
    Ricky From Omaha

  6. Anonymous says:

    There were third party ads against both Ricketts and Bruning, and for Bruning and McCoy, in the 2014 primary and lots of back and forth about who was responsible for what- but Ending Spending did not run any ads in this race, they only ran ads in Nebraska for Fischer and against Bruning in 2012. It is perhaps insignificant to the overall argument here, but for some readers, facts matter.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Warren’s 100K isn’t much compared to Daddy Ricketts millions upon millions. At least Buffet gave direct whereas with Daddy it came under the guise of a third party interest to avoid any finger prints.

  8. ricky says:

    Exactly right anon at 11.27! Buffets measly $100 k pales to Ricketts millions given by daddy. And warren is man enough to be public about the donation, not hide behind super PACs who do not have to disclose.
    Secret super PACs spent 1.2 million dollars on attack ads in the primary, and that will probably be a lot less than what Tea Party Joe will give secretly to junior.

  9. To Macdaddy says:

    most likely, it’s the same thing that every other donor wants when they give a political contribution: a better country. or do rich people not care about that?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ricky, Who says the $100K is the end of Buffet’s contributions or that of his daughter? Do you have a crystal ball to know that they don’t mess with giving donations to secret super PACs that can then spend tons against GOP candidates? No you don’t know that. None of us do but since Warren and Susie have access to billions I think we can surmise they are perfectly capable of spreading the wealth around to the proper entities that they are aligned with. As if $100K will be the extent of Buffets’ involvement in a Nebraska political campaign. Right. $100K to Buffett is like ten cents to the rest of us.

  11. I listened to the debate says:

    and very little of it dealt with either candidates’ finances. Take the issue of tax reform. Hassebrook would like to change Nebraska’s tax structure so there’s les burden on the middle class. Ricketts wants to further extend the policy of giveaways to the largest landholders — Ted Turner, the railroads and corporate farms. (How big was your property tax rebate this year? It was probably next to nothing because it all goes to the biggest landowners.) Ricketts wants to further drop the valuation on ag land from 75 percent to 65 percent — and to continue giving huge rebates to ag interests. The truth is that over the past three decades, more and more of the tax burden has shifted onto the middle class — sales taxes, fees, etc. Changes in the federal tax structure have meant that relatively few homeowners get full benefit of the mortgage-interest deduction. Nebraska needs a tax overhaul, but not the one Ricketts proposes. His plan sounds like the one that has gotten Kansas into so much financial trouble under Brownback. It’s Tobacco Road down there.

  12. I listened to the debate says:

    and one other major difference is that Ricketts said Nebraska taxpayer money should be given to private schools. I understand that many families — not necessarily the billionaire Ricketts family — scrimp and save to send their kids to private school. That’s their choice, but I don’t think Nebraska families should have to subsidize public AND private schools. Property tax is a big enough chunk of my mortgage payment now. What’s next? Taxpayer support for home-schooled kids?

  13. Interested Observer says:

    The market price and the assessed value of Ag land has increased quite a bit in Nebraska the last few years. Hypothetically speaking, let’s pretend that we have 1 acre of Ag land that is valued for our simplistic purposes at $1,000. At 75%, that means we pay taxes on a value of $750. But let’s say that the value of our land had doubled recently and is now worth $2,000. If we lower the taxable value to 65%, we are now paying taxes on a value of $1,300. That’s not quite, but almost, DOUBLE of what it was a few years ago. That is the problem!

    Also, here in Cherry County, approximately half of the county’s population lives within the Valentine City limits. The other half lives outside the city limits in the country or in the other little towns. The total valuation of all the real property within the Valentine City limits is 11% of the total valuation of all the real property in the entire Cherry County. That means that half of the population is paying 11% of the real estate taxes and the other half of the population is paying the other 89% of the real estate taxes.

    In this particular instance, Cherry County is a microcosm of the whole State of Nebraska in that the rural land owners in Cherry County are greatly subsidizing the land owners in the City of Valentine, particularly for the operation of the school system. This is the same as the rural land owners in Nebraska subsidizing the city and town land owners in the rest of the state. Since one half of all the school districts in Nebraska do not receive ANY of the State Aid to Education, that obviously means that the other half of the school districts are receiving ALL of the State Aid to Education.

    Many Cherry County ranch owners are paying more for real estate taxes every year than they spend for their families living expenses and that’s because they are not only paying for their fair share of the taxes, but they are also paying a big chunk of other peoples’ taxes, also.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It’s Medicaid, not Medicare. Big difference.

    And no one is claiming we don’t have to pay for it. The problem is we ARE paying for it. Nebraska hasn’t accepted extended Medicaid coverage under the ACA, but we are stuck paying for other states’ coverage. We’re taxed on it. Those dollars are going to the feds and then to other states. It’s foolish to pay for it, and continue to pay for it, without allowing a dime of it to come back to our state. There’s a reason many deep red states have adopted it or are about to adopt it (like Wyoming).

  15. Macdaddy says:

    And then when the federal support drops to 90% we’ll get to pay even more because Medicaid taxes won’t have dropped at all. It is better to not let people get used to handouts.

  16. Macdaddy says:

    All right, Congressman Terry. The House is back in session. What plans does Boehner have to counteract Obama’s threatened illegal executive orders to open our borders and fundamentally change America like he promised? What is Boehner going to do to earn back my vote for you? The days are quickly rolling off the calendar.

  17. TexasAnnie says:

    Interested Observer: I agree that spiking valuations and quirky distribution of state aid are genuine problems when attempting to devise an equitable funding system for the public schools there. But don’t forget that ‘state aid’ is non-property tax revenue. Some believe it makes no difference “which pocket the government takes it from” but that is a false premise. And the whole issue is further complicated by the fact that the schools ARE a state obligation, even though the property tax (local tax) remains the greatest source of support. You can’t get to REASON from these starting premises!

    But think of your problem in this way: Less than ten counties in Nebraska provide more income tax revenue to the state than all the other eighty-five combined! That’s right. And when families such as mine were brought to Nebraska to shore up the tax base (corporate tax incentives) those of us at the top were forced to pay taxes at nearly double the rate of those at the bottom. (Nebraska has since flattened out the income tax somewhat.)

    Taxes are always a sticky wicket. That’s why I support a flat income tax and/or a consumption tax. No exceptions and no excuses because that’s FAIR and because it would greatly inhibit crony capitalism. But it appears to me that neither of your two gubernatorial candidates want that, so…

    I can offer good advice to weary Cherry County property taxpayers: Sell Your Land!

  18. TexasAnnie says:

    Macdaddy: The problem with your theory is that people are already used to the handouts and the handouts will most certainly continue, whether or not Nebraska (and Texas etc.) takes something back from what it’s putting in (via federal income tax) for Medicaid expansion. That’s kinda dumb. But Nebraska (and Texas etc.) do not believe the ACA is here to stay and they’re betting against themselves!

  19. We’re paying for other people’s Medicaid, that’s for sure. That’s the fault of Obamacare and the Democrats. If we add Medicaid coverage here, we won’t get anything ‘back’, we’ll simply increase the deficit for ourselves and for everyone else. The people collecting Medicaid aren’t paying federal income tax. Therefor, there’s nothing to get back. They’re simply living off those of us who actually pay taxes.

    Math is hard.

  20. Domination says:

    Just saw 8 stop the pipeline stickers, 4 ponytails, and a coexist bumper sticker at the capitol today. Dave Domina is definitely in the house.

  21. To Ricky in Dreamland says:

    Go look at the latest from BCBS and the NE Dept of Insurance. BCBS saying the individual rate of those signed up under Obamacare is going to go up 17.5% . Working well for those folks, huh?

  22. Texas Annie says:

    When I lived in Texas, every homeowner received a basic homestead exemption — something like $25,000 in value. Is that still true? Nebraska could do the same thing – and I hope it will when the next governor attempts tax reform. Consumption taxes benefit the wealthy, and you know that. Nebraska’s heavy reliance on property taxes to fund schools is a problem. What annoys me about rural counties and school taxes, is that some counties have a school levy that’s one-third of what I pay. Then they come to Lincoln and expect equalization funds to make up the difference! Also, I would note that I don’t get any of the corporate tax breaks that a farmer in Cherry County receives, my home is not an income-producing asset, and it’s always been assessed at 100 percent of value.

  23. You Say says:

    Annie, you say “WHEN you lived in Texas.” By that, are you saying you no longer live in Texas? If that is true, why do you still call yourself “TexasAnnie?” Please let us all know what we should call you now—KansasAnnie? OkieAnnie? NebraskaAnnie? AnywhereAnnie?

  24. TexasAnnie says:

    Yes. We all get a homestead exemption on our primary residence, but not as much as you suggest. (Most folks in my rural county have a guest house or worker housing of some kind which is not exempted.) We have no state income tax, but our state + local sales tax is higher.

    Our property taxes are not fair here either, but they are low compared to what we paid in Nebraska. We have a very steep ag exemption, established by state law but administered by counties, which may exempt up to 95% of ag use land. Yes. I wrote 95%!!! For example I have 25 acres but use only one for my homestead, the remaining 21 of which I allow the wildlife to roam, drink (I supply dripping well water), and eat (I daily feed a fox family, birds, and a stray cat that wandered up on my porch). But I do not qualify for the 1-d-1 wildlife ag exemption. A dear friend in this same county who has about 45 acres which was ag exempt when she bought the property, converted to the 1-d-1 wildlife ag exemption (because she didn’t want to keep cows or goats on the property any longer) and pays only 5% of her ag land’s assessed valuation. Like me, she drips well water, feeds birds, etc. She is able to qualify because her property was historically ag use land, whereas mine was not. Not a fair system, but I’ll be working on that…

    About consumption tax: I respectfully disagree. Don’t tax food and medicine and heavily tax luxury items to balance out regressive edges of the tax burden. Folks with money tend to spend much more than folks without. (Did a corporation bring you from Texas to Nebraska too?)

  25. Interested Observer says:

    OK, Annie, first off, there are only about a half dozen “farmers” in Cherry County and we know who they are. The rest of us in Cherry County who are involved in agriculture are RANCHERS and the most insulting thing that you can ever do is to call a RANCHER a “farmer”. That’s a fightin’ word around here.

    Now, the next thing is when you paint with a really broad brush, you can paint over a lot of relevant facts. Many of the school districts in many of the rural counties in Nebraska do NOT get any state aid to education, we pay our own way with our real property taxes.

    And the next thing is that the houses on a ranch are obviously included in the assessed valuation of that real estate, as well as the barn, the machine shed, the calving shed and every other building on the place, as well as the fences, the windbreaks, the windmills, the tanks, etc. We ALSO pay sales tax on many of the inputs that are part of our cost of doing business.

    My biggest question is, if one half of the school districts in Nebraska pay their own way with their own property taxes and do NOT get any state aid to education, they why in the hell can’t the other half of the school districts pay their own way, too? Why do we even have ANY state aid to education, in the first place? Who in the hell ever decided that simply throwing well over a BILLION freaking dollars every freaking year for state freaking aid was ever going to solve any freaking problem in the first freaking place?

  26. anonymous says:

    IO, why pay to educate anyone at all? The rural NE kids I went to college with left the ranch & the farm in DooDah, NE the first chance they got and never looked back. They live in places like Chicago, Providence and L.A. and never miss a chance to take other people’s money to pay for public education – and send their own kids to private schools to boot. Thanks.

  27. Texas Annie at 11:58 says:

    Quit trying to be a smart ass by using TexasAnnie’s handle. Somehow I thought that this site would be free from the effects of the dumbing down of America, but you have proven me wrong.

  28. Welfare Mom says:

    What is wrong with” planned parenthood”? Maybe I should have had a few abortions so that you wouldn’t be having to cough up the money to feed my kids.

  29. Sorry says:

    to make read a few extra words to understand that I was asking Texas Annie a question. What better way than to use her name? I’ve lived in Texas and Florida. Both states had an across-the-board homestead exemptions on principle residences. In Florida, it was $25,000. Adopting an exemption for all homeowners would ease a lot of Nebraskans’ complaints about property taxes, and encourage homeownership and the stability that provides.

    Otherwise, there are bad points about living in a low-tax state — no parks, few libraries, no gutters or storm sewers in many areas, which leads to street flooding in even an average rain. Shortages of things like building inspection and enforcement means that lots of thing get built without permits. Police that are unresponsive because they are too busy with the really serious crime. My neighbor “accidentally” blew his wife’s head off when he came home from a night of drinking and decided to clean his rifle at 1 .m. Three or four neighbors had seen him chase her out of the house and down the street with the same rifle three weeks earlier, but there was no trial. Courts too clogged. He was sentenced to three to five, was out in 18 months. That’s also part of the low-tax deal.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Gargoyle Chuck and Brad Munster are ugly fellows. Politics isn’t a beauty pageant but geez.

    Lee and Ben have cute bunny teeth. Cuddly. And while Smiley Pete is hairless, that looks way better than that bouffant bologna ring on Dave.

    Buffett should spring for some make overs. Try some Prep H on those wrinkles.

  31. TexasAnnie says:

    When I lived in the historical district of Omaha, I was routinely fearful of basement flooding because my errant city govt. DID NOT undertake sewer separation. Has the project been accomplished yet? It was talked up during the entire 16 years I was paying hefty taxes to that municipality, and I witnessed many, many municipal projects being planned and brought to fruition BEFORE the sewer separation had begun. Has it even begun yet?

    When I bought my land here in 2006 and undertook construction, I was surprised to learn that in rural counties there are no ‘building codes’ per se. But I built by code without being coerced to do so by any local govt. So I ‘saved’ the amount of tax it takes to pay a building inspector.

    These two examples illustrate that living in a low-tax state does not imply lesser quality of life, but merely low taxes, AND, that living in a higher-tax state does not guarantee a responsive government. Indeed we got out of Omaha (and Nebraska) BECAUSE we had been observing, for sixteen years, how effectively our local and state governments neglected the needs of the developmentally disabled while simultaneously championing the needs of the “best and the brightest.” Now I’m not saying that we have services for the DD population here in rural Texas. But at least I’m not being taxed to the hilt to constantly make more and better provision for other folks more perfect offspring. We live quietly with our adult but infant-like child on our own land, paying our own way, with the money we saved by shedding Nebraska TAXES!

  32. Anonymous says:

    It turned into to a TexasAnnuie therapy blog when Sweeper stopped paying attention and when serious people wanting to talk Nebraska politics started getting bored with all Annie all the time.

    So maybe we can get back on track. The Ricketts ad that shows a video of Hasselbrook saying something about ObamaCare is next to useless…..in that the video of Hasselbrook is so grainy you can barely make out who it is, and because you can barely make out what he is saying. If Ricketts is going to win this thing, he needs to spend a little money making better ads.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Amen to #44. I’ve yet to see any reason to tell me why Ricketts is the best choice. The ad above is from the Governor’s Ass (abbreviated for short) I believe. You know the organization of “leaders” who lead to a higher understanding. I don’t want to watch again to see if my assertion is accurate so as not to bore myself to sleep. Just another dull, boring campaign ad.

  34. Gambling measure off the ballot says:

    Senator Loserbaugh had another setback as the law he worked so hard to get passed, the fake horseracing law, was determined to be unconstitutional by the courts. Because the bill contained two measures not one as required by state law. That one was pretty obvious.
    The week before last, the cigar bar exception for the state smoking ban was overthrew also by the supreme court. That was a Sen Lastatbar issue also.
    And these were not even the worse laws he passed. The law making the OPS board run again was terrible.
    Since the Unicam keeps passing laws that are unconstitutional, like LB 1161, soon to be upheld as also suspect legally. That makes being a member of the Nebraska Legislature a minus not a plus in running for higher office right?

    Ricky From Omaha

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