The Wheels Down Politics Show – John Murante

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Murante 02An interview with Nebraska state Senator John Murante.

Jerry Kratochvil talks with Senator Murante about his potential plans to run for the GOP nomination for the Nebraska 2nd District House of Representatives seat.

They also talk about the proposed increase in the Nebraska Gas Tax, Senator Ernie Chambers’ recent comments and the Nebraska Learning Community.

Senator Murante also tells Jerry about growing up in Nebraska and working at Big Fred’s Pizza, which he now runs.

You can find this, and all of our podcasts at and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.


  1. TexasAnnie says:

    Brad Ashford vote for Pelosi. Baaad!
    Ernie Chambers inflammatory words: Baaad!
    Gas take hike to repair roads. Baaad!
    Learning Community. Baaad!

    So tell us Sweeper, what does Murante what to accomplish in the legislature?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, TA, he’s clearly not serving salad at Big Fred’s. The glaciers will erase Nebraska before I can get a goddamn salad. I don’t know why I bother. Maybe Big Fred himself will rise from the grave and service my lunch. It’d be quicker than waiting for the living.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why would you get a salad at Big Fred’s? Their salads stink. The pizza and onion rings aren’t bad though.

  4. NebraskaAndy says:

    TexasAnnie asks why a potential candidate speaks of what he sees as problems but doesn’t nail himself down with proposed solutions. Most voters might wonder the same thing. It is because he’s not suicidal.

    First, there is the nature of problems vs. solutions. Problems are few and concrete while solutions are dreamt and come in endless varieties mostly unworkable. To say what you are against, what you see are problems, binds you to a certain electoral base you need to win a primary. However, to commit to any solution risks you being wrong. You cannot be much wrong until you propose a solution.

    Voters who’d never in their own lives dive head first into anything without looking, feel candidates should magically know solutions before they even define the problems, some of which you cannot know until you are up against them while in office, some of which crop up while you are in office.

    Stating what you think is wrong is like dating. Suggesting a solution is like getting engaged. Once you choose the latter path, your options and potential dating partners evaporate.

    Secondly, there is the flawed nature of voting itself, which does not select leaders based on merit but rather as a beauty contest. Being wrong for any reason is insufferably bad to voters who follow elections as if observing scripted entertainment.

    Voters are happy to see politicians die in some dramatic Don Quixote-like suicidal asinine quest. It’s a muddy voter mindset all candidates must navigate.

  5. GOP Voter says:

    Murante is a good guy. He has carried the water for the Elephant for years. I would vote for him for Congress

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sweeper. Perhaps you can conduct phone interviews over landlines because cell calls with sun spots or whatever make listening to this interview irritatingly difficult.

    Also, with regard to government overreaches of any sort, the correct question isn’t “If it is abolished what would you have take its place?” Conservatives who ask such questions are off track.

    The proper fall back starter position when facing any government intrusion is to eliminate it and replace it with nothing. Only if that won’t work must one be forced into considering some other form of hopefully less intrusive government intrusion, inefficiency, tyranny, etc.

  7. to To Omaha Voter says:

    Its awesome to see the Murante crowd questioning Bacon’s right to run for congress just because he hasn’t lived in an area all his life! Guess what? People move around, and not always by a commanding officer.

  8. Pizza over Bacon says:

    At least with Murante we know who henis and what he believes in. He has carried the water for years and would make an excellent congressman. I don’t know if he could beat Osborn in a primary though.

    With Bacon we will get whatever his consultants tell him to say. He has no track record other than running for congress. No thank you!!

  9. Sara Howard says:

    To Pizza over bacon great points. I would vote for hime. I also love when we make deals together to promote a progressive agenda

  10. Slimy Pepperoni says:

    Big Fred’s Pizza’s latest inspection, in April, got a little slimy, according to Douglas County Health inspectors.

    Inspectors reported pepperoni had been left sitting out and reached a temperature of 78 degrees, which caused it to develop slime. Inspectors also noted tomatoes and lettuce were not chilled to acceptable standards.

    In total, inspectors found 12 critical violations. Upon re-inspection the following day, inspectors reported all but one issue had been resolved.

  11. TexasAnnie says:

    Mine was a serious inquiry. I don’t recognize the name Murante from my past there. How does Murante propose paying for roads and bridges? Shouldn’t one first look to the beneficiaries of roads and bridges? We always have this same kind of squabble down here in Texas. It’s why liberty lovers have given up on self-designated “conservatives.”

    Anon @ 11:01: You’ll have to ask Murante because the general file vote (AM513 on March 30, 2015) was not a recorded vote. LB 199 did advance to E&R with 29 ayes, 0 nays and 17 present but not voting.

  12. Pete says:

    Just so we’re clear: we have a majority of legislative seats filled by supposed republicans and thus far we have cigar bars (back) and we’re about to get a nice tax increase. Bravo to the brain trust that is the Nebraska Legislature. There is no doubt in my mind that those 49 Senators could make short work of screwing up a wet dream.

    Here’s my favorite argument so far from the Unicam, “But the increase in revenue from the gas tax will be offset by decreased property taxes at the county level, so it’s revenue neutral and instead of property taxes paying for roads it will be a user fee.”
    Riiiight, and please point to another scenario where this has played out as planned! Please show me a single instance in the history of the state of Nebraska when the state increased one tax with the promise that counties would decrease another, and it actually played out that way. It’s cool, I’ll wait.

    You can’t have sound policy without sound doctrine. This tax increase is neither.

  13. to Pizza over Bacon says:

    True, Bacon doesn’t have a track record other than running for Congress…other than serving in the Air Force for the last 20+ years and rising to be a general

  14. to Pizza over Bacon says:

    Not to mention that Murante has a history of telling people he opposes something during an election then double-deals and votes for it on the floor

  15. Anonymous-er says:

    Unicam Libs have succeeded in corralling 25 sponsors for a bill to give Nebraska driver licenses to illegal aliens. Will any conservatives have the stones to filibuster that bill of it comes to the floor?

  16. Anonymous says:

    So R’s have 35/49 seats in the Leg. yet greater than half of the body supports illegals getting licenses? I think it’s time our party trims some fat.

    Think about the scenario: Every morning, someone wakes up and their presence in this country breaks the law. That illegal alien walks through the front door of a government building and says “hey I need a driver’s license.” Surely at some point it comes up that this person is an illegal alien. So here we have a government employee face to face with someone breaking the law, and instead of having them apprehended and brought to justice for breaking the law, they hand them a bloody driver’s license. Maybe I’m off my hinges, that just doesn’t check out.

  17. Bill And Judy F. says:

    As a resident of Papillion, I have been thoroughly impressed at how senator Murante has represented me. We would be happy to vote for him.

  18. Anonymous says:

    If that “leader’s” day job is serving me food for money – my money – I’ll judge her or him from here to hell and gone at my unending convenience.

  19. Who is Bacon? says:

    Has Bacon ever done or said anything in regaurd to politics without being consulted? Has he ever donated? Made public comments or been engaged with the grassroots before being told that he had to? All I have ever heard out of this guy has been pre scripted and on message. Essentially just telling people what they want to hear. No thank you!

    If military experience was the only thing you needed than why don’t we have more vets in congress? Just because he was able to keep is nose clean and rise at a pretty standard rate through the military over 20 years doesn’t automatically give you a free pass to become a congressman.

  20. S. Smith says:

    To Omaha Voter: I know “Bits”. Bacon moved here the first time in 1986… the second time in 1998… the third time in 2011… and this last time in Aug, 2014… 3 of his 16 assignments were at Offutt. While Murante ran Big Fred’s, Bacon ran Offutt AFB as the base commander, which has 10,160 personnel. His four kids went to school in local schools, his two oldest and wife gained their degrees here, and two of his sons have lived here for years. Bits admires businessmen and women who keep America working. I think there are 8 restaurants on Offutt and he knows its a hard business and admires those who do it well.

  21. To: Who is Bacon says:

    Rising to the General officer ranks is not “pretty standard” in a career. In 2013, there were over 64,000 officers in the USAF and only 305 were in the flag officer ranks (source: Air Force Association). That is less than half a percent. You don’t earn this rank by just going through the motions. I have served under many great officers during my time. The ones who reach the top do so through hard work and leadership. There is nothing “standard” about such leaders.

    As for being real involved in the grassroots, military members have many restrictions on how much they can be involved in politics. One of the reasons that Gen Bacon cited for getting out of the service was the need to speak out about the wrong direction President Obama is taking the nation. Members actively serving in the military are legally prohibited from engaging in such political talk. In addition, the high ops tempo for the military (frequent year-long deployments to the sandbox, etc…) would make it a little difficult to be politically active (if it were allowed).

    The first political speech I heard from Don was right before the last election when he was stumping for Republicans. It was anything but scripted, and it came straight from the heart.

  22. Macdaddy says:

    You are correct that rising to a flag officer is not standard. You have to have some pretty good political skills to get there. That can be a plus or a minus. I notice that he got his star under Obama but there might not have been a political litmus test for his first star so it’s hard to say. I do know that he didn’t do anything that would go against The One’s beliefs and that presumably means he didn’t make waves while Obama was fundamentally transforming the military in addition to the rest of America. Upon retirement, he teamed up with Fortenberry, Nebraska’s current ranking RINO.

    Bottom line: General Bacon is a big unknown and he has his work cut out for him.

  23. Pete says:

    Those who are already trying to drag Don Bacon through the mud obviously have skin in the game with another potential candidate and believe for some reason that making the primary ugly will help their cause. It’s fine to support another candidate, even one who hasn’t shown the fortitude to announce yet, but bashing Don Bacon for living elsewhere during his career in the USAF is pretty pathetic.

    Bacon has been in the race for just a few moments and what we know about him is nothing to bash at all. We know he’s a retired USAF General, he is a father, he has a fairly standard set of conservative stances, and I would argue with anyone who says he isn’t likeable.

  24. To Pete says:

    Attacking someones military career certainly wasn’t out of bounds during last years Senate primary… Why would it be now?

    Look where Sasse got with his uncle attacking Shane Osborn’s record with hundreds of thousands of dollars in swiftboat ads? Did it stop them from attacking someones in the military? Did it work?

    I am inclined to vote for General Bacon because of his military service. However, let’s not think for a second that the General will get a pass because of it. The same spineless Sasse supporters that went after Shane Osborn will be the same ones attacking the General.

    I know that bacon will have to answer for a few things that happened under his watch but
    I have no doubt he will properly defend those actions.

  25. Anonymous says:

    “The same spineless Sasse supporters that went after Shane Osborn will be the same ones attacking the General. ”

    FALSE. The spineless Sasse supporters who attacked Shane Osborn live in Fremont, which is 1st district. I doubt they will play much in the NE02 primary.

  26. Bystander says:

    While I admire his service and dedication to our country, my issue with Don Bacon is that not all service and experience are created equal. Many elected officials with a military service record have some other life experience that tells us who they are and prepares them to serve. Far as I can tell, Don Bacon does not.

    Bob Dole was a county attorney, Joni Ernst a farm girl and state senator, Tom Cotton a lawyer, etc. Even in Nebraska, Chuck Hagel started a mobile phone company and Shane Osborn was State Treasurer and businessman.

    Don Bacon has none of that previous political or professional experience on which to judge. He’s essentially been a military bureaucrat for two decades.

  27. Lew D Criss says:

    Shane Osborn stood in the Oval Office and was personally thanked for his service and heroism by The President of the United States. He later flew multiple combat missions in Afghanistan. None of that prevented reporters and Republicans across Nebraska from openly questioning his military record.

    With all due respect, if Shane Osborn’s record of service is not beyond reproach during election season, you can be damn sure Don Bacon’s isn’t, either.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hey yesterday at 3:59PM….a tad passionate about your pepperoni and lettuce ! Best to get it to go when you cast your vote.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Hey, Anon, if a candidate for office touts their business experience and I consistently find my experience of their business wanting, what do suppose I’ll do in the voting booth? Funny where market corrections turn up.

  30. S. Smith to Bystander says:

    So leading people in the military and being deployed four times (with two Iraq tours) makes one a bureaucrat. I guess that is all I was too. I am glad to know that my comrades who have been injured or who have died did so in the performance of their bureaucratic duties.

    Instead of tearing down our service members, we should be thankful that they are willing to raise their hand when called upon.

  31. Macdaddy says:

    General Bacon has no track record on which to judge how he’ll vote on bills that it might not be obvious what they mean. He already jumped in the race without consulting me, but I’ll give him the same advice I gave Jim Esch: Congress should not be your first elected position. Run for city council, county commission, dog catcher, whatever, but you need to show us how you react and perform when it comes to responding to real people and do it at a level where your mistakes aren’t so devastating. The General might be a great guy and maybe the best Congressman ever but I have no way of judging that.

    Let me give 2 examples: Pete Ricketts and Deb Fischer. Pete is a great guy. Completely untested and we are now paying for it. But he’s a great guy. Deb Fischer showed through her actions what kind of Senator she was going to be. I could have predicted her current performance as US Senator based on what she did as state Senator. I didn’t vote for Pete in the primary because I don’t think high office should be your first one. I was right. Political neophyte General Bacon has a real problem because we are not in the mood for people who say the right things then do the wrong things. Will I vote for him in the general election? Sure. In the primary? Probably not.

  32. Regarding Career Politicians says:

    Agree with Macdaddy. Our nation has been served SO WELL by electing people who have gone from one stepping stone to another – on both sides of the aisle. The GOP had a real winner in Aaron Schock, a person who cut his teeth in a state house. Also, career politicians like Mark Foley, Tom DeLay, Charles Rangel, etc… all had political gigs before being elected to the congress. And of course, we all know about Bill Clinton. Is our nation better off because of these characters?

    The idea that a guy must hold a lower office first is flawed. Tested and proven leadership can come from many areas outside of political office (family businesses, medicine, the military, law enforcement, the corporate world). Some of our best members of congress in history never served in another office for a day of their life.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Congress can use more veterans. Why should someone who has attained the rank that Gen. Bacon has have to prove he stuffed envelopes to be invited into the inner circle? As opposed to a very young political climber whose main accomplishment was creating his own LD as a staffer so he could run for that LD and after a couple years in the Legislature he’s ready for Congress? I would go with the General’s experience any day. Congress has plenty of political hacks and not so many proven leaders.

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