After a vote by 400+ delegates at the Nebraska Republican Convention on Saturday where they expressed near unanimous disapproval of Senator Ben Sasse’s call for a Third Party Presidential candidate, Sasse went back to Washington and bashed Nebraska Republicans.
He told the Washington press, after he gave a blistering speech at the American Enterprise Institute, that the Nebraska GOP delegates:
“…are not necessarily representative of what most Americans think and what most Nebraskans think.”
A more tone-deaf and insulting statement has probably never been uttered in Nebraska politics.
(Note the OWH’s Washington correspondent wrote a story on this, but it is difficult to find on their web page. Here is the link.)
The magnitude of the insult that Sasse just threw at Nebraskans is stunning.
First, Sasse went to the Nebraska Republican Convention last Saturday knowing that the delegates there were anxious to hear him speak about his views on the Presidential election. Nothing has been more on the minds of political observers than this.
When the national press talks and writes about “Third Party”, you can almost guarantee that Ben Sasse’s name will follow.
Because that is all Ben Sasse has been talking about in social media and the news for the past six months.
He has been interviewed by the national press specifically about his political views.
He has had late night Twitter wars with Donald Trump.
He prints a 1,500 word manifesto on Facebook on why he thinks there needs to be an alternative to the Republican Party.
So the anticipation was great when he entered the room on Saturday.
But then he offered a bit of pablum to those in attendance, saying that he realized they have “differences.”
And then he launched into a speech that many in the room complained was the exact same one he gave to the county conventions. A nice speech, mind you, about his daughter’s experience at a ranch. But a) a repeat, and b) not what people were hoping to hear.
To top it all off, Sasse then went to the back of the noisy room (he was difficult to hear when you were 6 inches away) and spoke at reporters for one minute and 45 seconds. After he rejected a local TV reporter’s pleas to give her one minute on camera in the lobby, and ignored the local newspaper reporter’s questions about his Third Party plans, he abruptly stormed out of the room, with the TV reporter chasing him.
So no new speech. And no time for the local press.
But then Ben Sasse returned to the friendly confines of Washington, D.C.
And he took the stage in front of the DC elite cognoscenti at the American Enterprise Institute. He was the keynote speaker for their “Vision Talks”. (Clearly not speaking to the Nebraska rubes at a Century Link conference room.)
There he opined about…
“…economic models throughout history, from hunter-gatherer societies to the new digital information age.
“When he tied his economic analysis to politics, he leaned into the ‘plague on both your houses’ critique of the major parties, describing them as ‘two failed enterprises.'”
Maybe it is not surprising that Sasse did not have the courage to tell the Nebraska Republican Party’s delegates that theirs is a “failed enterprise”.
But Sasse also was comfortable enough with his Washington DC press to tell them how out of touch he thinks those same Nebraskans are.
Nebraskans, and Republican delegates like Governor Pete Ricketts and Senator Deb Fischer. Delegates like State Senators Bill Kintner, Joni Craighead, Laura Ebke, Merv Riepe, Nicole Fox, Ken Schilz and Bob Hilkemann. Former Senators like Chris Abboud, Scott Lautenbaugh and Tony Fulton. Delegates like City Councilwoman Aimee Melton, and County Election Commissioners Brian Kruse and Wayne Bena.
And those are just some of the elected officials who ALSO took the time and effort to be part of their county parties, then garner enough votes from those around them to become state delegates.
That doesn’t count the over 300 delegates who are just involved in their party, because they want to be involved.
But Ben Sasse is probably right. The Nebraska Republican delegate AREN’T necessarily representative of how most Nebraskans think.
For instance, the NEGOP delegates think it’s important to VOTE. Heck an overwhelmingly majority of Nebraskans — 75% — didn’t think that was important to do last Tuesday. (And yet, 60% of those Republicans who DID vote still filled the oval for Sasse’s sworn enemy, Donald Trump.)
And don’t say Nebraskans didn’t vote because they were mad that Ted Cruz dropped out. Because NEGOP delegates know that it’s important to vote for your House race, your state Senator and your School Board rep.
Most Nebraskans don’t think it is worth their time to educate themselves about the local bond issue or about who is running for NRD Board.
Most Nebraskans don’t think it is important to work at the polls on Election Day. Most don’t think it is worth their time to volunteer at their schools or places of worship or Little League.
But Nebraska Republican delegates think ALL of those things are important enough to give them their time and attention and effort.
So maybe they don’t think like a majority of Nebraskans.
But because of the way they DO think, Ben Sasse should be giving them twice as much attention.
Instead of insulting them and dismissing them out of hand.
Leavenworth St. will have more on this and other issues this afternoon.
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