After his Ubering and speaking gigs in central Iowa last week, US News and World Report’s David Catanese wrote an extensive piece on Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse.
He writes all about a potential Presidential run for Sasse, his Twitter wars with candidate and President Trump, and his looming Nebraska re-election campaign in 2020.
And he goes to some local folks to get an insight on Sasse.
He starts with Lincoln attorney, early Sasse supporter and former Nebraska GOP Chairman Mark Fahleson:
“Ben and I have never had any conversation about him running for president,” says Mark Fahleson, a former chair of the Nebraska Republican Party and close friend of Sasse’s who accompanied him on the Iowa jaunt. “He generally regards the talk as nonsense.”
Well…Mark knows what line to give anyway.
Of course, no one really believes that.
And Catanese dives back in with remarks from Omaha attorney, GOP worker from many campaigns, and President of the Millard School Board, Mike Kennedy:
“What is he doing in Story County?” asks Mike Kennedy, a 25-year Republican activist from Omaha who is a withering critic of Sasse. “It’s like he’s nationalized the office. It’s the senator above it all, playing on the national stage. I think the visit to Iowa is to test a sounding board for a constitutional alternative. He wants to be the Trump alternative.”
And Leavenworth St.’s past note that Sasse may be going down a Senator Chuck Hagel path, is reiterated by Kennedy:
Kennedy says he sees the same type of sentiment that doomed Hagel brewing against Sasse back in Nebraska. When Sasse decided to give up a seat on the Agriculture Committee — leaving Nebraska with no senator on the committee for the first time in nearly 50 years — in order to move to the higher-profile Armed Services and Judiciary Committee, it sent ripples across the state.
“It’s the Sunday talk show thing. [Ag] is not sexy. He wanted visibility. Ben’s all about Ben Sasse,” says Kennedy, whose vocal criticism of Sasse have grown so loud they’ve earned him a call from Sasse’s deputy chief of staff.
Well, at least Sasse’s staff is committed to outreach (with SOME individuals…).
And then the topic of 2020 — in Nebraska — is raised:
Sasse faces re-election to his Senate seat in 2020 — another race he has yet to commit to. That timing, in itself, would make it more difficult for him to mount a presidential bid.
Fahleson says Sasse is close to invincible at home, and that his critics amount to a small bastion of party activists still sore from their preferred candidate’s loss in the 2014 primary.
“If he runs for reelection he’ll win, he’ll have 5 million in the bank. No one will touch him,” he says. “There is no one out there.”
Well, that’s an interesting one from Fahleson. His point about the amount of cash Sasse would have is well-taken. And it is something that any primary opposition would certainly note.
But the idea that he is “invincible” isn’t exactly canon in Nebraska. And certainly not around the party people — particularly those who still remember Sasse telling a Washington crowd back in 2016 that the Nebraska GOP “…are not necessarily representative of what most Americans think and what most Nebraskans think.”
And the idea that there is “no one out there” simply is not true.
But again, Fahleson is saying what he probably should say.
Catanese closes with a quote from Kennedy, and a note about time…
Kennedy says Sasse has become more polarizing than meets the national eye.
“I think the party people are very skeptical of him. People are sharply divided on him. There are people who think he walks on water and a true deliverer of the conservative message. And then there’s the people in my camp, it’s almost Never Sasse. We see right through you. You haven’t delivered. Spend time writing bills on rewriting Obamacare, not on how to be parents,” he says, taking a shot at Sasse’s book.
Three years, of course, is an eternity in politics, both local and presidential.
But as Sasse showed, it’s never too soon to go to Iowa.
Calling? Door-to-door? Hmmph!
The Washington Examiner has a recent story about the efforts of the Congressional Leadership Fund to send the message of Congressional Republicans across the land.
The CLF’s efforts include Nebraska’s 2nd District, which has been considered a swing district for quite some time.
The OWH also notes that the CLF has a full time staffer in the 2nd, as well as lots of student volunteers making phone calls and walking neighborhoods on behalf of Congressman Don Bacon.
Voter outreach sounds exactly what a campaign should be doing, right?
Not so fast, laughs Nebraska Democrat Chair, Jane Kleeb:
How weak is
@RepDonBacon? So weak he needs Ryan’s dark money SuperPac to knock doors over year before election
Bless her heart.
Jane wishes the Bacon folks were at home sipping lemonade instead of going hardcore grassroots and supporting their candidate.
Or maybe Jane feels that the more effective route is…protesting!
Those Baconistas should skip talking to actual voters, explaining the Congressman’s positions, and asking them how they feel about the issues. No, instead they should follow Ashford and Eastman around — preferably in black cloaks that have the F-word emblazoned on them — and hold up signs that say “Resist!” or “Not MY Congressman!” on them.
Now THAT’s effective campaigning.
And then the CLF should follow the whole thing up with a folk-music concert featuring a Socialist and anti-Semite.
But these are just suggestions, Team Bacon. You can do whatever you like. And if you think talking to voters (sniff!) is going to work, then well, whatever dude!
For your viewing pleasure, we will go all Platte Institute on you for a minute and draw your attention to an interesting comparison, from the Pew Charitable Trusts, of how the 50 states raise revenue.
Taxes make up about half of state government revenue, with the bulk coming from levies on personal income and general sales of goods and services. Broad-based personal income taxes are the greatest source of tax dollars in 28 of the 41 states that impose them, with the highest share—69.6 percent—in Oregon. General sales taxes are the largest source in 17 of the 45 states that collect them. Texas is the most reliant on these taxes at 61.6 percent.
In fiscal year 2016, the share of total state tax revenue from personal income taxes grew to its largest percentage in at least 65 years. The share from general sales taxes also increased from the previous year, while those from corporate and severance taxes edged down.
An interesting look.