Friday, December 30, 2011

A Bucket Full of Crayfish, Next Tuesday and Beyond

The political commercials being run on radio and television remind us of crayfish trying to get out of a bucket.    Yes, anytime one gets a little bit of a grip, the others grab on and pull him down.

Now being cynical we shouldn't really be at all surprised.   Unfortunately, that's the way things work in politics.     With the Iowa caucus being less than a week away, the political ads seem to be oriented in pulling down the perceived leader or the guy ahead of you.

Rick Perry, whose 'positive' ads have been akin to someone's day dreams given the reality of them, now is running ads against Rick Santorum who being the last guy out not to have his day in the sunshine--that is his rise in the polls--is now apparently a threat to Perry finishing in the top three behind Romney and Paul. 

Of course, as we've noted, the affable Perry is a doofus, although a doofus with money, lots of money.   So having crashed and burned after his initial ascendancy he is struggling for credibility--creditability being defined as finishing in the top three in the caucuses next week.  With that goal in mind he simply has to spend money to damage any potential threat.   It probably won't work.

There have been similar ads run against Newt as well in response to his generally positive ads.  But Newt hasn't needed much help in his mission to self destruct.

At this point we'd speculate that Romney, Paul and Santorum will probably finish in the top three.   That will mean that come next Wednesday, Bachmann and Huntsman will be 'reassessing' their candidacies since there will be no money left for them.  Even with a likely forth place finish, Perry will have enough money to fight another day.

We still believe in the end Romney will be the nominee.  Even with money, Perry just can't prove himself ready for prime time presidential politics.   Paul will continue because all he has to do is send out another 'money bomb' request for dollars.  Neither Perry or Newt have any kind of organization as demonstrated by their inability to get on the Virginia ballot and lack of organization in Iowa.  Santorum, who really could carry the non-libertarian conservative vote may still hang on for a while if he finishes in the top 3 next Tuesday.

In the end Iowa serves a purpose if not that of actually determining the nominee of the party.   It winnows those without organization, money and charisma out before the selection process really gets going.    Unfortunately, it might also wound some qualified candidates that lack those three assets.   Tim Pawlenty, who pulled out after the straw poll, comes to mind as one who by now might have been a very viable candidate for both Romney's and conservative votes. 

Ashford Becomes an Independent But Why Now?

So Senator Brad Ashford has finally admitted that he isn't a Republican.   Yes, he has re-registered as an independent.

Ashford couldn't find a home in the Democrat party in the 1980's and re-registered as a Republican, probably realizing that improved his political prospects at the time.   He lost a race for the U.S. Congress and continued as a Republican although at best he was simply a RINO (Republican in name only).  He never attempted to embrace the Republican party apparatus and that apparatus never embraced him. So now he has become an independent.

Ashford has never been any party's darling.   On social issues he agreed for the most part with Democrats although he did actually show some moderation on his pro-abortion stance in recent years.   On fiscal issues he did a pretty good job representing the chambers of commerce and business.   But an honest appraisal would be that he truly is an independent and has at last found the intellectual honesty, perhaps, to realize that.

We're certain Ashford would have been welcomed back to the Democrat Party with open arms and a great celebration had he made such a decision.  With an open U.S. Senate seat Ashford might have become the sacrificial lamb the Democrats need.  But that apparently won't be the case. 

While Ashford is dubious about his future likelihood to run for office one thing is sure and that is that Nebraskans don't elect independents to anything other than the legislature and local non-partisan offices.   On the other hand,  maybe Ashford, who is term limited, might just decide (or be planning) to run for Mayor of Omaha in 2013, something we have speculated about in the past.  

Ashford and Suttle are not a lot different philosophically although Ashford might actually have a better image with the business community and local daily despite his support of the mayor's request for an additional half-cent of sales tax.  Add to the race a yet unknown Republican candidate and Ashford's strategy might be to divide and conquer.

Politicians seldom make serious decisions of this nature frivolously.   They make decisions of this nature for a reason.   Why would a term-limited state senator bother to change from Republican to independent rather than Democrat if he doesn't have some kind of ulterior motive like a run for another non-partisan office?  Time will tell, but don't bet you've heard the last of Ashford as a candidate.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kleeb and Bold Nebraska Continue to Say No to any Pipeline

We continue to wonder who is fooling who.   The state has released its map of loci non grata (the Sandhills) for a revised pipeline route.  It will spend $2 million of Nebraska tax payer's money to find an acceptable route--if the current occupant of the White House approves.   But the same woman who duped our governor and two U.S. Senators (well, Judas wasn't actually duped) into the 'reroute' mentality continues to say not in my backyard, that backyard not being just the Sandhills, not being just Nebraska, but being the United States of America.   So who is fooling who? Who will win?  If we were Mitt Romney we might bet $10,000 that it never gets built thanks to that WOMAN from Hastings (excuse our political incorrectness, sounds like something the late Jim Exon once said about Nancy Hoch for those of you old enough to remember) and thanks to the president of these United States.

Okay, enough for our bloviating.   We thought we'd share Jane Fonda's, oops, we meant Jane Flemming Kleeb's latest iteration not only asking us for our $12 to continue her cause but stating that she will continue to oppose any pipeline route through Nebraska.

"We got big things done this year. Our small rebel alliance grew from a couple hundred to several thousand Nebraskans. We stared down some of the biggest bullies, and they blinked.

Check out the staff's top 12 reasons why you should donate $12. You can leave your own idea also and check out pictures and videos we link to on our site.

We built up an incredible amount of grassroots momentum in 2011, and we want to take it even further in 2012. We’re asking you to propel us into bold New Year with a $12 donation.

What will we do with your investment into a bold Nebraska?

1. Donate so we can keep organizing to stop the TransCanada pipeline for good. Homegrown energy that powers Nebraska and revitalizes our small towns will be a new focus.

2. Donate so we can hold elected officials accountable every step of the way. Whether it’s unconstitutional voter-ID laws or unconscionable disregard for poor kids, we will make sure politicians hear us loud and clear.
3. Donate so we can train and mobilize bold leaders
across the state. We met a lot of amazing leaders this year, and we want to give them the tools to make bold change in their communities.

We put our shoestring budget to work in 2011 and created some amazing change. Will you help us do it again in 2012 by donating $12 today to kick off a bold New Year?

Creating change for a bold Nebraska,

Jane Kleeb
Executive Director"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Given the Boot: Good Bye and Good Riddance to Judas Ben the Snakeoil Salesman

On this, the 315th day of our countdown to election day 2012 (unless you are Mitt Romney) and the ouster of Judas Ben Nelson from the U.S. Senate we gladly admit we were wrong in believing he would seek another term.   And we can now terminate our Judas Ben Nelson Countdown (formerly found in lower left column). 

We believe that Ben truly would have run had he seen any glimmer of hope of being re-elected rather than routed.   The numbers which the Republican party recently released were as accurate as any poll and indicated 59% of Nebraskans wanted a change in Nelson's senate seat and 63% wanted Obamacare repealed.   The correlation of those numbers hasn't changed much since Nelsons's infamous sell-out to Obama on Christmas Eve two years ago and none of the efforts by himself to extort a million or more dollars for his vote to change the public opinion of him worked. 

Nelson relished his 'importance' as the 'needed vote' on issues since he was first elected.  Time after time under both Bush and Obama we saw him in his 'visits' to the White house and the president where he was somehow always the 'holdout' vote that needed cajoling and where he tried to extort what he could get in return for it.   His self-serving egotistic mentality finally caught up with him on Obamacare, a vote the stench of which couldn't be covered up by liters of cologne millions of dollars of ads to confuse voters.  

Nebraska's Judas will slowly begin to fade from memories as he pursues life once again in the private world.   We and 60% of Nebraskans are glad this snake-oil salesman is finally going away. Good riddance!

With that said, we found today's Wall Street Journal editorial particularly instructive as to his demise and the meaning of that for his party--and HIS PARTY HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE DEMOCRAT PARTY.  Here is what they had to say:

ObamaCare's Latest Casualty

Senator Ben Nelson bows out in Nebraska.

"The Senate's staggered elections mean that voters could not return Ben Nelson to private life in 2010, as they did with so many House Democrats. But the two-term Nebraska Senator's announcement yesterday that he'll retire next year still amounts to the moral equivalent of an election defeat.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent $1 million—big money in the Cornhusker State—this year in a TV-advertising blitz to drive up Mr. Nelson's approval rating and convince him to run for re-election. But the roll of bad votes he had to take in the Pelosi-Obama ascendancy of 2009 and 2010 is so long that the self-styled moderate Democrat would have faced a difficult and probably losing campaign in the right-of-center state.
The Senator's political character—the Full Nelson—was drawn into particular high relief in the ObamaCare debate. Mr. Nelson played the hardest to get among the Senate holdouts, raising concerns over the bill's spending, its expansion of federal power and abortion coverage—no doubt with one eye on the two-thirds of Nebraskans who opposed the bill.

His posturing won no substantive concessions, though he did secure a payoff that would have federal taxpayers pick up all of Nebraska's new Medicaid costs forever and other gratuities like special regulatory exemptions for Nebraska-based insurers like Mutual of Omaha. But this only made him look less principled.
Mr. Nelson ultimately provided the 60th and final Senate vote to pass ObamaCare at 1 a.m. two Christmas eves ago. He then disavowed his own kickbacks and voted against the final version of the legislation in March 2010 that only needed a simple majority of 51 Senators. By then his "opposition" was irrelevant.

All of this would have come back to taunt him in an election year, as Mr. Nelson understood. Democrats will now have to scramble to find another candidate in a year when the GOP Presidential nominee is likely to carry the state. Democrats are talking up former Senator Bob Kerrey, but he's lived in New York City for years.

Mr. Nelson's retirement means Republicans are closer to picking up the four seats they'll need to retake the Senate in 2012. It's also a reminder that when Democrats govern from the left, they do so at the cost of the red state Members needed to build a majority."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lindstrom Supports Newt's Immigration Policy and Opposes Sandhills Route for Pipeline

We were able to see Brett Lindstrom last Wednesday when he spoke before about 20 folks at the Republican Forum luncheon held at Anthony's.   Lindstrom said his goals, if elected to congress, were to cut spending, deal with Social Security.   He'd create jobs by reducing regulations, reforming (lowering) corporate taxes and changing laws to allow repatriation of corporate income earned overseas.  

Lindstrom believes he is the best guy for the job because he has shown leadership in athletics, has financial experience, has motivation and will support fiscal responsibility.  He mentioned 'cash for clunkers', TARP and the failure of the super committee as reasons to replace Congressman Terry.  Apparently Lindstrom's issue with the super committee is that it should never have been created and congress should have dealt with the the debt issue not a committee.

In questions asked of the candidate on the Keystone XL Pipeline it became obvious that he was more concerned about the environment than energy independence as he noted that his primary concern with the pipeline was getting it out of the Sandhills.   In that regard he certainly reflects the same mentality that allowed the governor and Nebraska's two senators to be duped by Jane Fleming Kleeb and her Bold Nebraska allies who have used the Sandhills route as their initial thrust to stop the pipeline which they will continue to oppose once a new route is proposed.    Lindstrom mentioned agriculture as a primary concern several times.

When asked about illegal immigration, Lindstrom said that employers who hire them should be punished.   But when further questioned, he said he supported a 'guest worker' program not denying his support for one similar to what Newt Gingrich has proposed. 

While Lindstrom is an attractive well-spoken candidate we believe his campaign is marked by either a certain degree of naivete or guile as replacing Congressman Terry would simply put the district back at square one when it comes to having clout or effectiveness in influencing legislation as Terry has demonstrated in the pipeline discussion.

Friday, December 23, 2011

And the Award Goes to---Joe Biden, of Course!

We should probably give up on awarding the Joe Biden Foot in Mouth Award (see column on lower left) to anyone other than Joe Biden as he just seems to keep stepping in it with his dumbfounding comments. After the following one we have no choice but to give ol' Joe his own award in December:

"Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That's critical," Biden said. "There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy, because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Moveon Wants Us To Run For Office

Hard to believe, but our friends at want us to run for local office.   Yes, they sent us an e-mail encouraging us to do so.   It was also personalized with our names (deleted below).   What makes this interesting, of course, is that this 'progressive' organization is actually encouraging folks to do this.    We don't even get this from our national party(s).   Oh well, if you are a progressive, maybe you should let them know....

"Dear Objective Conservative,

You should run for office.

No, really. You, Objective Conservative, should run for elective office: maybe city council or school board in Omaha, or the state legislature.

Here's why you're exactly the kind of person who should run:

1. We need more true progressives in office—more MoveOn members!--and fewer career politicians.

2. This is exactly how the tea party took power in 2010—running grassroots candidates in as many districts as they could.

3. With a wave of at least 2,012 American Dream candidates running up and down the ballot, we can start to defeat corporate Republicans and disappointing Democrats, and not just for one or two election cycles but for a generation.

Would you ever consider running for office? It's easier than you think, and there's lots of help available. So what do you think? Are you in?

Yes, I'd consider running for office.

The tea party movement has recruited thousands of candidates for office over the past couple of years, and used them to spur a wave of attacks on progressive policies across the country.

We're working with partners like the New Organizing Institute's Candidate Project to find strong progressives to run for office and fight for our rights, state by state. That's how conservatives are working to change America, and that's how we're going to beat them in 2012 and beyond.

It's a whole new strategy for MoveOn. We can connect you with the resources to help assess what running for office would take, to find an elected position that could be a good fit for you, and to provide you with expert training, winning strategic advice, and other campaign help.

If you've ever thought you might be willing to take your local involvement to the next level by running for office—or if this is the first time you've considered it—let us know and we'll help you get started.

Thanks for all you do,"

Christ is NOT the Reason for the Season at the White House

The folks at Fox News had an article about the 2011 White House Christmas, oops 'Holiday Card' by Todd Starnes. Of course, as you might expect there is no evidence of anything Christian in the card.
We don't have all of our Christmas cards handy, but we are glad to note that we've received real Christmas cards from certain Nebraska politicians who aren't afraid to wish us a Merry CHRISTMAS. These include Governor Heineman, Lt. Governor Sheehy, Attorney General Bruning and State Senator Beau McCoy. We're glad that these folks know the reason for the season and unabashedly wish us and their constituents a Merry Christmas.
Here's the Fox report:
"The official White House holiday card makes no mention of the word ‘Christmas’ and instead focused on Bo the First Dog based on the wishes of the First Family.
“From our family to yours, may your holidays shine with the light of the season,” read the inside of the card, featuring the presidential seal.
The front of the card features Bo the First Dog lounging by a fireplace. Holiday greenery is draped over the fireplace mantle. Holiday presents are placed on a table underneath a poinsettia – instead of a Christmas tree."

Breaking News: Nebraska School Board Member Won't Seek Re-election

We've learned that Nebraska State Board of Education Member Bob Evnen has decided not to seek re-election.    With the state board membership being closely divided between liberals and conservatives, Evnen's decision could be problematical as the liberals will certainly make every effort possible to take advantage of this opportunity.

A likely potential candidate whose name comes to mind is that of State Senator Tony Fulton who is not seeking re-election to that office this year.    Although we think he would be a great candidate to replace Evnen, we're told that Fulton is not likely to enter this race.  

You can bet the governor and the G.O.P. will make every effort to find a conservative to run for and win this office.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sometimes It Isn't Easy Being A Congressman

We like to belittle our congressmen and senators and at times we don't feel very sympathetic for them......Maybe we shouldn't be sympathetic to them since they choose to run for the job and we shouldn't lower our expectations of what they should or shouldn't do.  Anyway, "It's the reason for the season", at least if you don't live near some Lincoln high school and we found a rather interesting little piece on Politico this morning which might at least suggest that being a congressman isn't the easiest job at times--despite our expectations.  This is a conversation between Congressman Upton and a reporter for Politico:

"SAD FACE- Rep. Fred Upton shared a sad holiday tale with reporters yesterday about having to cancel his flight back home. Here's a brief transcript from that conversation:

Q: When are you going home?
Upton: 'I don't know. I just canceled my flight for tomorrow to go back. ... It was a very hard phone call a few minutes ago, but I made it. I didn't ask somebody to dial it; I actually dialed it myself. You can take me off the flight tomorrow, tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, so we'll see. We will see.'

(Phone rings) "I hope this isn't my wife. It is."

After phone call, Q: Call go better than you thought?

Upton: "Didn't give the full report."

Q: Did you ask to be on the conference (Committtee)

Upton: 'I didn't volunteer for this, let me put it that way.' "

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sarpy County Voters Should Fire Board Members Hike, Nekuda and Richards in 2012

Shame on Sarpy County for it's policy of paying 100% of the health care costs of a few 'priviledged' officials.  

In this day and age of ever-increasing health care costs (Obamacare was supposed to take care of that, right?) it makes no sense to pay 100% of an employee's premiums.    It makes even less sense to pay 100% of the premium for dependents. 

There is an old saying that when something is free it has no value.   Apparently the value of something doesn't arise until someone tries to take it away or ask someone to pay for it.  It's pretty much an accepted fact that if you don't have to pay for your health care you will abuse it.   Why wait to go to the doctor when you can go to the emergency ward or urgent care?   It doesn't cost you anything.   Just your employer.    No reason to conserve.

There are virtually no businesses left today that don't require employees to pay a portion of their health care expenses.   Most businesses require employees to pay anywhere from 25% to 50% of their individual and family health care premiums.   In the case of Sarpy County even those who are not members of the 'elite' free class pay only 7% of their individual health care costs and just 15% of their family costs.   That's ridiculously low unless you happen to be part of the 'elite' Sarpy County class of officials who pay none.  

Even worse, the 'elite' class consists of County Board members who frankly shouldn't qualify for any health care benefit.   Most part timer's who don't work 32 or more hours in other businesses don't get any kind of health care benefit--certainly not free--but these 'elitist' folks who have or should have real jobs get free health care for a paltry few hours of work a week, plus their $24,000-a-year salary.   We're told that many of the other non-elected officials who receive the benefit make between $72,000 and $100,000 a year.   Too bad these poor folks can't pay a part of their insurance cost like all the 'underlings' in county employment that do.....

The rationale for not doing anything is that it might change terms of contracts or might change a benefit during the term of the official.   That's just a bunch of hooey.   This is an outrageous benefit that should have been dealt with years ago.

In a 4-1 vote the county board voted to continue the free benefit for the 'elites', not to make any changes as opportunity presents.   That's shameful! Those who voted for it include Board Chairman Tom Richards and board members Jim Nekuda, Jim Thompson and Rusty Hike.   The citizens of Sarpy County would be wise to FIRE/UN-ELECT/ELECT A NEW BOARD MEMBER IN THEIR PLACE come 2012 when Hike, Nekuda,and Richards come up for reelection.   Otherwise the 'elites' will continue their self-serving practices!

Suttle Once Again To Waste Taxpayer Dollars

Once again Omaha's incompetent mayor wants to spend more of his citizens' tax dollars by hiring a fellow Democrat crony to do a job which is already the PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY of another City of Omaha employee.   Yes, he wants to hire former State Senator John Lindsay to lobby the legislature on LB 357, the bill which would allow Omaha and cities across Nebraska to increase their city sales taxes by one-half percent.    The only problem is that the city already has a lobbyist that earns nearly $100,000 a year who has the responsibility of doing exactly that.   But that won't stop Suttle.

Last year Suttle paid Lindsay's firm more than $70,000 to work solely on LB 357.   The bill did get to the floor and passed the first round of voting.   Was that because of Lindsay or Omaha lobbyist Jack Cheloha?  Who knows, but now the city's incompetent mayor wants to give his buddy Lindsay another $31,000 to do Cheloha's job. 

Let us digress for a moment.    We think the idea of giving this mayor in particular, or any city across the state an additional one-half-of-one-percent sales tax authority is wrong.   It's wrong because it just gives these cities another opportunity to find some project to spend money on and to spend more money.    It's wrong because it basically takes more taxing ability away from the state which can't assess property taxes.   It's wrong because in the end it becomes an additional half-cent of sales taxes in most of the cities across the state thereby raising the taxes of all Nebraskans who go to those cities to buy there necessities whether at Walmart or elsewhere.

Having digressed we would simply say that either the city should fire Cheloha if he can't do the job and hire Lindsay or the the city's incompetent mayor ought to let the guy who has the job do the job. 

In the end any additional expenditure will be wasted tax dollars as the bill has no chance of passing given the governor's promise to veto the bill if it comes to him for his signature.

The city council should refuse to allow this wasteful expenditure.  Sadly, if it does, Jim Suttle will probably hire Lindsay on a week-to week basis, getting around the $20,000 limit at which he must submit the contract to the council.

We can't wait for 2013 (the next mayoral/council election)! In the interim, expect Suttle's marionettes to give him the money.

Christ is the Source of a Truly Merry Christmas -- Doug Patton

The politically correct gestures of seasonal salutation (Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, etc.), which for too long have served as substitutes for the real thing, have become hollow, stale and boring. More and more the last couple of years, I have sensed a desire on the part of many to return to the traditional greeting, "Merry Christmas." Perhaps this has to do with the disillusionment of false hope proffered by those who told us that redemption lies in government.

Barack Obama is not the Messiah, as some had believed when he was inaugurated. No man or woman currently walking this earth is the Messiah. Jesus Christ is the Messiah. He is the Savior. Not Buddha. Not Mohammed. Not Krishna. Not Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, or the Pope.

Jesus of Nazareth was born in the humblest of settings to become the Savior of all — and it was by design, for at the time of His birth, even King Herod’s men did not think to look in a stable for a king. Kings are born in palaces, among opulence and luxury. Jesus did not fit the template.

For two thousand years the human race has continued to look for something more, something flashier, something more glorious, something greater. For those of us who passionately believe in the story of the Nativity, it is a clear reminder of why our faith is a life to be lived in the Spirit the Living God. What could be greater than that?

That is the difference between Christianity and every other religion in the world. Scripture tells us what Christ had to say about himself. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” If that is not true, then He was either a liar or a lunatic, and no one believes that. In fact, virtually every other faith speaks of Jesus Christ as a wise prophet, a great teacher, or a good man, and other religions are willing to acknowledge that following Jesus is one of the ways to heaven. But Christ says He is the only way to heaven. No wonder He was crucified.

Christianity also is unique in that it proclaims that its central figure is still alive. Hindus think their leaders have been reincarnated. Buddha and his followers are thought to be part of some vast cosmos of energy. Mohammed, fiercely and violently defended though he may be, is still dead, and adherents to Islam know it. Even the bodies of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have long ago turned to dust. Jesus Christ alone is believed by his followers to be physically alive, despite having faced the worst death imaginable.

Far too many in our society reject the simple gospel presented by Christ and his disciples in favor of alternative religions that teach vague notions of piety through good works. The social gospel of using government to create an earthly utopia will disappoint us every time. False prophets and self-serving politicians have always been at the forefront of man’s disenchantment. They offer hope but dispense hopelessness. They promise freedom but deliver bondage — to an ideology, an idol or a doctrine. There is only one infallible answer. Discontented seekers of new age solutions to age-old problems need only look to the truth of the Christmas story.

This week, as we celebrate the miracle birth of a baby who would grow up to be both man and God, who would lay down His life as a sacrifice for the sins of those who would believe, we also should remember that He is still with us. Like Christmas itself, the reality of Christ persists and grows stronger. He was born, lived, died, and rose again. He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father, to make intercession for us, and He sent His Holy Spirit to live within those who would receive Him. What a story. To hundreds of millions of us, it is still the only one that makes sense, and He is our only source of true hope and of a truly Merry Christmas.

© 2011 by Doug Patton
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself much more often than not. Now working as a freelance writer, his weekly columns of sage political analysis are published the world over by legions of discerning bloggers, courageous webmasters and open-minded newspaper editors. Astute supporters and inane detractors alike are encouraged to e-mail him with their pithy comments at

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nebraska Education Association Should Pull Ads

We wonder how many folks have watched and heard the N.S.E.A. (Nebraska State Education Association, ad (propaganda) airing on local television and radio stations?    It is obviously spending a huge sum of its teachers' dues for some purpose, presumably to tell us either how good its teachers are, in the face of dismal scores, or how good and powerful its organization is (with upcoming elections in mind?).

We, frankly, are appalled to be told their are 28,000 members of the organization.   That kind of tells us why they can pick an election and spend $40,000 of their funds against a candidate that raises less than $10,000.  As a result the N.E.A. believes it can and often 'buys' such elections. 

But their are a couple of other things that struck us and that we frankly find unacceptable--certainly by the politically correct standards of such an organization.   The first issue is that if you look at the commercial you will note that in almost every teacher-student photo the teacher has his or her hands on the student.   Somehow the message that it is appropriate for a teacher to touch a student seems a little odd in today's charged politically correct environment  where 5 year-olds are suspended principles for saying a teacher is cute or 'the-reason-for-the-season' saying is removed by supercilious principles. 

Secondly, we wonder what it says that there is an implied relationship between the teachers and students in the ad?  Is it because the teacher or student or both really like each other?  That doesn't seem very appropriate, does it?   Or does it bring up an issue of the student being pressured to do such a commercial to get good grades, recognition, etc.?  And what message does all of this send to kids who may not be their teacher's pets?  And, is it appropriate for a teacher to touch or not touch a student?

This commercial is a waste of dues and at best raises some serious questions about it intent and the appropriateness of 'using' students, if not 'using' students in an inappropriate way.    It should be pulled and the N.S.E.A. should apologize to the students for their misuse of them, to the teachers whose dues paid for it, and to all Nebraskans.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Terry Leads: Will Obama?

We're happy with Congressman Terry's continued efforts to move the Keystone XL Pipeline forward.  Among Nebraska's congressional delegation and beyond the vacillating support of state leadership, Terry has prevailed in supporting jobs and energy independence for our state and country.   His bill to gain approval was approved by 234-192 by the house and just this morning by the Senate on an 89-10 vote.  The bill now goes to the guy with the yellow stripe down his back, the Prince of Peace Nobel Laureate President of the World of Equal Nations Commissar Barack Barry Soetoro Hussein Obama for his signature.  Given the president's inability to lead and his threats of a veto it will be interesting to see whether he will lead, allowing his escape to Hawaii for Chrismas or actually veto maintaining his 'do-nothing leadership'.  

Regardless of the president's action, the country and the state of Nebraska owe much to Terry's leadership.    The Keystone XL Pipeline provision would never have been in the bill were it not for Terry, and yes his seniority in the congress.  

Terry has taken some hits over the last few years from various 'conservative' candidate want-to-bees who covet his position.   They point out a vote here or there to justify their challenging him in the primary but they offer little difference in their positions from Terry and they would take 10 or 12 years before they could effectively impact what is going on in a congress which simply requires seniority to be a player. 

Terry has shown leadership in sponsoring a number of bills that have moved forward lately.   Yes, he sponsored one that many in the district weren't happy with--the one allowing calls by businesses to cell phones.   But to Terry's credit, unlike other politicians, Terry heard the concerns of his constituents and withdrew his sponsorship and support of the bill.   That takes some guts.

Frankly, Nebraskans and those in the Second Congressional District are lucky to have Terry representing them.    They have not enjoyed a congressman with his tenure or impact in four generations.   We're glad he has the guts to stand up for his constituents, admit his mistakes and lead on.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Check with Chip!

Seems former state senator and county commissioner Chip Maxwell's tenure with State Auditor Mike Foley has come to an end only a couple of months after he was hired and gave up his Saturday morning radio show.  Why?  Who knows?

Anyway, we see he is now trying to do a new radio show at 1290 A.M., KKAR, between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays, since there is apparently no room in the inn at KFAB where big talker Dave Nabity has shoehorned himself into Maxwell's former spot.

Here is what we got from Chip:

"Chip Maxwell is launching a live call-in talk show on News Talk 1290 KKAR.
Annual sponsorship is $6,000. Chip is a former state senator and county
commissioner, so politics is a big part ofthe conversation, but it’s a general topic
show with comedy bits by Mary Maxwel, Omaha's first lay of humor.
Chip has hosted shows on four stations over the last 8 years. The most recent
show was 6-8 Saturday morning. In the summer of 2009, that station was tied for 17th at the bottom of the market for the Saturday morning time slot and had a statistical share of zero among adults 25-54.  Chip's show started in November 2009.  In the fall of 2010, that station was #1 among adults 25-54 with a share of 13.4 meaning of the people in that category listening to the radio at that time, 13.4% were tuned in to that station and #1 among listeners 12-and-up with an 18.8 share.

By the time Chip finished that show in October 2011, about 7500 listeners were tuned in at a given time, and a total of about 15,000" tune"d in sometime during the show.
His numbers were roughly double the #2 show in the market.   The numbers will be even strongerin this much better time slot."

The Romney-Newt Dilemma

We suppose we could just suggest that our readers subscribe to the Rothenberg Report and then we could quit quoting ol' Stu, but most of you wouldn't so we will as we deem appropriate share some of Rothenberg's thoughts with you.   Today he takes a look at Romney and Newt and what's going on there.   We think it's interesting and worth the read.  You decide.

"Can Mitt Romney Conquer Newt Gingrich, His Own Ceiling?" from "The Rothenberg Political Report"

Mitt Romney’s ceiling in Iowa doesn’t look like glass. It looks like reinforced concrete.
Even after three conservative candidates rose and fell in polling in Iowa, the former Massachusetts governor still can’t get above the 25 percent mark in the crucial early caucus state. “That really says something about how low his ceiling is,” one GOP consultant told me recently.

 More than 10 months ago, I wrote a column saying the obvious: that although Romney was leading the GOP contest and had plenty of assets, he also had so many liabilities that it was unclear whether he could win the Republican nomination.

But given the early exit of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the decision of other potentially formidable candidates to take a pass, it’s stunning that Romney has been unable to increase his support at all over the past year.

And now, Republican insiders are asking what must strike many as the oddest of questions: What can Romney do now to try to stop Newt Gingrich and win his party’s nomination for president?

GOP insiders note that Romney has built the best national organization and continues to have a financial advantage in the race.

But organization may not be what it once was in presidential politics. Certainly it isn’t as crucial as it once was in Iowa. While Romney had by far the best organization in Iowa four years ago, it was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a relatively late entry into that race, who relied on momentum to win the caucuses.

This cycle, polling suggests that organization isn’t driving sentiment in Iowa. How else can anyone explain how candidates with little or no organization in the state have surged in surveys of likely caucus attendees? The GOP debates seem to be trumping (or at least overshadowing) the Iowa ground game.

The question is: When primaries and caucuses come in bunches, not simply one at a time, will Gingrich be able to compete in all of them?

Barack Obama shocked Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008, in part, by paying attention to caucus states that Clinton was ignoring. Could Romney do the same because of the breadth of his organization?

Possibly, but it would be much more difficult for him. After all, Obama was a unique figure who generated grass-roots excitement. Romney hasn’t excited anyone, and his great appeal is that because of his experience, style and broader electoral appeal, he is a “safe” choice.

Romney also seems likely to have a substantial long-term financial advantage in the contest. The former governor hasn’t spent heavily on TV yet, instead preferring to husband his resources for a long contest.

But television, as one strategist pointed out to me recently, is less important in a presidential race than in a Senate or House race. The presidential race will get plenty of “earned media,” so voters will have the information they need to make decisions without relying on paid TV ads.

The calendar presents some problems but also a few opportunities for Romney.
All five of the first primaries (New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Michigan) are likely to suffer a 50 percent penalty because they violated “windows” established by the Republican Party and amended by the Republican National Committee in August 2010. That doesn’t mean they will lose importance, however.
Obviously, Romney must win an early test, and the most likely one — indeed, the only one — is New Hampshire.

The rules require primaries scheduled for March (currently there are 11 of them, though Texas could end up moving back) to use proportional representation. That could make it difficult for one candidate to lock up the nomination early.

A long race could be key for Romney, but not because of his organization or money. Rather, a long race would keep Gingrich under the microscope, giving Republican primary voters more time to focus on his record and giving Gingrich more opportunity to self-destruct.

But there is no guarantee that Gingrich will implode, at least before the GOP’s Tampa convention, or that Romney can get enough support during the process to derail the former Speaker. And while the idea of a late entry into the race or a brokered convention doesn’t seem quite as outlandishly silly as it usually does, Iowa and New Hampshire are likely to separate the wheat from the chaff in the GOP race.

Part of Romney’s problem is that conservatives simply don’t trust him and so far are not giving him the benefit of the doubt. They are giving it to Gingrich, whose record seems no more conservative than Romney’s.

At a time when grass-roots Republicans yearn for a political outsider as a nominee, they are turning to Gingrich, a longtime Member of Congress and one-time House leader, rather than Romney, who has never held federal office or served in D.C.

One veteran Republican explains the odd situation by suggesting that conservatives seem to have more of a “cultural connection” with Gingrich than with Romney, much as they did with Ken Buck rather than Jane Norton (two equally conservative Republicans) in the 2010 Colorado Senate primary or Rand Paul rather than Trey Grayson in the 2010 Kentucky Senate primary.

Can Gingrich be stopped? We will see. The next month will offer many answers.

Republicans who fear Gingrich — either because they find him untrustworthy and erratic or because they believe he damages his party’s prospects substantially in 2012 — must continue to slam the former Speaker, painting him as Obama’s best chance for winning a second term.

But ultimately, Gingrich’s prospects may well depend most on his own performance and on his ability to continue to appeal to conservatives across the country. In the past, Gingrich has proved to be his own worst enemy. "

Republicans Should Emphasize Free Enterprise Capitalist Approach to the Economy -- Jerry Florine

How many times in the past months / years have we heard a Democrat politician refer to the Republican Party as the ‘Party of No’? And it seems that the national ‘elite’ media delights in broadcasting these pronouncements at every opportunity!

Unfortunately, this calculated and consistent staccato of opprobrium appears to resonate with a large segment of the public. As President Obama’s polling support declines, so, too, it appears, does that of the Republican Party. Much of this can be attributed to the public’s overwhelming disgust with politics in general, and the frustration with current economic conditions. David Axelrod, one of the two primary strategists for the Obama campaign, and primary campaign attack weasel, has issued the ‘theory’ that Republicans are purposely attempting to sabotage the economy (by rejecting the Obama Jobs bill, etc.) in order to defeat the President. Of course, one of the Republican Party’s responsibilities is to support a candidate and program that will, in fact, defeat the President and his philosophical objectives.

Since Labor Day, if not before, the President has been in full campaign mode, campaign appearance after campaign appearance, in the guise of garnering support for his Jobs bill, essentially abandoning his role as the nation’s chief executive for the role that he relishes, campaigner in chief! And, in conjunction, there has been fund raiser after fund raiser, seeking monetary support from that nefarious 1% that he so enthusiastically ridicules and besmirches. The nation consequently appears to be on the eve of a campaign season that may establish a new level of vicious, take no prisoners politicking.

The Republican Party operatives, Presidential candidates, and Congressional members and candidates will obviously need to both fend off the Democrat barrage, and offer a cohesive platform for governance. The temptation may be to sink to the level of where the Democrats appear to be willing to go, in order to achieve their objectives. Instead, while managing a ’tough’ campaign approach, the Republican Party’s presidential candidate and the various Congressional candidates must transfer the Party’s image from the Democrat elite media’s characterization of the ‘Party of No’, or as some would like to characterize them, as the Know Nothing Party (a 19th century phenomenon) to the ‘Party of Know’!

At this week’s Republican Governor’s conference, Dr. Frank Luntz, a pollster and political strategist, often seen on Fox News, addressed the governors on how to address some basic issues, focusing primarily on the Wall Street protesters and the economy. Dr. Luntz attempted to explain how certain phrases have been defined in the media to provide negative connotations to what are regarded by most in a positive light, and to turn certain phrases against Republican / conservative philosophies. Capitalism was one such word! Dr. Luntz recommends using the terms “economic freedom” or “free market” instead! “Middle class” is another term that has been hi-jacked by the Democrats to actually represent something other than what has been traditionally accepted. Dr. Luntz certainly has a point in that the liberal media and Democrat Party have hijacked certain terms / phrases to their own nefarious purposes. However, I have a concern that what Dr. Luntz is recommending is more a matter of semantic jujitsu (which may unfortunately be necessary to some extent) than providing a substantive program to the voting public.

It is obvious that this coming Presidential election will be much more than a determination of minor variations between two “similar” Party organizations and minimally varying philosophies. President Obama, and, it appears, now a majority of the Democrat Party, have determined to move this country toward a welfare state / semi-socialist mode that would have been unthinkable until we saw, in all its horrors, the effects of the Democrat dictatorial control that emanated from the 2008 election, with the corresponding backlash in the 2010 Congressional elections.

Three startling reminders of the extremist tendencies of the Democrat left and the path of the Obama Administration paint the stark differences with what are considered both traditional American values and practical, responsible governance as understood by the majority of Republican / conservative voters. In a a recent Wall Street Journal guest column, former SEIU president Andy Stern, a powerful voice for the extreme left, stated “The conservative-preferred, free market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model - so successful in the 20th century - is being thrown onto the ash heap of history in the 21st century”, and “While we debate, Team China rolls on . . . We have no plan - and substitute a demonization of government and worship of the free market . . . requires a rethinking of both of these beliefs.” Stern encourages the adoption of the Chinese economic model, and that “America needs to embrace a plan for growth and innovation, with a streamlined government as a partner with the private sector”.

President Obama, in his recent Kansas speech, stated, referencing the traditional American economic model of free enterprise, market “capitalism”, “here’s the problem: it doesn’t work. It has NEVER (caps mine) worked. . . . a recent study showed that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run.” He then continued to make the case for extensive government inter-vention in the economic cycle through stringent business regulation and “investments”, and stressed “fairness” in the system again and again!

Just this week, in another Wall Street Journal guest column, Al Gore calls for “abandoning short term economic thinking for ‘sustainable capitalism.’” Now, one can’t argue with Mr. Gore in regard to an excessive emphasis recently on short term economic thinking. The problem, of course, resides with his definition of “sustainable capitalism”, which he defines as “a framework that seeks to maximize long-term economic value by REFORMING MARKETS TO ADDRESS REAL NEEDS (caps mine) while integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matrics throughout the decision making process.”So there we have it! Who determines these ESGstatist fanatics wish to take this country?

It is mandatory that the eventual Republican Presidential candidate and the Republican Party in general provide the message that will provide an electoral majority that can reverse the Obama Democrat’s rush to the economic precipice, and the complete re-engineering of American society!

The bottom line is that it has become necessary to return to basics, and emphasize, and then re-emphasize, the intellectual and practical fundamentals of the free enterprise, market capitalist approach to the economy, and then compare and contrast that the intellectual and practical vapidity of the leftist / statist / Obama Administration view (Have you read the mindless ramblings of Paul Krugman recently?).

Each and every Republican candidate MUST frame this argument as the basis of their campaign! Each campaign will certainly have its individual nuances, depending on specifics of geographic area, individual strengths, and opponents strengths and weaknesses. But this 2012 election, this very likely defining moment in this nation’s history, is too important to merely focus on merely the local vagaries of individual races. The stakes for the future are too high.

As Fox’s Bill O’Reilly often states, sometimes facetiously, I suspect, “I am but a simple man”, and the majority of us certainly fall into that generic category. But neither are we as stupid as some of our politicians and coastal media appear to characterize us, and often subsequently choose to condescend to us. The American people are hungry for a positive, enlightened, honest message of how to “win” the future! It is time for ALL Republican candidates and the Party structure to get back to basics and provide that vision of American Exceptionalism and success that will provide the hope for the future that is so desperately needed. With all due respect to Dr. Luntz, it isn’t adequate to merely modify terms in response to the Democrats and the media’s purposeful misrepresentation of words and concepts. It’s time to concentrate on the real substance of the foundations of our social and economic system.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Christmas Card Reminding us of those Naughty Dupes

Gee, we got a Christmas e-mail (well, sort of) from Bold Nebraska and Jane Fonda Fleming Kleeb.   You may remember that we called Governor Heineman and Senators Johanns and Judas Ben Nelson useful idiots and dupes.  Well, not that Jane Fonda Fleming Kleeb has succeeded in stopping (probably forever) the Keystone Pipeline, she wants us to write our naughty Republicans (Johanns, Heineman, Terry and Smith) and tell them that we need to hold the horses on committing the country to building the pipeline (Lee Terry's amendment to the jobs bill).  She thinks Judas Ben and our own Fortenberry are nice, incidentally.  
We've said it before and Jane Fonda Fleming Kleeb's e-mail basically says it again--it's not about the pipeline, it's about tar sands. Truth be known, it was never about the route through the sand hills for Jane, it was about stopping the pipeline entirely and stopping tar sand oil development, even if it is in Canada.   It is about global warming (in her mind) and doing away with all fossil fuels. She just manipulated those naughty guys into being her dupes.  

Okay, here is what Jane Fonda Fleming Kleeb wants us to do.    We're sure you will want to follow through.....

"Santa may want to reconsider dumping coal in the stockings of Nebraska’s naughty politicians and give them dirty tar sands instead. We need your help letting “naughty politicians” know that Saint Nick isn’t the only one who disapproves of them trying to rush TransCanada’s Keystone XL through the heart of America without any regard to our new law studying alternative routes.

Every time we’ve let these officials know they’re on our naughty list, they’ve changed their attitudes. Gov. Heineman called a special session when we demanded it, and the Obama Administration gave us more time to study alternative routes.

Email the naughty list: Remind Gov. Heineman, Sen. Johanns, Rep. Terry and Rep. Smith that they represent Nebraskans, not TransCanada.
Email the nice list: Thank Sen. Nelson and Rep. Fortenberry for standing up for Nebraska’s land, water, and health.

This holiday season, we need to make sure naughty politicians like Gov. Heineman, Sen. Johanns, and Reps. Terry and Smith know that Nebraskans are keeping their own list, we’re checking it twice, and we’ll remember who was naughty and nice every time they run for office. The same goes for state senators like McCoy, Schilz, and Christensen who showed more concern for TransCanada than Nebraska landowners during the special session.

Perhaps politicians on our naughty list think it’s better to side with TransCanada than give President Obama any credit for addressing the legitimate concerns of Nebraskans. Well, pitching a political fit isn’t the kind of behavior we tolerate from our elected officials. If Heineman, Johanns, Terry and Smith were tykes, Santa’d be leaving them coal for Christmas, no doubt.

But with all the money they get from Big Oil, these adults might not be so scared of Santa’s list. It’s up to us to remind them that nice politicians get our thanks and naughty politicians never get reelected.

Santa’s Little Helpers,

The Bold Team

P.S. Don’t forget to send a holiday card to President Obama! We need 91 Nebraskans to send him a card to let him know if he keeps standing up to TransCanada, we've got his back."

New Polling Continues to Show Nelson Will Lose

Although all polls are a little suspect, we think that the one taken this month by the Nebraska Republican Party shows some things that are pretty indisputable.  

Certainly, it's no surprise that Nebraskans are opposed to Obamacare--you know the bill that our senator Judas Ben Nelson was responsible for passing with his 60th vote two years ago at Christmas as he sold his soul for the Cornhusker Kickback?

And certainly it is no surprise that Nebraskans want someone else to be their next senator by almost the same percentage that they oppose Obamacare.    As Senator Nelson sits comfortably in his Platte River Valley turkey farm overlook and ponders his future one would think he would consider the numbers from the survey.

We also find it very interesting that Nebraska voters favor the requirement to present identification when they vote, as reduced state income taxes.

Here are the numbers.   Are you seeing them, Ben?

Topline Results
Automated Survey of 600 Likely Voters
Conducted December 13, 2011
Nebraska Republican Party

Question 1: A proposal has been made to repeal the federal health care law and stop it
from going into effect. Do you support or oppose repeal of the federal health care law?

Support Repeal
Oppose Repeal

Question 2: Do you think Senator Ben Nelson deserves reelection, or do you think its
time to give someone else a chance?

Reelect Nelson
Someone Else

Question 3: A proposal has been made that would require individuals to show
government-issued photo IDs to vote in Nebraska elections. Do you support or oppose
legislation to require photo ID for voting purposes?

Support Photo ID
Oppose Photo ID

Question 4: Nebraska leaders have indicated that legislation to cut state income taxes
would be debated in 2012. Do you support or oppose legislation to cut state income
taxes in Nebraska?

Support Tax Cut
Oppose Tax Cut

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Merry Christmas America From Herman Cain

We hate to be cynical (well, not really) when we get a Christmas card, but when we get Herman Cain's 'It's Christmas in America' video card we're left scratching our heads.   Yes the thought is nice and the music is nice and seeing folks from apparently lots of places across America wishing us a Merry Christmas is refreshing--certainly a family and children wishing Merry Christmas to their soldier husband and father deployed in some foreign land.   But Herman Cain sitting in front of the fire reading to us as he grasps his wife's hand somehow seems a little much.   Frankly, we're not sure he's rehearsing for his next commentator job or about to send us an new e-mail asking us for money--maybe after the holiday or the new year.   We'll let you know.   

If you want to see the card, check it out at:"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Breaking News: Lee Terry Gets New G.O.P. Primary Opponent

Although we're not sure that there has been any official announcement we have learned that Congressman Lee Terry will have another opponent to face in the G.O.P. primary for his second congressional seat.   Yes, Glenn Freeman has indicated to us that he will challenge Terry.   He will be joining Brett Lindstrom and Jack Heidel in opposing Terry's renomination in the May 15 primary.

Freeman is a solid conservative who has held numerous Republican positions.   He has served on the Nebraska Republican Party State Central Committee and was chair of the Douglas County Republican Party in the early 1990s.    He worked for the late Ron Staskiewicz when he was County Attorney and more recently was employed by Chuck Hagel in his Omaha office for most of Hagel's term.   Freeman is a student and teacher of the U.S. Constitution and is the head of the National Council of Censors.    

Unlike the others who are opposing Terry, Freeman is a recognized name in the second congressional district among Republicans.  

Freeman served for 30 years in the service of his country. 

Whether Freeman can have a chance to beat Terry is problematical.   Although Freeman has many friends in the district he will be challenged, like Terry's other competitors, by a lack of funds and long-time support.    Building an effective volunteer base will be difficult.  

We know and like Freeman.   He is a good man.   He is a good family man.  He has served our country well.

Will Mitt's Big Bet be a Deal-Breaking Campaign Faux Pas? -- Doug Patton

For those of us who thrive on politics, there are certain watershed moments that convince us immediately when a candidate has just won or lost an election. My first such memory took place in 1960. John F. Kennedy was debating Richard Nixon. I remember watching that debate with my dad on our old black-and-white Philco and thinking to myself, “Nixon sure is sweating a lot. That doesn’t look good.” It wasn’t, and he lost.
In 1968, Mitt Romney’s father, George, then governor of Michigan, was a leading candidate for president — until he said he had been “brainwashed” concerning the Vietnam War. Nixon, not Romney, became the GOP nominee, and was elected president later that year.
Sen. Ed Muskie was on his way to the 1972 Democratic nomination until he delivered a tearful speech about some unpleasant things that had been said about his wife. He lost the nomination to the hapless, leftwing George McGovern.
Fast-forward to 1976. Jimmy Carter was debating the accidental president, Gerald Ford, who said that Poland was not under Soviet domination and never would be as long as he was in the White House. Say what? Checkmate, Carter.
Four years later, Democrats sought to convince voters that Ronald Reagan was a nuclear cowboy so they could brand him as a dangerous extremist like they had Barry Goldwater 16 years earlier. I remember laughing out loud when I heard Carter say, “I asked my daughter, Amy, what issue concerned her most, and she said, ‘Daddy, it’s nuclear proliferation.’” Bye-bye, White House. Hello, Habitat for Humanity.
Walter Mondale had two defining moments in 1984. The first came during his acceptance speech at the Democrat convention, when he said, “Ronald Reagan will raise your taxes. So will I. The difference is, he won’t tell you. I just did.”
The other moment is the stuff of political legend. In his first debate with Mondale, the 73-year-old Reagan seemed to falter a time or two. During their second debate, the Gipper was asked about concerns over his age, to which he famously replied, “I am not going to make age an issue in this campaign. I will not, for political purposes, exploit my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Mondale laughed. The press laughed. America laughed. And the election was over. Reagan won 49 states.
In 1988, some genius in the Michael Dukakis campaign decided it would be a good photo op to have the little guy drive around in a tank looking like Snoopy. Bad idea.
In 1992, George H.W. Bush made the fatal mistake of looking at his watch during a debate with Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. The camera caught it, and that “I’d really rather be somewhere else” message was instantaneous.
In the 2000 race, Al Gore made a deliberate point of sighing repeatedly into his microphone, and invading George W. Bush’s personal space during one of their debates.
Howard Dean’s concession after the Iowa caucuses in 2004 became known as the “I have a scream speech.” His meltdown on stage became fodder for late night comics and was watched endlessly on the Internet. The incident destroyed what was left of his campaign.
So far this year, Herman Cain had to ask a reporter to remind him of President Obama’s position on the uprising in Libya, and Rick Perry has had more cringing gaffes and bloopers than anyone in recent memory.
Which brings us to Mitt Romney’s big wager. During a recent GOP debate, the fading former frontrunner tried to make a $10,000 bet with Perry over something Romney wrote in his book. Perry, who seemed taken aback at the suggestion, told Romney, “I’m not in the betting business.”
Nor should Romney be. The life savings of many Americans does not amount to the sum Romney so casually offered to wager. Whether this turns out to be a candidacy-killing moment for Romney remains to be seen, but with his net worth estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, this is a man with a tin ear.
Reportedly, Ann Romney, the candidate’s wife, told him after the debate, “There are some things you do really well. Betting is not one of them.”
© 2011 by Doug Patton
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself much more often than not. Now working as a freelance writer, his weekly columns of sage political analysis are published the world over by legions of discerning bloggers, courageous webmasters and open-minded newspaper editors. Astute supporters and inane detractors alike are encouraged to e-mail him with their pithy comments at

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rick Perry: Open Mouth, Say Something Dumb.

It appears that Governor Perry is spending thousands, probably hundreds of them, in advertisements in the Iowa market promoting his candidacy.   It is good he has a war chest to start with rather than being dependent on raising it now or henceforth.

While it may not lead to political extinction to suggest that there are 57 states, it continues to lead to such in the case of Governor Rick Perry who seems to pile on one misstatement after another.   His latest was to tell the editorial board of the Des Moines Register that there are eight rather than 9 U.S. Supremes.    He also had trouble remembering the name of Associate Justice Sotoamayor.  Needless to say he probably won't get any endorsement from them.

 Based on his performance we last week suggested Perry was a doofus.   He is and he isn't ready for prime time, certainly not a guy you'd want to have debate the current occupant of the White House come next October.

P.S.  Sadly, we like the guy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gingrich Leads With Nebraska Republican Party Members

Last Saturday the Nebraska Republican Party held its quarterly state central committee meeting by telephone.   One of the opportunities afforded by the telephonic meeting was the ability of participants to quickly make their opinions known on a number of issues. 

As part of the process, state central committee members were given the opportunity to share their opinions on their favored presidential candidates.   The state chairman shared those results by e-mail today in his weekly e-mail so we thought we'd share the results with you.    We don't know that these numbers are in any way indicative of those of Nebraska Republicans as a whole, given the small sample, but here they are:

Question: If the the election was today, which GOP Presidential candidate would you vote for?
Gingrich- 38%
Romney- 17%
Bachman- 11%
Sanatorum- 11%
Paul- 10%
Huntsman- 5%
Cain- 3%
Perry- 3%
Question: Will Ben Nelson run?
No- 38%

The Demiocrats and the Occupy Movement

Once again this week we find something from Stu Rothenberg that we find interesting enough to pass on to our readers.    It's his assessment of the Occupy Wall Street movement with comparisons to the Tea Party movement and the potential consequences that Democrats may face.  

Some of us remember the 1968 Democrat convention in Chicago and the violence and embarrassment that occurred.    Somehow, it doesn't strike us as impossible that the Democrats could have some mighty confrontations with occupiers in Charlotte come their convention this summer. 

Here is what Rothenberg has to say:

"Do Democrats Face More Trouble From Occupy Wall Street?" from "The Rothenberg Political Report"

"It’s hard to say exactly when the Occupy Wall Street movement fizzled, but so far it has failed to become the politically potent force that the tea party was during the 2010 election cycle.

But even if the Occupy movement has not yet broadened its appeal or redefined our politics, it could still be a factor in 2012. The question, of course, is what kind of factor?

Occupy Wall Street has not established itself as a working-class or middle-class political movement of average Americans frustrated by government’s failures. Still largely decentralized, without financial muscle and not yet focused on campaigns or eolections, it isn’t even a pale reflection of the tea party last cycle.

“The tea party in 2010 was a political movement; it was Republicanism on steroids. Occupy Wall Street, on the other hand, isn’t a political movement. It’s a symptom of all the angst that middle-class Americans feel,” one Democratic strategist argued recently.

And yet, polls show that Americans have very similar — indeed, almost identical — reactions to both movements.
An Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 43 percent of Americans support the tea party movement while 44 percent oppose it. At the same time, 44 percent said they support Occupy Wall Street and 41 percent oppose it.

At this point, it seems unlikely that the Occupy movement will ever have the clout that tea party groups achieved. Unlike the tea party, which succeeded in presenting itself as a movement of angry taxpayers, senior citizens and middle-class Americans, the Occupy movement has not evolved beyond its leftist roots.

Just take a look at the symbols and rhetoric of the movement. Words and phrases such as “oppression,” “the crimes of Wall Street,” “social injustice,” “solidarity forever,” “corporate manipulation of the agriculture system” and the “fight to reclaim democracy from the banks” are used the way they were by protesters in the 1960s. Hunger strikes and protest marches are back, and the clenched fist is the image of the movement, again echoing the 1960s.

Of course, it isn’t surprising that a movement relying primarily on college students and professors, anti-globalization activists, anarchists, professional protesters and a very small slice of organized labor hasn’t become a potent electoral force.

While Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief that the Occupy movement has not succeeded in appealing to working-class and middle-class swing voters, savvy GOP strategists understand that those same politically important voters are worried about some of the concerns raised by the Occupy movement — the economy, the lack of jobs, the seeming excesses of Wall Street and their own feelings of powerlessness.

Economic populism is still an effective weapon for the White House and Congressional Democrats, and Republicans may well play into Democrats’ hands if the GOP handles issues such as the extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance ineptly, as it has done so far.

Republicans who simply dismiss the concerns of working-class voters and reject lower payroll taxes unless they are offset with spending cuts don’t have a clue how voters view Congress or how they feel.

Perhaps surprisingly, the OWS movement is a potentially bigger problem for Democrats, many of whom can’t quite figure out how to deal with a movement that reflects some of their concerns about economic inequality, environmentalism and the evils of big business but too often appears radical, confrontational and unkempt.
Democrats now face the same problem on their left that the GOP has been facing for the past couple of years with those on its right.

Where Republican Reps. Steve King (Iowa) and Joe Walsh (Ill.) seemed to echo tea party sentiments and rhetoric no matter how impolitic, impolite or mindless, now it is those on the left, such as Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison (Minn.), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), who have been outspoken in their sympathy, or even support, for the Occupy movement, no matter how confrontational, crude and rude the behavior of protesters.

While the Occupy movement is likely to show up at the Democratic and Republican conventions in Charlotte and Tampa respectively, activists will potentially be more disruptive in Charlotte.

Republicans can easily dismiss the Occupy crowd as a bunch of radicals, and the more confrontational the protesters look, the better the Republican view will appear.

Democrats will be in an inherently more awkward position, because the party and the Occupy activists will be blaming corporations, the banks, Wall Street and the wealthy for taking advantage of the “little guy” and for refusing to pay their fair share.

The Democratic National Convention, of course, will be held in the Time Warner Cable Arena. The city’s football stadium, where President Barack Obama could give his acceptance speech, is Bank of America Stadium.

Charlotte is Bank of America’s corporate headquarters, along with Duke Energy and Goodrich, the former rubber and tire company that now calls itself “a global leader in the aerospace, defense and homeland security markets” on its website.

You get the picture. There will be plenty of opportunities and venues for OWS activists to make statements about the country — statements which could well make some Democrats very uncomfortable.

OWS movement, and all that that includes.

It will be a delicate balancing act."