Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thought of the Day

Billionaires and the Upcoming Pete Ricketts Victory

Because a local reporter had some input and because the article comes to us from Bloomberg we thought we'd share the following about the Nebraska governor's race with you.    May be an interesting read, but the bottom line is that Pete Ricketts is going to be the next governor despite Buffett support.   Of course, Chuck Hassebrook won't be telling folks in his anti-billionaire ads that his biggest supporter is a billionaire or that his honorary co-chair is a billionaire's daughter....

Buffetts v. Ricketts in Nebraska Billionaire-Backed Race

Chuck Hassebrook, Nebraska Democrats’ best chance in two decades for winning a governor’s race, stands at a hotel ballroom podium in an Omaha suburb and takes aim at his Republican opponent Pete Ricketts, the son of billionaire TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) founder Joe Ricketts.

“His job at the top of corporate America was given to him by his dad,” Hassebrook, 59, tells the crowd of about 500 Democratic activists. “His dad wants to buy him a new job at the top of his state.”

The crowd reacts to the trust-funder trashing with delight, though one supporter is absent: Hassebrook’s honorary campaign co-Chairman Susan Buffett, the daughter of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) Chief Executive Officer Warren Buffett.

Though Susan Buffett’s name is not on the Nebraska ballot, her leadership position with Hassebrook’s campaign puts the offspring of two of America’s wealthiest men on opposite sides of a race where four percentage points separate the candidates.

Her campaign role -- along with a $100,000 donation from her father -- has helped make Hassebrook the best funded Democratic candidate for governor in more than a decade, cash he’ll need to counter the more than $10 million in Republican spending that he’s anticipating between now and November.

“It has the potential to be a big race,” said Mitchell West, a senior analyst with New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, a firm that tracks television advertising. “There’s a lot of money here, if they decide to battle it out.”

Billionaire Engagement

The contributions pouring into Nebraska, with its 1.2 million registered voters, is the latest example of how U.S. billionaires are engaging in elections. Their new roles result from regulatory inaction and 2010 court rulings that paved the way for unlimited spending on politics by individuals, corporations and labor unions.

Since then, Joe Ricketts created the Ending Spending Action Fund, which he runs with his youngest son Todd. The super-political action committee has become the third-largest spender on behalf of Republican candidates this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington group that tracks political spending.

Ending Spending doesn’t plan to contribute in the Nebraska race, said Brian Baker, president of the super-PAC. Instead, Republican mega-donors, including energy executive David Koch, hedge fund manager Paul Singer, investor Foster Friess, and members of Ricketts’ clan have helped the family’s oldest son raise $4.3 million so far. The candidate’s parents alone have donated $600,000 to his cause.

Buffett Courtship

Warren Buffett’s check has caught the eye of Democratic party activists who have sought to lure the world’s fourth-richest man more deeply into political fundraising. Buffett generally has donated to Democrats or party organizations, not outside political groups.

Buffett and his daughter Susan both declined to be interviewed for this article.

The Berkshire CEO traditionally has relied on soft power, lending his name to causes. In 2011 he spurred a national conversation about taxes when he pointed out in a New York Times essay that he paid a lower rate than anyone in his office. President Barack Obama seized on the anecdote and outlined a minimum tax on high earners -- dubbed the “Buffett Rule” -- during his 2012 State of the Union.

He’s also stirred debate about large inheritances. Buffett, 83, committed most of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006. He distributes some of his Berkshire stock each year to charities overseen by his three children and one named after his late wife, Susan. He’s said the plan is to give his heirs “enough so that they could do anything, but not enough so that they could do nothing.”

Increased Giving

Yet Buffett’s check-writing has begun to change in recent years. In the 2012 election cycle, he donated almost $200,000 to campaigns and party committees compared with $28,400 in the 2010 cycle, according to federal and state records. He headlined fundraisers for Obama’s re-election, though he rebuffed solicitations by Priorities USA Action, a super-PAC supporting the president, said a person familiar with the talks who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

At a May 2012 Berkshire annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Buffett was asked about giving to outside groups such as super-PACs, which raise and spend unlimited sums while not coordinating their activity with candidates.

“I don’t want to see democracy go in that direction,” Buffett said. “You have to take a stand some place.”

Former Nebraska U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, who in 2012 tried to recapture the seat he held from 1989 to 2001, said he has refrained from pressing his friend to give to non-candidate accounts.

“I knew what the answer was going to be,” Kerrey, a Democrat, said in an interview. “I don’t always know what question not to ask to avoid insulting somebody but, in this case, I did.”

Cash Appeal

Others in Buffett’s inner circle have asked him to increase his giving to Democrats, including Richard Holland, who first invested with the billionaire five decades ago and is the Hassebrook campaign’s other honorary co-chairman.

“I have written him notes asking why the hell he doesn’t” contribute more, Holland said. “I never get a reply.”

In June, Buffett took a step toward big-money giving: His check for $100,000 to Hassebrook’s campaign marked the largest single donation he’s made to a candidate, according to state and federal records. Nebraska state law doesn’t impose campaign contribution limits.

The donation helped Hassebrook raise about $1.4 million, according to state records, and he said he expects to collect enough for his message to break through on television.

“Sometimes those large-money ads work against you,” even if they are produced by friendly super-PACs, said Hassebrook in an interview at his campaign headquarters in an Omaha office park. Voters “see those ads as an implication of who you are and that you’re trying to buy the race.”

Exciting Supporters

The Buffett support has helped excite supporters, said Hassebrook, the former director of the Center for Rural Affairs, a Lyons, Nebraska-based non-profit that advocates for small farms, renewable energy and health care. He left the center after 36 years last August to campaign full-time.

Warren Buffett is perhaps America’s most respected and effective and brilliant investor. When they see him investing in me, it says something to them,” he said.

A June poll by the Public Policy Polling in Raleigh, North Carolina showed Hassebrook down by four points, though the Washington-based Cook Political Report rates the contest as “solid

Republican” because of the state’s registration tilt. Forty-eight percent of voters filed as Republicans while 31 percent are affiliated with the Democratic Party, according to state election data.

Although family wealth is fueling his campaign, Ricketts is building a broader network than he did in 2006 when he spent $12 million of his own money on a losing U.S. Senate bid.

Building Base

“In ’06 I put a lot of my own money into the race, some people took away that I was trying to buy the race,” Ricketts, 49, said in an interview. “This time I’m really focused on showing I have a broad base of support. And also, quite frankly, I learned that if somebody writes you a ten dollar check they’re going to vote for you.”

The Ricketts campaign dismissed the accusation that his father gave him a cushy job at Ameritrade. He started in entry-level position, and rose to president of retail operations. During his tenure in that position and as chief operation officer, the company hired more than 2,800 employees.

“Pete played an integral role in the success and growth of Ameritrade,” said campaign spokesman Josh Moenning in an email. “In the same way, he wants to help Nebraska grow. He knows what it means to manage costs, make investments, and grow jobs.”

On July 26, Ricketts marched through 90-degree Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) heat with his wife, Susanne, and one of his three children, Roscoe, at a parade in Benson. Spying a man with a shaved head -- just like his own -- he cracked a joke: “Hey, there, I like your barber!”

“That always gets a laugh,” Ricketts said.

Primary Win

In the May 13 Republican primary, Ricketts bested a field of six candidates in a race that drew spending from outside groups for the first time in a Nebraska governor’s contest. Four groups paid for television commercials, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG data.

Democrats are girding for the same activity in the November election, with a countering strategy that includes broadening the voter base. Nebraskans for Better Wages, a local activist group, collected enough signatures for a ballot measure that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $9 an hour from $7.25. The signatures still must be verified.

“That vote is likely to bring a lot of people to the polls who are poor and not very well heeled,” said Holland, the Hassebrook campaign’s co-chairman who, state records show, sunk $350,000 into the ballot signature collection effort. “And that may be a tipping point” in the race.

Cartoon of the Day

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ashford's Call for Special Session Just Another Attempt to Get Publicity--Free Publicity

Apparently Brad Ashford's trip to Washington, D.C. to hobnob with a bunch of leftist liberals and the liberal leadership of the Democrat House must not have gone so well.   He has apparently come to the conclusion that the only way to get his face before the potential electorate is to call for a special session of the Nebraska legislature in order to get to the bottom of the 'mandatory/good-time' scandal.    It seems to us that we have a governor who is plenty mad about what happened there and a justice system that is looking in to who did what and when.   Why would you need a special session?  Oh, to give Ashford some publicity.

Thought of the Day

Yes, Talk of Impeachment is a Fund Raising Scam

Seems the Democrats have had some pretty good fund raising using the talk of Republicans impeaching their beloved as a ploy.   But the whole effort is just that, a scam to raise money.    This is one case where the Dems and the occupant of the White House don't need a crisis to not let it go to waste.   In this case, they created a crisis so it wouldn't go to waste.

Obama = Incompetent

We thought we'd share with you a column by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and 'The Fix' on the current occupant of the White House competence.    It isn't surprising but when you hear it from this guy it is credible....

President Obama’s competence problem is worse than it looks

You can understand President Obama's current political problems -- and how those problems could make things very tough for his party in this fall's midterm election -- in a single word. And that word is "competence".

Obama was elected in 2008 on a stated promise that he would restore competence to government. He pitched himself as the antidote to "Heck of a job, Brownie" and the Bush years, the person who would always put the most qualified candidate in every job in his Administration. That the basic functioning of government would never be in question.

Almost six years on from that election, however, Obama is faltering badly on the competence question and, in so doing, badly imperiling not only his ability to enact any sort of second term agenda but also Democrats' chances this fall. A series of events -- from the VA scandal to the ongoing border crisis to the situation in Ukraine to the NSA spying program -- have badly undermined the idea that Obama can effectively manage the government.

The latest evidence is a question in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Sunday that asks whether the phrase "can manage the government effectively" applies to Obama. Just more than four in ten (42 percent) said that it does while 57 percent said it does not. (It was the lowest that Obama scored on any of the six characteristic questions CNN asked in the survey.)

Obama's trajectory on the question is all to the bad for Democrats. Back in December 2009, more than three quarters of respondents in a CNN/ORC poll said that Obama was an effective manager of the government. By early November 2009 that number had dropped to 58 percent. It dipped below 50 percent for the first time in June 2010 and in the three polls in which CNN has asked the question since mid-November 2013, 40 percent, 43 percent and now 42 percent, respectively, have said that he is a good manager.

Again, this matters because so much of the Obama brand was premised on the idea that whether or not you agreed with him on issues, you knew he was not going to be George W. Bush when it came to running the government day to day.  Increasingly, that is not true in the minds of many Americans.
The numbers on the competence question are even more troubling when you see it through the prism of the 2014 midterm electorate -- an electorate that is likely to be whiter and older than the one that re-elected Obama in 2012. Among white voters, 70 percent said that "can manage the government effectively" is not a trait they would ascribe to Obama.  Among voters 50 and older, 62 percent say that Obama can't manage the government effectively.  Eighty nine percent of Republicans say Obama isn't a competent manager while 76 percent of Democrats say he is.  Two thirds of independents say that Obama ins't an effective manager of the government.
What those numbers mean is that if Obama is a major topic of conversation in the most competitive Senate and House races this November, that's a very bad thing for his party."

Cartoon of the Day

Friday, July 25, 2014

Thought of the Day

Maxwell Comes to His Senses But What About His Future

Certainly, it appears that Maxwell finally came to his senses by deciding that running against Terry was a no-win situation for him and for Terry.   In fact, had he done so and had Terry lost, not only would Maxwell's future as a Republican candidate in the future become zero plus he would have been responsible for possibly putting Ashford in that seat for years to come.

We're sure that in addition to the political reality of the no-win result that Maxwell would have raised no money for a fall campaign.    We also wonder whether other 'financial' matters might have been of concern to Maxwell.   We can't imagine Chip's employer tolerating an active campaign and keeping him on the payroll (although that worked for Ben Sasse).   We'd guess that Maxwell needed that job, particularly if he met with a loss in the fall and planned on embarking on a campaign for 2016 as a re-registered Republican.....

Whether Maxwell 2016 can raise the money that local muckraker watchdog Joe Jordan discusses is yet to be seen.    We'd suggest that Terry's way to victory this fall is now clear and we'd be of the mind to believe that Terry will waste no time building a huge war chest to start his 2016 campaign on November 5 and will have a much better run, more communicative campaign to fend off Maxwell or anyone else in 2016. 

From our friends at Hotline's Wake-up Call we get their perspective on Chip Maxwell's decision not to run against Lee Terry:


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
"No one's more disappointed than Democrats that tea party-backed independent candidate Chip Maxwell dropped his bid for Rep. Lee Terry's (R) seat. Maxwell would have split the Republican vote, giving state Rep. Brad Ashford (D) a good chance to win in the longtime Republican-held NE-02. But this is only a temporary relief for Terry, who has a history of poor primary performance and sounds like he'll face a challenge from Maxwell in two years. -- Jack Fitzpatrick "

Cartoon of the Day

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Thought for the Day: Only in America

Number 10) Only in America...could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 per plate campaign fund-raising event.
Number 9) Only in America ...could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a  black President, a black Attorney General and roughly> 20% of the federal workforce is black while only 14% of the population is black 40+% of all federal entitlements goes to black Americans - 3X the rate that go to whites, 5X the rate that go to Hispanics!
Number 8)Only in America...could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the head of the Treasury Department) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.
Number 7)Only in America...can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.
Number 6) Only in America...would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just 'magically'  become American citizens (probably should be number one).
Number 5) Only in America....could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as “extremist”.

Number 4) Only in America...could you need to present a driver's license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.
Number 3) Only in America...could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. Oil company(Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

Number 2) Only in America collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year - for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.
And Number 1) Only in America...could the rich people- who pay 86% of all income taxes - be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any income taxes at all.

These Are the Times that Try Men's Souls -- Jerry R. Florine

"These are the times that try men's souls."The quotation from Revolutionary War pamphleteer Thomas Paine appeared in the first of his pamphlets in late 1776 that ultimately comprised “The American Crisis”, when the colonial army under General George Washington was struggling to avoid complete defeat at the hands of the British army and German (Hessian) mercenaries. Only because of hesitation from British General Howe had they already avoided defeat. Often unpaid, with lack of proper uniforms, food, etc., units would simply disappear once their short duty assignments negotiated with their respective “states” expired, or in many cases, merely desert. There was serious doubt at certain points as to whether the thirteen “United States” could prevail against what appeared to be nearly insurmountable odds.    
Perhaps this quote, from the incredibly popular pamphlets of Paine (who also authored “Common Sense”), which helped to rally not only the colonial army (Paine read his pamphlet to Washington's troops just prior to their first significant victory, a surprise attack on the Hessian army in Trenton, N.J., thus easing pressure on the city of Philadelphia), but the supportive citizens of the various states who were hungry for independence, can be applied to contemporary events.
Crisis after crisis dominates the national news. Currently the crisis du jour is the influx of Central American youth, along with some adults, overflowing primarily the Texas border, overwhelming holding facilities, and exacerbating the immigration problems that are causing increasing division in the body politic. These “refugees” are being distributed around the country by the U.S. government, threatening to overwhelm local resources (health care, education, welfare, crime, etc.).
Still “perking”, and becoming more troubling with each new revelation is the IRS coverup of their role in harrassing and intimidating conservative organizations seeking 503(c)4 tax exempt status.
Then there is the disgusting revelations of the corruption within the Veteran's Administration, the regulatory overreach from the EPA, OSHA, NLRB, SEC, FERC, etc.!
There is the chaos imposed upon the nations' entire health care system from ACA / Obamacare. And these are merely the most distressing of domestic issues.
Then there are the multiple international crises, with virtually the entire Mid-East in flames, and possible war between Russia and Ukraine!     
The debate rages over whether the various scandals/crises are the result of sheer incompetence by the Obama Administration and their ideological trust in governmental solutions to address virtually everything, or there is a purposeful effort to literally cause chaos to bring about a significant societal transformation to the nation (the Alinsky factor). Whichever the case, this nation is entering an extremely dangerous period, with roughly thirty months remaining in the current Administration's tenure.
Imperious actions, threats of additional unilateral action, or inaction while threatening the Republican majority in the House of Representatives to pass legislation to coincide with Senate Democrat supported legislation, in conjunction with juvenile, school yard bullying attacks on Republicans for disagreeing with his policies and initiatives have become standard operating procedure for this President.
As I've stated in a prior contribution to Objective Conservative, in politics, as in physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And as the policies and commentary of this Administration become increasingly strident and questionable, so does the reaction on the Republican/conservative side of the argument. Poll after poll shows increasing polarization within the body politic, with increasing concern over the direction the nation is heading, with each side claiming that it's the fault of the policies of the other.
One of the more egregious aspects of the concern and uncertainty has been the rift within the Republican Party. “Establishment” Republicans, traditional “Conservative” Republicans, “Tea Party” Republicans, “Tea Party Conservatives” who don't like being called Republicans, “Libertarian” Republicans, “Libertarians” who don't like being called Republicans; too often these factions are more intent in fighting with others within the Republican tent than focusing on rational attempts to defeat Democrats for Congress and ultimately the Presidency.
Listening to some of the radio talking heads (Limbaugh, Ingraham, etc.) there are days when one would think that “Establishment” Republicans, (often considered to be any office holder who has served more than a single term) are more dangerous to the national future than progressive Democrats and the current Administration! Multiple Washington based conservative policy organizations have spent millions this past primary season to defeat incumbent Republican legislators, leaving some of these groups with a monetary disadvantage for the November general election.     
The question that must be addressed then is what should be the ultimate goal of the those who desire to pose an alternative to the current Administration and its followers. What are the objectives? How are they to be accomplished, strategically, and tactically? Is there any way to accomplish these goals with an ongoing ideological battle within the Republican Party, and, in fact, some preferring a third Party alternative? Third Parties have come and gone over the nation's history, some with little fanfare, and some significantly affecting national elections. To hear some of those “conservatives” who are most unhappy with the Republican Party (at least the “establishment” variety), one gets the impression that their cause d'etre of ideological purity, whatever that is, becomes more important that winning elections against the Democrats, and moving toward changing the negative trends in the nation.
Strategically, it seems that the ultimate goal at this point would be winning the Presidency in 2016. In order to pave the way to achieve that goal, it is imperative that the Republican Party win control of the U.S. Senate in November. That goal is well within reach, given the absolute disaster that is the current Administration, and discomfiture of the electorate. By winning the Senate, and retaining the House, the Republican Party can begin proposing responsible legislation that would contrast with current Administration objectives. That legislation may very well be vetoed, but would put the President in the role of obstructionist in chief, a role currently held, at least by popular perception, by the House of Representatives and the Republicans. The national press could not ignore the proposals as they currently do with those of the current House.
With a likely Clinton candidacy in 2016, the Republican candidate and Party will need to present not only a viable candidate, but a cogent program for governance. By winning the Senate, the groundwork can be laid for that eventual candidacy. Fighting ideological battles in primaries and state conventions is one thing, and part of the political process. But when that dissonance threatens a potential opportunity to change the trajectory the current Administration and a dictatorial Senate Majority Leader have placed this nation upon, then this goal of ideological “purity” becomes self destructive. Any democratic form of government requires coalitions and occasional compromise to succeed. We have seen the incumbent President , in association with former House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid impose a self styled near dictatorial regime over the past five years.    How has that been working?
The hard fact is that the broad range of Republicans (moderate, conservative, libertarians who wish to function under the Republican banner) need to establish a truce to obtain the primary objectives: winning the Senate in 2014, and the Presidency in 2016. Should continued internecine battles threaten those goals, or a third Party emerge, the nation will potentially suffer continued irreparable damage. Using another famous quotation, the derivation of which may go back even to the New Testament and/or Aesop (of fable fame), United We Stand; Divided We Fall!"
Jerry (Gerald) R. Florine is a frequent contributor to the Objective Conservative

Cartoon of the Day

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Read it Before You Sign It!

Apparently, it would have been a good idea to read the bill before you passed it.   Whether this court decision will be overturned by a more liberal looking court or the entire court remains to be seen.

This from CNN:

"A federal appeals court has struck down a key way that Obamacare helps millions buy health insurance.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that individuals cannot use tax credits or subsidies to buy health insurance on federally-run Obamacare exchanges. The divided three-judge panel said those cost-sharing subsidies can only be used through state-run health exchanges.

The decision could make it hard for millions to get coverage in the 34 states that don't have health insurance marketplaces.

The ruling is expected to be appealed."

Thought of the Day

Terry's Race Moved from 'Likely Republican' to 'Toss-up/Leans Republican'

Lee Terry at Tea Party Event
From the Stu Rothenberg's Rothenblog we have not particularly surprising news today.   Rothenberg had downgraded Lee Terry's re-election prognosis from 'favored Republican' to 'toss-up/tilt Republican'.

We're not surprised by Rothenberg's decision.   We expected it and we think the change reflects the reality of the race.    Of course, Rothenberg mentions both the Libertarian, Steve Laird, and the potential of a successful effort by Chip Maxwell to get his name on the ballot also.  

Of additional concern to us, Rothenberg fails to note the minimum wage initiative.   If it has the legitimate signatures to be on the ballot, that could provide additional incentive to Democrats, union folks and others who might not normally get out to vote in a midterm.

Without these additional challenges, this race should be a slam-dunk for Lee who faces a classic flip-flop Democrat.   Brad's greatest quality is that he is a nice guy.   On the other hand those who know him would agree that he might have trouble finding his way out of a room with only one door.

While the demographics of a Nebraska midterm favor Republicans, we believe that this particular election is by far the greatest challenge Terry will have faced thus far in his career.   If it were a simple race against Ashford, Terry would clean his clock, but with the other factors Terry has lots of cause for concern.   If those other factors take away 4-6% of the vote or more, we may be dealing with a new congressman and one that despite future conservative efforts may be there until the next 'wave election'.

Let's hope we are wrong and Rothenberg is overly pessimistic......

Rating Change: Nebraska’s 2nd District

"Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., has a history of making races closer than they need to be — and 2014 appears to be no different.

Even though midterm turnout in Nebraska’s 2nd District should benefit the Republican, his inability to boost his own numbers and the potential that two third party candidates will make the November ballot raise questions about the Republican’s electoral health.

It’s been a roller coaster race for Democrats who touted and then lost their top recruit in Omaha City Councilman Pete Festersen. But the party bounced back with state Sen. Brad Ashford, who appears to be a credible candidate.

Even still, Terry should have a considerable advantage, particularly in a midterm election, as I wrote in my full analysis last Nov. in the Rothenberg Political Report ($):
Unsurprisingly, there is a significant dropoff in turnout from a presidential year (about 258,000 voters) to a midterm election (about 159,000 voters). And the makeup of that turnout is slightly different. In the last two presidential years, Republicans made up 44 percent of the electorate on average, compared to 37 percent for Democrats. In the last two midterm elections, Republicans made up nearly 50 percent of the electorate compared to 36 percent for Democrats.
But the threshold for an Ashford victory could be considerably lower than 50 percent. Libertarian Steven Laird is on the ballot, and could a few percentage points. But if GOP state Sen. Chip Maxwell qualifies for the ballot, that could be a more significant problem for Terry. Maxwell would be on the ballot as a “By Petition” candidate, and not an “Independent” or some other party, but he could still receive a significant chunk of the Republican vote to hurt Terry’s chances.

The congressman appears to be well-defined but not particularly popular, which can be a problematic position for someone trying to boost their numbers. Terry is raising more money than at this point in previous cycles, but this race looks like it will be very competitive in the fall.

We’re changing our Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating of Nebraska’s 2nd District from Republican Favored to Tossup/Tilt Republican."

Cartoon of the Day

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thought for the Day

I was once asked by a lady visiting if I had a gun in the house?  I said I did.  She said, "Well I certainly hope it isn't loaded!"  To which I said, "Of course it is loaded; it can't work without bullets!"  She then asked, "Are you that afraid of someone evil coming into your house?"
My reply was, "No, not at all.  I am not afraid of the house catching fire either, but I have fire extinguishers around, and they are all loaded too."

Cartoon of the Day

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Thought for the Day: My Twilight Years -- Clint Eastwood (maybe)

The following is reputed to have been authored by Clint Eastwood.   Regardless the the thought process makes sense.

As I enjoy my twilight years, I am often struck by the inevitability that the party must end. There will be a clear, cold morning when there isn't any "more." No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat.
It seems to me that one of the important things to do before that morning comes, is to let every one of your family and friends know that you care for them by finding simple ways to let them know your heartfelt beliefs and the guiding principles of your life so they can always say, "He was my friend, and I know where he stood."
So, just in case I'm gone tomorrow, please know this:
1.  I voted against that incompetent, lying, flip-flopping, insincere, double-talking, radical socialist, terrorist excusing, bleeding heart, narcissistic, scientific and economic moron currently in the White House!
2.  Participating in a gun buyback program because you think that criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you think your neighbors have too many kids.

Congressman Terry Responds to Us on the Border Crisis

We thought we'd share with you an e-mail one of our contributors received from Congressman Terry on the border crisis.   We're not sure what else we could expect a congressman to do......

"Thank you for contacting me regarding illegal immigration and the recent surge of aliens crossing our southern border. I appreciate learning your views on this important issue.

Like you, I am very concerned about illegal immigration and especially the recent spike in illegal border crossings into the U.S.  Many of the these aliens are children who are without their parents or guardian. In this year alone, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) has apprehended over 50,000of these unaccompanied alien children (UAC)and the CBP estimates that apprehensions this year may reach as high as 90,000.

As you may know, the President has requested Congress for $3.7 billion to address this problem, but I believe his request is misplaced.  More people are crossing into the US illegally because, in my opinion, they are encouraged by the President's refusal to enforce our laws and effectively secure our borders. He has helped create an environment in which the families of these minors are willing to entrust their children to strangers, many of them associated with drug cartels, risking their safety in the belief that their children will not be deported and will be allowed to remain in the U.S. If the President would simply fulfill his constitutional duty and enforced the immigration and deportation policies already set by Congress, as well as authorize the National Guard to assist in the humanitarian effort of processing these UACs so that the Border Patrol could be freed to enforce the border, this problem would be mostly solved. Instead, the taxpayers are being asked to pay for his policy failures and the safety of these children is at risk. 

I believe any additional funds to handle the surge of these alien apprehensions must be accompanied by legislation to increase border security, expedite the safe return of the UACs to their families in their home countries, and provide greater transparency on the status of alien and UAC cases in our court system.  Because of the reports that approximately 200 UACs have been placed in the Omaha area, I introduced the Transparent Reports on Alien Children Safety (TRACS) Act that requires the Administration to provide a state-by-state breakdown of where the UACs are located, how many have had hearings, and how many have missed their hearings. This common-sense bill gives the American people a better understanding of whether these cases are being processed and helps ensure the safety of these children during the process

Like you, I believe we can no longer continue with a broken immigration system. I will continue to work in Congress to strengthen our border and fix the immigration system."

Cartoon of the Day

Friday, July 18, 2014

Thought of the Day

School Bond Prediction: FAILURE

So the Omaha Public School Board has decided to offer a $680 million bond issue to Omaha school district voters?   Wow.    Whether the need is there or not, we predict that a bond issue of that size will surely meet its demise come election day in November.........

Sasse is Confident

Gosh, Ben Sasse just seems to offer us one surprise after another.    Normally, it is the underdog(s) that is calling for more debates.   In fact, normally, they use the call for 'more' debates as ruse to get press.   So in the 2014 Nebraska general election race we would have expected Ben Sasse, the obvious and clear leader in the race to say that he would just do two or three debates.   But, no, Ben has challenged his opponents to 4 debates.  

Apparently, Ben expects liberal leftist Dave Domina  to insert his foot in his mouth.  And apparently he doesn't expect much of a challenge from his independent foe either.

So this proactive move by Sasse must leave the Domina campaign with one less opportunity to get that earned media by calling for more debates.   Of course, how many is enough?   Maybe Domina will call for one once a week since he obviously won't have the funds or momentum to compete otherwise......

This is the memo we got from the Sasse campaign:

"This campaign has always been about bigger ideas, better solutions, and more compelling persuasion. We believe that Nebraskans want to talk about the policies affecting Nebraska more, not less.

That's why Ben called on all candidates for the U.S. Senate today to agree this week to two additional debates before the start of early voting on October 4, 2014.

During the 2012 Senate race, candidates met just three times.
Ben's proposal would gather the candidates for U.S. Senate four times.

By increasing the number of debates from years past, we hope to give Nebraskans a clear look at the issues that matter and the values each candidate brings to the table. That’s why we are asking all candidates for the United States Senate to agree to join Ben at the Nebraska State Fair and we invite community leaders from across Nebraska to submit proposals to host a fourth and final debate for all candidates for the United States Senate on either the 4th, 5th, or 12th of September.

We hope that every candidate will agree to be a part of these debates, and we'll keep you updated about the response we get to this proposal.

Nebraskans know that we’ll make an important decision for our state and our country this November. We deserve to hear from all voices — Republican, Democrat and all independents — at these debates. With so much at stake, we have a responsibility to make sure that families hear us debate important issues the Nebraska way."

Imperfect Candidates Still Get Elected

We thought the following article by Stu Rothenberg was instructive.   Basically, he tells us why scandals, lies and misstatements don't always result in the loss of the election by the candidate implicated.    It's food for thought.

"Imperfect People Get Elected to the Senate" from "The Rothenberg Political Report"
 "In the heat of the campaign, it can be easy to disqualify or dismiss candidates based on unsettling, or sometimes unseemly, revelations. But all you have to do is look at the current lineup of senators to realize that imperfect people win elections.

Connecticut is a great place to start.

In 2010, The New York Times pointed out inconsistencies between Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s rhetoric and his military service during the Vietnam era. It became a major issue in the campaign, but Blumenthal prevailed, 55 percent to 43 percent, over former wrestling executive Linda McMahon.

Two years later, Democratic Rep. Christopher S. Murphy ran for the Nutmeg State’s other Senate seat. In September of the election year, it came to light that the congressman missed multiple mortgage payments and the bank had started the foreclosure process on his home. Murphy defeated McMahon, 55 percent to 43 percent, that November.

The Connecticut senators are certainly not alone in having facing potentially disastrous headlines during the campaign.

In 2008, comedian and former radio talk show host Al Franken had to answer questions about his involvement in a never-aired “Saturday Night Live” sketch that involved “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl being raped. And he paid $70,000 in back taxes in 17 states during the race. Franken defeated then-Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., with 42 percent and a margin of 312 votes.

In 2012, Democrat Elizabeth Warren faced multiple days of questions about her family’s Native American heritage and whether she used it inappropriately to get a teaching position at Harvard Law School. She defeated Sen. Scott P Brown, R-Mass., 54 percent to 46 percent.

Democratic candidates are not the only ones hit some ruts on the campaign trail.

In 2010, Republican Mark S. Kirk falsely claimed to have received an Intelligence Office of the Year award from the U.S. Navy. The congressman went on to defeat state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic nominee, 48 percent to 46 percent.

Also in 2010, Republican ophthalmologist Rand Paul was accused of being part of a secret society in college that “kidnapped” a girl, tied her up and forced her to smoke marijuana. Paul went on to win the Kentucky Senate race, 56 percent to 44 percent, over Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway.

In 2007, Louisiana Sen. David Vitter admitted to a “serious sin” when his phone number was disclosed in connection with the so-called D.C. madam and an alleged prostitution ring. The revelation surfaced after the Republican got elected to the Senate in 2004. But he was re-elected subsequently with 57 percent in 2010 over Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon.

With the exception of Kirk, the common theme in these examples is that the candidates who made the news for the wrong reasons largely matched the partisanship of their state. Put another way, Democratic candidates running in Democratic states or Republican candidates running in Republican states can usually afford to make some mistakes and still come out on top.

That’s not great news for a candidate such as Oregon Republican Monica Wehby, who has already been on the defensive about past police reports. But it’s still too early to completely disregard her chances.

Some candidates who are now pinned with unforgivable sins nearly won their races in spite of infamous events during the campaign.

In 2006, GOP Sen. George Allen called a Democratic tracker “macaca” in the Virginia Senate race and became the modern day definition of a campaign gaffe, yet he still nearly won. He lost to Democrat Jim Webb by less than half of 1 percentage point in a terrible year for Republicans.

In Montana last cycle, Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg was ridiculed for suing the local fire department after a fire burned some of his property, yet Rehberg lost to incumbent Democrat Jon Tester in a close race.

So before every news event gets declared a game-changer or game-ender, take a deep breath and realize that these campaign hurdles don’t matter, except when they do."

Cartoon of the Day

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bob Cunningham Passes Away

We note with sadness the passing of former Omaha Mayor Bob Cunningham.   The Omaha World-Herald offered an informative obituary about Bod in yesterday's addition.    What it didn't mention was that Bob was a solid and loyal Republican.  He was a true public servant and we extend our condolences to his wife Tipper and his family.

Former Omaha interim Mayor Robert Cunningham, 91, dies

By Alia Conley / World-Herald staff writer | Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 2:45 am

Robert G. “Bob” Cunningham, a former city councilman, school board member and interim Omaha mayor, died Monday.

Cunningham, 91, loved his hometown of Omaha and helping others, said his daughter Emily Kozlik.
“His passion was serving others,” Kozlik said. “Any kind of community service — he just couldn’t say no when he believed in the cause.”
In addition to his daughter, Cunningham is survived by his wife, Clare “Tupper”; son Robert Jr.; and two grandchildren, John and Caroline Kozlik.
Cunningham served as mayor from Nov. 16, 1976, to June 6, 1977, when then-mayor Edward Zorinsky was elected to the U.S. Senate. At the time, he pledged to not run for the office, and he never did.
In his 202-day stint as mayor, Cunningham focused on revitalizing downtown Omaha, set up an arts task force and created a committee for economic development.
A World-Herald editorial in 1977 praised Cunningham for doing so much in so little time, saying “he was an active mayor, shunning any caretaker or lame duck role.”
Omahans gave Cunningham a 67 percent approval rating for his work as mayor, according to a World-Herald poll.
Before stepping in as mayor, he had been an Omaha city council member for 11 years and had been elected president for his final term. Before the City Council, he served on the Omaha Board of Education for 10 years.
Steve Rosenblatt, a council member while Cunningham was president, praised his former colleague.
“He was 100 percent for Omaha — did what he could to make it a better place to live,” Rosenblatt said. “That’s the kind of people you like to work with.”
Cunningham grew up in South Omaha and served as a captain in the Marines and a Marine pilot during World War II. When he returned, he attended what was then Omaha University, graduating in 1949. The university later honored him with a citation for alumni achievement.
When he left public office, Cunningham continued with his volunteer work and at his insurance business, Cunningham Jeffrey & Co. Among his volunteer interests listed by his family were the University of Nebraska at Omaha Alumni Association and the Archbishop’s Educational Development Fund, which he helped start.
Gov. J.J. Exon appointed him to the Game and Parks Commission.
Cunningham was preceded in death by his brothers, Glenn and Arthur, and sister Lucille Pearson. Lake Cunningham is named for his brother, Glenn, an Omaha congressman.
Visitation will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at John A. Gentleman Mortuary, 1010 N. 72nd St. A wake will be at 7 p.m. The funeral will be 10 a.m. Friday at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church.
Cunningham loved to stay active by playing golf, tennis and riding bikes with his grandchildren.
“He loved life and grabbed for the gusto,” Kozlik said.
Cunningham lived in Omaha all his life, and in a World-Herald “Getting Personal” profile, he was asked about his favorite place.
His answer: Omaha.

Thought for the Day

Polling: Beware of the Details

There were two polls released in Colorado this week involving the U.S. Senate race which appears to be competitive.   But, as you might note, might learn from the commentary by Hotline's Wakeup Call contributor Scott Bland, details are important when evaluating polls.   With all the polling we are inundated with, it is important to recognize that you simply can't believe each one's accuracy.

"It all comes down to turnout." It's a common refrain as campaigns near Election Day, but it also applies to poll results, too. As we digest results from divergent Marist and Quinnipiac polls in Colorado this week, take note of some potentially consequential demographic differences between the surveys, including this one: Marist's Colorado sample includes more whites with college degrees than without (39% to 37%), while Quinnipiac's has fewer whites with college degrees (35% with, 43% without). Considering how polarized those groups' votes have become, especially among women, those differences can have big results -- both in polls and on Election Day. -- Scott Bland"

Republican Candidates Should Think Before Speaking

In this morning's National Journal's Hotline's Wakeup Call we found the blurb below.   While this might not be as bad as suggesting there is something as 'legitimate rape', this just shows how candidates can make comments that ultimately hurt them or their party.   Why not just say, "I don't know and I don't believe that is an issue in this campaign"?  Answers like Kingston's will come back to bite him and will resound to other Republican candidates who will be asked the question by the liberal media which will just spin Republican candidates as mean-spirited racists out to get Obama.

Candidates should use their brains before they open their mouths.....Creating issues for the liberal media and other candidates is stupid.

"In GA SEN, Rep. Jack Kingston (R) was asked about the prospect of impeaching President Obama on a local radio talk show. He responded: "I don't know what rises to that level yet, but I know that there's a mounting frustration that a lot of people are getting to and I think Congress is going to start looking at it very seriously." Asked if House Speaker John Boehner's lawsuit could be the first step towards impeachment, Kingston said: "You know, it could go in that direction if there was a big discussion. I mean, I think it's possible, it keeps getting worse and worse. It could go in that direction." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)"

Cartoon of the Day

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thought of the Day

Warren Buffet The Cadillac Man

Okay, we're no fan of Warren Buffet and although we may have missed the story in the local daily, we thought it was worth sharing that Omaha's Oracle has upgraded his 'iron' and stayed true to the U.S. industry and apparently his new friend, Government Motors, oops General Motors, C.E.O. Mary Barra: 

How Warren Buffett landed a new Cadillac (and not a Subaru)

Automotive News

July 15, 2014 - 3:43 pm ET 
"Warren Buffett, who has made himself and others enormously wealthy by investing in some of America’s biggest brands, from Coca-Cola to Wells Fargo to Goldman Sachs, wants you to know he is not about to go with Japanese wheels, no matter how practical.

Despite a heavily circulated photograph showing Buffett sitting in the passenger seat of a Subaru Outback, the famed billionaire investor remains loyal to the Detroit 3 and Cadillac.

Buffett decided to upgrade from his 2006 Cadillac DTS with a new Caddy after a May visit with General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Forbes reported today, countering media reports last week suggesting he is now motoring around in a Subaru crossover.

Barra traveled to Omaha, Neb., to meet with Buffett, a major GM investor, amid a recall crisis that some shareholders feared would undermine the automaker’s momentum.

In May, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed it had reduced its stake in GM during the first quarter by 25 percent to 30 million shares.

After Barra convinced Buffett of the merits of the latest generation of Cadillacs while the two drove to lunch together, he sent his daughter, Susie, to Huber Cadillac in Omaha to purchase a new car.
Buffett gave rave reviews to the CEO navigating GM’s recall crisis, telling Forbes that “she’s the person to do it.”

Buffett, who headed Salomon Bros. through a U.S. Treasury bond scandal in the early 1990s, also had some advice for Barra.

“When you have a problem, get it right, get it fast, get it out and get it over,” he told Barra during the visit, the magazine reported.

Buffett’s daughter went to the dealership on May 15, telling saleswoman Madison Willers that she was shopping for a man she had been buying cars for for years. She initially inquired about a base model CTS -- the sporty sedan Barra had suggested -- but Willers steered her toward the XTS after Buffett’s daughter said he just “needed something to get from point A to point B.”

When Buffett’s daughter returned to the dealership to go over purchase agreements, she revealed to Willers that the car was for Buffett -- whom Willers had waited on several times in her former job as a waitress at a local restaurant.

Willers personally delivered the champagne-colored base model XTS to Berkshire Hathaway, along with a Cadillac baseball hat, which she said Buffett was more excited about than the new car.
“You never know who’s going to walk through the door,” Willers said of the transaction.
Buffett wrote Barra a letter praising Willers and Brett Huber, the dealership’s owner. Barra responded with a handwritten note, saying the store had embodied the company’s mantra of the importance of the customer. Barra told Buffett she also looked forward to riding in his new XTS.
The transaction dispels new reports last week that Buffett had turned his back on the American auto industry -- he has also favored Ford Motor Co. models -- after he was photographed by a CNBC producer in a red Subaru Outback in Sun Valley, Idaho, on July 8.

Automotive blog autoevolution published the photo with an accompanying post, stating that Buffett was “driving a competitor’s new model.” CNBC even tweeted the report.

Subaru added to the hype, linking to the blog post in a tweet, with the message, “We love this story of how even the Oracle of Omaha is driving a Subaru!”

However, Buffett told Forbes he was not deserting U.S. brands but merely waiting in a courtesy car while attending a conference while his daughter picked up their room keys and credentials.
“I’ve never driven a Subaru in my life,” Buffett told the magazine."