Sunday, April 17, 2005

Twisted World of Harold W. 3.5

by Kyle Michaelis
In his column, Andersen also dropped in this little bit of seemingly self-evident wisdom:
Nebraska Democratic Party leaders must be (1) thoroughly enjoying the divisive controversy that Hagel's action has created in the Nebraska GOP and (2) quietly hoping that Hagel's action does indeed discourage Osborne from running for governor. The nomination of Heineman rather than Osborne would, of course, clearly improve Democratic odds in the 2006 gubernatorial election.
Anyone else get really uncomfortable and suspicious whenever Andersen tries to speak for Democrats? Maybe there's something we're not seeing here, and a Heineman-Osborne primary showdown really would be to the Democratic Party's benefit, no matter its winner.

I don't think primary fights can be said to be all bad or all good - it always depends on the particular situation and the particular candidates. Every election is different. Sometimes they cause irreperable damage, while sometimes they provide a lot of much-needed attention and momentum to the victor.

In this instance, even though Heineman may seem the weaker candidate, he's also going to be the safe "status quo" candidate in a state that seems increasingly to want someone who won't rock the boat and just has an "R" by their name. The Democrats would have to have someone with a lot of fire and enthusiasm just to get peoples' interest-level high enough to give a damn. Put Osborne in the mix, whether just in the Primary or the General Election, and there's a touch of chaos in all that celebrity (unless the "foregone conclusion" of his victory is insurmountable and has a deadening effect).

Obviously, the resources expended in a Heineman-Osborne primary could be very considerable and both candidates could do a lot of damage to each others' credibility if they wanted to. Neither has proven necessarily adept or agile as politicians and there's definitely some question as to how quickly either could recover. In a more drawn out campaign, a lot of people might start questioning Osborne's being up to the job, while if Heineman would actually beat Osborne he might not come off looking like the best guy in the eyes of Osborne's people (whom may already be offended by the Hagel endorsement).

Sure, it's all a bunch of conjecture. At the end of the day, no one knows anything, and that includes myself. I just think it's important that we take nothing for granted when there's so much at stake - especially when Harold W. Andersen and the Omaha World-Herald are speaking in absolutes. If that doesn't make you wonder, you haven't been paying attention.


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