Monday, May 16, 2005

Would-be Osborne Replacements Look for Lifetime Appointment

by Kyle Michaelis
Nothing humble about this guy - State Sen. Adrian Smith of Gering - who announced his intention this weekend to run for Nebraska's Third District seat in Congress. The Omaha World-Heral reports:
Smith, 34, will run for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Tom Osborne, who is running for governor in 2006. In Congress, Smith said, he will work to redirect more tax money to Nebraska for highways and telecommunications services.

"I want to make sure we get back at least what we pay in," he said in making his announcement Saturday. "That's something that doesn't always happen..."

In the interview, Smith said that if he wins in 2006, he will work to keep the seat for a number of years. The longer a person serves in the U.S. House, he said, the more he can contribute to the district.

"There is a need for someone with a long-term commitment to serve for several years in the House. That's how clout is gained," Smith said.
Smith was also quoted by the AP saying:
I hope to serve a good many years...I am only 34 years old and in order to gain clout in the U.S. House of Representatives you need longevity. I want to at least offer that to the voters.
Well, he's not earning much in the way of credibility when he claims Nebraska doesn't get back what it pays in to the federal government. That's just plain ignorant or a flat-out lie since Nebraska's been a net beneficiary, taking more money than it's put in, every year since 1982.

Of course, the third District is heavily Republican, so maybe Smith thinks the 57-30% split between registered Republicans and Democrats will allow him to play fast and loose with the facts. But history should teach he and his fellows not to count their chickens before they hatch, even in Western Nebraska.
Two of the last three times when the seat opened, Democrats pulled within a few percentage points of a win. In 1990, Democrat Sandra Scofield came with 2.2 percentage points of (Bill) Barrett. In 1974, Democrat Wayne Ziebarth lost to (Virginia) Smith by 737 votes...

"It is a district we can win, with the right candidate," said Barry Rubin, executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Party.
I agree completely. A bit of hope, however, doesn't change the raw depressing facts:
An open seat, with no incumbent, is an attractive political opportunity. It is doubly attractive to Republicans, who have held the 3rd District seat in western and central Nebraska for the past 47 years...

"This is a big chance," said John Hibbing, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "Whoever wins the Republican nomination is probably going to be the U.S. representative from the 3rd District for as long as she or he wants to be."
That's obviously what Smith and others are counting on. The only other announced candidate for Osborne's seat is 28 year-old fellow Republican David Harris, although word's out that State Sen. Phil Erdman of Bayard, also in his 20s, might also contend for the nomination.

All of these candidates could put in a lot of years and likewise do a lot of damage. That's not to say all of them are without merit, but the sense is definitely there that they are grooming and selling themselves as right-wing stooges. If that's what voters in the third district want - and they want it for a real long time - they just might be in luck. It's been a good couple of years for lackies and yes-men. Why not keep a good thing going?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And don't forget the senator from Naboo.


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