Monday, April 24, 2006

We MUST Challenge Mike Foley

by Kyle Michaelis
WANTED: Anyone who believes passionately in good, honest government, willing to campaign on that theme through November, to run as a Democrat for Nebraska's State Auditor. A progressive, well-spoken Certified Public Accountant with management skills preferred (if such person exists). Must take immediate action and have limited personal resources to contribute to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stand for what one truly believes before every voter in Nebraska.

Sorry. I just can't let this go - the Nebraska Democratic Party CANNOT allow a proven liar such as State Sen. Mike Foley to become State Auditor without challenge in the general election this November. After his completely unforgiveable and deceitful conduct in this last legislative session, allowing Foley to "ascend to the throne" in this manner would be a total dereliction of duty to the people of Nebraska.

Yet, unless someone - anyone - steps forward to fulfill the above job description, that's exactly what's going to happen. In a year when Democrats are campaigning nationwide against the Republican "culture of corruption," it is plainly foolish and destructive not to answer that same call and take up that same cry when one such as Foley now stands at the gates of taking a powerful position from which he could do untold, perhaps unimaginable damage.

Foley is unchallenged in the Republican primary to replace two-term Auditor Kate Witek. As with the constitutional offices of State Treasurer and Attorney General, the Democrats are - themselves - not fielding any candidates on the primary ballot. That doesn't mean it's too late to give voters a choice in the general election. In fact, the Democratic Party is obligated to do the very least - out of true necessity - in Foley's "race" to become State Auditor.

Foley has proven that his single-minded allegiance to the anti-abortion movement trumps any standard of decency and ethical conduct. For 6 years in the state senate, he has said anything and done anything to serve the anti-abortion agenda - reaching a new low this year that makes him not only unfit for the office in which he serves but also a terrible threat and a liability to the state government in which he now seeks an entrenched position.

Note that it is not Foley's political opinions - and it certainly isn't his religion - that disqualifies him for office. It is, instead, his dangerous record of twisting the facts and hiding his true intentions - two qualities that violate every expectation of the state auditor's essential oversight function.

This is not about the morality or the legality of abortion. It's not about abortion at all. It's about the immorality of Mike Foley - plain and simple.

This man can not be trusted. How ironic and disgusting, then, that Foley is now seeking the one position in state government that is all about assuring its trustworthiness to Nebraska citizens and taxpayers. His presence on the ballot is a slap in the face to anyone who cares about honesty and accountability. Needless to say, his election to office would be a truly shameful moment for the entire state.

I don't know if that shame can be prevented, but those who recognize this and do nothing certainly will share in the blame for it.

Although I am no election law expert, I believe there are at least two avenues by which Foley can be challenged. The first one - the easiest - I only realized just now when it is almost too late. This plan entails a single candidate paying the filing fee (1% of the Auditor's annual salary - either $650 or $850) and registering with the Secretary of State as a "write-in candidate" at least 10 days before the primary (Friday, I believe).

From there, all it would take is an e-mail to Nebraska Democrats asking them to write-in this single, qualified candidate, and he or she would almost certainly get enough votes to beat Mickey Mouse and take the Democratic Party's spot on the ballot. With our new communications technology, there is absolutely NO REASON this couldn't be done right now - even with the registration deadline nearing this Friday. The media attention alone you could generate by emphasizing how important it is to challenge Foley might well be worth such meager investment, especially because it would further assure the named write-in candidate's primary victory.

If we fail to follow that very simple strategy, a "by-petition" candidacy also remains a possibility through the that I will not shut up about until some proud Democrat has finally risen to the occasion and decided Nebraska deserves better than Mike Foley. The "write-in" candidate in the primary, however, remains an infinitely superior opportunity because - as a non-incumbent - Foley would almost have to meet the Democrats' chosen nominee in a real debate. There, he would have to explain his deceitful conduct on the floor of the state legislature and why voters should trust him when his fellow state senators cannot.

I know I'm just some guy writing on a blog - it's easy to spout off opinions about what others should be doing. But, here, I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is. If the Nebraska Democratic Party is able to find a suitable write-in candidate in this short window, I pledge right here and right now $125 to help cover the filing fee. And, if I had more to give, I would pay the whole damn thing.

That's how important I think this effort is. We have an opportunity to emphasize everything wrong with the extreme Right-wing mentality that holds our state in its thrall.

Open and honest government. Integrity. Common sense - not ideological zealotry. Public service - not hidden agendas. Those are Democratic values. Here, we can draw these distinctions - we can show where we stand and speak proudly to principles all citizens hold dear.

Frankly, if we fail to capitalize on that opportunity - if we don't even try - then we are fools who deserve our defeat.

And, we will continue to lose....for a very, very long time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest failure of this election for the Democrats in Nebraska was not running candidates for all the constitutional offices. As the old saying saying goes if you don't show up you can never win.

Maybe the Dems need to take some advice from the new nebraska network.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to know if anyone REALLY knows what the typical annual income is for a Nebraska State Senator? I know what it says on their website, but I was wondering if anyone knows what their real salaries are?


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