Sure, I would love to write more about Kleeb and all the assets he brings to this race, but I'd largely be regurgitating what others have said and reported. Better to let one of the Third District's own fill the rest of us in.
In this post, two things leap out at me deserving particular attention. First, there's a quote about Kleeb by the orchestrator of Congressional Democrats' 2006 campaign efforts that had previously escaped my attention:
"His campaign has all the makings of what could be success," DCCC chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) said, adding that if Kleeb continues to raise money and show progress in internal polls the committee might send money his way.
Of course, there's plenty of qualification in Emanuel's statement, but an open seat with a great candidate deserves some national attention ($$$) no matter how long the odds.
Finally, the author also provides this great little update from the first debate between Kleeb and his Republican opponent, State Sen. Adrian Smith, taking questions from an audience of some of the state's best and brightest high school students:
[Kleeb's] performance at the first general election debate yesterday electrified 200 Nebraskan teenagers, as he hit Smith hard for his unscientific denial of global warming, his reliance on the forces of "the free marketplace" to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, and his reception of $390,000 from a little group called the Club for Growth, which opposes tax incentives for Ethanol and all forms of agricultural subsidies.
Kleeb introduced a comprehensive plan for reducing America's reliance on foreign oil and promoted his vision of rural Nebraska as a technological center, leading the way in ethanol and biofuel research in an effort to combat the "brain drain" of talented young people leaving the Heartland in search of more exciting oppurtunities.
The distinctions are clear. Kleeb inhabits the real world and seeks to make it better with an open mind and actual ideas. Smith, on the other hand, has nothing to offer but ideology and demagoguery - the sort that has him campaigning against Teddy Kennedy rather than for the people of Nebraska; the sort that has the Club for Growth licking its chops at the irresponsible anti-tax zealotry Smith brings to the table.
Smith's value in undermining America's agricultural safety net alone makes this race the Club for Growth's highest possible priority. If Smith can get a hand in crafting the 2007 farm bill, there's no guessing what damage he would be willing to do to his own district on behalf of these powerful outside forces that bought him his seat in the House of Representatives.
Now, hopefully, that's just a bit of fear-mongering on my part, but in politics - even moreso than life, in general - you are the company you keep. In Smith's case - where the Club for Growth is concerned - that's a very scary proposition.