Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust - Ricketts Campaign in Turmoil

by Kyle Michaelis
The Pete Ricketts for Senate campaign is tossing its staff overboard in a desperate attempt to right itself after a month of its attacks on Senator Ben Nelson have largely blown up in its candidate's face. After last week's announcement that Jessica Moenning would be taking over as campaign manager, it didn't take long for some mysterious "personal reasons" to force the communications director's resignation. The Omaha World-Herald reports:
A top aide to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pete Ricketts has left the campaign.

Trisha Meuret, who was communications director, left Friday.

Meuret said that it was her decision to leave and that she did so for personal reasons.

She is the third Ricketts aide to leave since the May primary. Jessica Moenning replaced Pat Fiske as campaign manager last week. Former finance director Melissa Eckberg left shortly after the primary.

Moenning said Saturday the staff changes were "natural" as the campaign gears up for the general election fight against Sen. Ben Nelson.

Indeed, staff changes are natural...when a campaign is floundering. What I can't help wondering is how much this obvious power struggle has to do with the barrage of criticism sustained by the Ricketts campaign for its pathetic and twisted attacks on Ben Nelson. Just today, the Omaha World-Herald scolded Ricketts for lowering the bar in Nebraska politics with unprecedented speed and indecency:
The start of the contest between U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson and his Republican challenger, Pete Ricketts, has ill served Nebraskans.

Judging from Ricketts' TV advertising in recent weeks, for example, one would assume the election should hinge on what one thinks of Ted Kennedy rather than Nelson and on who said what during a bout of partisan bickering in Nebraska a decade ago.

This election needs to be about substance, not about political blarney and minor issues. Important questions need to be asked and answered.....

Judging from events so far, the Senate contest pitting Nelson against Ricketts may well turn out to be a wearying experience. When it finally draws to a close, Nebraska voters should ask one more question: Was this election decided through a serious debate over ideas and facts, or did it amount to little more than a tiresome series of potshots and pointless blather?

While one might guess that this sort of warning would discourage the Ricketts campaign's strategy and that this shake-up might symbolize a change in direction, somehow I doubt that's really the case. If anything, with Moenning at the helm, it seems more likely that those who have gotten the axe were the ones pushing for a cleaner campaign.

Negativity works, and Moenning knows that. Those without the stomach for it - who might lose their courage by suddenly developing principles - don't understand how the game is played and are just too weak for her style of hard ball.

So, if there is a change in direction, don't go expecting it to be for the better. The Ricketts campaign has had one destination all along - the gutter - and I'm guessing it's on the fast-track to get there.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is horrendous news for the ricketts camp. typical that the world herald gives it such short attention.

really, this shows that this is a man who will never take responsibility for his own failings and has no interest in offering substance to voters.


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