Osborne For Governor Reduxby Kyle Michaelis
Since I write a lot of throw-away hypotheticals, I'm not going to take any credit for the fact that I wrote about this possibility in a NNN post 10 months ago:
Frankly, a rejection of Osborne in the Republican Primary wouldn't do much to end Osborne's campaign for governor if he would be willing to run as an independent. But, that would be between he, his conscience, and his loyalty to the big "R" that has milked Osborne for just about everything he's good for these last 5 years in Congress.
There was the rub, and there it remains. The Omaha World-Herald has already reported:
Osborne, a Republican congressman, issued a statement saying he did not know about the lawsuit and had not encouraged any write-in campaign.
"As nice as it is of my former players and associates to be concerned about my future, none of their efforts have involved consultation with me," he said. "I am concentrating on serving the remaining six months of my congressional term to the best of my ability."
Osborne pledged last fall to support the winner of the Republican Party's governor primary, said Carlos Castillo, interim executive director of the state party and campaign manager for Gov. Dave Heineman. Heineman defeated Osborne in the May primary.
Bruce Rieker, a strategist for Osborne's campaign, said Osborne would honor the pledge.
"We took a run at it in the primary, he was unsuccessful and the voters have spoken," Rieker said.
It's all a matter of loyalty. And, though Tom might have a valid gripe about his treatment by the state's major GOP players, it's hard to imagine he'd be willing to air that sort of dirty laundry in public so as to justify his putting his hat in the ring again.
Got to say, it sure would liven things up a bit if he would show that sort of spunk. If there's ever been one thing lacking in Osborne's repertoire, it's that spark of rebelliousness that characterizes most every other great football coach. If Osborne should suddenly develop a little bit of attitude and tell Heineman to stick it by giving the race one last hurrah, it would be so out of character that every voter in this state would have to consider Osborne in a radically new light.
But, come on, does anyone really think Osborne's got that sort of fight in him? It certainly wasn't there in the primary, or Heineman would be sitting in the Governor's mansion surrounded by moving boxes and packing tape.
Sorry, but - for now - this is a pipe dream, no more real or legitimate than when I theorized about the possibility last September. Still, it's ridiculous and would spice up the entire election cycle, so - for that reason alone, irrespective of the merits and reserving the right to change my mind in the future - I say what have you got to lose.
Tilting at windmills? Absolutely. Early on-set Alzheimers? Don't know - don't much care. Egomaniac? Damn straight, but there's not a successful football coach or politician in the world about whom you probably couldn't say the exact same thing.
Sometimes life is about the ride. For the ever-methodical Osborne, that sort of realization would be tantamount to a rebirth. Doesn't mean it's going to happen, but - hell - let's just bask in the warmth of the absurd possibilities.
***Addendum - 11:18 pm***
Left-wing blog regulars will note a certain parallel between this situation and that facing Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who has announced his intention to petition onto the general election ballot even if he loses against challenger Ned Lamont in that state's Democratic primary. While I'm inclined to support Lamont's candidacy, the invective against Lieberman has reached such obnoxious levels that it makes one sick to the stomach. In the interests of democracy, I support relatively easy access to the ballot for independent and third-party candidates - even those who've been rejected by voters in one party (Joe) or the other (Tom). For candidates with cross-over appeal, I can't imagine sitting in judgment on them for wanting to give the full electorate a choice.
Doesn't mean I'd vote for either Lieberman or Osborne, but in a representative democracy there's little justification for a two-party duopoly. It's those questions of direct democracy - ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments like the state spending lid being petitioned at the moment - that are far more ripe for abuse and perversion of the democratic process. Alas, there's something to be said to leaving complicated legislation to people who can actually be held accountable at the ballot box and who are actually expected to have researched an issue. That isn't to say such avenues should be closed off entirely, but there should certainly be a higher threshold for access than there are for candidacies to public office.