Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pete Ricketts Prime Example of GOPs 2006 Failure

by Kyle Michaelis
From the Sunday New York Times - yet more proof that Pete Ricketts' challenge to Sen. Ben Nelson is struggling not only in Nebraska but has also flopped with the Republican big wigs in Washington D.C....and, now, the entire country knows it:
WASHINGTON, July 22 — The tables were loaded with untouched platters of food as Senator Elizabeth Dole rose this week to introduce her party’s Senate candidate from Nebraska. Sixty people were supposed to be at the fund-raiser, but Mrs. Dole, the host and leader of the Republican effort to hold the Senate this fall, found just 18 people scattered across an expanse of empty carpet.

Mrs. Dole has been a nearly unstoppable star for 25 years: the secretary of both transportation and labor, the head of the Red Cross and a popular senator from North Carolina, never mind the wife of Bob Dole, the former Senate majority leader and Republican presidential candidate.

But going into the most fiercely competitive Congressional election in 12 years, some Republicans say Mrs. Dole is faltering in her latest job, as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which raises money, recruits candidates, plots strategy and shapes the party’s message.

She has been lapped in fund-raising by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The latest filing, on Thursday, showed Democrats with $37.7 million on hand, compared with $19.9 million for Republicans....

She failed to find strong candidates to run against vulnerable Senate Democrats in at least four states, a shortcoming that could also be partly attributed to the White House, which has often played a crucial role in candidate recruitment....

In interviews, Republican senators voiced support for Mrs. Dole but made it clear they were nervous about the months ahead.

“I’m going to say it’s going well, because at this point in time, that’s what you need to say,” said Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, who earlier this year publicly criticized Mrs. Dole’s recruiting efforts....

Other Republicans had harsher views. “Look, we have a lot of Republicans who are on the ropes, this has not been a spectacular year of recruiting, we are way behind in fund-raising,” said Pat Toomey, the president of the Club for Growth, a conservative political action committee. “I don’t see a lot to brag about”....

Mrs. Dole said some of her recruiting failures had been out of her hands. Even before the cycle began she was counting on Mike Johanns, then the popular Nebraska governor, to challenge Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat. She was surprised when President Bush nominated Mr. Johanns as secretary of agriculture.

“It was like a dagger to the heart,” she said.

Wow. That article's pretty damn hard on Ricketts. First, it uses the embarrassing turn-out at his D.C. fundraiser to demonstrate everything that's wrong for Republican candidates in 2006. Then, it quotes Sen. Dole yearning for a different candidate in Nebraska, likening her being stuck with Ricketts to a dagger through the heart.

Ouch! What's probably most insulting is that Ricketts' name didn't even make it into the article. He's left as the nameless Republican "recruiting failure" from Nebraska whom nobody wanted in the first place.

If there's no such thing as bad press for a politician, this being insulted but not by name might be the one exception to the rule.

Of course, Ricketts and the Nebraska Republican Party would contend and will no doubt try to convince themselves this is just the East Coast Liberal media trying to destroy them, but the facts pretty much speak for themselves. Ricketts' D.C. coming-out party was a flop. And, no one forced Dole to offer Nebraska's race as the #1 example of where she should have had a better candidate. It sounds like she volunteered that candid assessment of Ricketts chances all by herself.

Talk about "a dagger to the heart" - right through the heart of the already faltering Ricketts campaign.

After this article, I think you could probably add Ricketts to the growing list of Republicans unhappy with Sen. Dole's performance. That's not surprising since it sounds like the feeling is mutual.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, we get it: Ricketts is behind by 25%. The Rasmussen poll told us that. And the Arizona GOP or the New York Times doesn't add much more to that. Shouldn't you write about another race, or do you have to get your quota in order to get paid by the Nelson campaign?
After the novel you wrote about David Hahn, I keep waiting for your post about HIS poll numbers.
I'll just come back later.

Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...

Actually, I want to apologize for not doing a better job of covering Mr. Hahn lately. He's running an incredibly uphill campaign but continues to make Nebraska Democrats proud by challenging Gov. Heineman's cowardly positions - whether he's refusing to give the voters of this state the issue-driven debates they deserve or whether he's refusing to take a stand on the spending lid amendment after researching it for 3 damn months.

Sadly, the time I've been able to devote to the website has been lacking. The Ricketts campaign is such an insulting joke that I end up writing about it just because it's easy.

Sorry to let you down. But, please come back anytime you like!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle provided a very comprehensive interview with Mr. Hahn; certainly much more than has been done in any other news outlet in the state.

The Ricketts-Nelson race has been in the news a lot lately with more information coming out seemingly every day, so it makes sense that that would drive coverage here and elsewhere, but I don't think you should knock Kyle re: Hahn when he has done more than anyone.

Blogger Daily Bulldog said...

Sure, you should write more about that levitating freak Hahn. Yes Nelson is popular in some polls, but DH is much higher.

And you have the nerve to call a U.S. Service Academy grad a coward??

You wouldn't last one day in even the "Air Farce" Academy, Kylie. Yes, they do admit women like youself, but since academic standards are high, your "I barely-survived-a-mediocre-state-school" academic record would not get considered.

Next time you see a U.S. Service Academy grad on the street, call that individual a coward to his or her face.

Once the plastic surgeon your trust fund pays for removes the shoe leather/rubber from your shattered jaw and what is left of your gums, you'll think twice about who you call a coward.


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