Tuesday, August 08, 2006

So Many Subjects, So Little to Say

by Kyle Michaelis
"Who am I? Why am I here?"
-Admiral James Stockdale in 1992 Vice-Presidential Debate

"When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed."
-"Psycho Killer", Talking Heads (1977)

There's plenty going on in Nebraska politics but - you know what - I don't have a whole lot to say about any of it, at least nothing I'd consider particularly insightful or which I haven't already said before.

Last week, I helped draw some online attention to Sen. Chuck Hagel's most recent flurry of criticism of the Iraq War. What he said was important and could easily have both national and international implications, both politically and in terms of human lives.

In the little corner of Northeast Nebraska I call home, it was announced last week that one boy had been killed in action in Iraq, while another was severely wounded - losing one or both of his legs. Neither boy was actually from my hometown, but both lived within 15 miles and attended schools we played in sports - could just as well have been my younger brother, his classmates, or his friends.

For them, their families, and all those who remain in harm's way, I have to thank Hagel for his outspokeness and the opportunity it helps create to set a new course this November.

I can harp about hypocrisy and hidden agendas all I want, but sometimes saying what needs to be said is the most important thing, particularly in this age of the soundbyte. Though I wrote skeptical commentaries last week accompanying Hagel's interviews with the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star (both of which were picked up by DailyKos), I'm glad my spin was extricated.

When young Americans are dying - not to mention, thousands of innocent Iraqis - I really shouldn't allow my local, partisan concerns to undermine Hagel's instantly-credible voice of dissent. As far as these comments are concerned, there's something to be said for not looking a gift-horse in the mouth.

On a separate issue, Gov. Dave Heineman came out AGAINST the Spending Lid Amendment. Sure, it took two months for him to make up his mind. Sure, the end of this most notorious demonstration of Heineman's wait-and-see approach to government has already been met by a new example in the area of Nebraska's water policy. There's plenty of angles from which one could turn Heineman's finally doing the right thing against him, but is that really productive or does that just further the same hyperpartisanship I so frequently bemoan for threatening to destroy our state and our nation?

Again, I see this as a reminder to leave it to political campaigns to spin their opposition's statements and actions. If my concern is good government in Nebraska, today - at least - I should be thanking Heineman for making the common sense choice to do what's best for the state by rejecting this insanely restrictive proposal.

Of course, I'm not so terribly naive that I fail to recognize Nebraska's long-term interests are not served by the extension of the status quo for which Heineman stands. But, if I can contribute to a more respectful and civil political climate where Democrats and Republicans do more than just criticize and condemn one another, that's what I intend to do - even during an election year.

Which brings us to the on-going battle between Sen. Ben Nelson and challenger Pete Ricketts. It's hard to overstate the foolishness of the Nebraska Democratic Party's ever having made such an issue of Ricketts' property taxes when Nelson's record has not fared well under the added scrutiny such an attack invited. The latest bit about Nelson's taking an agricultural exemption on the basis of his raising wild turkeys only adds to the silliness - giving Ricketts and the Republican Party exactly what they needed in their wild goose chase for a message.

Lucky for Nelson, there are too many issues of actual importance this year for voters to become consumed by this sort of faux-scandal. It would take a lot more than wild turkeys and the repayment of some back taxes to break the decade-and-a-half relationship of trust between Nelson and Nebraska voters.

It also can't hurt that voters have such a hard time separating this issue from the endless stream of negativity they have already come to expect from Ricketts and company. Whether the attacks have been disingenuous (Ben Nelson=Teddy Kennedy) or just downright deceitful (Boyd County nuclear waste dump), Nebraskans aren't fooled, and they aren't going to be.

That doesn't mean I expect either campaign to stop trying. If you like what you've seen this summer, it looks like you should be in for quite the treat as the countdown to November really begins in earnest.

Me? I'm sick of the back-and-forth....and barring some truly shocking revelation, I would be quite happy not writing another word about either candidate that doesn't directly relate to his ideas, his record, or his vision for the future.

Unfortunately, such a high standard would leave nothing to be said of Ricketts, so please forgive me if I occasionally stoop for material in the coming months (and, to think, I was doing so well).

7 Comments:

Blogger Daily Bulldog said...

Ben Nelson cheats on his taxes.

Awwww....you're sick of the back and forth. Do you need mommy to rub you and make you feel all better??

Racist Rubin picked this fight with his "cat in the hat" ad. How could someone with such a "political background" make such a stupid mistake?

Of course, he did lose a Kennedy race in Maryland, so it goes without saying that he is incompetent.

Nelson was also running ads against Ricketts before the May primary, starting the "back and forth" between Ds and Rs before it was even appropriate.

And as much as you would like not to believe it, this will be an issue this fall.

Nelson tries to pass himself off as the "common guy" looking out for the family farmer, yet he is using a tax-lowering tool designed to help the family farmer for his greedy self.

He signed the request, twice, asking for the greenbelt designation. The documents are out there.

This is stealing in my book, and his piss-poor, pathetic answer of "I didn't know" leads me to believe he smokes a lot of dope, too.

His goddamned signature is on the two requests!!!

Didn't you see the article in the OWH yesterday specifying the number of county commissioners who were ousted because of high property taxes?

Face it, Kylie, this issue will stick. I used to think Nelson was OK and only defended PR out here because he wasn't here to defend himself, but this issue is not going away.

How can a member of the Senate Ag Committee who claims he is "down with the people" not know the difference between raising turkeys and raising crops?

This insults the intelligence of people, not PR's ads, like Nelson claims.

Ben Nelson cheats on his taxes, period. He is in effect stealing and lying, and if you are going to defend him or Racist Rubin, you are a thief and a liar just the same.

Ben Nelson cheats on his taxes.

8/08/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bulldog - you "used to think Nelson was OK?" you've never posted anything but vitriol about him on this or any other blog. Your revisionist history is as unsulting as it is disingenuous.

Maybe you didn't see what Republican Surveyor Pittman said on Ch 3 last night - or more likely you did and are ignoring it so you can continue to lie about Ben Nelson.

You must rent because you understand nothing about property taxes, how they work, and you pretend to know anything about the greenbelt designation.

Petey's campaign has played with some significant fire out there. there are 1500 properties that get the same break that Nelson did. Now the assesor, since he was forced to reassess Nelson's proerty, will have to do the same for everyone else. Nice, Pete wants to lower his property taxes so everyone in Sarpy County can pay more.

And the difference between Nelson and the Ken Doll: Ben Nelson has always paid his taxes - and even now in Sarpy County he's doing it - while Pete does nothing but whine about how he pays too much.

Here is the simple message that will bring Pete down: I needed to spend 5 million of my own money to beat a buffoon in Don Stenberg, but I wanted to cheat my neighbors out of $6K on my property taxes.

Ben Nelson is a stand up guy, a Nebraskan through and through and your comments about him are insulting and disresepctful.

As for your claim that Nelson ran anti-ricketts ads before the primary: PROVE IT. You know its a lie, but trading in the truth is difficult I'm sure for a campaign that has to fabricate headlines and news coverage in its ads.

Nice try, but take your fake sympathy (I was for Nelson before I was against him) crap somewhere else you lowlife loser.

Oh, and why dont you start paying your 30% National Sales Tax now if you are so on the Pete bandwagon?

8/08/2006  
Blogger Daily Bulldog said...

Obviously you cannot read...I said I "defended Ricketts because no one else here did". Did you not understand that?

And no, I did not watch Action 3 news, but since the assessor has to re-assess all of these properties in order to see who is cheating and who isn't, what is wrong with that???

Nelson cheats on his taxes and now exposed others who may be, too. Good! You are not supposed to cheat on your taxes, dumbass. If you do, you are shorting the government money and raising the load for all others who play by the rules! Isn't this the whole point behind Racist Rubin's "cat in the hat" ad and claiming Rickett's lack of paying his fair share raises the burden for others???

How could you be so blind to this issue?? Are you that partisan??

Ben Nelson cheats on his taxes. That does not mean others can, too, or since others can, Nelson can, too.

Didn't your parents raise you properly? Or did they teach you it is OK to cheat as long as you don't get caught??

Ben Nelson is not a stand-up guy. If he was, he would pay his fair share of taxes. Instead, he is a rich guy using a tax-relief tool meant for family farmers to benefit his own bottom-line.

You must be a thief too if you are willing to defend him. Remember, there is no honor among theives...but since you were raised to be a theif, you wouldn't understand honor, would you??

Read this article and pay close attention to the fourth paragraph from the bottom:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-06-13-nebraska_x.htm

This explains how Nelson was running ads early, and even Helen Keller could understand that as the primary date approached, the ads were directed towards Ricketts.

Ben Nelson cheats on his taxes.
Deal with it.

And if he is such a 'stand-up' guy, why did he try to get out of his 2nd term as governor in order to run for Senate (and fail miserably)? He went back on his word.

8/08/2006  
Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...

Bulldog-

You are pathetic and loathsome. You are an embarrassment to the many fair-minded and rational Republicans in this state. I would delete every hateful and inflammatory comment you've written, except the ignorance and pettiness of your unintelligible insults provide a too-perfect illustration of the sickness that pervades our democracy.

Thank you for standing as a constant reminder of just how much work there is to do and how much ignorance and folly stand in our way.

8/08/2006  
Blogger Daily Bulldog said...

Kylie,

And you are a blind partisan, and incompetent as you are liberal.

I am glad this site exists for two reasons:

One, to show balance in a heavily conservative state, and two, to give a few people an illustration of how stupid you are.

DB out!

8/08/2006  
Anonymous randy said...

there really isn't much to say about the nelson race. it's over. it's been over for a long time. i agree the ndp should be a little less full of themselves. acknowledging this dildo is so unnecessary.

having said that, i am anxious to see nelson debate him. not that i think it will be enlightening or even educational...im just longing to see ricketts humiliated.

8/08/2006  
Anonymous Everrpa said...

I gotta hand it to you, Kyle. You have a very keen political sense and you totally called it with the Cat in the Hat ad. This was a monumental blunder that should have never happened: Ben Nelson is a smart politician and the previous, positive ads by the Nebraska Democrats created an incredibly effective contrast with Rickett's inane, "Clinton-Kennedy" attack ads.

Nelson surrendered the higher ground even when it was clear that Rickett's wasn't making any progress, and I'm sure his image has taken a severe hit.

8/09/2006  

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