Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Adrian Smith: The Hits Just Keep Coming

by Kyle Michaelis
With less than three weeks before the 2006 election, Adrian Smith's campaign is hurting and in trouble. Beyond Scott Kleeb's natural strengths and undeniable appeal, Smith has suffered for the twin offenses of compiling an unimpressive, undistinguished - some would even say embarrassing - record as a state senator while showing total disrespect for his would-be constituents and their interests by fueling his campaign with $400,000 from the extremist, anti-farm subsidies Club for Growth.

No doubt, the weakness of Smith's candidacy reached its nadir with this weekend's surprise endorsement of Kleeb by the ever-conservative Omaha World-Herald. Equal parts celebration of Kleeb and slap-in-the-face to Smith, the Omaha-World Herald wrote:
Scott Kleeb...stands out as the better choice. The reason: his fundamental strength - a strength of intellect, a strength of eloquence, a strength of stability.

When pressed aggressively, Kleeb's opponent, State Sen. Adrian Smith, falls back on sound bites and slogans. When pressed under the same conditions, Kleeb draws on different resources - mental focus, breadth of analytical ability and an unshakeable internal steadiness....

Far from being a wild-eyed liberal awkwardly out of step with his staunchly conservative district, Kleeb has spent this year advancing a practical agenda. His proposals can provide common ground across partisan and ideological lines....

It is said, understandably, that how Kleeb would do in Washington is largely an unknown. The same cannot be said of his opponent, Adrian Smith....

In the Legislature, Smith is not known as a skilled lawmaker. He is not known for an ability to build constructive coalitions for complicated legislation. He is not known as a skilled public speaker. He has no reputation for making substantive issues the subjects for his priority bills. He is not a lawmaker whom backers seek out to be the prime sponsor of major legislation.

He is not known as a leader.

That reality cannot be wished away, talked away or TV-commercialed away. And it is one of the primary considerations 3rd District voters should weigh as they consider whether Smith has the habits of mind and action necessary to serve with distinction in one of this country's most powerful political posts.

Smith, without question, is a sincere and conscientious advocate for the causes he supports - causes that in several cases receive strong endorsement by this newspaper. But in terms of qualifications, the 3rd District deserves more....

Scott Kleeb deserves election this year. If voters extend him that enormous privilege, from his strength, positive results could arise for the 3rd District. His potential should not be doubted.

It's understandable that Nebraska Democrats would be excited by this virtually unprecedented show of support from the state's most powerful and most influential media outlet. The World-Herald's endorsement of a non-incumbent Democrat for Congress is practically the Halley's Comet of Nebraska politics. Although the editorial speaks favorably of Kleeb's personal superiority as a candidate, one must keep in perspective the decades of instantly-dismissible opinions preceding it on that very page.

But, a blow to Smith is a blow to Smith...and the World-Herald's declaring him an unskilled lawmaker with a poor reputation and no real leadership skills to speak of is probably as big of a blow as the relatively toothless Nebraska media is capable.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I applaud the Omaha daily's endorsement of Scott Kleeb, here is the newspaper's real motivation: In my view, there is no question that the OW-H was caught napping in 2004 during the GOP congressional primary in which the Club for Growth terminated the paper's preferred candidate, Curt Bromm, and delivered-unto-us the unctuous Jeff Fortenberry.

The Kleeb endorsement allows the OW-H to re-assert its supposed unitary authority to annoint Nebraska's officeholders.

Of course, it didn't hurt that Scott truly is the superior candidate.

The real surprise was the personal nature of the editorial's disemboweling of Adrian Smith. However, this is in line with the paper's new-found desire for "purity" in Nebraska elections (keeping outside money out of the petition initiative process; etc.), which itself derives from its mortal fear of expanded gambling. But that topic deserves its own diary.

10/18/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us remember this is not the first time the OWH has not endorsed Smith, they chose to endorse John Hanson over Smith in the primary. Let's hope the OWH endorsement doesn't become the consolation prize in Nebraska elections. There is no comparison when you stand Kleeb an Smith side by side, but Mister Smith doesn't seem to want to put himself in that situation.

10/18/2006  
Anonymous No Way said...

Someone made the point the other day that the OWH was 0 for 0 on their "endorsed" candidates. The trend will continue and Scott Kleeb will file a change of address at the Dunning Post Office on November 8th...and it won't be Washington DC.

It's time to accept the grim reality...Smith has the contacts and the experience necessary to represent 3rd District Nebraskan's. He has a proven track record of cutting taxes...protecting our children and looking out for agriculture despite what his opponent claims. Kleeb has nothing but the backing of east coast money and a bunch of myopic "50 Stater's" frothing at the mouth.

For most of his supporter's...Kleeb's biggest asset is his good looks and how he fill's out the back end of a pair of Wranglers. Now there's substance and a real reason to rush to the polls.

Smith is not some inexperienced faux cowboy...er...rancher...er...farm laborer that claims to be looking out for the best interests of Nebraskans. He's real and if you do your homework you would know it.

10/18/2006  
Blogger Werner Herzog's Bear said...

Smith is a real something, all right. A real hack. In response to the last comment:

"Has the contacts necessary" to "represent the 3rd district?"
What contacts are these? With the Club for Growth? That particular organization's goals aren't just against the 3rd district, but pretty much against the interests of anyone who isn't wealthy.

"Cutting taxes"
With our ballooning deficit and ever-rising costs for our foreign entanglements, further tax cutting isn't just unwise, it's downright irresponsible.

"Protecting our children"
He won't be protecting them from the growing economic inequalities exacerbated by his politcal patrons, inequalities that leave millions of children with substandard educations and dark futures.

"East coast money"
Where's all the GOP and Club For Growth money coming from? How much of Nebraska's money was spent on Cheney's campaign stop in Grand Island?

"Myopic "50Stater's" (sic) foaming at the mouth"
Just like those howling Trotsky-ites at the World-Herald.

10/18/2006  
Anonymous TedK said...

What's surprising about this endorsement is the OWH moving from its standard operating procedure of only endorsing Republicans. For example, all of the Lincoln area Legislative endorsements were Republicans. Except when the race only includes Democrats. In that situation they pick the candidate they believe is more pro-business.

10/18/2006  
Anonymous cutting taxes, my ass! said...

just what has smith done to cut taxes??? Voted against the budget every year, BFD!! Appropriations chairman Pederson even said that smith has never offered any solutions or become involved with the budget process. Smith is a friggin joke, plain and simple!

10/18/2006  
Anonymous No Way said...

While I appreciate the attempt...no one here has provided any facts that dispute Smith can't carry the load...just a bunch of name calling and speculative denial. Groups that have given Kleeb a questionaire find he's late turning his homework...waits to see what his opponent says first or protests he didn't understand the question...or his horse conveniently eats the questionaire.
Hey Pardners...the Marlboro Man/Rancher/Cowboy/Farm laborer will be handy to have around when a quick decision has to be made.

Oh...and if you look at the FEC reports...your bullrider's file shows the majority of his support is coming from Yale...evidently well paid...professors...New York housewives...and hardly anyone from the Third District. Club for Growth is just an excuse...if you look at what they stand for...tax cuts...less government...etc...you have to be for them...unless you prefer more taxes and government interfering with you lives.

10/19/2006  
Blogger Werner Herzog's Bear said...

Yep, the GOP is all about getting government out of our lives. Just look at warrantless wiretapping, revoking habeas corpus, banning abortion, and No Child Left Behind's standardized testing requirements.

10/20/2006  
Anonymous eo said...

I was surprised to see the Herald endorse Matt Connealy over a Republican conservative in a (nonpartisan) Public Services Commission contest. I read a Herald endorsement of Carol Russell in an NU regent contest over incumbent Randy Ferlic, a conservative supported by the big business types in Omaha. It will be interesting to see which side the paper comes down on in the Douglas County district attorney race. The Dornan and Kleine forces are really overheating in that fight.

Kyle is absolutely correct that despite the recent national attention, Kleeb will have to overcome a lot to ultimately prevail in a congressional district as thoroughly conservative as the 3rd District. Nebraska is going to lose that district altogether anyway after the next Census.

10/21/2006  

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