The Non-Existent Nelson-Ricketts Decisionby Kyle Michaelis
Nelson is the better candidate - hands down. He will be the better representative of and servant to the people of Nebraska. The only reason to vote for Ricketts - practically admitted by Ricketts himself - is if your sole concern is maintaining one-party Republican domination in Washington D.C. If your vote, if your duties as a citizen demand anything more than that, Nelson is your man.
No doubt the extremely popular Nelson has lost some of his luster thanks to his campaign's meeting Ricketts head-on and engaging in some of the same mud-slinging that was in store for them, but - alas - this was probably unavoidable. I like to believe - I do believe - that Nelson could have won by keeping above the fray and demonstrating the character and unwavering decency the people of Nebraska supposedly expect from their leaders. But, Ricketts' ability to drop $10-12 million on this race - a drop in the bucket of his family's billion dollar fortune - would have been a true test of the voters that I can't promise they would have passed. Even the finest and most upstanding leader might not have survived the GOP apocalypse targeted at Nelson's head had he not fought back as hard and as fast as he ultimately did.
As is, Nelson has been able to set the tone of the campaign and keep Ricketts on the defensive. Had Nelson kept positive and refused to engage in this dismaying war of negative attack ads, it would have been a beautiful but risky proposition, and it's almost impossible to imagine he'd be in as strong a position as he is today to win reelection.
As for Nelson's influence on the Nebraska Democratic Party and its down-ticket candidates, we've had this conversation before but I still find laughable the notion that Nelson hurts in either regard. As one of our Anonymous commetators states:
It seems to me from these comments that there are folks who haven't been paying much attention this campaign season. Someone else already mentioned how much money Nelson has put into the Democratic Party in NE, which has financed a terrific coordinated staff that helps everyone. So I don't need to go into that.
But I do want to point out that Nelson has a huge lead over his Republican opponent. He's been very effective in making Ricketts toxic which has a trickle down effect on other GOP candidates....
Nelson has coattails and that's good for all Democrats. Furthermore, he shows Nebraska Republicans and Independents that they can vote for Ds and not end up with people who are anthema to their values. And, let's face it, we need Rs and Is in every race....
Just look at the campaigns of our two most likely pick-ups - Moul and Kleeb. They are running with positions close to Nelson's and they refer to him in their respective races as the type of representatives they would be. Moul talked about nelson in her first ads and Kleeb often mentioned Nelson in his debates. They do this for a reason - Nelson helps moderate Democrats attract Republican support....
Let's not forget that while other Democratic office-holders have stepped down, left the state or left the party, Nelson is still here.
The claim of Nelson's coattails remains to be seen - at least in terms of votes. But, for bringing attention, money, and just plain legitimacy to the Moul and Kleeb campaigns - not to mention the rebuilding of the Nebraska Democratic Party - there's no denying Nelson has been and remains the key.
But, that isn't my concern, not at the moment. This post is simply a little reminder of the choice that isn't this Election Day. Pete Ricketts or Ben Nelson? Whatever else you carry into the ballot box, those are the names on the ballot. That is the choice before you, and for the good of our state and the good of our nation it shouldn't be a question at all.
Ben Nelson is the better man to continue representing Nebraska in the United States Senate, and you damn well know it.
Time. Money. Sweat. Tears. This last month of the election, find a candidate who truly inspires you - Maxine Moul, Scott Kleeb, David Hahn, Jim Esch, even one of the fine legislative candidates littered across the state - and give that campaign everything you've got. Find a channel for that passion. Turn it into something positive. But, please, don't let inflamed passions get in the way of making the right choice in what should be a very simple decision.
Pete Ricketts or Ben Nelson? Enough said. Seriously, are we still having this conversation?