Pete "Overrated" Rickettsby Kyle Michaelis
With that in mind, I'd like to know how the hell political analyst Charlie Cook could declare Ricketts "a strong first-time candidate" at the same time he downgraded the race from leaning towards Ben Nelson to a likely Nelson victory.
Just being rich does not qualify Ricketts as "a strong first-time candidate." More than that, spending $10 million dollars of your own money - more single-handedly than had ever before been spent by both candidates in a Nebraska election - certainly shouldn't earn such positive comment when all that money spent bombarding the state with an endless stream of campaign ads over the last 11 months has only really been successful at alienating voters.
And, what's really ridiculous is that Ricketts' approval rating should plummet even further after his latest attacks on Nelson dragged the campaign to depths of silliness and depravity never before seen in Nebraska politics.
Ricketts' first attacked Nelson for the high crime of failing to change the property tax status of his Platte River property with an animated song so grating and convoluted that the campaign's incompetence almost bordered on cute. With millions of more dollars in his trustfund but no other message to run on, Ricketts decided to take another crack at the same desperate criticism, coming up with an ad that manages to be even more insulting to voters' intelligence. The ad is also morbid and sadistic, portraying the shooting of exotic animals (including a photo of a dead giraffe that will probably give young children nightmares) just to establish a stupid and far-fetched theme serving no function whatsoever.
Running a campaign like this - with ads like these - Ricketts might just have become the most hated man in Nebraska. And, he just keeps digging, practically daring those Republicans who do support Ricketts to either not vote at all or to vote for Nelson as a matter of decency and common dignity.
This is not the campaign of "a strong first-time candidate." This isn't even the campaign of a mediocre first-time candidate. This is the campaign of a spoiled and obnoxious brat who is so used to getting his way and so out-of-touch with real Nebraskans that he doesn't even recognize the complete failure of his "scorched Earth" strategy.
This race is no longer worth writing about, except putting the spotlight on Ricketts as he continues to self-destruct offers a sad lesson in the dangers of wealth, privilege, and partisanship taking the place of campaigns rooted in actual principles.
Ricketts is embarrassing himself. He's hurting the state of Nebraska and dumbing-down its politics to such a degree that one has to worry about the future effects. Hopefully, enough potential candidates recognize the error of Ricketts' ways, choosing to run campaigns on issues and ideas - maybe even that little thing called a record - rather than further poisoning the well.
"Strong first-time candidate", indeed. If any proof is needed that national political analysts don't know what they're talking about, I'd say this here is a damn fine example.