Smith v. Kleeb on the Editorial Pageby Kyle Michaelis
Still, by any reasonable standard, the Independent's endorsement of Smith is hardly anything of the sort. As proof of just how little good there is to be said of Smith and his record, the Independent devotes only 3 sentences to its preferred candidate, while devoting 8 paragraphs to "enigmatic political prodigy" Scott Kleeb.
From the balance of the editorial, the Independent (in name only) couldn't quite bring itself to admit what retired North Platte Telgraph editor Keith Blackledge stated in no uncertain terms. Known as "the voice of Western Nebraska", Blackledge wrote this weekend of the contest between Smith and Kleeb:
As a lifelong Republican, I can think of at least two good reasons to vote for Scott Kleeb, the Democratic candidate for Third District Congress, on November 7.
He's the best candidate by a Sandhills country mile.
If he turns out to be a disappointment, he will be out of there in two years.
Blackledge then reiterates what the World-Herald had stated of 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.
Who could ever get sick of a brutal verbal beating like that? Although the Independent grounds its tepid support of Smith in his supposed commitment and values, the paper offers absolutely nothing in defense of his horrible record as a state senator. After eight years in the legislature, even Smith's supporters can only manage three sentences in his favor.
Blackledge said it best - Kleeb has Smith beat "by a Sandhills country mile." And, everyone knows it....even if they're not willing to admit it because of the D next to his name.
Hopefully, for their own sake, voters will show more sense than that. They don't have to be independent to vote for Kleeb. They just have to be paying attention.