Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pre-Emptive Excuses By the "Timid Trio" 2.0

by Kyle Michaelis
Nebraska's all-Republican House Congressional delegation is one of the weakest and least effective in the nation, and - now that they're in the minority - they have a new excuse for that status. They'll need it, particularly with the addition of the notoriously unskilled and ineffective Adrian Smith to their number.

Nevermind that in one of the worst Do-Nothing Congresses in history - under Republican leadership - Lee Terry and Jeff Fortenberry were amongst the worst Do-Nothing Congressmen. Foreseeing that their inadequacy and incompetence will carry-over into their next terms, they are already laying the groundwork to blame their future failure on those ever-convenient scapegoats in the Democratic Party.

The Omaha World-Herald spins on their behalf:
Get ready for life in the minority, Nebraska.

The state bucked the national trend in last week's elections, choosing Republicans in all three of its congressional districts.

Meanwhile, the wave of Democratic victories elsewhere will give control of the House of Representatives to their party for the first time since 1994.

"That clearly reduces the clout of the delegation," said John Hibbing, a political scientist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Nebraska congressmen, who returned to the Capitol for the lame-duck session that began Monday, already suffered from low visibility, coming from a less-populated Plains state and holding little seniority.

When the new Congress organizes under Democratic leadership in January, they also face the challenge of being on the short end of the gavel.

"This will be a new experience," said Rep. Lee Terry, Nebraska's senior House member. "There's no doubt it'll be harder."

Terry, re-elected to a fifth term from the 2nd Congressional District, said he was happy to have survived "the worst Republican atmosphere since Watergate," but said he felt "depressed" at the prospect of moving to the minority.

The delegation is getting greener, too, with the addition of newcomer Adrian Smith in the 3rd District. Tom Osborne is retiring from that seat after three terms, taking with him the celebrity factor he held from his days as a college football coach.

Jeff Fortenberry will return to represent the 1st District, but it's just his second term.

Next year will be the first time any of the Nebraska House members have served in the minority. All three said that bipartisanship and building relationships will be even more important. They hope recent talk from Democrats and the White House about working together will prove true....

One silver lining is that the departure of some veteran Republicans clears the way for the Nebraskans to advance in seniority. One of Terry's goals has been to climb the House Energy and Commerce Committee ladder. The defeat of Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., will bump him up a spot.

It's great that Lee Terry can find something to celebrate in his fellow Republican's defeat, but a time will come when Nebraska voters, too, will expect something more than rubber-stamping and the party-line from their supposed representatives. At that point, Terry, Fortenberry, and Smith had better have something more to show for themselves than cheap excuses.

In politics as in fashion, trends have always arrived rather late in Nebraska. Even in the fabled Republican take-over of 1994, Nebraska re-elected not only Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey but also Ben Nelson as Governor with over 70% of the vote. It took a while longer for the GOPs domination to set in. It may take a while longer to break as well.

The newly-reconstituted "Timid Trio" of Terry, Fortenberry, and Smith would be wise to take heed of what 2006 may foretell for their own futures. If they think they've survived the worst and can coast from here on out - having fooled Nebraskans once and for all - they've got another thing coming.

They have the choice of continuing to play partisan games or of providing the independent leadership they most surely have not in their combined legislative careers. If they choose to put politics before the people of Nebraska, I have little doubt this "Democratic wave" we've seen nationally will catch-up with the "Timid Trio" and catch-on with Nebraska voters in the next election cycle.


Anonymous James said...

Congress consists of the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. My last count of our "Congressional" delegation is that we have 1 Republican Senator, 1 Democratic Senator, and 3 Republican Representatives.

So if you make blanket statements about our "Congressional" delegation you better be sure to include "Big" Ben Nelson.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was disappointed, but not surprised with the election results in the third district last week. I console myself with a gamblers attitude that Smith may have won the election, but he didn't cover the spread. As ineffective as Smith would have been in a Republican House, he is pretty much #435 now. I keep hearing rummors that Adrian may be a "log cabin republican". I didn't feel it right to bring that kind of a rummmor up before an election, the worst kind of dirty pool. But I am wondering has anyone else out there been hearing the same?

Anonymous jeff a said...

the log cabin rumor is wide spread and will get bigger when DC swallows him up. Smith will be very vulnerable, more than normal, as a freshman congressman up for reelection in 2008. He would get nothing done by way of the nature of the House even if he was in the majority, but now his productiveness is really doomed! Also, what farmer would want this dim bulb to come close to the rewriting of the Farm Act. Not only do his connections with Club for Growth come into question but he has said in a radio interview on his website that his main priority with the Farm Bill is to rewrite it to include chicory for subsidies! And his buddy Dave Hergert is the only producer of chicory in both north and south America! Bottom line, i hope that he is either outed as log cabin ilk, a strong repub wishes to challenge his reelection in the primary or Kleeb or a dem similar takes a shot!

Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...


I'm going to make a special edit just for you. Sure, hope it clarifies a few things - would hate to confuse.


If you want to guess at politicians' private lives, please do so elsewhere. Exchange of such wholly unsubstantiated rumors is no more decent post-election than it was in weeks prior.

Anonymous nepolwatcher said...

James -
You must have misunderestimated what Kyle wrote. the Point of the piece was that in the minority our lame House delegation will have no juice. Kyle is right. In the majority that had very little juice.
To address "Big" Ben: as a member of the minority he was able to delivertax cuts, aid to NE's budget, provide equipment ot our troops, and deliver millions in federal funds to NE - despite the opposition of his colleague and his silly opponent. Imagine what Ben will get done in the Majority? I for one cant wait for him to cast that "first vote" for Harry Reid - Thank God NE was wise enough to re-eelct him - can you imagine what Lapdog Ricketts would do in DC as a minority member? Exactly what he did at Ameritrade: squat.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how Smith's supporters do not want us to discuss his personal life yet Adrian's own agenda is to legislate his personal religious views onto the rest of society.

Smith would be a better rep for Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina etc, you know, states that like to be represented by evangelists seeking to legislate their narrow interpretation of the bible on to everyone else.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog will have a great opportunity to expose this trio in the first 100 hours of Democratic rule.

Smith for sure will vote against raising the minimum wage and stem cell research (he has spoken against these) if not the entire 100 hour agenda which is aimed at benefitting working class Americans.

The New Nebraska Network needs to be on top of these votes to show they are not there to represent the middle class. (Then the hard work of convincing Nebraskans they are the working middle class who ARE NOT going to pay estate taxes)

I really do not care that Adrian is gay (although his evangelist supporters might care)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appologies to Kyle, my intent was not to spread or perpetuate, rummors. I am somewhat isolated and only wanted to hear from a broader base. I can see how my post was inappropriate.


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