Monday, December 04, 2006

Hal Daub looks to "pull a Stenberg"

by Ryan Anderson
Among Nebraskan politicians, I believe Frank Morrison and Don Stenberg stand alone in sharing the dubious distinction of having lost three separate races for Senate. But this exclusive club may yet be joined by another familiar face, as the Omaha World-Herald reported yesterday:
Hal Daub may be coming back to public life.

The former Omaha mayor is "seriously exploring" a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2008, or a run to reclaim the title of mayor of the state's largest city in 2009.

"I think I have a few more good years in me in terms of public service," said Daub, a widely known Republican who engenders strong feelings among both supporters and foes.

"I am wrestling right now. I am truly exploring the central question. . . . which is where and under what circumstance can I make a difference?"
Daub, 65, will spend the next several months talking with friends and supporters about whether he should get back into elective politics.

He said he would not rush a decision and that he would not consider a U.S. Senate bid if Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel seeks a third term.

Considering Daub's recent (oh, past twenty years or so) electoral experience - losing for Senate in 1988, losing for Senate in 1990, winning mayorship after P.J. Morgan resigned in 1994, barely beating back Brenda Council in 1997, losing to Mike Fahey in 2001- one has to think that Daub would require the luck and political resilience of a Richard Nixon to pull out the Senate race in 2008.

The problem with Daub isn't just his mixed record as mayor -to be honest about his service there, I would say that he did a good job with some of the long-term concerns of the city (expansion, the Qwest Center, etc.) but a poor job with the day-to-day management of basic government services.

No, the problem is that Daub mistakes mud slinging, snake oil and shameless self-promotion for grand political strategy. This is still the same man who in 1990 brought in surrogates to accuse Senator Exon of public drunkenness. This is still the same man whose relentless combativeness with the city council led to one of the worst political bloodlettings in the history of the Omaha city government. And this is exactly the kind of man whose politics seemed to be so overwhelmingly rejected by Nebraskans this past November.

Speaking of which, the article mentions another familiar face pondering a potential Senate vacancy:
Other possible contenders include Attorney General Jon Bruning, U.S. Rep. Lee Terry and Pete Ricketts, who lost last month to Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson.

Is there suddenly a shortage of Republicans willing to run for public office in Nebraska? Are we still talking about the potential candidacy of a man who struggled to win even a bare majority of voters in his own party after spending more per capita than any other candidate in any other race in the country?

Hell, I'm tempted to ask Kyle to join me in an official, New Nebraska Network endorsement of Pete Ricketts/Hal Daub for the Republican 2008 Primary. After all, if either of these guys actually made it to the general election one would hope that any living, breathing, semi-viable Democratic candidate would have a chance to squeeze out a victory.

But if we are truly interested in building a New Nebraska -as this site would seem to so grandly suggest- we must recognize that mere electoral victories won't suffice. We can't rely on the continued shortcomings of Republican candidates to fundamentally reshape this predominantly conservative landscape. No, if we are to really move this great state forward we need a true debate, one where both sides put forth their strongest candidate, lay down their boldest visions and make their case as clearly and passionately as possible. We need a real debate, a real contest of ideas.

And then we need to win it.

Only then can we claim true progress. So today I humbly ask of the Nebraska Republican Party: please, not again. Don't subject us to another race full of animated turkeys and Hillary Clinton-bogeymen.

For that matter, I humbly ask that the Democrats get out of the business of funny newspaper ads and start focusing on spreading their own vision for our disappearing rural communities and exploding cities and suburbs. In the long term it’s the only way our party survives.

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Anonymous Elisia Harvey said...

Pete Ricketts might run again in 2008?

Hope springs eternal when you have deep pockets, I guess.


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