Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Adrian Smith: Worst of the Worst

by Kyle Michaelis
Let's take a moment to remember the Omaha World-Herald's characterization of now-3rd District Republican Congressman Adrian Smith in its October 15th, 2006 editorial:
When pressed aggressively...Adrian Smith falls back on sound bites and slogans....

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.
Hard to believe that it was only a little more than three months ago when those words were written. But, from what we've seen of Smith in his first three weeks in Congress, he's more than lived up to his reputation ("lived down" would probably be more accurate).

The record of Nebraska's Republican Representatives in the first 100 hours of the new Congress has been pretty dismal. But, it really says something about Smith that, in just a few weeks, he's already earned distinction as worst of the worst, contributing nothing but partisan-driven vote after partisan-driven vote against an agenda with the over-whelming support of the American people.

Even First District Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and 2nd District Rep. Lee Terry learned enough from the last election to recognize that the days of the Do-Nothing Republican Congress are dead and buried. Although both have so far managed records that would still fail any test with the voters, they at least knew better than to vote in lock-step opposition with the most extremist faction of the Republican Party.

Surprise, surprise....Adrian Smith did no such thing, putting himself in the same league as Iowa nut-job Steve King, who claims Joe McCarthy as a hero and calls the Iraq War a success. Smith and King, clearly birds of a feather, voted against every popular measure brought forward by the Democrats (1) implementing the 9/11 commission recommendations, (2) restoring pay-as-you-go budgeting, (3) raising the minimum wage, (4) expanding federal funding for stem cell research, (5) cutting student loan interest rates, (6) rolling back tax subsidies for oil companies and channeling the savings into alternative energy development, and (7) authorizing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.

Of these, Terry only had the sense to vote for the rate cut on student loans. Fortenberry voted for the 9/11 recommendations, pay-go, and for the reforms in energy policy. Smith, on the other hand, just voted as told on every measure - as if the man were not even capable of an independent thought.

Adrian Smith: not known as a skilled lawmaker; not known as a leader. And, thanks to his choice to represent the most extremist wing of the Republican Party rather than the common sense people of central and western Nebraska, he never will be a skilled lawmaker or a leader.

One more line stands out from that World-Herald's desription of Smith three months ago:
[I]n terms of qualifications, the 3rd District deserves more...
That's more true now than ever. The 3rd District still deserves more and deserves better than Adrian Smith.I just hope someone will have the courage and faith to give voters the opportunity to correct their mistake before too much irreparable damage is done by Smith's unthinking Congressional incompetence.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle - has even one Third District newspaper covered Smith's votes? is the NDP holding him accountable?

His record is alread weak and beatable. But if he is allowed to seep into 3rd District voters consciences, we may be stuck with him for life.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 3rd District race was the most disappointing of all to me this past fall. Not just because I am a 3rd District voter, but after having a chance to speak with both Smith and Kleeb, it was so painfully obvious which candidate was the better choice. How Smith's robotic answers and canned speeches could ever convince a person that he was a better candidate or would do anything except be manipulated by his Republican comrades is beyond me.

Blogger Lisa Hannah said...

Kyle - Once again you capture Adrian Smith in the most realistic light out there. I'm actually putting together my own blog - SMITH WATCH - and hope to have it up and running full speed in the next 2-3 weeks. Your work and your research has been one of the greatest assests out there, and I plan to link your blog on mine.

Keep up the good work, and let's make sure to get as many people as possible holding this guy accountable to the people of the 3rd District!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote in my guest column about his disgraceful voting record a week ago in the York News-Times...what is truely sad that as an assisant whip for Roy Blunt, Smith will be a party vote counter for the GOP leaders. He will run through the halls of Congress ease-dropping on fellow Republicans so he can report back to his leaders.

Adrian Smith is a lap boy to the minority leadership. I think he qualified for the position because he arrived in D.C. with a suitcase full of whips and toys!

Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...


I'm very excited by your idea for "SmithWatch". Nebraska's Third District is so large and diverse that its representative deserves that sort of scrutiny, which the media doesn't provide and for which I simply don't have the resources in my attempt to cover the entire state.

Please keep in touch, and good luck getting things off the ground. The New Nebraska Network will support you in every way we can.

Anonymous #3-

Would you mind sending me a copy of that guest column? Wasn't able to find it in the York N-T archives online. NewNebNet@gmail.com

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again to Kyle for his work, and I will be watching for the smithwatch blog. I still have my Kleeb for congress bumper-sticker on the back of my flatbed. I was getting some good natured ribbing from a fellow farmer who had voted for Smith. I told him a year from now he was going to be disappointed, and I would still be right. I like to refer to Adrian as a younger, less effective, Bill Barrett. At least Bill was older when he took office, retirement, or the idea of facing T.O. in a primary got rid of him, or he might still be our rep. So how do you get rid of a rat like Adrian? He has said this is all he has ever wanted to do, and wants to stay there until he retires. I don't hold much hope of 3rd district voters voting for a Dem. over a sitting Rep. no matter how ineffective he may be. The best bet to upend him may be in the primary, by a more vibrant (and hopefully progressive) Republican.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my, oh my. I have known Adrian Smith since he was a pup. His dream since he was a pup is to be President of the United States. So yes, you are stuck with this pup, his dad, his mom, his grandma, and his ... well, we will let you all find that one out. The Panhandle Puppy Mill

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle said of Terry & Fortenberry: both have so far managed records that would still fail any test with the voters

What about that test with the voters two months ago? Does that count for nothing? They did win, after all.

Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...

If I recall correctly, Fortenberry, Smith, and Terry did indeed win their elections in November. But, I guess we'll just to wait and see whether they can repeat that performance voting against Nebraska's interests as they have in the last month.

Here's hoping "Won't Get Fooled Again" is the theme of the 2008 elections.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am curious where Smith pulled most of the votes in the 3rd district. He is from Scotts Bluff County - born and raised in Gering, NE. Did most of the votes come from the 'Panhandle Line' west of the Ogallala or voters in the lower Plains part of the 3rd District?
The Panhandle Puppy Mill

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am originally from Scotts Bluff County and actually went to high school with Adrian. Most of my friends and associates out there still wonder how he won. Seems like everyone I talk to didn't vote for him. His win still puzzles all of us. Adrian is only out for himself; always has been and always will be. He isn't concerned with the middle class because he has never had to work for anything.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do I start? Had we had a better candidate than Kleeb we would not be here whining and drying our eyes.

At least the candidates against Bill Barrett and Virginia Smith came within a point or two. Kleeb lost by ten points. He, Scott, seems like a nice kid, but when I first meet him he said he was pro choice and for gay marriage (or gay unions) then a week out from the election I got a call with his recording totally changing his position. To me, a life long democrat, he tried to "our Republican" the Republican. If he would have stood his ground and been what he first said he was, I think he would have won.

We need real people in the third district. Also, when I found out Kleeb had broken House ethics before he was even elected by taking money from Yale while not working there I knew he would not win.

If Kleeb wants to live full time and be a REAL Nebraskan in the future, I might vote for him -- but until then he will NEVER get elected in Nebrska and only muddy the water for other good Democratic candidates with better chances of winning.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now on the east coast, I want SO much to be proud of where I'm from. Well, Mr. Smith is making that very difficult.

I went to high school with the guy, and was pretty tight with his family. I could go on and on. And yes, the big suspicion on everybody's minds is true.


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