Ken Svoboda & Lincoln GOP Already Using Dirty Tricksby Kyle Michaelis
You knew it was only a matter of time, but who could have guessed that Lincoln mayoral candidate Ken Svoboda and his minions in the Lancaster County Republican Party would go so negative, so early in their attacks on Democratic candidate Chris Beutler?
In keeping with Lincoln Republicans' legacy as the worst, most shameless political thugs in the state, Svoboda supporters showed up to Tuesday's mayoral debate armed with the latest in a long line of lies, distortions, and distractions in service to their diseased politics of personal destruction.
Before the three-man debate between City Councilman Svoboda, long-time State Sen. Beutler, and local businesssman Roger Yant had even begun, members of the hosting Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) sat down to their lunches and found an anti-Beutler flyer at their tables purporting to be his "Business Report Card."
Paid for by the Lancaster County Republicans, the flyer went on to attack Beutler for having "spent most of his adult life in the Nebraska Legislature." It also likened Beutler to State Sen. Ernie Chambers and accused him of having an "anti-job creation voting record," resulting in the Republican Party giving Beutler an F "on business issues."
What an utter load of crap! The city of Lincoln is still a full two-and-a-half months away from even its primary election, and already Svoboda's campaign is taking the low road. But, what did we expect? The low road is the only one they know.
The always convenient race-baiting comparisons to Ernie Chambers are one thing, but it's when the flyer stoops to outright deception that the full extent of the Lincoln GOPs depravity again shines through. Citing a Lincoln Journal-Star article, the flyer states:
Beutler argued that the 2006 state income tax cut was not necessary because Nebraska didn't need the money.
Compare that to what was actually written by the LJS:
"I do not want to cut taxes now in good times when people don’t need the money,” Beutler said, and be forced to raise taxes when people can’t afford it....First, the Republican Party twists Beutler's actual statement to erase his genuine concern that the 2006 "tax cut" would result in future tax hikes. Then, they fail to mention how Beutler completely foresaw and warned against the increase in property taxes that has since left voters up-in-arms.
Because of the property tax increase, “I really don’t know understand why any governor would want his name to this package,” Beutler said.
If the Lincoln Journal-Star has even an ounce of self-respect, it has a duty to call-out Svoboda and the Republicans for these outrageous lies and abuses of its own reporting.
Of course, lies and distortions are nothing compared to the Republican Party's miserable, borderline terrorist antics the last time Lincoln held a city election. In 2005, they engaged in outright hypocrisy in their attacks, not to mention ludicrous assaults on the character of then-Councilman Terry Werner for not supporting our troops and - I'm not kidding - for being an enemy of Lincoln pet owners. All this earned a deserved rebuke by the Journal-Star, which then wrote:
The Republican Party is putting all the warts of partisan politics on display with its attack ads in the race for three at-large seats on the Lincoln City Council....What's saddest and scariest is that all this was said even before the Chair of the Lancaster County Republican Party admitted to hiring a private investigator to follow Werner and to assist in their efforts at character assassination.
Republican Party officials don't give a fiddle about the issues. They're not focused on finding the best way to deal with the challenges facing the city. All they care about [is] scoring an election victory.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the Republican Party relies on the ugliness and the spirit of ill will they've created in Lincoln politics by writing in its self-proclaimed Report Card, "If you liked how Terry Werner voted on business issues...If you like (current Mayor) Colleen Seng's reord of 'leadership' for Lincoln...Then you'll love Chris Beutler." They even go so far as including pictures of Werner and Seng.
Of course, what's ironic about these attacks is that every supposed failure by city government since Werner and Seng were elected has come under Svoboda's watch. He's been serving on Lincoln's City Council the entire time - even as its Chairman - meaning that voters wanting change should be voting for Beutler...unless Svoboda's already desperate attacks work.
In 2005, Svoboda tried to distance himself from the despicable actions of his party. But that isn't the case this time around. At the LIBA debate, Svoboda stood perched at the entrance, shaking hands with people as they walked in, at the same time as these lies and distortions were being distributed to the audience. He was there. He benefitted. He may as well have handed the damn things out.
These people are shameless, and they must be stopped. As the Journal-Star warned in 2005:
If the attack ads succeed, they'll multiply in the next election.Well, here we are, and that's precisely what we're seeing. After the failure of Pete Ricketts' endlessly negative 2006 campaign for the U.S. Senate - getting only 30% in Lancaster County - you'd expect Svoboda and the Republican Party would recognize that Lincoln's voters are sick of their dirty tricks.
Alas, political hacks never learn. This is how they do it because this is all they know. It looks like the people will have to teach them a lesson once more, proving once again that they are better than this degradation of our democracy by voting for a leader with actual vision and integrity. That man - that mayor - is Chris Beutler.