Lee Terry's Real Message to 2nd District Votersby Kyle Michaelis
After a closer-than-anticipated race with Democratic Congressional candidate Jim Esch in 2006, Republican Congressman Lee Terry realized just how shallow his base of support really was - to the point that he actually lost his home city of Omaha. So, he kicked-off his fifth-term by putting up a bunch of billboards across the Omaha metro ironically thanking voters for the "trust" they clearly had not shown in him as Terry won re-election by his tightest margin yet against a completely under-funded and previously unknown challenger.
As Obermeyer's "cartoon" points out, Terry's record during the first month of the new Congress has been abysmal and certainly hasn't given voters any reason to put their confidence in him as anything but a Republican stooge totally incapable of putting the interests of his constituents ahead of the dicatates of his party bosses.
When voters are calling for bipartisanship and simply want to see a Congress that gets things done after the do-nothing debacle of the last two years, Lee Terry has responded by becoming even more radical and more rabidly partisan. That won't serve 2nd District voters well, and it isn't what they want. If Terry is thinking about re-election in 2008, he might want to think again before he continues any futher down this ugly and unrepresentative road.
Of course, political chatter suggests that Terry's really trying to broaden his appeal in a statewide primary by positioning himself as Nebraska's Republican Rubberstamp Royalty. Terry has certainly given every indication that, should Sen. Chuck Hagel not seek re-election in 2008, he'll be throwing his hat in what would likely be a very crowded ring. He probably thinks that by being enough of a reactionary moron, he can win over the party's activist base and make in-roads with those outside of the 2nd District who are generally distrustful of these corporate, big city-types (think "Lee Terry as Hal Daub Jr.").
Regardless, it's going to be hard for Terry to really establish himself along these lines. When it comes to being a partisan hack, he has some pretty stiff competition from 1st District Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Meanwhile, 3rd District Rep. Adrian Smith seems intent on proving just how completely a man can become a wholly-owned subsidiary of his campaign contributors at the Club for Growth - without even the pretense of independence or personal dignity.
Don't know how Terry's going to top that (bottom that would be more appropriate), but he's certainly welcome to try. Just so long as he understands that people are watching - voters are paying attention - and, if he wasn't happy with his performance in 2006, he should be warned that he ain't seen nothin' yet.