Why we have a primary (again)by Ryan Anderson
The good news? While the city of Lincoln throws a $100,000 farewell party to Roger Yant and Mike Deal, we political junkies can savor a rare snapshot of the real horserace between Democrat Chris Beutler and Republican Ken Svoboda. Who leads and by how much? Frankly, I have no idea. But considering Beutler's strength in the money war and news that Svoboda's lawn care company can't hold up its end of a city contract, any victory for Svoboda on Tuesday should come as a kick in the pants to Democrats statewide.
Lincoln was once the closest thing Nebraska Democrats had to a stronghold. Today, I'm not so sure. While Lincoln Democrats were able to sweep the '06 legislative elections, they didn't even bother to field candidates against 9 of the 10 county-level Republican incumbents, and Maxine Moul lost Lancaster County despite a relative wealth of resources and an extremely favorable political environment.
Meanwhile, Lancaster Republicans are encouraged by their despicable defeat of Terry Werner and are already employing the same black magic against Beutler, with the NEGOP dropping no fewer than three attack mailers against him over the weekend. Needless to say, the success of such mudslinging does not bode well for the future of Cornhusker politics.
Unfortunately, the Democratic Party seems prepared to join them in that swamp. Their recent mailer, an attack piece filled with nasty bits about Svoboda's business and child support, is nauseatingly reminiscent of the infamous Cat in the Hat debacle. One almost wonders if the two parties and the LJS aren't conspiring to drive turnout to record lows. Don't be surprised if they succeed.
Beutler alone has managed to keep his head above this sewage, quickly denouncing the mailer on his website and consistently running a very issue oriented campaign. Beutler has advanced a positive (if somewhat, uhhh... esoteric) vision of Lincoln's future, and it's a shame the NDP can't content itself with spreading that message of hope and change.
This is exactly why the race in Lincoln matters. A victory for Beutler is a defeat for the politics of divide and conquer, of venom and vitriol.... a strategy that should have died along with "Ricketts for Senate".
A defeat for Chris Beutler is a defeat for Nebraska Democrats. All of them. Maybe Lincoln's not a stronghold, but it's at least a foothold. A beachhead. A city worth fighting for. Bravo to the UNO Dems and the Nebraska Young Dems and all the other foot soldiers who've been saying (and doing) that all along.