Omaha's Messengerby Ryan Anderson
Considering the man's never run for statewide office, that shows a pretty impressive name recognition. It also highlights Fahey's potential appeal to voters who don't necessarily have a "favorable" impression of Omaha itself.
Which is where I start to wonder... The rural-urban split is a crippling handicap, not just to Omaha candidates but to the health of state politics as a whole. More than that, it's a two way street. It isn't just that Omaha doesn't understand or respect the needs of those who live outstate, it's also that the rest of Nebraska doesn't really understand Omaha. And what better ambassador could we ask for than Mayor Fahey?
The Fahey administration has committed itself to fiscally responsible growth, and in this area they have been remarkably successful. Buildings have been raised, standards of living have been raised, but taxes haven't. Their bold advocacy of a city-county merger is a model of effective government that could cut red tape and save the state money. Apparently, all this hasn't gone unnoticed (or unappreciated) out west.
Now comes that highest hurdle: convincing rural voters that this experience is the least bit relevant to the issues confronting them on the national stage. And on this question the Mayor's political instincts have served him particularly well:
The Senate could use more mayors with first-hand experience managing a local budget under the strain of unfunded federal mandates, Fahey said.Fahey does well to remind voters that, whatever Omaha's dominance in state politics, we're still just a "little-big city" fighting the good fight against those real powers that be. The same fights against the same powers as the rest of Nebraska.
Senators "have no concept of controlling spending," Fahey said. "Of course, it's easier to spend when you can just print more money."
Translation: we're all in this together, bud. Might as well act like it.
Now, I'm still not the first in line for the Fahey Express. But believe me, if it ever leaves the station, I'll be right there on board.