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Ak-Sar-Ben Itself Merits Praise Along With King Dick And Queen Suzanne - 10-14-10

Come Election Day, White And Terry Can’t Duck Party Labels Any Longer - 10-07-10

Today, Second-Guessing Other Sports Commentators But Some Thoughts On Current Political Issues, Too - 09-30-10

Gates Gives Somber Non-Political Appraisals Of Iraq, Afghanistan - 09-23-10

At Last, A Prominent Moderate Muslim Speaks Out Against Muslim Terrorists - 09-16-10

Today, It’s All About College Football With Some “As I See It” Commentary - 09-09-10

Danes’ Sensible Approach To Immigration Won’t, Unfortunately, Fly In The U.S.A. - 09-02-10

Mosque Controversy Isn’t About Legal Rights; It’s About Moral Use Of Those Rights - 08-26-10

Time To Answer The Obvious Question: What Chance For Success In Afghanistan? - 08-19-10

Two-Paragraph News Story Offers Scary Prospect For World’s Future - 08-12-10

Outdated Constitutional Language Adds To Today’s Illegal Immigration Mess - 08-05-10

Not Wall Street But Democratic Policy Caused Mortgage Market Crash - 07-29-10

Windfarm Promoters Need More Facts, Less Rhetoric - 07-22-10

Nebraska Democrats’ ‘Find A Candidate’ Problem Began Long Months (Years?) Ago - 07-15-10

When The Subject Is Disasters,Obama Needs A History Lesson - 07-08-10

McChrystal’s Firing Spotlights Afghan War And The Slim Chance Of U.S. Victory There - 07-01-10

Advice For An Egocentric President: “I, I, I” Suggests One-Man Team - 06-24-10

Texas Decision Good For Big 12 But Even Better For The Longhorns - 06-17-10

Europe Is Sobering Up From 'Welfare' Binge; Obama-Led U.S. Moving Toward Similar Crises? - 06-10-10

A New Issue: Does ‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’ Make Military Service Easier For Gays? - 06-03-10

Do State Officials Really Understand The Challenges Faced By Omaha Schools? - 05-27-10

Democrats Continue Cheap Shot Campaign Against Republican Congressman Lee Terry - 05-20-10

Cartoonist Koterba Says It Clearly: Don’t Put All The Blame On Schools - 05-13-10

Citizenship For Immigrants Is Inevitable But Start By Closing The Border - 05-06-10

Punish Wall Streeters If They Deserve It But Liberal Dems Spawned The Mortgage Mess - 04-29-10

Did Legislature, Speaker Mike Flood Deserve All Those Kind Words? - 04-22-10

Tiger Sulks His Way Through Masters— Is Obama Gambling On The Nuclear Issue? Rogue States And Terrorists Won’t Sign Up - 04-15-10

Did Obama/Pelosi ‘Sausage Factory’ Produce A Debt-Increasing Unpopular Health Plan? - 04-08-10

The Stories Behind Some Disturbing Headlines And Some Advice For Avoiding National Bankruptcy - 04-01-10

Four-Vote House Margin Makes Americans Swallow Trillion-Dollar Pill They Don't Want - 03-25-10

Insurance Pays 96% Of Family’s Cost For Seven Years Of ‘End Of Life’ Treatment - 03-18-10

President Angry Replaces President Cool; ‘ObamaCare’s’ Chances Helped Or Hurt? - 03-11-10

Americans To Get ‘ObamaCare’ Even If They Don’t Want It? - 03-04-10

Despite The Headlines, There’s Progress In Curbing Violence In North Omaha - 02-25-10

Corporate Expenditures Bad For Politics Except When They Benefit Liberal Candidates? - 02-18-10

Wind Energy Industry Faced Disaster; V.A. Hospital Not Personal Obama Choice - 02-11-10

Some Remarkable Legislative Comments And Some Questionable Media Performance - 02-04-10

When The Subject Is Nebraska Wind Energy, ‘Green’ Is The Color Of Money - 01-28-10

The “Teddy Kennedy Seat” Lesson Might Benefit Both Democrats and Republicans - 01-21-10

Some Legislative Issues—Like Gambling—Deserve Quick Death But Water Issues Deserve Careful Attention - 01-14-10

Today: ‘Big Daddy’ Government Wrong Again, And How Justified Is Cornhusker Title Talk? - 01-07-10

Dan Neary Worthy Of The Honor--
Today Some Upbeat Comments But "Obama Care" Debate Demands Attention
- 12-30-09

Even Without That Health Bill Vote, Another Term For Nelson Was Questionable - 12-23-09

Let’s Talk Football And Why Nebraska’s Suh Deserved The Heisman - 12-17-09

Image of Immigrants Would Be Helped By Less Cinco de Mayo, More 4th of July - 12-10-09

Image Of Islam Is Badly Damaged By ‘God-Approved’ Slaughter Of Non-Muslims - 12-03-09

Close Call For NU Research, Reputation; Thanksgiving Reminder: Count Your Blessings - 11-25-09

NU’s Reputation And Research Role Are Both At Stake When Regents Vote - 11-19-09

Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’
Changing To ‘Maybe We Can’t’?
- 11-12-09

Review The History Before Renaming A Street; Memories Of Sarah, Our Sweet Senior Dog - 11-05-09

“Socioeconomic Diversity” More Important Then Academic Achievement In “Learning Community”? - 10-29-09

A Visiting Sports Columnist Agrees: ‘There Is No Place Like Nebraska’ - 10-22-09

Might Obama Wish He Had A Chance To Say ‘No, Thanks’ To Early Nobel Prize? - 10-15-09

Don’t Overlook The Variety Of Aid Which Goes To ‘Poverty Level’ Families - 10-08-09

Smorgasbord Today: From UN’s “Nutcake Day” To Obama Performance Here And Abroad - 10-01-09

Must Defense Continue To Cover For Huskers’ Anemic Red Zone Offense? - 09-24-09

'Energizer Bunny' President Continues To Add Proposals For Reform - 09-17-09

Today, Variety: Football, Golf And Why No President Should Televise Himself Into The Nation’s Classrooms - 09-10-09

Massachusetts Gave Kennedy Significant Second Chances - 09-03-09

Obama’s Problem Not Just With GOP
But With A Great Many Americans
- 08-27-09

Tiger Could Use Sportsmanship Lesson—And Less Coverage From Fawning Media - 08-20-09

Gallup ‘Competitive’ Label, If Accurate Long Term, Is Good News Not Only For Nebraska Democrats - 08-13-09

Democrats Go All-Out Negative:
Trash Private Insurance Industry
- 08-06-09

Journalistic Watchdogs Turned Lapdogs When Obama Called That ‘News Conference’ - 07-30-09

Look Back, Mr. President: Opposition Is Catching Up - 07-23-09

Dem Lynch Mob Might Hang President’s Hopes - 07-16-09

Dems Start Oust-Terry Effort In The Political Gutter - 07-09-09

Despite Liberal Media's Views, Nation Better Served By Viable GOP - 07-02-09

A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09

Freshman President Learning Some Political Realities? - 06-18-09

Voices Of Reason Raised Too Late To Slow Rush To Wind Power? - 06-11-09

Public Will Be Watching Prosecution Of Three Teen-Age Creatures - 06-04-09

Wealthiest Paying Less, In Taxes?
It’s Simply Not True
- 05-28-09

Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson
- 05-21-09

Special-Interest Liberals
Shouldn’t Badger Obama
- 05-14-09

A Surprising Source: Obama
Cites Positive Results of Iraq War
- 05-07-09

Media Transfer Their Love
From Candidate to President
- 04-30-09

Suttle Campaign Subtly Two-Faced? Or ‘Just Politics’? Voters Will Decide - 04-23-09

If America Is "At War
With Islam," It's Self-Defense
- 04-16-09

Seven Iowans Change Marriage
Tradition For 3 Million Others
- 04-09-09

Will Liberal Democrats Continue
Escaping The Verdict Of History?
- 04-02-09

Multi-Focused President
Upsets Even Liberals
- 03-26-09

Richard Nixon—Appropriate To Recall The Good As Well As The Dark Side - 03-19-09

Not Reducing Mortgage Costs; We’re Simply ‘Modifying’ Them - 03-12-09

Fair Warning From NY Times: Obama’s “Breathtaking Plans” Would “Transform American Society” - 03-05-09

A Look At Academy Awards Nastiness, But First A Plug For My Book, “Life With Marian” - 02-26-09

Let’s Not Move Slot Machine Cancer From Iowa Casinos To Nebraska Race Tracks - 02-19-09

Whiteclay Is Wrong Target;
Aim At Alcoholism Problem
- 02-12-09

For The Best “Stimulus” Formula:
Put Economic Recovery First;
“Remaking USA” Can Wait
- 02-05-09

Journalistic Hounds Are Still
In Full Pursuit Of Bush
- 01-29-09

‘First Black President’ Celebration
Shouldn’t Further Distract Us
From Job We And Obama Face
- 01-22-09

‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real
- 01-15-09

Advice For Husker Fans:
Rejoice—But Be Realistic
- 01-08-09

Kennedy Dynasty History
Includes Shameful Chapters
- 12-31-08

Today Some Merry Christmas Thoughts But A Few Political Barbs, Too - 12-24-08

This Time It’s Indians
Who Break The Treaty
- 12-18-08

Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
One Reader Thinks So
- 12-11-08

Obama Steers A Moderate Course
But Congressional Democrats Veer Left
- 12-04-08

Too Many "Non-Blessings"
This Thanksgiving Week
- 11-26-08

Let’s Hear More About
The Principal ‘Crisis’ Victims
- 11-20-08

Color-Blind Issues Voting
Showed No Turn To The Left
- 11-13-08

Election Made History
But Big Questions Remain
- 11-06-08

Today, A Choice of Topics:
Politics Or Football—Or Both
- 10-30-08

Splitting Electoral Votes Good Idea? Then Why Do 48 States Reject It? - 10-23-08

Dems Take 11th Hour Low Road
In 2nd Congressional District Race
- 10-16-08

Another Government “Welfare Program,” Bargain Mortgages, Caused The Crisis - 10-09-08

Words Can Lose Their Meaning
When A Government Program Is Involved
- 10-02-08

—Have We Learned This Lesson?— Crisis Results When Individuals, Encouraged By Financial Institutions, Try To Live Beyond Their Means - 9-25-08

Bonds To Build Four-Lane Highways?
Where Would The Money Come From?
- 9-18-08

Today, a Large Load of Political
Commentary After a Brief Plug For
My Book, ‘Life With Marian’
- 9-17-08

Major News Media Look Bad
In Non-Coverage of
Edwards’ Sex Affair Story
- 9-11-08

Disadvantaged Students Can Be
Helped Without Discriminatory ‘Affirmative Action’
- 9-04-08

My Favorite Olympic Champion?
It Wasn’t Michael Phelps
- 8-28-08

Will Chinese Get Away With
'Out Air Is Clean' Scam?
- 8-21-08

Windmills, Solar Won't Do It;
Time To Get Real On Energy
- 8-07-08

I Doubt That God or Jesus
Have Heavenly Money on Either Team
- 8-07-08

‘Pop Star’ Obama Lacks Experience,
McCain Lacks Clear Campaign Strategy
- 7-31-08

Top Athletes Should
Know When to Quit?
- 7-24-08

Would Odor of Politics
Taint Fire Chief Choice?
- 7-17-08

Will Hospitality, Qwest Center
Lure Swim Trials Back to Omaha?
- 7-09-08

Omaha Stars Again
On National TV Stage
- 7-02-08

Omaha's CWS Reputation
Gets New "Rave Reviews"
- 6-25-08

S.D. Vote Could Lead
To National Abortion Battle
- 6-18-08

Don’t Let Niobrara Go The Way
Of The Republican And The Platte
- 6-11-08

Voters Didn’t Impose Term Limits
To Rid Legislature of Chambers
- 6-04-08

“It’s Our Turn” Pitch Might
Not End With Hillary Defeat
- 5-28-08

Prime Nebraska Political
Battleground This Year:
2nd Congressional District
- 5-21-08

The 'Browning' of America:
How Far Will It Go?
- 5-14-08

Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08

"Does Homebuyer Bailout
Reward the Irresponsible?"
- 4-30-08

"Was McCain, Not Clinton,
The Real Winner in Pennsylvania?"
- 4-25-08

"Cleaner Skies Advice For Gore:
Pressure On China, More Nuke
Power If Jane Fonda Will Allow It"
- 4-16-08

"Why The Big Fuss Over
Tiny Gasoline Cost Increase?"
- 4-09-08

"Quietly, Nebraska Yields
All-Public-Power Status"
-  4-02-08

"Obama’s ‘Historic’ Speech Left
Big Questions Unanswered "
-  3-25-08

"Overweight Moore Produces
“Sicko,” Finds An Ally In Creighton Doctor"
-  3-19-08

"Bush Sings, Praises Press
At Annual Gridiron Dinner"
-  3-12-08

"Obama Would Be Least
Formidable Opponent For McCain"
-  3-7-08

"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" -  2-27-08

"Could Citizen ‘Packing Iron’
Have Stopped Von Maur Killings?"
-  2-20-08

"Obama’s Style Without Substance
Exciting, But Is It Presidential?"
-  2-13-08

"Barack Obama and John McCain:
A Major Contrast in Egos? "
-  2-07-08

"‘First Black President’
Emphasis Wouldn’t Help Obama"
-  1-30-08

"Kimball Lauritzen: Think of Her
As Joyous on Some New Dawn"
-  1-23-08

"What 'Tough' Election Contest
Was Ben Nelson Talking About?"
- 1-16-08

"Overhyped New Hampshire
Offsets Overhyped Iowa"
- 1-10-08

"Coach Bo Now Well Welcomed;
Time to Start Thinking of NU Wins"
- 1-2-08

"Words of Jews Most Moving
To Me This Christmas Season"
- 12-25-07

"AT LAST: TALK OF PREVENTION
JOINS MOURNING OVER KILLINGS"
- 12-19-07

"Killer Is Getting Just What He Wanted;
Let's Add Anger and
Action to Our Sorrow"
- 12-12-07

"Bo Brings Emotional Fire to NU Job;
Scary News: Huckabee Gain in Iowa"
- 12-05-07

"Callahan Outclasses Loudmouth Critics;
Tom Osborne Treated Him Fairly"
- 11-28-07

"A Thought for Thanksgiving Day:
Tell Them You Love Them"
- 11-21-07

"Callahan Critics: Is Loss to CU
The Only Way to Satisfy Them?"
- 11-16-07

"Crybaby Fans, Sports Commentators
Distracting Players From Their Job?"
- 11-09-07

"Did Bob Kerrey’s Decision Avoid
the Likelihood of Defeat?"
- 11-02-07

"Nosy Congress Makes
Three Bad Calls"
- 10-26-07

"Is This The Way to Run UNL´s
Athletic Program?"
- 10-19-07

"Right Decision Could
Help Both Fair, UNL"
- 10-12-07

"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07

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As I See It
Harold W. Andersen is a retired Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of the Omaha World-Herald Company. Full biography.

To allow me to include comment on Tuesday’s election results, this week we are making my column available Friday instead of each Wednesday, a schedule to which we will return next week.

A number of you have told me that you don’t look forward to reading the column on your computer screen. That’s not necessary if you have a printer. Print out the column and take it with you to the breakfast table or wherever else you choose to read printed material. (You can also call up past columns in case you missed them.)

And, if you haven’t already done so, let us know your e-mail address so that we can send you a weekly reminder when a new column is available.

‘Obama Would Be Least
Formidable Opponent For McCain’

March 7, 2008

It was 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, and I was still jotting down notes reflecting my reaction to Tuesday’s presidential primary election results which I was watching on CNN. I decided to go to bed (with the results of those ridiculous Texas post-election caucuses still to be reported) with this thought uppermost in my mind:

Don’t the British have a considerably better system of choosing, from time to time, who will lead their national government? After all, we are still eight months away from presidential election day in the United States, and even a political junkie like me is getting tired of listening to and reading about, day in and day out, what Barack said about Hillary and Hillary said about Barack and who will win the most convention votes from the Democratic Party’s ridiculous system of anointing several hundred party pooh bahs as “super delegates.”

In Great Britain, elections to determine which party will control the national government must be held at least every five years. The Prime Minister is traditionally the head of the party which wins the largest number of votes in those national elections. The party in power, through the Prime Minister, can call a national election when the party feels the time is appropriate and must call a national election when the party loses a major vote in parliament. And, I enviously point out, traditionally the nationwide election is held within a matter of anywhere from 30 to 90 days after the election is called.

But since we are dealing with the American system, let’s talk about what, in my opinion, that system produced last Tuesday.

It has become increasingly clear that a major if not decisive part of Sen. Barack Obama’s political support is based on the fact that he is looked on as the first black candidate with a reasonable chance of being elected president rather than the fact that he is a thoroughly qualified candidate who happens to be black.

All through the reporting of the way election, results were coming in from various areas in Texas and Ohio, CNN commentators repeatedly cautioned viewers to be aware of this fact: While Sen. Hillary Clinton was running well ahead in earlier returns in Ohio and Texas, there were few returns in yet from cities with large African-American populations such as Cincinnati and Cleveland in Ohio and Houston and Dallas in Texas.

Such references to Obama’s overwhelming support among black voters must have been made at least a dozen times throughout the evening and early morning hours. And viewers were told that in polling-place exit interviews, 89% of Texas blacks said they had voted for Obama while a majority of whites and a majority of men voted for Clinton.

My opinion: Obama would be the easier of the Democratic candidates for Republican nominee John McCain to oppose and possibly defeat. My reasoning: Continuing exposure of the reality that Obama’s strongest support comes from a relatively narrow base of blacks and liberals would harm him in a head-to-head confrontation with McCain.

Do I make too much of Obama’s popularity as “one of us” among black voters? Consider:

Do you think Oprah Winfrey would be on the campaign trail for Obama (instead of fellow female Hillary Clinton) if Obama were white?

Further evidence of what I’m suggesting: K. A. Dilday, a black columnist for the on-line magazine Open Democracy, recently wrote that he thinks the description “Afro-American” should be dropped and replaced by “black.” His point was that “Afro-American” tends to exclude Obama, whose father was born in Kenya and whose white mother was born in Kansas. Obama thus has no common cultural history with the great mass of Afro-Americans whose cultural roots go back to Africa but also include generations of slavery and racial discrimination in America.

‘He Appeals to Blacks Everywhere’

Columnist Dilday goes on to emphasize the “he’s one of us” racial appeal of Obama with these words:

“On Mr. Obama’s behalf, American blacks have set aside their exclusive label. Polls showed that about 80% of blacks who have voted in the Democratic primaries have chosen him.

“And all of the black people in the mountains of Morocco, the poor suburbs of Paris, the little villages in Kenya and the streets of London are cheering Mr. Obama’s victories because they see him as one of their own.”

A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal offered additional evidence of the possible problem Obama would encounter to the extent that he is seen primarily as a black candidate rather than a talented candidate who happens to be black. The WSJ article observed:

“Working class white men make up nearly one-quarter of the electorate, outnumbering African-American and Hispanic voters combined. As the Democratic primary race intensifies, some of these white men are finding it hard to identify with” either Obama or Clinton.

The indication here, of course, is that whether the Democratic nominee is Obama or Clinton, Republican nominee McCain might attract support among working class white men who are Democrts.

There was significant good news for Republicans also in the fact that Obama and Clinton must continue to slug it out, in what has become an increasingly bitter fight, until at least Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary.

The more rancor created in Democratic ranks—and the more zillions of dollars the Obama and Clinton forces will spend continuing their battle—seem to be to be good news for the Republican Party and John McCain. McCain can conserve both his stamina and his campaign dollars, while organizing for the fall campaign and observing what chinks might be exposed in Obama’s and Clinton’s political armor.

I thought one of the more pertinent implications of the CNN commentary was this: As the campaign heated up in the run-up to the Texas and Ohio primaries, there were indications that, if I may express it in prizefighting terms, Obama might not be able to take a hard punch.

The commentators agreed that Obama looked bad indeed in his response to this charge: While taking a public position in opposition to the NAFTA treaty which is designed to remove or lower barriers to trade between the United States and Mexico and Canada (a public position which won Obama favor from such interests as the Teamsters Union, whose members don’t want Mexican trucks hauling produce into the United States), an Obama aide had privately assured a Canadian government official that Obama’s expressed opposition to NAFTA was for campaign purposes only.

The consensus of commentators’ opinion was that Obama’s response to disclosure of his two-faced stand on NAFTA was confused and ineffective.

As a lawyer might put it, further affiant sayeth not on the subject of politics (for today, that is).

* * *

Let’s Go To The Dogs Again

If you’re not a dog lover, I’m tempted to say you have my sympathy. You don’t know what you’re missing.

But in any case, you have fair warning. The following item is about dogs. Feel free to move along to the next item. It is about cats.

Just kidding, just kidding. Next item is about drouth.

A few months ago, I told my readers about a delightful book of dog cartoons drawn by Charles Barsotti and published in The New Yorker magazine over the years.

It has occurred to me that it might be fun for you dog lovers out there to share with me and other readers a brief report of something that makes your dog or dogs special to you, perhaps through a report of some special habit of your dog or some incident involving your dog’s performance which you found especially amusing or touching.

In short, anything about your dog or dogs and your relationship with him or her or them that you think other readers might find interesting.

For example—an example which I have shared with you before—one of our three cocker spaniels, Claire, for some reason started—and continues—to come to me every time she hears me sneeze. She puts her paws on my knees, and I, of course, welcome her with a vigorous backrub.

Marian says—about half seriously, I believe, Marian tending sometimes to attribute near-human characteristics to our lovable cockers—that Claire is concerned about me when she hears me sneeze. My explanation—considerably more logical, I believe—is that my sneeze simply reminds Claire that I am close at hand, available for a vigorous backrub and other signs of affection.

If any of you submit stories about your dogs which I decide to share with other readers, I will send your way a copy of that delightful collection of dog cartoons. Incidentally, the book is entitled “They Moved My Bowl,” which is the explanation offered by one of the cartooned dogs for his presence on a psychiatrist’s coach.

Herewith a reproduction of another of the delightful cartoons which fill the book.

Our choice of this cartoon seemed appropriate at this time. I’d trust a canine candidate’s promises (Don’t press me for further comment.)

I venture to take up this subject in a column of generally more serious content because so many readers over the years have said they love my reports about our dogs and Marian’s love affair with Sarah, Claire and Charlotte. (I love them, too.) A love affair which leads to, among other things, brief birthday parties—brief because the dogs consume their birthday cakes so quickly.

My assistant, Jackie Wrieth, also a dog lover, and I will hope to be hearing from at least a few of you with stories about why your dogs are so special to you. Send your entries to me through the comment section on my webpage, or mail to me, with accompanying pictures if you choose, to P. O. Box 27347, Omaha, NE, 68127.

* * *

A Relatively Good News Story

Journalists don’t really enjoy concentrating on bad news stories (at least not all journalists do). So here’s a positive thought for Nebraskans to ponder:

While drouth in Nebraska can have a devastating effect on crops and pasture, a matter of serious statewide concern, it customarily does not seriously threaten municipal water supplies as it does in some other states.

I was reminded of our relative good fortune in this regard when I read recently in the Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer that North Carolina is suffering the worst drouth in the state’s recorded history—a drouth that seriously threatens municipal water supplies.

A map of the state indicated that no fewer than 14 cities—including Raleigh and Durham—have a “troubled water system,” which means they are “in crisis mode, have less than 100 days of water or are likely to be in crisis if conditions persist.” (I’ve read a more recent account which indicates that drouth conditions have indeed persisted. And waster-use restrictions are in place, with possibly more to come this summer.)

One statement from a municipal official might better not have been offered as an example of reaction to the water crisis. The regulatory superintendent for Durham’s water management department said at home he has urged his wife to run the washing machine with one rinse cycle instead of two and he set a timer to limit his son’s showers to five minutes.

A five-minute limitation on showers? How tough can a father be? But North Carolina is, after all, suffering its worst drouth in recorded history.

# # #

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