Republicans Continue Their Civil War
While Democrats Conserve Their Resources

As the focus of the campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination swings from state to state—or four states or 10 states as in this Tuesday’s voting—a goodly number of Republican voters in each of the spotlighted states are understandably very interested in the results.

But I believe that a great majority of Americans would like to see the issue settled with a presumptive choice of a single Republican candidate—Mitt Romney appears the best choice to me—and let the party turn to concentrating on what this year’s GOP efforts are supposed to be all about:  targeting President Obama and his Democratic Congressional supporters.

Obama certainly is concentrating his efforts on the right Democratic target—Republicans—piling up hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent on that target, not on other Democrats.

So I was disappointed that Romney’s six victories in Tuesday’s 10 elections weren’t enough to give him decisive momentum, so the campaign will drag on, burning up more time and energy and dollars that could otherwise be directed against Democrats rather than other Republicans.

So the Republican civil war drags on, and Democrats rejoice.

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To Date, Reaction To Kerrey’s Comeback Effort
Sounds More Like Firecracker Than Bombshell

Moving now from a national issue which, important as it is, has been getting a little shopworn, a fresh issue confronting Nebraskans in particular:

Can former Senator Bob Kerrey, after a 12-year absence, return to Nebraska and succeed in using the state as a stepping stone back to the power and prestige of service in the United States Senate?

I would say the issue has stirred less interest than I would have expected.

To the news media and Kerrey supporters, including those non-Nebraskans who are primarily concerned about possibly losing Democratic Senator Ben Nelson’s seat to a Republican, Kerrey’s return seems to be seen as something of a political bombshell.

But the reaction to his decision to run, at least from citizens of the state from which he has been absent for 12 years, seems more like a political firecracker to me.

‘Cosmic Bob’ Is Stranger To Younger Generation

There is as yet no sign of a strong “welcome home, Bob” reaction among voters in this traditionally Republican state—more Republican than it was when Kerrey’s name last appeared on the Nebraska ballot 16 years ago.

Of the 17 World-Herald Public Pulse letters which appeared in the six days following Kerrey’s revealing that his wife had changed her mind and approved his candidacy—14 letters were critical of Kerrey, 3 were in his favor.

One of the anti-Kerrey letters said Nebraskans run the risk of losing a Senate seat to a carpetbagger from New York City with the result that the final score would be:  “New York, 3 Senators—Nebraska Cornhuskers, 1 Senator.”

One of the three pro-Kerrey letters carried this headline:  “Appreciate Kerrey’s Sacrifice.”

Some neutral political observers have pointed out that an entire generation of younger Nebraska voters has grown up without any exposure to Kerrey’s charismatic personality.

The principal knowledge (in some cases perhaps the only knowledge) that younger voters have about Bob Kerrey is that there is a pedestrian bridge spanning the Missouri River between downtown Omaha and Council Bluffs) that is named for him.

Kerrey’s career has been marked by the pursuit of—or consideration of pursuing—changing political goals.  Let’s take a look at some of those changes next week.

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Obama’s Wise Stance On Iran:
Not Yet Time For Military Action

A praiseworthy performance by President Obama as he, very carefully but very clearly, told a group of pro-Israel Jewish-Americans, in effect, that he will not agree to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line position on Iran; i.e.; prompt and decisive military action unless Iran clearly abandons its efforts to give up nuclear weapons.

Obama told thousands of American Jews gathered for a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that “loose talk of war” against Iran could serve to speed Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.

Making clear that the United States will react, with military force if necessary, to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear-armed, Obama also made clear that he did not believe that a strike on Iran now would serve the best interests of the United States or Israel.

“For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster,” the President said.

I have long felt that the American Jewish community should recognize that American support for Israel’s peace and security should be a product of joint American-Israeli policy and not necessarily the policy proposed by the Israeli government and supported by the pro-Israeli lobby in the American Jewish community.

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Jays, Lady Huskers Look Good In Tournaments,
Not So For Those Who Rank The Teams

I don’t suppose that I was once sports editor of the Omaha North High School Star newspaper and of the University of Nebraska campus paper, The Daily Nebraskan qualifies me as an expert, but here nonetheless are some comments on Sunday’s college basketball results:

A great victory, of course, for the Creighton Bluejays, winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.  The Bluejays go to the NCAA tournament with the enthusiastic support of a good many Nebraskans, including a good many who cheer for the Huskers when the Jays and the Huskers meet in their traditional early-season game.

A disappointing but still impressive showing by the Lady Huskers in their initial appearance in the Big 10 Tournament.  I’m sure that a good many Creighton fans would join in wishing the Lady Huskers well in their expected appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

It is worth noting that in both cases—the Missouri Valley men’s post-season tournament and the Big 10’s women’s tournament—the team which was the No. 1 choice for a first-round bye didn’t make it to the tournament finals.

In fact, in the case of the Big 10 women’s tournament, none of the No. 1 through No. 4 teams, which drew first-round byes, went to the finals, where No. 5 Purdue beat No. 6 Nebraska in two overtimes.  On the way to the finals, Nebraska beat No. 2-ranked Ohio State and Purdue beat No. 1-ranked Penn State.

So the two championship game opponents, Purdue and Nebraska, had to play games on four consecutive days.

The semi-final defeat of No. 1-seeded Wichita State may have been helpful to the Creighton Bluejays in the championship game.   But on the other hand, elimination of Wichita State before the championship round deprived the Jays of a chance to show that they are the best in the conference.  They had, after all, beaten the highly-regarded Shockers on their home court in Wichita before losing to them in Omaha.

All the teams I’ve mentioned—Creighton and Wichita State in the men’s division, Purdue, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State in the women’s division—will get another chance to prove, or at least suggest, their relative strength in the upcoming NCAA national championship tournaments.

* * *

Supreme Court Ruling Might Help End
‘Everybody Deserves College Education’ Nonsense

It appears possible that there will be a national court-mandated policy change which will legalize a return to the principle of accepting all college students on their individual qualifications rather than accepting some on the basis of their color.

The possibility is raised by a report that the U.S. Supreme Court will reconsider the issue of whether a university may give preference to non-white prospective students on the basis of their race.

The legalization of such state policies, in effect discriminating against some white students, was the result of a Supreme Court decision upholding such discrimination against prospective white students at the University of Michigan.  The policy has been promoted as “affirmative action” but as in the case of other preferences bearing that supposedly appealing label, it has resulted in discrimination against some whites.

A case coming before the Supreme Court this year was brought by a white student denied a spot at the flagship campus of the University of Texas in Austin.  The plaintiff charges he was denied admission because of “affirmative action” preference given to non-white students.

Race most certainly should not be a factor in refusing a student admission to any educational institution in this country.  Qualifications influenced by neither race, nor religion nor any factor other than the potential benefit from the educational opportunity should be the controlling factor, period.

University Degrees Not Required For Many Desirable Jobs

Speaking of eligibility for college educations:

There has been some nonsensical talk to the effect that every young American deserves a college education.  This would assume that every youthful American wants a college education, needs a college education and is qualified to benefit from a college education.  And “college education” customarily means at least four years of education leading to a college degree.

President Obama has helped spread this nonsense by some of his campaign trail rhetoric.

The truth is, of course, that not every high school graduate (and, incidentally, we should concentrate on making sure that a greater percentage of American youths do graduate from high school) is educationally and mentally prepared to benefit from a college education and wants a college education.

A good many high school graduates are not ready to take on college level work.  An Omaha World-Herald editorial referred to President Obama’s college-for-all remarks and said that “a college education for one’s children became a part of the post-World War II American dream.”

But the editorial also referred to a survey which “pointed out the benefits of post-high school, non-college education.   Half of the top 10 occupations facing labor shortages, the survey suggested, don’t require university degrees.”

* * *

Skip And Scamp And Marian—A Love Story

Your comments from time to time indicate that a good number of you out there always enjoy a closing upbeat item which involves the effervescent Marian Battey Andersen and her love affair with our dogs, the world’s two most lovable cocker spaniels, 10-year old Claire and 8-year-old Charlotte.

The other morning, repeating her belief that “the dog which is loved has many names,” Marian announced that for the day Claire would be known as Skip and Charlotte would be known as Scamp.  She made clear that those names would apply until bedtime, when she customarily says goodnight to “Loyal” (a/k/a Claire), and “Gorgeous” (a/k/a Charlotte).

If Marian’s dog-naming practices were extended throughout our household, there certainly would be many times when those who know her would agree, the name “Delightful” would be appropriate.

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