GOP House Control And Strong Senate Position
Bad News For Obama Welfare State Agenda

To my political taste, the best news from Tuesday’s election results was the fact that the Republican Party, when all the votes are finally counted, is likely to maintain something close to its current 242-193 advantage in the House of Representatives.

Second best news:  The Republicans may lose a seat or two in the Senate, but the Democrats will remain several votes short of a filibuster-blocking 60-vote three-fifths majority.

Those two results mean, as I see it, that despite his victory over Republican Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama faces formidable roadblocks in his efforts to push America further down the welfare-state road, with Big Brother government increasingly telling the American people and American institutions, including American businesses, what they can and can’t do.

I enthusiastically support the vital role which government must play in a civilized society.  But that vital role, as I see it, need not depend on spending trillions of dollars made available by writing IOUs in the form of issuing bonds, daily pushing our national government further down the road to potential bankruptcy.

Fischer Win Predictable, Her Tough Job Begins Now

Turning to the state and local scene:

Nebraskans sent State Senator Deb Fischer to the United States Senate primarily on the simple basis that she is a Republican.  I hope she will grow into a knowledgeable, impressive figure in the Senate.   She has that opportunity.

As to Fischer’s soundly defeated opponent former Senator Bob Kerrey:  He impressed me with his intellect, his experience and his emphasis on sensible bipartisanship.   But political reality makes it understandable that Nebraska was not about to send a Democrat to the United States Senate this year.

There’s good news, as I see it, in Kerrey’s statement that he intends to maintain a presence in Nebraska after 12 years living in New York City.  Mentioned was the possibility of a teaching role at the University of Nebraska—a prospect well worthy of consideration.

Terry Win Close But No Surprise

No surprise, I believe, in Democrat County Treasurer John Ewing’s failure to unseat seven-term Second District Representative Lee Terry.

In an election-night speech, Terry hit an important note when he said:  “We have to get together” to break the deadlock between the Democratic-controlled White House and Senate and the Republican-controlled House.

Some thoughts on other election results:

–Once again, Nebraska voters have taken a short-sided view in regard to legislative salaries.

Rejected by some 267,000 votes was a proposal to raise the annual salary from $12,000 to $22,500.  The current level was set by the voters in 1998.

Nebraskans Get Better Legislative Service Than They Deserve?

Defeated by some 212,000 votes was a proposed constitutional amendment to allow legislators to serve three consecutive four-year terms.  The limit now is two consecutive terms.

The voters emphatically didn’t buy the argument that more experience, more seniority would result in better legislation.

The voters’ rejection of the length of service and salary proposals underscores what I have long believed:  Nebraskans get a good deal better service from their legislators than they are willing to recognize when it comes to salary level and length of service.

–Further evidence—as if any were needed—of the changing of what has constituted long-established standards of personal conduct in this country were votes to legalize same-sex marriages in Maine and Maryland and a vote in Washington State legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

Disturbing news to Americans who see such votes as further signs of deterioration of time-honored standards of conduct in American society.

* * *

Not Too Late To Hear From Fischer
As To Especially Questionable Campaign Ads

With a successful election now behind her, Senator-elect Deb Fischer, as I see it, should answer for—or have the Nebraska Republican party answer for–some of the attacks on her opponent, Democratic candidate Bob Kerrey.

In a single day, mailed into our home were three ads which promoted Fischer’s candidacy on one side and, on the reverse, went into the political gutter.  One example:  an ad which, as nearly as I could figure out, was supposed to show Kerrey in a New York City Times Square setting throwing taxpayers’ dollars to the winds.

Included were the unsubstantiated allegations that Bob Kerrey “supports increasing taxes on Nebraska’s middle class” and that “Kerrey supported higher property taxes, sales tax and income taxes” and that Kerrey is quietly “robbing from our seniors.”

Governor, Speaker Are Also Heard From

There also were unsubstantiated pro-Fischer TV ad assertions by Governor Dave Heineman and Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood of Norfolk.   No anti-Kerrey rhetoric but praise for Fischer that left basic questions unanswered.

Heineman’s contribution:  “Deb Fischer’s leadership passed Nebraska’s biggest tax relief package.”  Details please, Mr. Governor, details.  What historic tax relief package?  What specific role did Fischer play?

Speaker Flood’s contribution in a pro-Fischer ad:  “I’ve been in the foxhole with Deb Fischer for the last four years cutting budgets.”  Again, details, please, Mr. Speaker.

Overall, not a pretty picture of campaign advertising, but, most regrettably, a common picture.

Little wonder that some potential political leaders turn down invitations to become candidates and choose instead, if they become involved at all, to take a financially-supportive role on the sidelines.

* * *

Voters Were Left Uninformed
About A Good Many Candidates

Unfortunately, a good many voters went to the polls without proper pre-election news media attention to both candidates in certain important election contests.  For example:

The World-Herald’s detailed case for the newspaper’s choice in the contests for seats on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents made the case for The World-Herald choice without mentioning the name of the opponent or what his or her stand on the issues might be.  For example:

In the contest for the District 8 Regents seat representing much of Omaha, the newspaper endorsed Ann Ferlic Ashford without mentioning that her opponent was former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub or mentioning that The World-Herald’s choice is the daughter of current Regent Randy Ferlic.

Acknowledgement of the relationship to the current regent is particularly important, since Dr. Randy Ferlic has been a consistent opponent of fetal cell research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  In contrast, his daughter favors fetal cell research—a position revealed by Ann Ferlic Ashford in a mailing to homes in the district.

Hal Daub, in a similar mailing, also said that he would not oppose continuation of fetal cell research—an issue, incidentally but importantly, around which at least one regents’ seat campaign revolved as recently as two years ago.  (Daub won a narrow 52-48 victory.)

The lack of information about opposing candidates was also true in the other cases on a long list of World-Herald endorsements.

* * *

My Non-Scientific Poll’s Unanimous Result:
Political Campaigns Are Much Too Long

It wasn’t one of those scientifically-constructed accurate-within-seven-percentage-points polls of which there must have been at least one million (more or less)  conducted and reported to the public in overwhelming detail for several months (if not years).

It was my informal poll of 20 or so acquaintances.  The question went like this:

Are you fed up—and fed up for months—with the endlessly-repeated volume of stories about political polls and political speeches and those usually superficial and frequently insulting commercials which have been dominating television broadcasts for what seems like years now?

The response was unanimous and emphatic:  Fed up long before Election Day.

Would You Prefer The British System?

I added a second question for some of those polled:

Would you prefer the British system, where the British equivalent of our Congressional and presidential elections produces campaigns which last only 60 to 90 days?

Again, the response was quick and emphatic:  The British system—as solidly democratic as ours—would be much preferable.

I thought a classic example of political campaign overkill was the intrusion into Monday night’s NFL “Game of the Week” telecast by halftime interviews with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney instead of commentary on the Saints/Eagles game.

A healthy interest in the American political scene—national, stat4e, local—is clearly in the best interests of our country and its citizens.

But total immersion for month after month after month?  Give us a break.

* * *

Good Coaching, Good Execution Produces Touchdown
While Preserving The Field Goal Option

For today, enough and more than enough about elections.  Let’s talk about what I believe to be a more popular autumnal activity—football.  (More popular if your team has a winning record, of course.)

I have been surprised at the lack of comment, in print or over the air, about one important ingredient in that fantastic final five seconds of the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ come-from-behind victory on the road against Michigan State last Saturday.

Unmentioned—at least not where I saw or heard it—was this praise for the coaching strategy which led to the Huskers’ touchdown and a 28-24 victory instead of a field goal and a 24-24 tie.

The missing ingredient in post-game commentary that I saw or heard was this:

A good many fans, including me, were, I believe, wondering why the Huskers didn’t kick a field goal to tie the score and send the game into overtime.  After all, there were only six seconds left.

But the coaching strategy was superb, if risky.  With six seconds left, the Husker had two options:  Kick a field goal—or at least try for a field goal—or attempt a touchdown pass into the end zone.  An incomplete pass still would have left time for a field goal attempt.  But there were risks—that Martinez would be sacked as he attempted to pass or that he would throw an interception.

Martinez threw a perfect touchdown pass.

The coaching strategy paid off, big-time.

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