Archives for: May 2012, 18
Deb Fischer was best known in Nebraska for personally filibustering to death an anti-smoking bill in the state legislature. The bill would have banned smoking indoors in public places. It was very much like similar legislation passed by other states and local governments as the effects of second hand smoke become pretty much in your face - and nose and throat and lungs. She killed the bill all by her talk and talk filibustering self.
She became better known when Sarah Palin endorsed her as the authentic conservative candidate for the United States Senate from Nebraska.
More conservative than front-runner, Jon Bruning. As Nebraska Attorney General, Bruning had courted conservatives by helping to lead the fight against Obamacare. He compared poor people to racoons going after beetles. But She out-righted him. More conservative than the Tea Party candidate, State Treasurer Don Stenberg. Don Stenberg may have been backed by ultra Conservative Senator Jim DeMint, but she was the real thing.
And nobody knew much more than that about her.
The idea, gaining more acceptance, is that the Republican Party is temporarily buoyed by a slow economic recovery and a lack of accountability in arcane Senate rules, rules that allow Republicans to prevent recovery by blocking jobs legislation without most voters realizing it. Once the recovery is in place, voters will reject the increasingly doctrinaire GOP as the party swings ever rightward with no pendulum-like return. Pendulums are for Democrats. Republicans are ratchet, through and through. Pundits decry the destructive effects of extremist tactics.
This site has predicted the eventual demise of the GOP because the right-ratchet phenomenon is not a tactic, and it is not reversible. It is a distinctly modern sociological development fueled by technology. As Republicans purge moderates, then moderate conservatives, then finally arch-conservatives who are not rabid enough, they are never confronted by the cold, cold electoral shower that used to come every once in a while from electoral defeat. Technology has changed the temperature in the magic cocoon. They get to choose the lessons of history, and the lesson they tend to choose is that more extremism will cure everything. It is a perverse reincarnation of Al Smith's speech against prohibition over 80 years ago. The only thing needed to cure all that is wrong with conservatism is more conservatism.
The defeat of Indiana conservative Republican Dick Lugar in last week's GOP primary by Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock in a lopsided vote was a clear signal. Now Sarah-Palin-backed Deb Fischer wins out in Nebraska. So this is more evidence that the Republican Party is going off a right wing cliff.
There is a phenomenon at work, but it is a more traditional one.
Deb Fischer was backed by a last second surge of gazillionaire financing, but she was still outspent by her two opponents. So money, while a big factor, was not decisive.
It was the attack ads that did it. Not hers. Not ads from anyone backing her. Not attack ads from anyone who even wanted her to win.
Voters hate attack ads. They are the reverse of the speech by Shakespeare's Portia as she makes the case for mercy. The ads are twice cursed, cursing those who are attack and those who do the attacking. The reason attack ads are so prevalent in politics is that elections are usually a two-candidate zero-sum game. The winning is not based on becoming popular. It is based on becoming more popular, or less unpopular, than the other candidate. I may be no day at the beach, but the other candidate is no walk in the park.
What was different in the Nebraska primary was a three person race.
Jon Bruning was a bit of a hero to conservatives. As Nebraska's Attorney General, he helped file the lawsuit that made it to the Supreme Court against Obamacare. He was a leader in the war against the socialist, government takeover, death panel, kill your grandmother health reform bill that conservatives hate. So he was the front runner. Everyone knew he would win.
The co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, Joe Ricketts, is in the news for sponsoring ads attacking President Obama, Obama being a devoted follower of Jeremiah Wright, a President who hates white people, a would be "metro sexual black Abe Lincoln." The sort of almost-but-not-quite-racist ads that, according to the author hired by Ricketts, would have made John McCain President McCain if he had not gulped at the ferocity and vetoed them in 2008. That Joe Ricketts.
Ricketts financed ads used by State Treasurer Don Stenberg to attack Jon Bruning. Just how did he get that expensive lake side home? Jon Bruning was a crook, profiting from being in office. How else could he have gotten to be rich? Just like every other politician, just like those liberal politicians, just like Dick Lugar. Crook, dishonest, throw the bum out.
Voters hate those ads. They just hate dishonest crooks even more.
So they threw the bum out, the one with the lake side home. Jon Bruning lost.
AND they threw the other bum out, the one who ran the ads. Don Stenberg lost.
Deb Fischer won the Republican primary with the oldest campaign trick ever. She started as plain old Deb Fischer, pro-smoking candidate. She became glittering Deb not-Bruning-not-Stenburg Fischer, the no-mud alternative.
She couldn't win in a landslide. But a mudslide lifts all non-muddy boats.
Okay, so the money helped.