Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fischer beats Bruning in senate primary; NE GOP united for November

On Monday, I lamented that Sarah Palin and were dabbling in local Nebraska politics that they didn’t fully understand. The day after I wrote that, Herman Cain—who hasn’t lived in Nebraska for decades—seconded that endorsement. Last night, for better or worse, they and others got their wish as dark horse Deb Fischer beat favorite Jon Bruning in the Nebraska Republican senate primary. (Full disclosure: I volunteered for the Bruning campaign.) It’s impossible to gauge by any objective measure how much influence their endorsements had on that outcome, but as one on the ground, I am inclined to say it was more than a little.

There is just one thing I want to reemphasize before moving on and moving forward, that this was a primary contest among conservatives all around. In spite of certain characterizations, there was no “establishment” candidate in the race and certainly no RINO. I say this only because I hate to see a good and solid conservative’s reputation tarnished just to make subtle differences seem stark. As I listen to the national conservative radio hosts, including Limbaugh this morning, I hear a lot of crowing over Fischer’s win calling it a “Tea Party” victory over the “establishment” candidate. In reality, all three frontrunners had the support of various Nebraska Tea Party groups. I sincerely hope no reputations—or careers—are being ruined.

With that off my chest, I am happy to see the three primary leaders, Fischer, Bruning, and Don Stenberg, join together this morning to publicly declare full endorsements from the runners up and a united front against “Cosmic” Bob Kerrey in the fall. I expect nothing less from Nebraska Republicans, but it does the heart good all the same. Republican support for Fischer in Nebraska is a given.

And Fischer is going to need it. The retirement of Ben Nelson is a blow to Senate Democrats and they would love nothing more than to see a familiar face take his place. I anticipate hearty support for Kerrey from the national level. Meanwhile, Deb faces an uphill battle that Bruning too would have faced in overcoming Kerrey’s history in the state. In some ways, that history works against him; having voted to repeal Glass-Steagall, the current economic crisis can be partially attributed to him. However, Nebraskans gravitate toward the familiar even when it hurts, so at present, I am calling the general election anyone’s race.

I know these are uncomfortable statements that aren’t “supposed” to be expressed on a day that is being billed as a conservative victory celebration. So let me tell you what we need to see to ensure this victory mood can continue clear through November. Nebraska Republicans have already united behind Fischer.  From Palin, Cain,, and all of the late national endorsers, we need them to be in for the long-haul. If they only intend to swoop in late to shake up our little local primary and they aren't around by the time the general election gets hot, they will have much to answer for should Deb Fischer lose. And that support can't be limited to a few nice words. In other words, it’s time to pony up the hard money and back those easy words.

UPDATE: When first published, this article stated that all three front runners had "endorsement" from Nebraska Tea Party groups. That was a turn of phrase with incorrect implications. The candidates did have unofficial support from members of Tea Party groups, but no official endorsements were made in the primary.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well said, Tryanmax!

It really irks me when conservatives use the same dirty tactics as the left again't our own people!
It's despicable and dishonorable.

Nevertheless, I'm glad to see the NE GOP banding together so quickly.

In the future I hope the big name conservatives and populists do a little research before they start endorsing candidates and stop all the hysterical rhetoric against fellow conservatives.

tryanmax said...

It looks like I pounded this all week! Proximity will do that. NE GOP coming together is to be expected, but it should be that way all over.

I got into the issue of the skewed big name endorsements a little more yesterday. Sen. Johanns took issue with the Tea Party vs. Establishment meme publicly, and you know I agree with him.

My biggest concern, and I don't feel I can say this enough, is that this will damage Jon Bruning's future aspirations. We need as many good conservatives as we can get, and arbitrarily branding one of them a RINO because he lost a primary race only serves to neuter one of our own. "We castrate and bid the geldings 'be fruitful.'"

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