Monday, November 8, 2010

No Clowning: No Surprises For Us

There were two major news announcements made late last week that seemed to have surprised more than a few people - although we weren't among them.

The first big non-announcement was that Nebraska's Republican Governor Dave Heineman officially announced he wasn't going to be running against Democratic Senator Ben Nelson in 2012 for the seat Nelson currently occupies. The second non-announcement was the tepid proclamation that Nebraska Republican Attorney General Jon Bruning is THINKING of running for the seat Sen. Nelson holds. Bruning didn't ACTUALLY announce on Friday that he was running for the seat, so much as he announced he was "looking into it" - also known as checking to see which way the political winds are blowing.

To many Nebraskans who aren't heavily involved in the nuts and bolts of politics, these two pieces of news came as somewhat of a shock.

However, to those of us who know much of what goes on behind the scenes in politics, those two tidbits of information merely confirmed what our sources told us months ago. Folks from Washington, DC to California knew that the Nebraska GOP wasn't going to allow Gov. Heineman to challenge Nelson in 2012. Among our sources it was widely known the GOP planned on giving Bruning a shot at banging his head into the brick wall - or tree - that will be the Nebraska Senate race in 2012.

We're not saying it's impossible for someone else to be occupying Nebraska's most powerful Senate seat after 2012. It is merely difficult - especially with the Tea Party continually attacking Republicans from the far right.

As Republican candidates across the country discovered this past year, trying to satisfy both the sane, classic, old-fashioned Republicans and the far-right, often less-than-rational Tea Partiers is a task that few can pull off. If the economy has recovered further by 2012 as voters across the political spectrum are demanding, and President Obama runs for a second term as expected, the political right will likely be tearing itself in two - as will any candidate who attempts to appease them.

While Sen. Nelson hasn't always been our favorite person, he has displayed, on more than enough occasions, that he's definitely a Democrat these days. In fact, when compared with those on the far right in the Tea Party, he may as well be a long-haired, pot-smoking, free-love hippie.

Any Republican who runs for nearly any office in 2012 will have to satisfy traditional Republicans, far right Tea Partiers, and independents as well, if they hope to win. Meanwhile, in order for Democratic candidates like Sen. Nelson to win, they merely have to satisfy Democrats and a few independents to come out on top.

That's a simple fact that any clown could see.

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