Campaign

Elect This!

With today’s midterm elections, here are some random election thoughts:

  • As I’ve previously noted, the worst part of living in a cable-free household is the lack of sports on TV.  However, the best part is zero campaign ads.  Seriously, the last one I saw was on YouTube, and I only watched that for blog material.
  • You remember how ticked off you were at the partisan gridlock and petty maneuvering that shut down the government?  Remember how you said at the next election you were going to vote out all of the incumbents?  Are you going to stick with that, or vote for the incumbent (who happens to represent your party)?  Um-hmm.  I thought so.  Next time, just shut it and realize that you continue to play a part in keeping Congress ineffective.
  • A Facebook friend shared a picture of a political mailer she received from a candidate.  This candidate touted his strong Catholic faith and reminded you that a vote for him is a Pro-Life vote.  In theory, no big deal.  Nebraska is a conservative state that values religion, and as any politico can tell you, “pro-life” is the highest level of endorsement a Nebraska politician can hope to achieve, ahead of a personal recommendation from legendary football coach Tom Osborne.  But here’s the kicker:  this candidate is not running for Congress, Senate, or the state legislature.  He’s not running for governor, mayor, or the University Board of Regents (we’ll get to that race next).  This candidate is running for the board of the Omaha Public Power District – the electric utility in Omaha.  I don’t follow a lot of the issues facing the OPPD board, but I’m guessing none of them deal with abortion or moral issues where one’s faith would be a deciding factor.  To base a vote on a single issue that is so far outside the jurisdiction of the office is asinine.  As another friend commented:  ” I personally have always felt that I could never turn off my electricity, but others should have the choice to do so if they wanted to.

    Seriously. Do it.

  • In a similar vein, the race for the University of Nebraska Board of Regents has also been impacted by issues that are way outside of the jurisdiction of the office.  Allegedly, after Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini lost his mind during last year’s home loss to Iowa, Lincoln businessman (and former Husker) Steve Glenn called the regent representing him and demanded that Pelini be fired.  When informed that the Board of Regents did not have the authority to fire football coaches, Glenn allegedly told incumbent Rob Schafer that he would “run for your position“.  Since then, mailings have come out saying that Glenn wants Pelini fired – thereby implying that if you support the coach (and hey, they’re 8-1 right now), you had better vote for the incumbent.  Even if Glenn is only running because he wants Pelini ousted (something I’m not sure I believe) I resent dragging sports into the political mud.  Unfortunately, Pelini is already enough of a polarizing figure in this state without making him an unwilling pawn in a race within the confines of the 402 area code.
  • One other amusing side note from this Board of Regents race:  during the primary, Glenn ran a radio ad featuring Larry the Cable Guy talking him up.  (Both Glenn and Larry’s alter ego Dan Whitney are from Pawnee City, Nebraska).  In the ad, Larry mentions something to the effect that “anything that comes out of Pawnee City has got to be good.”.  It turns out that Glenn’s opponent (incumbent Rob Schafer) is also from Pawnee City.  Whoops, that’s not the best way to git ‘er done.
  • Nebraskans will vote on a proposal to raise the minimum wage.  I’m not going to tell you how to vote, as there are definite economic impacts either way.  But when I hear about efforts to raise the minimum wage, I think of an early episode of the documentary series 30 Days, where host Morgan Spurlock and his fiancée spent 30 days trying to live on minimum wage.  They did it, but it looked absolutely miserable.  I wonder if the most vocal opponents of raising the wage have any exposure to what life is like at $7.25 an hour.
  • I’ll close with a reminder of my favorite reason why you should vote today:  it gives you the unalienable right to bitch about politics, politicians, and partisan bull for the next two years.  Plus, many polling places will give you an “I Voted Today” sticker.

The Irony of Joe Ricketts

Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade (and part of the Chicago Cubs ownership) is donating lots and lots of money this campaign season through his super PAC.

He recently spent $200,000 on an ad to defend U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer (R-Neb) against an attack ad by her opponent Bob Kerrey.  This brings Ricketts’ total to almost $700,000 in this race.  And the Nebraska Senate race is small potatoes compared to what Ricketts has spent on the Presidential race – almost $10 million, with likely more to come.

I’ll try my best to leave politics out of this post – Ricketts earned his millions and can spend them any way he damn well pleases.  If he wants to try to impact/influence/purchase an election, that is his right under the current set of super PAC rules, as enacted by the Supreme Court.  Maybe Ricketts really like Deb Fischer.  Maybe he believes it is an investment – that he’ll make all of that money back with Fischer and/or Romney in office.  Who knows?  That’s not how I’d chose to spend $10 million dollars, but again, it’s not my money to spend.

And don’t go thinking this is some partisan rant against big spending Republicans.  You better believe that there is somebody on the other side spending the same amount of money to get Kerrey elected and reelect President Obama.

But the reason I bring this up is the sick, twisted punchline that is ripe for the picking.  Joe Ricketts’ super PAC has a name that is painfully ironic considering everything above:

Ending Spending

Seriously.

I couldn’t make that up if I tried.

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