If I paid $50,000 for the opportunity to get hired as a minimum wage cashier at McDonald’s, you’d either think I was a moron or I had some shady plan in place to make my money back.
Yet, we don’t think anything of candidates who spend tens of thousands of dollars for an office that pays $12,000, plus per diem (Nebraska legislature) or millions for an office that pays $174,000 (U.S. House and Senate).
So are we electing morons or are these elected officials recouping their losses?
Recently, there has been some local and national buzz around the notion of moving the United States Capitol to Nebraska. It’s pretty easy to see why media members and bloggers would run with this idea – it makes for an attention-grabbing (and click generating) headline.
The story behind it is a political ad by Ben Sasse, a candidate for one of Nebraska’s U.S. Senate seats. For better or for worse (and probably it’s the latter), Sasse has employed some interesting ads in his senate campaign*.
*Sasse’s latest ad has his two young daughters talking about how much daddy “despises” Obamacare. I’d like to comment more on that one, but every time I watch it, I get creeped out. Maybe if Sasse wins today’s primary election I’ll take a second look at it.
Here is the 30 second version of the Capitol ad:
Normally, when I talk about advertising on this site, I go into the nuts and bolts – what works and what doesn’t. But political advertising is a completely different beast. The genre is known as much for a lack of creativity (here is Candidate X standing in front of a bunch of flags, or looking like a regular Joe at the corner cafe) as it is for an extreme creative license with factual information (read: they’re jam-packed with exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies).
Instead of picking apart the ad, let’s focus on the key message: America would be better served if the Capitol is in Nebraska.
Certainly, there is something to this. Nebraskans, by and large, are a roll-up-your-sleeves, git-r-done, kind of people. Our unique unicameral (one house) state legislature is officially non-partisan, and is generally free of the political gamesmanship that plagues Washington D.C.
Nebraska, Our Nation’s Capital (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)
But with all due respect to Ben Sasse (and his stroke-the-ego-of-the-populace move to imply that Nebraskans are above the political fray), I think I speak for all Nebraskans when I say, we don’t want the Capitol here.
Why not? Let’s look at some of the reasons:
The majority of the nation (I’m looking at you East and West coasts) would have to think of Nebraska as something other than a barren wasteland of flyover country. You’d come here, realize how nice it is, and screw it up.
Being the center of U.S. politics is not a good way to maintain Nebraska as “The Good Life“.
Nebraska trails neighboring states in the number of operational wind turbines, so we are ill-equipped to handle the hot air 535 senators and congressmen would generate.
The national media has put too much time and effort into cultivating the national stereotype that Nebraska is nothing but farms, cows, and dudes driving tractors.
Depending on the month (or the day) it would be too cold or too hot for you here.
As the only state with a unicameral legislature, we wouldn’t know what to do with the extra house. Besides, we’d probably just decorate it with Husker stuff.
Have you ever tried to fly into Nebraska? It’s not exactly easy. The four gates at Lincoln Municipal Airport (LNK) would be packed with lobbyists and corporate interests.
Bringing Congress here would double, if not triple, the number of democrats currently in our very red state.
We don’t want the Beltway gridlock. We’re pretty partial to “rush hour” slowing our commute down to 35 mph, instead of the usual 45 mph.
Washington’s sports teams are a collective train wreck – especially the District’s NFL franchise. Given that Nebraska football is a statewide passion, we cannot jeopardize it being corrupted by D.C. influences.
I think the last democratic president to step foot inside Nebraska was JFK.
17% of Representatives and 6% of Senators could not find Nebraska on a map. (Hint: we’re above Kansas and below “One of those Dakotas”)
We prefer our manure to come from cows, not politicians.
That said, today is the primary election in Nebraska, so get out and vote for your next Senator, next Governor*, and other local races.
*Oh, you think Nebraska’s Democratic candidates for governor and senate have a chance in November? You’re so cute!
Democratic Nebraska Senate candidate Bob Kerrey has called on Republican Deb Fischer to sign a pledge to not to use super PAC monies in their Senate campaigns. According to Nebraska.Watchdog.org, about $2 million has been spent by conservative super PACs (specifically American Crossroads and Americans for Prosperity) with much more sure to come over the next three months.
I think this is a good idea by Kerrey. Almost all super PAC ads are misleading, slanted, or are outright lies – both sides. Most voters have no idea which people (or corporations) are pumping the money into these funds with patriotic names – or what those people/corporations will ask for in return when their candidate is elected/purchased.
I also think this is a PR stunt by Kerrey, as we’re more likely to see 8″ of snow tonight (current temp: 99 degrees) than a candidate-requested decrease in super PAC attack ads.
Here are 10 things Deb Fischer’s campaign will do before agreeing to reject super PAC spending:
10. Refer to Kerrey as “Nebraska Bob”.
9. Propose a tax on Husker fans.
8. Admit that she was jealous of Debra Winger in the 1980s.
7. Promise to vote for anything supported by President Obama.
6. Give up her federal grazing subsidies.
5. Appear in a campaign ad wearing Pete Rickett’s red stocking cap.
4. Allow Deb to be tagged in those pictures from the 2009 Unicam Christmas Party.
3. Run from Nebraska’s Third District as a Democrat.