24/7: Nebraskans for Health Care Reform

You hear it in the fields and the factories, from farmers and students and small business owners. It runs all the way from one end of our state to the other, and cuts across all party lines. Nebraskans want real health care reform, and they're ready to demand action now.

This is an issue that truly affects us all, and everyone has their own story to tell. Today, our organization joins a broad coalition of statewide partners to present just a few of those stories.

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SUSA: No "Black-Brown Divide" in New Mexico

I just wanted to briefly revisit an argument that was made on this blog a few months ago, an argument for which we finally have some new and very compelling evidence to the contrary.  In his post "Obama's problem with Latinos against McCain", Jerome Armstrong used a general election poll from the swing state of New Mexico to argue that Latino voters, as the result both of a divide in the black and Latino communities as well as McCain's relative sanity on the issue of immigration, were likely to flee to John McCain in a November matchup against Barack Obama.  Well, SUSA has come out with new numbers in NM today that show a very different story indeed:

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Obama for Nebraska- a Personal Narrative

Cross-posted on the New Nebraska Network .

I still believe I learned everything important about politics long before I ever knew about parties.  Here's one of the first political stories I heard:

My dad is a behavioral therapist who specialized in the so-called lost cause.  He spent his career as one of a small group of "gentle teachers" making waves worldwide, and gradually built for himself a reputation for helping people thought too far gone to be reached.  When an institution wanted to transfer a particularly troublesome resident from their custody to a prison, a judge might order a last ditch review to consider if any other options remained.   That judge called my dad.

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Scott Kleeb's "Common Man" Opportunity

First, a lay of the land from columnist Dawn Cribbs of the McCook Daily Gazette:

We are polarized. We have red states and blue states, each one with red or blue streaks crisscrossing the field, dividing city, county, neighbors and friends. It makes for a colorful quilt pattern, from a distance, but up close and personal, you can practically cut the tension with a knife.

Even though the national elections are still nearly a year off, we see candidates priming the pump by pumping as many hands as they can in a day in every evening newscast. Wake me up when it's over.

I sometimes fear we've seen the best days of the United States and are now watching the slow decline of democracy and representative government. Few of the candidates bear any resemblance to me, and wouldn't know how to live as I live if my life was suddenly thrust upon them. How long do you suppose it's been since any of the front runners had to pump their own gas or carefully watch the total lest they spend more than they have budgeted? I can't help but be suspicious of those who earn high positions of leadership by spending other people's money better than the next guy spends other people's money. Whatever they try to win and to woo my vote, its probably going to be too little, too late.

There's little to add to Cribbs' feelings except to note just how widespread they are.  The petty divisions we now face -and the failure of Washington to bridge them and move forward- have given birth to a wildfire of angst no longer confined to one party or one president.  By and large, the public has gone from questioning the conduct of the Bush Administration to challenging the structure of our politics as a whole.

Republican pollster Bill McInturff noted this when he recently claimed "this is the most angry and unstable of an electorate as I've seen in my career"... and he ought to know.  In 1991, McInturff collaborated on a study of another angry electorate: the Pennsylvania voters who sent an obscure state officer named Harris Wofford to the Senate over the popular Dick Thornburgh, himself a former two-term governor and Attorney General for the first President Bush.  That's a race worthy of a second look right now:

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McCain/Lieberman '08?

Just saying.  We know the two work closely together.  We know Lieberman's bitter at the Democratic party.  We know he's also pretty popular with Republicans, and recieved a majority of the GOP vote in his recent re-election (a full 70% of it, according to the exit polls).  What with a former McCain staffer now working for Joe, I'm just wondering if we're going to see Lieberman running for vice president yet again in two years.


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Scott Kleeb: huge cash advantage in deep red NE-03

Bumped from the diaries -- Jonathan

Okay, I had to read this and re-read this over and over again to make sure I got it right.  I even picked up a couple different papers and checked the internet to make sure this wasn't the result of an honest mistake.  But they all repeat the same thing:

The Omaha World Herald is now reporting that Democrat Scott Kleeb, a rancher with a PhD from Yale on International Relations, has taken the lead in the COH race against his Republican opponent, State Sen. Adrian Smith in the open seat contest in NE-03.  Taken the lead by a lot, actually.  According to the article, Smith currently has a warchest of $105,000, while Kleeb has nearly three time as much in the bank: $277,000.  And this is in the sixth most Republican district in the entire country.

More on the flip.

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The GOP: Desperate in Nebraska

Vice President Dick Cheney has just announced a $200-a-plate (and $2,100-a-photograph) fundraiser for ultraconservative state Senator Adrian Smith, who's running for Congress NE-03 ( Here's the story in the Nebraska State Paper ).   This is the sixth most Republican district in the entire country, with a partisan index of R +24.

Why would the national Republican party be sending in the big guns to one of their safest seats, even after the Club for Growth has already pumped an impressive $390,000 into Smith's coffers?  Because, against all odds and expectations, a political newcomer by the name of Scott Kleeb has suddenly come within striking distance of scoring the first Democratic victory this district has ever experienced.   (for a quick overview of Kleeb's credentials and campaign, see my earlier diary at: Scott Kleeb and the future of red state Democrats )

More after the flip

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Scott Kleeb and the future of red state Democrats

As a lifelong Cornhusker, I can't tell you how much Senator Ben Nelson broke my heart this week with his positions on the Federal Marraige Amendment and the estate tax.  Though I can't imagine a sscenario in which I would vote against him in a general election (having a Democrat, especially one as popular as he is, holding a Senate seat in a state this red is just not something I could easily discard), I am tired of time and time again seeing this great political talent advance Republican rhetoric -the "death tax", etc, at the expense of opening up an honest dialogue on such issues and presenting Nebraskans with a true choice between the conservative norm and progressive change.

More on the flip

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A Progressive Patriot who needs our help

If we are to have an effective 50 State Strategy, then we need to recruit strong candidates and run effective campaigns in every race for every seat in this nation - especially those contests which seem most out of our hands, especially in those districts which have most definately slanted against our party in recent decades.  How many more districts, how many more states can we afford to write off until we find ourselves permamently locked out of majorities in the house, Senate, and electoral college?  Maybe these are just the desperate pleas of a liberal Democrat voluntarily stuck in one of the reddest states in the nation, but I firmly believe that it is our duty as one of only two political parties in this great nation to offer a clear choice for voters in every district and every state, every cycle.  Here in Nebraska, our party has not always lived up to that promise.

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