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CAPITOL VIEW: Implications of 2012 Nebraska Senate race huge for Republicans PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 30 June 2011 22:12

And then came the floods.

Not just floods.

We’re talking floods, which threatened eastern Nebraska’s two nuclear power plants.

Now, think about the 2012 Legislature and the 2012 Senate race.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. A reader might ask: “Does everything relate to Nebraska’s 2012 Senate race, and the biggest-ever Republican push to keep Democrat Ben Nelson from capturing a third term?”

Actually, everything more important than the changing of a traffic light pretty much does or can influence that nationally significant contest. A contest in which most of you can have a voice.

Did the Army Corps of Engineers do things correctly? Did Nelson raise the right questions, and the right amount of sternly expressed concern for the citizenry and business and interest groups ad nauseam?

You can be sure those questions will be answered different ways in different corners. But only voters can give the answers.

A reader of the Lincoln Journal-Star recently questioned, rhetorically and sarcastically, whether master political writer Don Walton should find something else to report on. It was an example of a reader who reads, but clearly doesn’t comprehend.

Nebraska’s Senate race, your Senate race, might well decide whether Republicans take control of the upper house.

It’s hard to imagine a bigger political / governmental deal for this state.

Nelson is regarded as the most conservative Democrat in the Senate. But he has not gone so far as to support GOP lawmakers who would reduce Social Security payments, Medicare benefits and otherwise unleash a meat axe attitude toward the national spending plan. Such would include repeal of revisions in the national healthcare system, spearheaded by President Obama.


Remember Reagan?

It was surprising to converse recently with a very longtime Nebraska Republican, with longstanding conservative credentials, who believed recent proposals for reducing the American / Russian nuclear arsenals was a load of liberal codswallop, or balderdash, at the least.

Reagan was the beloved of Nebraska voters, and during his presidency he regularly called for abolishing “all nuclear weapons.”

In his memoir (which is quite readable) he wrote: “I never let my dream of a nuclear-free world fade from my mind.”

He referred to nukes as “totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.”

No one in Nebraska, of political record, thought of Reagan as soft on communism or weak on defense issues. And neither did then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who often acknowledged Reagan’s motto: “Trust, but verify.”

By the way, Reagan had a soft spot in his political heart for Nebraska, and former Republican Gov. Charley Thone. The latter was the first Republican governor to endorse Reagan’s presidential aspirations.

Nebraska GOP voters chose Reagan in his unsuccessful primary bid to wrest the 1976 Republican nomination from President Gerald Ford, a Cornhusker state native.

What did Reagan and President Bush II have in common? Both enjoyed the admiration and unstinting support of Nebraskans, statewide. Yet both men were up front about their belief in drastically reducing a great many agricultural programs that were taken for granted and regarded for more than a half-century as a necessary fixture of federal policy.


ED HOWARD is the statehouse correspondent for the Nebraska Press Association.