Bob Kerrey, Nebraska's former governor, U.S. Senator, wounded Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, will be in town today seeking votes in his attempt to win Ben Nelson's seat as U.S. Senator. He will hold a news conference at 3:45 p.m., at the George Norris home and then will appear at a reception after that at the Bieroc Café. He has ran a rather low-key campaign up to now, focusing more on his opponent's liabilities than his own strengths but I imagine that will change dramatically in the weeks leading up to the election in November. I watched the debate he had with his opponent at the State Fair a few weeks ago and there was no doubt in my mind who won. Of course, I'm biased.
My friend and fellow Gazette columnist, Dick Trail, called me out in his column this past Tuesday for being on the "losing team." After Dick and Ann took my class a few years ago on the Sociology of Love and Relationships, we had sort of an unspoken agreement not to attack each other in our columns because of the friendship we forged during that semester. Dick and I could debate about practically everything because we disagree on practically everything but we decided not to do that. But I can't let some of the things he said go unanswered.
Let's take the "losing team" assertion first. When one wins an election, it's generally accepted that that's the winning team, as Obama did four years ago. And now, just five weeks before another presidential election, Obama is leading in most of the battleground states from 4 to 8 percentage points, according to a majority of the scientific polls. The most unscientific poll that, amazingly, has been deadly accurate over past presidential elections, the 7-eleven coffee poll, has Obama leading Romney 58 percent to 42 percent. The election hasn't been held yet but to accuse me of being on the "losing team" is premature.
Dick also referred to the Republicans taking the lead in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That's only partially true and here's how that broke down. Southern Democrats and Republicans (the 11 states that made up the Confederacy in the Civil War) in the House of Representatives voted 87-7 and 10-0 against the bill while Northern Democrats and Republicans voted 145-9 and 138-24 in favor of the bill. In the Senate, southern Democrats and Republicans voted 20-1 and 1-0 against the bill while northern Democrats and Republicans voted 45-1 and 27-5 for the bill. Politics were much different in 1964 than they are today. It's been said by many that Dwight Eisenhower wouldn't stand a chance of being a nominee for President in today's Republican Party because of his moderate views and the fact that he gave a major speech against the military-industrial complex. You have to also remember that Strom Thurmond was a Democrat in 1964.
And Dick is always raging against the spend-spend Democrats as if the Republicans do no spending at all. They do of course, they just spend on different things. Dick's entire college education at the Air Force Academy was paid for by the American taxpayers through the Federal Government. His salary, benefits and retirement from serving as a pilot in the Air Force was and is paid for by the American taxpayers through the Federal Government. He has spent his life since serving in the Air Force as a farmer and a flight instructor. Farms are supported by government subsidies and the skies are administered by the FAA, also a government agency and one I'm sure Dick supports since they insure that only qualified pilots are able to take to the air.
This column isn't a personal attack on Dick but is intended to show that we deal loosely with the facts when we're trying to make our side look better. Dick didn't lie about anything in his column but he sure left out a lot of information that was pertinent to the points he was raising.
Finally, why in 2012, when moderate Republicans can't even get through their primary elections without being defeated by a Tea Party candidate, would they turn around and nominate a moderate Republican for the Presidency? President Obama was set up to fail by the Republicans. Mitch McConnell said after Obama's election that the most important thing the Republicans had to do over the next four years was make sure Obama didn't get re-elected. Imagine that! The MOST important thing, more important than jobs, the economy, terrorism or the wars overseas was to make sure Obama didn't get re-elected. Obama's health-care plan was modeled after the health care plan Romney enacted in Massachusetts. And Romney, trying his best not to alienate the Tea Party supporters of the Republican Party because he knows he can't win without them, has flushed who he really is and what he really stands for right down the toilet in the process.
And then you had the vote yesterday over jobs for veterans who have served this country in uniform. 60 votes were needed in the Senate to pass the jobs bill and it only got 58 because 40 Republicans voted against it.
Politics is a necessary evil but somebody's got to do it because that's how this nation is run. So I'll continue to support and vote for the candidates that will do everything they can for everybody rather than the candidates who favor the few.