Font Size A A A Print Email Share

Blog

Support State Senator Ken Haar - He's One Of Us

 

The election in Legislative District 21 pitting State Senator Ken Haar against Republican challenger Mike Hilgers is probably the marquee legislative race in this election cycle.  Since the race began last year, both candidates have raised lots of money and have knocked on a lot of doors.  What are Senator Haar's accomplishments?  Just who is Mike Hilgers?  Why is this race so important?

Senator Haar has been a resident of the Lincoln, Lancaster County area for over forty years.  During this period of time, Ken has been very active in the community having served eight years on the Lincoln City Council and on numerous boards including the Lancaster County Board of Health, the  Lincoln Mediation Center, and the Nebraska Sierra Club. During the last four years, Senator Haar has served Legislative District 21 with distinction.

Senator Haar's greatest accomplishment is the pipeline special session of the Legislature last year.  Haar was the first public official who called for a special session regarding Trans Canada's plan to build an oil pipeline across the environmentally fragile Sandhills and Ogallala Aquifer.  While Deb Fischer steadfastly represented the interests of a foreign oil company and Dave Heineman held his finger up to the wind, Senator Haar showed real leadership in convincing his fellow State Senators to respond to the groundswell of opposition to Trans Canada's plans to build the pipeline.

Thanks to the hard work of Senator Haar (and other Senators), the results of the special session in November 2011 were a  success. Trans Canada agreed to route the pipeline around the  Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer, and the Legislature gave the state  authority to regulate future pipelines that may be built in Nebraska.   Due to the leadership of Senator Haar, what started out as a long shot became a historic victory that rerouted the pipeline away from our groundwater.

Senator Haar's successes in the Legislature have been noticed by out of state, corporate special interests who resent the re-routing of the pipeline. Haar's opponent - Mike Hilgers - is a peripatetic and ambitious young man who would very much like to use a seat in the Legislature as a stepping stone to higher office.  Mr. Hilgers only moved to Legislative District 21 in 2010 after spending all of his previous years in Omaha, Chicago and Texas.  Apparently, Hilgers has ties in Texas to forces aligned with Karl Rove and Rick Perry.  My educated guess is that Hilgers would like to parlay a term in the Legislature into yet another new address - this time in Washington, D.C.

The election in Legislative District 21 is important because it represents a battle between a native Nebraskan with grass roots support and a callow candidate with extensive ties to out of state, special interest money.  I'm confident in the end the voters in Legislative District 21 will recognize that Haar is one of us and turn back the challenge from a carpet bagger who is heavily financed by money from outside of Nebraska.

This showdown between Senator Haar and Hilgers is just part of a larger battle for control of the Legislature.  The Republicans recently held a high dollar fundraiser aimed at electing more Senators to the Unicameral who will be beholden to Heineman.  The Republican Governor would like to reverse his setbacks in the most recent session of the Legislature and advance a regressive agenda which consists of the rejection of Obama Care's Medicaid expansion, and shifting the tax burden from the wealthy to everybody else by abolishing the state income tax and replacing the lost revenue by repealing sales tax exemptions.

The Nebraska Democratic Party has risen to Heineman's challenge by launching a fundraising appeal aimed at raising $7,500.00 for Democratic legislative candidates. "Governor Heineman's goal is to have a legislature that he can command, a legislature in which there is no compromise," Democratic finance chairman Andy Holland wrote, "We must protect the independence of the Legislature We must stop him."

I would urge my fellow Democrats to consider contributing to this fund and/or doing volunteer work for your local Democratic legislative candidate. Due to term limits, there are an unusually large number of open seats that are being vacated by Republican State Senators.  We must take advantage of this rare opportunity and elect more Democrats to the Legislature to do the people's work.  We have enough Senators in the Unicameral who are largely devoted to advancing the agenda of the well heeled special interests.  Let's chase the money changers out of the State Capitol Building and take back our great State for the people!

 

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

Share on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

End The Job Killing Gridlock - Vote Democratic

It appears increasingly likely that President Obama will be re-elected. However, the composition of the next Congress is equally important. As we all know, the Republicans in the Congress over the last four years have resorted to unprecedented levels of obstruction to block President Obama's agenda and deny him legislative victories - even if those victories would help the country. Just what has been the Republican Congressional record over the last four years? And what have been the consequences of that record?

What we have seen over the last four years is an unprecedented level of obstruction from the Congressional Republicans and an abuse of the filibuster rules. The use of the filibuster in the Senate has increased since the 1970s. Both parties have been guilty. However, the number of filibusters by Republicans has escalated, and they have been far more willing to use the tactic than their opponents. Since 2007, the Senate Historical Office has shown, Democrats have had to end Republican filibusters more than 360 times, a historic record.

The origins of the Republican efforts to obstruct President Obama's agenda - even at the expense of the American people - began very early in his Presidency. Back in early 2009, Republican leader Rush Limbaugh said that he hoped that President Obama would "fail" and that the 2009 stimulus bill would "prolong the recession."

The Republicans followed Limbaugh's instructions and hatched their scheme to destroy President Obama's Presidency in the Senate even before the President was inaugurated. Vice President Joe Biden has said that during the transition, a number of Republican Senators privately confided to him that Mitch McConnell had given them the directive that there was to be no cooperation with the new administration because he had decided that "we can't let you succeed." Several Republican Senators told Biden that, "For the next two years, we can't let you succeed in anything. That's our ticket to coming back."

Over on the House side, the Republicans began to plot to destroy President Obama's Presidency on the day the President was sworn into office. On January 20, 2009, the House Republican leadership held a private meeting in which they plotted to bring Congress to a standstill regardless how much it would hurt the American economy by pledging to obstruct and block President Obama on all legislation.

The consequences of the Republicans blocking of President Obama's legislative program has had disastrous effects for the country.

As I've discussed here before, the Republicans in the Congress won't allow an up or down vote on President Obama's jobs bill that would create 2 million new jobs and reduce the unemployment rate to 7%. Just yesterday, the Senate Republicans blocked a veterans jobs training bill that would facilitate job training and job opportunities for veterans and has broad bipartisan support.

Senator Bob Kerrey blasted the Senate Republicans saying that: "The blocking of this bill is an outrage. This is a bipartisan bill and the truth is that certain Senators sabotaged it because they do not want to give the President a victory leading into an election. Several Republicans did support this bill but there weren't enough who were willing to prioritize employment programs for our nation's veterans over blatant partisanship. In the U.S. Senate I will put my country ahead of my party every time, on every vote. And I will work with Republicans and Democrats to get the job done."

Senator Johanns was one of the Senators who voted to block the veterans' jobs bill. As a matter of fact, Johanns has been part of the implacable wall of Senate obstruction that has slowed down our economic recovery since it began in early 2010. It's obvious that Senator Johanns would prefer to see people suffer so that his party can regain power.

Over the House side, Fortenberry, Terry and Smith have all been participants in their party's scheme to deny President Obama political victories and slow down our nation's economic recovery. Not once have these Nebraska House Republicans spoken out against these efforts to hurt our economy. It has been party over country for Nebraska's House Republicans over the last four years.

What this all means is that we Democrats need to continue to work hard for President Obama, Senator Kerrey, Korey Reiman, John Ewing and Mark Sullivan. Electing Deb Fischer and the Nebraska House Republicans would simply perpetuate the job killing gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Nate Silver of the New York Times recently wrote that the Democrats are likely to retain control of the Senate and that control of the House may be up for grabs this fall. This is not a time for complacency - the Republicans know they are wounded but they will continue to fight hard. We now need to redouble our efforts to send Democrats to Washington so we can make the greatest country in the history of the world even better.

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

Share on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Freedom isn't Free

Yesterday, Mike Johanns killed a bill that would have helped Veterans across the U.S.

What would this legislation have done? The United States has one million unemployed Veterans. Women and men who our nation asked to go to war. Soldiers who served our country. And Veterans who returned to find that jobs do not await them. Congress stepped up to solve a problem and help Americans. According to the Washington Post, the Bipartisan Veterans Jobs Corp Bill would have put "veterans back to work tending to the country's federal lands and bolstering local police and fire departments."

This bill was paid for and was bipartisan. Yet through the work of Mike Johanns, Senate Republicans ended legislation that would have put our Veterans back to work.

Why did Mike Johanns collaborate with a handful of his Republican Senators to filibuster the Bipartisan Veterans Jobs Corp Bill and kill it?

2012 is an election year and the election is less than 50 days away so the Senate Republicans were anxious to decimate President Obama's legislative agenda. Senate Republicans like Mike Johanns took a swift kick at President Obama with a procedural tactic to stop the bill. Unfortunately, they were willing to hit anyone who got in their way - like unemployed Veterans. There is no take-back to this maneuver. Congress cannot try again to pass a similar bill until next year.

The lingering question is - what happens in the future?

In July 2012, Deb Fischer told the Fremont Tribune that, "Sen. Johanns and I will work together," Fischer said. "I would hope we would have a seat on Armed Services. I understand how important Offutt (Air Force Base) and StratCom are to the metro area and to the state."

Yes, Johanns understands how important the military is in Nebraska - so important that he willingly hurt Nebraska's Veterans by killing the Bipartisan Veterans Jobs Corp Bill. The election on November 6 presents a critical moment for Veterans with the possible election of Deb Fischer to the U.S. Senate.

Does Nebraska truly need more Republicans like Deb Fischer in the Senate?

Nebraska's Veterans will only lose by electing someone like Deb Fischer who will work together with Mike Johanns to keep them unemployed and set the nation back.

Think Deb Fischer is on Nebraska's side? Think again. Deb Fischer will work with Mike Johanns to further the agenda of the Republican Party. Too bad if that agenda hurts Veterans.

Washington Post: Republican objections to spending in veterans jobs bill blocks election-year legislation

Fremont Tribune: Fischer says voters see huge differences with Kerrey

 

 

Share on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

My Message To Deb Fischer: You Didn't Build That

Earlier this year, the Romney for President campaign hosted a series of events centered on the theme: "We Built This." The origin of these events was a comment that President Obama made pointing out that businesses didn't build the infrastructure that they depend upon to make a profit. Romney's theme was based upon a misrepresentation of the President's remarks in the hopes of convincing voters that Obama is anti-business. What was particularly interesting about many of these events was that numerous Republican business owners featured at these events were the recipients of lucrative government subsidies, contracts and loans. Obviously, that reality rebutted the theme of the events and opened them up to charges of hypocrisy.

Deb Fischer would've fit in very well at these Romney events since she is the beneficiary of a lucrative government subsidy where she pays less than $5,000 a year to graze 1,000 cattle on about 11,000 acres of federal land. That's far less than the more than $110,000 that Fischer would have to pay a private landowner for those grazing privileges.

What this means in simple terms is that Fischer is receiving over $100,000 annually or about $325 per day in free rent courtesy of the taxpayers. Over the last 30 years, this sweet heart deal has saved Fischer around $3 million in rent payments. Furthermore, out of Nebraska's roughly 20,000 beef producers, only 136 ranchers receive the kind of subsidy that Fischer has enjoyed for all of these years.

When Senator Fischer was first asked eleven months ago about this corporate welfare she is receiving, she said she would have to "research the matter." I suppose since then Fischer has probably said we should "have a discussion about it" since she continues to collect this lucrative subsidy from the taxpayers. But at the same time of course, Ms. Fischer calls for spending cuts for everybody else. That's why Fischer has deservedly earned the moniker of the "Welfare Rancher."

This issue also exposes Deb Fischer as a phony fiscal conservative.

During the course of her campaign, she has continued to call for spending cuts but she has yet to identify a single specific spending cut that she supports. At the same time, Fischer calls for the permanent extension of the failed Bush tax cuts and says that we can balance the budget by increasing the level of economic growth and reducing unemployment.

That's the same kind of rhetoric we've heard from the Republicans over the last 30 years. The results of these vague promises to cut spending and specific promises to cut taxes have been soaring deficits. During the Reagan Administration, the national debt was tripled. During the eight years of the George W. Bush Presidency, the national debt was doubled. Obviously, Fischer supports a return to these failed fiscal policies.

Senator Bob Kerrey is the true fiscal conservative in the race. As Governor of Nebraska, he inherited a budget deficit and turned it into a surplus when he left office in 1987. When Kerrey was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1988, the country was running then record budget deficits. As a U.S. Senator, Kerrey voted for deficit reduction plans from President George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton that resulted in a balanced budget by the late 1990s.

A vote for Senator Kerrey is a vote for a bi-partisan approach to solving our country's fiscal and economic problems. Senator Kerrey has pledge to reach across the aisle to find solutions to our problems. His past history as Governor and U.S. Senator is proof that Kerrey will work on a bi-partisan basis to reach solutions.

In contrast, Fischer is running as a staunch partisan who will simply follow her party leader's instructions and mindlessly vote with them if she is elected to the U.S. Senate. Since it is looking increasingly likely that President Obama will be re-elected, a vote for Fischer is a vote for more job killing, partisan gridlock. Over the last year, the Republicans in Washington, D.C. have refused to allow an up or down vote on President Obama's jobs plan that would create 2 million new jobs. Our country simply can't afford four more years of that kind of dysfunction in Washington, D.C. That's why the voters should support Bob Kerrey for the U.S. Senate.

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

 

 

Share on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Mitt Romney Is Not Fit To Be President of the United States

Yesterday's controversy over the tragic death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. diplomats tells us a lot about the character of GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney. As we all now know, Romney made the outrageous and blatantly false allegation that President Obama "sympathized with those who waged the attacks" on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Just what does this episode tell us about Mitt Romney's fitness to be President of the U.S.?

The biggest problem with Romney's allegation that Obama sympathized with the cowardly bums who attacked our diplomats was that it was simply false. The original statement that Romney responded to came out of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo before the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi. This particular statement mildly criticized a movie made in the U.S. that offended Muslims and was aimed at preventing an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. The diplomats who put out this statement were in genuine fear for their lives.

In response to this statement from Cairo, the Romney campaign essentially accused the President of the United States of treason during the midst of an international crisis. Even after it was clear that the U.S. embassy statement in Cairo didn't sympathize with terrorists, Romney doubled down and once again accused President Obama of treason.

What this tells us is that when Mr. Romney was presented with a genuine crisis for the first time as a Presidential nominee, he failed the test miserably. What Romney did here was make two grossly misleading and slanderous statements in an attempt to exploit a national tragedy for partisan political gain. Romney's statement was so grotesque, virtually every Republican ran for cover and didn't back him up. Romney only received support from the likes of Donald Rumsfeld, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.

Senator Ben Nelson correctly blasted Romney for choosing to "take potshots for political gain" in his reaction to the deadly attack on the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Senator Nelson said it best, "They should zip their lips shut and come together as Americans and stop trying to score political points or partisan points after a tragedy. Now is a time when you see what people are truly made of. The United States needs to find these terrorists and take them to justice now."

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

 

Share on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Does History Begin When the Republicans Take the Podium?

Earlier today, the Labor Department announced that 96,000 jobs were created in August. Obviously, the report is a bit of a disappointment and the Republicans were quick to criticize President Obama's economic policies. Are the Republicans correct that President Obama is solely responsible for the slow pace of the economic recovery? Can the Republicans' economic policies actually improve the economy's performance? Or as Vince Powers recently said, does history begin when the Republicans take the podium?

As a starting point, let's take a look at President Obama's record. Approximately 4.6 million private sector jobs have been created in the last 2.5 years. Moreover, the pace of job growth has accelerated in 2012 - the economy has created around 143,000 new jobs every month. While there is still more work to do, it is a significant improvement over what President Obama inherited. When President Obama took office, the economy was losing 700,000 jobs per month.

As I posted here recently, the Republicans bear a large share of the blame for the current slow pace of the recovery. The Republicans in the Congress haven't allowed an up or down vote on President Obama's American Jobs Act. Independent economists have said that President Obama's jobs bill would create 2 million jobs and reduce the unemployment rate to 7%. Moreover, since 2009, there have been around 600,000 layoffs in the public sector and most of those layoffs have occurred in states controlled by the GOP. During the economic recoveries during the Reagan and Bush 43 Administrations, the public sector actually added jobs. What about the Republicans' economic plans? Can they create the kind of robust recovery that our country needs? The first place to look is to examine the economic history from the last Republican President. According to the January 9, 2009, Wall Street Journal, Bush had the worst jobs creation record since Herbert Hoover. Only 3 million jobs were created during the Bush Presidency or around 31,000 jobs per month. Even if you give Bush every possible benefit of the doubt, the economy only created 86,000 jobs per month between 2002 and 2007. (Looking at Bush's record this way would be like evaluating Bill Callahan's record without taking into account the 2004 and 2007 seasons.)

The Republicans would tell you that it is unfair to look at Bush's record and that it should be off limits. But is Bush's record relevant? It is very relevant because Romney's economic platform is identical to that of George Bush. In 2004, Bush called for cutting spending, cutting taxes, deregulation and international free trade. Fast forward to 2012 and what does Romney think will improve the economy? The very same policies that Bush advocated in 2004. There isn't a dime's worth a difference between the two platforms.

What this tells us is that the Republicans want to bring back Bush's policies that resulted in the worst jobs creation record since the 1930s and an economic collapse in 2008. President Obama is like a football coach that took over a team that went 0-12 and was completely lacking in talent. By his fourth season, the team is 7-5 and playing in the Ticket City Bowl. It's progress but there is still room for improvement. On the other hand, the Republicans are like the coaching staff who went 0-12. Now these coaches are complaining that Team U.S.A. isn't in the Rose Bowl and they want their old jobs back.

What we need to do as Democrats is to re-elect President Obama and elect Bob Kerrey, Korey Reiman, John Ewing and Mark Sullivan to the Congress. We need to end the job killing gridlock created by the Congressional Republicans. The Congressional Republicans have emphasized party over country for four years now and have done everything they can to stifle the economic recovery. It's time to elect our candidates to the Congress who will put the American people and the country first.

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.
Share on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Republican Rhetoric Sounds Great - If History Had Never Happened

The one thing the Republicans are great at is rhetoric, propaganda and bumper sticker slogans. It is definitely their strong suit and they're the best at it in the business. However, the Republican Party does a terrible job in everything else - especially in governing. If you believe the GOP's propaganda, you would think that they are fiscally responsible and the friend of senior citizens and the middle class. Unfortunately, a review of recent history quickly explodes that false image.

A good example where modern history isn't the Republicans' friend can be found in Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. In that speech, Romney - like many Republicans - claimed that President Obama went on an "apology tour" after he took office. However, every non-partisan fact checking source has found that claim to be false. Perhaps Mr. Romney should ask Osama Bin Laden and what's left of the leadership of Al Qaeda about that imaginary "apology tour."

Not to be out done by his running mate at the Republican Convention, GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan gave a widely panned speech full of falsehoods and misstatements. For example, Ryan criticized the President for walking away from the Simpson Bowles commission deficit-cutting recommendations when Ryan himself, a commission member, voted against those recommendations. He blamed Obama for a deficit mostly created by programs he himself voted for from two wars, two tax cuts, new Medicare benefits and the Wall Street bailout. And he repeated the tired lie about the Medicare "cuts" that are contained in Ryan's own budget plan. Other than that, it was great speech.

Closer to home, GOP Senate candidate Deb Fischer began airing an ad claiming that she opposes gas tax increases, but her record in the Unicameral shows she introduced and supported legislation to increase gas taxes at least a dozen times on two different bills as a State Senator. Moreover, Fischer's claim that she never led a filibuster of a sewer tax bill that cost Omaha residents over $300 million was debunked by several of her colleagues and past media reports.

Over in the 2nd Congressional District, Lee Terry can mislead with the best of them. You have the off-year, Washington Lee Terry and then you get the election year Lee Terry. The off-year, Washington Lee Terry fully supports the agenda of the most extreme elements of the Republican Party. That version of Lee Terry has supported efforts to privatize Social Security and turn it over to Wall Street since 2005. The election year Lee Terry always has a "conversion" on the issue of Social Security and that version of Lee Terry postures as the great defender of this successful program. However, once Terry gets re-elected he always returns to D.C. and votes with the likes of extremists like Paul Ryan and Todd Akin.

I think we can see a definite pattern here. Republican candidates hope that the voters have bad memories and forget what they've done in the recent past. The Republicans are hoping for voter amnesia this year because they know their agenda of tax cuts for the wealthy, middle class tax increases, and Social Security privatization is unpopular. The GOP knows that they can't win an honest debate on the issues. That's why we Democrats need to do a better job of getting our message out and we can start by refreshing voter memories again and again and again about the Republican' real record.

Share on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Can Senior Citizens Afford Lee Terrynomics?

Recently, Representative Lee Terry took a swipe at his challenger John Ewing - contending that we "can't afford Ewingnomics." In this instance, Lee Terry was taking issue with Ewing's position that the failed Bush tax cuts for the top 2% of income earners should be rolled back. (Ewing favors retaining the Bush tax cuts for 98% of income earners.) That was obviously a swing and a miss by Mr. Terry. But what about Terrynomics? Can senior citizens afford Terrynomics?

The answer to that question is clearly no because Terry supports the Paul Ryan Medicare privatization plan. Mr. Terry voted for the Ryan plan in both 2011 and 2012. The Terry-Ryan plan would end Medicare's guaranteed benefit, bring back pre-existing conditions clauses and cost the average senior citizen an additional $6,000 in annual out of pocket medical expenses. A recent study by the Center For American Progress found that the Terry-Ryan plan could increase costs by almost $60,000 for seniors reaching the age of 65 in 2023.

But wait. Aren't those over the age of 55 not affected by the Ryan plan? We've heard that from Mr. Terry when he tried to explain his two votes for this regressive legislation that ends Medicare as we know it. That talking point is false because the Terry-Ryan plan will abolish the health care reform law passed in 2010. That will have a direct impact on today's seniors because it brings back the "doughnut hole," which requires seniors to pay 100 percent of any prescription costs after the annual total reaches $2,840 and until it hits $4,550. This change would cost Nebraska seniors around $16 million in 2012 alone.

If Lee Terry were to get his way and the Terry-Ryan plan became law, Nebraska seniors would also lose access to a host of preventive-care benefits in the health care law, including free wellness visits to physicians, mammograms, colonoscopies, and programs to help smokers quit. So, the next time Lee Terry tells you that his Medicare privatization plan doesn't affect today's seniors, please tell him to do a little fact checking before he makes that claim again.

Terry's phony claim that Medicare wouldn't impact current seniors isn't the only bogus thing Mr. Terry has said about Medicare. Terry claimed that Ewing supported a $716 billion "raid" on Medicare that slashed payments to doctors and other providers to pay for the law.

These so-called "cuts" in Medicare that Terry described are largely cuts in the Medicare Advantage Program - which was a boondoggle for the private insurance industry. Mr. Terry also didn't tell us that those same Medicare "cuts" are contained in the Terry-Ryan plan.

What about John Ewing? Does he support senior citizens? The answer is yes. Ewing has promised us that he would oppose Medicare privatization and that he would keep our promises to senior citizens.

On August 27, Ewing introduced a three point plan that would save Medicare. Ewing said one part of his plan would allow the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan. That is not permitted under current law. The change, he said, could save up to $24 billion annually. The other parts of Ewing's plan would strengthen Medicare's fiances by ending overpayments to health insurance companies and cracking down on Medicare fraud.

I believe the answer is clear. Senior citizens can't afford Lee Terrynomics. Re-electing Mr. Terry to the U.S. House of Representatives could potentially cost seniors thousands of dollars.

John Ewing is the genuine friend of senior citizens since he is opposed to Medicare privatization and supports a plan that shores up Medicare's finances. I would submit that the senior citizens of the 2nd Congressional District can't afford not to elect John Ewing to Congress!

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

Share on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Bob Kerrey Shines In Debate

The first U.S. Senate debate is in the books and we can safely say that former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey came across as the best informed candidate with genuine solutions to the problems we face. In contrast, State Senator Deb Fischer largely stuck to the tired GOP talking points that she has been repeating over the last several months and once again, didn't get specific about how she would solve many of our problems.

The approach of the candidates on the issues of fiscal responsibility and entitlement reform provided a good example of the differences between the two candidates. Kerrey talked about his specific plans to save Social Security and Medicare and reiterated his support for the Simpson Bowles budget plan.

In contrast, Fischer refused to identify one single, specific spending cut she would support to reach her goal of reducing federal spending to 18% of GDP. Instead, she talked about how we could allegedly reduce the deficit by increasing economic growth and creating more jobs. Fischer's rhetoric on deficit reduction is identical to the kinds of things of things we heard from other Republicans while the deficit exploded during the last three Republican Presidencies.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the debate was that Fischer came out against the Ryan Medicare privatization plan and budget. In my opinion, this promise isn't very credible in light of the fact that Fischer continues to run as a hard core, partisan Republican. For example, during the debate, Fischer disagreed with Kerrey's proposal to create a non-partisan Congress similar to the Nebraska Legislature.

Fischer's extreme partisanship sends the signal that she will simply do the bidding of her party leaders if she should get elected. The Republicans have said that the passage of the Ryan budget will be the first order of business if they should win the elections. It's hard to imagine that Fischer could stand up to the leaders of her party on the GOP's most important piece of domestic legislation.

Fischer not only misled on the Ryan plan, she also was less than honest on another aspect of the Medicare issue. During the debate, Fischer several times mouthed the misleading Republican talking point that Obama Care "robbed" Medicare of $716 billion. Several non-partisan fact checking sites have proven that allegation is false. These so-called "cuts" in Medicare that Fischer described are largely cuts in the Medicare Advantage Program - which was a boondoggle for the private insurance industry. Fischer also didn't tell us that those same Medicare "cuts" are contained in the Ryan plan.

Medicare wasn't the only issue in which Fischer was less than truthful with the voters. During the debate, Fischer denied that she led a filibuster on a bill that would've exempted $325 million in sales taxes for Omaha area residents. However, some of her colleagues in the Legislature and several media reports indicate Fischer did indeed lead a filibuster that raised taxes on Omaha area residents.

Quite simply, Kerrey out performed Fischer. He displayed a superior command of the issues and offered up bona fide solutions to the serious problems now facing the United States.

In contrast, Fischer just offered up a series of partisan talking points and tried to obfuscate her record in the Nebraska Legislature. In the final analysis, the voters can select a candidate who is willing to cross party lines to solve problems or choose a candidate who will perpetuate the partisan gridlock in Washington. In the end, I'm confident that Nebraska voters will send Bob Kerrey back to the U.S. Senate.

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

 

Share on Twitter
Bookmark and Share

Returning Lee Terry To Washington To Cut Spending Would Be Like Bringing Back Pederson, Callahan and Cosgrove To Run The Nebraska Football Program

Representative Lee Terry has been running a new ad in which he claims that Washington "borrows and spends too much money" and that we should "cut spending now." In the tag line of the advertisement, Terry alleges that John Ewing would just "charge it" when it comes to new spending. Is Terry a credible advocate of fiscal responsibility?

Just what is Lee Terry's record on spending?

Unfortunately, Lee Terry's record on spending is abysmal. He is a member of one the most irresponsible Congressional majorities in history. I say let's start out by taking a little trip down memory lane in our effort to fact check Terry's ad.

In 2000, the U.S.A. had a record annual surplus of $236 billion and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projected a surplus of $5.6 trillion over the next ten years. By the end of 2008, that same Congressional Budget Office was projecting a $1.3 trillion deficit for fiscal year 2009. What went wrong? Why this huge turn around for the worse in our nation's finances?

The reason for the huge change of fortune for the worse was the irresponsibility between 2001 to 2009 of Lee Terry and his fellow Republicans. During this period of time, Terry voted for two tax cuts (that largely went to the wealthy), two wars, the Medicare Part D program and the Wall Street bailout. All of this deficit-exploding legislation was put on the national credit card. As Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) stated about those days: "It was standard practice not to pay for things." During that irresponsible spending and borrowing spree, Mr. Terry voted to add $10 trillion to the national debt!

As we can see, Mr. Terry is a spending and fiscal responsibility hypocrite. Apparently, spending and deficits only matter to Terry when we have a Democratic President in office. Returning Terry to Washington to cut spending would be like if Nebraska hired Steve Pederson, Bill Callahan and Kevin Cosgrove to run the Nebraska football program. Terry has absolutely no credibility on spending and the deficit, and his ad should be called out for its blatant falsehoods.

We should contrast Terry's sorry record with John Ewing's tenure as the Douglas County Treasurer where policies he championed are now saving the taxpayers over a million dollars per year. It's not just enough to show up and cast votes, Nebraskans deserve someone who will actually take action - like John Ewing did.

It's also growing increasingly evident that the voters of Nebraska Congressional District Two are catching on to Terry's undistinguished record. A recent poll taken there indicates that Ewing has whittled Terry's lead down to only 46% to 40%. Whenever an incumbent polls at less than 50%, that means that incumbent is in trouble. What this means is that we have a very winnable race in Congressional District Two. It is time for us to redouble our efforts and work hard to elect a true fiscal conservative - John Ewing - to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dennis Crawford is our newly elected 2nd Associate Chair. He will begin serving his term on the NDP's executive board at the first State Central Committee meeting following November's election. Thank you to Dennis for his contribution to the NDP's blog.

 

Share on Twitter
Bookmark and Share