I got a call a week or so ago from a former neighbor who was excited about Ben Sasse’s candidacy for the Nebraska U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mike Johanns. After explaining why she’s so enthused by what she’s seen during Sasse’s campaign appearances, she urged me to consider voting for Sasse in the upcoming primary election.
Since Shelli created the GiN website and I began contributing articles to it, our ongoing reading and research into all things political has made it relatively easy for me to decide who to vote for because it’s made me familiar with all the usual suspects who seem to be perennial candidates for public office at the state and local levels. That’s not true this year. Shelli and I have taken a bit of a hiatus from publishing here — as I’m sure you’ve all noticed — so I haven’t been immersed in politics to the degree I have been in previous primary seasons. This year, instead of a long and thorough look at the various candidates, I was anticipating a cram session a day or two before the polls open on May 13th.
But my former neighbor’s call piqued my curiosity about Sasse, a new face in Nebraska politics, and I began to poke around a bit to see what I could find out about him. My first impression of Sasse was that he’s more web-savvy than most Nebraska candidates. He’s got a website. But, then, don’t they all? In my opinion, Sasse’s is more multi-media than most, for example, linking to a series of videos featuring the candidate talking in depth about issues or a family member talking about Sasse. For policy wonks like Shelli and me, there’s a link to Sasse’s 24-page position paper on health care reform. Truly, something for everyone.
In short, I went looking for information about the candidate from the candidate himself. I didn’t search out news articles about him. In particular, I didn’t search for a list of people or groups who have endorsed the guy. If there is such a list on Sasse’s website, I didn’t go there. Endorsements, especially those by out-of-state or national groups, mean very little to me. So little, in fact, I published an article here during a previous campaign season referring to the outsiders who regularly swarm Nebraska in their preferred mode of transportation as “the invasion of the bus people.”
But information about who’s endorsed who in the Nebraska U.S. Senate race came to me, completely unsolicited, in the form of the email, below, that was forwarded to me by another friend (click on the image to read the full text):
It was sent out by none other than Patrick Bonnett, who represents himself, in signing the message, to be the Chairman of the Conservative Coalition of Nebraska . . . whatever that is. In the text of his forwarding email, my friend, who is well-aware of Mr. Bonnett’s position within the NeGOP establishment, bestowed upon Mr. Bonnett what I consider to be a more accurate title — “Patrick, ‘We Do Big Government Better’ Bonnett”. Mr. Bonnett’s name will be familiar to many regular readers, as his machinations have caused both Shelli and me to write about him — and TO him — on this website in the past. You can read about Mr. Bonnett and his dubious claims to being a “Tea Party” activist here, here, and here.
Upon reading his email, embedded and linked above, I realized Mr. Bonnett has his panties in a wad because FreedomWorks apparently endorsed Shane Osborn in the U.S. Senate contest, later withdrew that endorsement, and then awarded it to Ben Sasse. Apparently, FreedomWorks justified its fickleness by claiming to have bowed to pressure it received from its grassroots membership within the state that Sasse, not Osborn, was the “Tea Party” favorite. Mr. Bonnett cries foul in his email, seemingly protesting that he and his friends in the Conservative Coalition of Nebraska were not consulted and, therefore, FreedomWorks must be lying.
Once again, Mr. Bonnett, your self-importance is showing. FreedomWorks claims to have over 40,000 members statewide. Are you and the handful of people who signed your manifesto FreedomWorks members? . . . Is that a “no”? I thought that might be the case. However, even if you and every one of the signatories to your email ARE FreedomWorks members, it apparently didn’t occur to any of you that the other 39,950 Nebraska members may have called FreedomWorks’ D.C. headquarters and lobbied for the switch to Sasse. Humble pie doesn’t go down easily. Is that why you decided to serve up a little “whine” with it?
The other burning question I have for Mr. Bonnett is this one: May I see the email you circulated upon FreedomWorks’ initial endorsement of Shane Osborn? I suspect you then had no qualms about D.C. insiders telling Nebraska Tea Partiers how and what to think and who to support. But, then again, maybe I’m wrong. After all, that’s YOUR shtick, isn’t it?