Much of our offline time lately was devoted to the true leaders of the grassroots movement in the state of Nebraska - the Nebraska Young Democrats.
The first Democratic blog in Nebraska, the UNO Democrats Blog, is a project of the strongest chapter of Nebraska Young Democrats. The New Nebraska Network has been a project of a core member of NYD for over two years. On Saturday, Kyle Michaelis, founder of the NNN, was elected President of NYD.
Our activity was a little light this week, but we've still got plenty of news inside, including the Q1 numbers for all the Republicans, a discussion of race relations in Omaha, and Adrian Smith comes back from Iraq convinced that things are better than ever.
John at UNO gives us the numbers for Lee Terry (NE-02):
$147,679.92 raised, $215,229 cash-on-hand.
It's interesting to note that every one of Terry's potential opponents should he decide to run for Senate donated money to his campaign.
If he runs for Senate in ‘08 (which will only happen if Hagel decides not to) then he’s going to make sure he has a lot of Cash to do it. And if he runs for reelection, it’s going to be tough to take him down. Another problem we’ve got right now is that, unlike in ‘06 with Jim Esch, I don’t think Terry is going to be caught off-guard by a grassroots candidate again.
So what can we do? Organize, organize, organize. We’ve got to register more voters, organize more Democrats, start more Nebraska Young Democrats chapters, and all around get ready to roll. We’ve got to call Terry out (on this blog and in the mainstream media) when he votes against our interests, warmongers, flip-flops, and all the other things he does on a regular basis.
The other numbers
NE-Sen: Chuck Hagel: $142,460 raised, $230,214 cash-on-hand.
NE-01: Jeff Fortenberry: $121,245.23 raised, $118,593.48 cash-on-hand.
NE-03: Adrian Smith: $99,189.64 raised, $94,122.43 cash-on-hand.
Ryan at the NNN has an interesting discussion on race relations in Omaha, drawing on the Imus controversy and contrasting it with the still-simmering debate about Omaha's Public Schools. My perspective on OPS has always been an outsider's perspective. I went to a Catholic high school, and we had little diversity in our student body. I was likely in the lower income bracket of the students at the school, but we were all well off enough to be able to afford private education. So on an issue like OPS, I don't always feel comfortable speaking with any authority. I look at it from a social justice perspective, that the de facto segregation in Omaha's Public Schools is incredibly harmful to our community, and may be one of the key reasons why Omaha has the highest rate of black children living in poverty in the nation.
This is how I read those statements: Smith acknowledges constituents are worried (the majority of Americans are disillusioned at this point), but what the majority favor - a time to withdraw - is just nuts in his opinion. Even though soldiers and civilians are dying at a much higher rate than even a year ago, Smith feels combat is pretty much over. He doesn’t think this should be a political issue, but he uses Iraq as a political issue (how can it not be when the politicians are the ones in control as our representatives?), and then insults everyone that wants this brought to an end by saying it’s "fashionable to be anti-war". He wants unity, but he wants it to be whatever Bush wants. "Either you’re with us, or you’re against us". Well, it was so "fashionable", Adrian Smith, that Republicans lost the majority and Iraq was the main reason that Democrats got the reigns. The majority of Americans want this over, feel it was a mistake, and that is what the Majority Party is doing: Representing that "fashionable" beliefs of the American people.
I can't promise that I'll have this roundup next week, as we've got our Tribute to the Fallen to prepare. I will have more on that in the coming days. It's one of the most incredible projects I've ever been a part of, and it's such a powerful event.