The More Things Change
Thursday May 15, 2014
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About a week ago I wrote a column entitled Tea Party R.I.P. in which I proclaimed the Tea Party's hand-rubbing glee in backing candidates who could not, and would not, win in general elections had lost its steam.
Lo and behold, on Tuesday, Tea Party-backed candidate Ben Sasse won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Nebraska and will doubtless take his seat in the Senate on or about January 3, 2015.
Thousands of people - OK, three - Tweeted that the Sasse race proved, once again, that I had no idea what I was talking about.
Four months ago, in January, I said on C-SPAN that Sasse was charting a new course; one that smart candidates on either side of the aisle would be wise to use as a primer on how to run in this era of an intensely divided electorate.
In fact, here's exactly what I said on January 12:
"Ben Sasse is pretty good about this stuff … he's got the support of both the Tea Party-esque national groups and is building a consensus among traditional Republicans.
Ben Sasse won his primary because he is a good candidate, he is close to the electorate of Nebraska, and he presented himself as someone who would be true to his convictions without walking through the Senate doors swinging a medieval battle axe and making a fool of himself.
That is a long, LONG way from someone like Christine O'Donnell. Remember her? In the 2010 cycle the long-time Republican Congressman from Delaware, Mike Castle, was poised to take the Senate seat previously held by Vice President Joe Biden.
The Tea Party got behind Ms. O'Donnell who beat Castle in the primary, and went on to lose an almost certain GOP pick up to Democrat Chris Coons by the whisper-close margin of 57 - 40.
The low point of O'Donnell's campaign was when she was forced to spend campaign money on a TV ad assuring the voters of Delaware that she was not a witch.
That's true and you can find a link to that ad on the Secret Decoder Ring page
Ok, I am wrong so often when I make predictions, that I wanted to make sure you knew that I was correct about Ben Sasse.
Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.
In other news, the foreign policy of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State John Kerry - the Manny, Moe, and Jack of international affairs - continued to pay dividends this week when Russia announced that it would no longer allow the U.S. to use Russian-built rocket engines to launch military satellites into space.
Further, the Russians announced that they have the keys to the International Space Station and would lock the doors after 2020. Why? Because in retaliation of the financial sanctions imposed on Russia for the Ukrainian situation, Russia will not allow its rockets to be used to carry Americans to the ISS after the shut-down date.
According to CNN:
"If he wins this thing, that may well be the model that other Republicans look for, and probably Democrats as well, to bring some kind of cohesion to an otherwise splintered party.
"So, I think he's going to be the nominee and be the Senator."
"Ever since NASA retired its aging shuttle fleet in 2011, the only way for astronauts to reach the space station is aboard a Russian Soyuz craft."
I knew that. But, I had no idea that the Administration had allowed the U.S. space program to degrade to the point that we can't even launch un-manned payloads using our own resources.
Cargo resupply missions have been awarded to California-based SpaceX and the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation. But, apparently they can't, or won't, carry military payloads into orbit.
Maybe we can make a deal with the North Koreans to lend us some rocket motors.
Finally the U.S. Dream Team of foreign affairs have been trying to drag a reluctant EU into helping isolate the Russians. The latest failure came when the French - yes them again - announced that according to Reuters, ignoring pressure from Washington and some European partners,
"France will press ahead with a 1.2 billion-euro ($1.66 billion) contract to sell helicopter carriers to Russia with an option for two more."
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Or, as the French would put it:
plus ça change, plus c'est la même
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to Christine O'Donnell's bio and to her Witch ad, also to the Russian rocket and the French helicopter stories.
Also, a Mullfoto with a Princess Bride reference.
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