Already, it's amazing to note what a contrast Kleeb's ad paints against the pathetic and ugly fear-mongering committed in Republican candidate Adrian Smith's name in his primary race this spring when one of his central themes was the promise to "Send the Liberals a Message." Smith proved right then and there that he was more concerned with playing political games than serving the interests of the people he'd represent. When Republican Senate candidate Pete Ricketts used the same backdrops of John Kerry, Teddy Kennedy, and Hillary Clinton in his campaign advertising in June, he was rightfully criticized from all corners for running such an empty and insulting campaign, yet Smith started the trend in Nebraska without ever being called out in like manner.
No worries. Kleeb might be precisely the antidote to that sort of self-serving negativity. He's been an eye-opener for many in the Third District, forcing voters to reconsider their notions of what a Democrat is and what kind of future can still await the communities they call home by breaking with the tradition of endless decline promised by decades of largely visionless and unchallenged Republican leadership.
What works so flawlessly in Kleeb's new campaign ad is its tongue-in-cheek emphasis on Kleeb's proven ability to bridge the divides that lesser candidates would rather exploit for political gain. The library in a field of crops does a good job of capturing Kleeb's allure. The Yale-educated Kleeb is a scholar - an academic - but, as this ad illustrates, he is every bit a man of the people as well. In that same vein, he is a well-traveled citizen of the world, who's chosen to make his life in Nebraska because this is where his roots are and where his heart calls home. Some want to see these qualities as contradictions, but those who've had the opportunity to meet Kleeb understand how incredible an asset his non-traditional but uniquely American experiences could prove in service to Nebraska's Third District.
If this race is to be decided on charisma, intelligence, vision, or ideas, Kleeb was already going to beat Adrian Smith this November. With this commercial, it looks like you might be able to add running the better campaign to Kleeb's list of advantages as well. Still, there is that one mighty factor of the Republican Party's voter registration dominance that leaves Kleeb no room for error. The numbers are all Smith has going for him, and he's counting on that being all that he'll need.
I've become increasingly of the mind that this is thee race to watch in Nebraska this year. Nebraska's Third District may be the state's most Republican by any objective standard, but its voters are also the truest keepers of that fierce independence for which we so pride ourselves and our institutons. They have a chance this November to restore that fading tradition,setting a better course for the future in the process, by choosing Scott Kleeb - the ranch hand with a Ph.D., the Nebraskan raised on the other side of the world - as their next Congressional representative.