Moving Beyond Prairie Populism in the Great Plains

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog

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Another pickup opportunity in a red state has presented itself for conservatives.  We must choose wisely.

Jeff Fortenberry is the most liberal member of an underperforming delegation in the conservative state of Nebraska.  With Mike Johanns retiring his seat in 2014, Fortneberry is considering a bid for his seat.  Well, conservatives should consider his voting record.

In 2011, he voted along with leadership for the debt ceiling deal, omnibus, minibus, and against almost every single spending cut amendment or plan to keep the GOP spending cut pledge.

Fortenberry is the prototype of a red state statist who uses his conservative seat to create rural dependency by supporting government-venture socialism, such as farm subsidies and green energy and ethanol handouts. He was one of only 19 Republicans to support an early version of the disastrous farm bill in 2007.

Fortenberry is also an enemy of free-market energy policy and fossil fuels, while supporting government’s involvement on behalf of green energy. Fortenberry is a big conservationist and supporter of statist CAFE standards. He voted for the light bulb ban in 2007.  He opposed efforts to defund the Solyndra loan program.

In 2010, Fortenberry voted for the massive FDA takeover bill that created unprecedented government involvement in agriculture and food production. He also voted for the new Orwellian credit card regulations.

Early this year, he was part of a minority group of Republicans who voted for the “fiscal cliff” tax hike bill, which increased spending by $330 billion.

When it comes to funding big government, it’s not just scared cows like farm subsidies; Fortneberry won’t even support cuts for the UN, Amtrak, the National Endowment for the Arts, Legal Services Corp, and the Institute for Peace.  It’s no wonder he is a member of the Republican Mainstreet Partnership – a group that is now run by Steve LaTourette, a man who has nothing but antipathy for conservatives.

I think it might be a more efficient use of ink to list the time he voted properly.  Whenever we have an open seat, Republicans intuitively turn to the highest ranking elected officials in the state.  But if they are not conservative, especially in red states, what good are they?  Should we run Chuck Hagel?

The other option most widely circulated, Gov. Dave Heineman, just caved on Obamacare.  I’m sure we could use bolder leadership in Washington.

We need to think outside the box to find new candidates who are willing to break the monopoly of prairie populism that grips the ranks of Republicans in the Great Plains.

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