Find a time machine, go back a year and ask a Nebraskan what they think of Bob Kerrey. Chances are they would remember him as a Nebraska icon; University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate, Vietnam war veteran, local business owner, governor and two-term senator. A man who has deep roots in Nebraska. There’s even a bridge named after him.
Travel back to today. “He’s not one of us,” “We don’t want him,” and “Tell him to go back to New York.”
Since when are Nebraskans so quick to disown one of their own? We’re a state known for being friendly to outsiders and having the most loyal fans in college football. When we spot one of our own anywhere but Nebraska, we aren’t shy about saying “Hi,” and giving each other high-fives in the airport. There is no place like Nebraska.
Yet, some of us do not wish Bob Kerrey a welcome return to the state he grew up in. Kerrey, a Nebraska man who has spent most of his life trying to better the state he loves; I wonder how he feels.
“Go back to New York,” a common response quoted directly from State Sen. Deb Fischer’s attack ads. But why? Maybe it’s because over $1 million has already been spent on attack ads that target Kerrey. It’s ironic that over $1 million has been spent in the wake of our nation’s $1.1 trillion deficit to stop a man who feels it’s his patriotic duty to return to Nebraska and help reduce this deficit. Talk about wasteful spending.
Much of those ads focus on Kerrey’s time spent in New York. As if leaving Nebraska automatically cuts Kerrey’s ties to the state. Yet these ads forget that this isn’t the first time Kerrey has left Nebraska. From 1966 to 1969 Kerrey served in the United States Navy. He received the Medal of Honor. And we welcomed him back.
But this New York “thing” is different. Attack ads make it seem like Kerrey has lost touch with the country, spending the last 10 years prancing around New York turning everything he touched into liberal. The opposite is true. Take the fact the Kerrey was one of 10 people in the country selected to serve on the 9/11 Commission to combat terrorism. I can’t think of anything more patriotic than that.
“He’s not one of us,” Go ahead, say it again.