Author Topic: FreedomWorks flips in Neb. Senate race  (Read 250 times)

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Offline Once-Ler

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FreedomWorks flips in Neb. Senate race
« on: March 29, 2014, 04:47:44 AM »

In a major blow to former Republican state Treasurer Shane Osborn’s candidacy for Nebraska Senate, national conservative group FreedomWorks is withdrawing its endorsement and backing his main primary rival, Midland University President Ben Sasse, instead.

At issue, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said in a statement, is the unspoken support Osborn is believed to have from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“Both Osborn and Sasse are great people, and this was not a decision taken lightly. The question at the heart of this decision is, who would caucus with the Freedom Caucus, and who would fall in line with the establishment?” Kibbe asked.
“At this point, it is clear that Shane Osborn formed allegiances with Mitch McConnell and the K Street lobbying class. For us, that progression away from the grassroots has tipped the balance. FreedomWorks PAC has a responsibility to endorse the most reliable candidate for liberty, and after following the evolution of this primary, it’s clear that Ben Sasse is the man for the job,” he added.

Tyler Grassmeyer, Sasse's campaign manager, said the campaign is "deeply grateful" for the group's support.

"FreedomWorks told us they've heard about our campaign from grassroots Nebraska conservatives. They've attended our anti-ObamaCare townhalls in droves, and have heard Ben forcefully make the case against ObamaCare for months," he added.

But Osborn said in a statement FreedomWorks' switch has "crystallized" the "contrast" in the race.

"I am the proven conservative candidate who will fight Washington, D.C. and Ben Sasse is the candidate of Washington, D.C.  Sasse has garnered the support of Washington, D.C. special interest groups because of his long history living and working in the city," he said.

He added: “Nebraskans aren’t looking to Washington to choose their next Senator.  The choice is clear for Nebraskans.  I will remain focused on Nebraska voters and continue to discuss my plans to defend the Constitution and protect our conservative values.”

McConnell is reportedly opposed to Sasse’s candidacy, and the Washington Examiner has reported that McConnell's former chief of staff is raising money for Osborn, and a group of lobbyists canceled a fundraiser for Sasse after McConnell's opposition to the candidate became evident.

Sasse now has the backing of nearly all the major national conservative groups, including the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund. He's also drawn the support of conservative leaders ranging from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

Osborn does have the backing of social conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly and the anti-abortion Concerned Women PAC, among others.

FreedomWorks initially supported Osborn out of concern that Sasse wouldn't do enough to fight ObamaCare if elected, due to his work on healthcare policy during the George W. Bush administration.

But Kibbe previously hinted that he'd be happy with either candidate, saying on Glenn Beck's radio show that conservatives enjoy a "win-win" scenario in the primary.

The most recent survey of the race, conducted by Breitbart News and the Polling Company, showed Sasse down by 11 to Osborn, but he's gained ground since entering the race.

This post was corrected at 4:36 p.m. to clarify the extent of McConnell's involvement in the race.


Make up your mind Kibbe.  Which one of these establishment RINOs are you backing?  You want Sasse, the principal advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on policy development under Dubya "Part D" Bush and endorsed by Paul Ryan, or McConnell's newest pawn, Osbourn?

I think whoever Nebraska primary voters pick will be the next Senator from NE.  Both guys are awesome.  The fact that Sasse doesn't recognize FreedomWorks, SCF, Club for Growth and the Tea Party are more toxic than help is a little troubling, but a lot of people have not figured that out yet. 

If Osbourn loses, it does give some glimmer of hope that the dream lives on for Kibbe Chocola Hoskins, so I'll be rooting for Osbourn.

If you want to judge what will be a factor check out their ads.  Both spend time speaking into the camera.

Osbourn has crappy teeth.  Because of this he has developed a forced smile much like McCain's grimace.  Osbourn should avoid smiling with his mouth open.  He has no charisma or presence.  No passion.

Sasse has charisma but comes off sinister and smarmy in his big twist around chair like Baron Silas Greenback.  Servants of the people stand.

That makes them flawed humans.  Other than that, both men will be fine Senators.  Much better than any rat.

On Feb 5th Breitbart reported Sasse Surged to a virtual tie in a Harper poll.
Osborn 30.44%
Sasse 29.03%
Not sure 23.19%

On March 3rd Breitbart Sasse surged again.  "Osborn, also the former State Treasurer, is ahead 35-24 percent, the poll found. 30 percent are undecided" .

That is some surge.  Looks like The Hill only reads Breitbart headlines.
Here is how Breitbart comes up with the headline.
In a memo explaining the results, pollster Kellyanne Conway wrote Sasse is "poised to challenge the presumed frontrunner" because he polls better – 52-31 percent – with people who have an opinion about both candidates. Sasse also leads 40-32 percent among those who have merely heard of both candidates. Osborn has wider name recognition, allowing Sasse more room to grow his support.

So somehow that explains how Osbourn is +5 and Sasse is surging -5.  Breitbart FreedomWorks SCF and CfG are drinking their own Koolaid.  They think their Anti-Establishment schtick is popular.  Osbourne ran and won a state wide election in 2006. 

Kibbe's decision to jump ship could be due to this emerging scandal

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Shane Osborn has issued a statement of regret over his handling of a disputed memo supporting his conduct as a Navy pilot during a 2001 incident that is at the center of his campaign.

The Omaha World-Herald reported Sunday that the unsigned memo, written last summer on Navy letterhead, was drafted for Osborn's campaign by a friend of his who worked in the Pentagon. Navy officials said they had no knowledge of it and could not vouch for the contents.

“This was a response to attacks against my record of service to our nation of which I am very proud,” Osborn said in his statement.

“While the facts in the memo are correct and it was intended to clarify the issue, the manner in which it was handled was regrettable,” the statement continued. “I take full responsibility.”
Frank J. Fleming ‏@IMAO_

You voted to burn down the GOP. Mission Accomplished. Stop pretending you were voting to stop Hillary.

Offline Once-Ler

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Re: FreedomWorks flips in Neb. Senate race
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 07:09:35 AM »
from twitter.

Matt Lewis ‏@mattklewis 11h
When did @DeanClancy become an EX-FreedomWorks VP?

Mark Hemingway ‏@Heminator 11h
@mattklewis FWIW, Clancy was the person at Freedomworks who went after Sasse, and this happened today:

Mark Hemingway ‏@Heminator
@mattklewis Kibbe is basically throwing Clancy under the bus there.

Matt Lewis ‏@mattklewis 11h
...As recently as 24 hrs ago, Dean Clancy was quoted by the WaPost as still being FreedomWorks' VP. Now he's out??

Here is what Dean Clancy wrote about Sasse.  It used to be at


It seems my blog post of last week, “The Trouble with Sasse,” has sparked a nerve.

In it, I explained why I believe that, based on US Senate candidate Ben Sasse’s public statements and writings, the former Bush Administration official:

    Supports the basic principles of Obamacare, if not all the details.
    Offered Obamacare’s authors advice on how to improve their bill while it was pending.
    Prospered by advising health care companies how to implement it.
    Wants to replace it with what may fairly be described as “ObamaCare Lite.”

I also noted that he praised Medicare Part D’s “premium support” model as an ideal model for revamping the entire US health care system, in pursuit of a goal of “universal health insurance coverage.”

I also noted that Sasse was for Part D before he was against it.

Obviously, these contentions run counter to the image he has been presenting as the most passionate, knowledgeable, and principled opponent of Obamacare in the race.

Which raises the question: What are his principles, anyway?

The pushback on my piece has been strong. His campaign has circulated a fund-raising email blasting me and FreedomWorks for mischaracterizing Sasse’s views (although all I've done is quote Sasse’s own words).

And Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard has risen to Sasse’s defense, to attest that he does in fact favor repealing Obamacare (something I’ve never denied).

Now, I’ll be more than happy to withdraw any or all of my contentions when evidence is brought forward proving them inaccurate.

But so far, no one has actually answered them, or really even tried to.

The rebuttals so far have been essentially evasive. I cheerfully grant that Ben Sasse:

    Comports himself as a gentleman.
    Is deeply knowledgeable about about federal health policy.
    Wants to repeal Obamacare.

That’s all wonderful. But those things by themselves are not good enough reasons to put a man in the Senate. As far as I can tell, every Republican wants to repeal Obamacare. So does more than half the U.S. population. These days, a candidate’s desire to repeal Obamacare tells us approximately zero about how he will behave in office. To know that, we also need to know his basic principles (not only his principles for national health care reform but also his principles regarding the role and purpose of government).

So what does Ben Sasse support? What are his reform principles?

Taking my earlier contentions a step further, I would say that, based on his public statements to date, he would appear to be on the horns of at least three dilemmas (all three point to the same underlying issue, the proper role of government in health care):

    Universal Coverage Dilemma. Either he: (a) supports bigger, more expensive, more coercive government to achieve “universal health insurance coverage” (as by an individual mandate, or alternatively by way of massively higher spending) or (b) is willing to live permanently with some significant portion of the U.S. population uninsured.
    Replacement Dilemma. Either he: (a) wants to replace Obamacare with Obamacare Lite in some form (for example, with something akin to Romneycare, but expanded to the whole country), or (b) wants to replace it with a patient-centered health care system.
    Premium Support Dilemma. Either he: (a) supports government-regulated “premium support” schemes, which are built on coercion and mandates, or (b) favors dramatically deregulating the health care arena so doctors and patients can pursue their mutual goals in freedom.

(By the term “premium support,” I mean government-regulated pseudo-market programs like Romneycare, Obamacare, and the Medicare Part D program that Sasse has extolled. The latter can fairly be described as Obamacare Lite for seniors.)

Where does Mr. Sasse come out on these dilemmas? His public statements make it pretty clear he opts for option (a) in all of them. If so, is that the kind of worldview that Nebraskans want in their next U.S. Senator?

I would be delighted to discover I’m mistaken.

And by the way, if Sasse's ultimate goal is option (b) -- market-driven, patient-centered care -- you won't hear me criticizing him for favoring a transitional policy to move us toward that goal. All practical conservatives accept the need for transitions when change is potentially disruptive and affects millions of people.

But the question remains: What is his goal? What are his reform principles? Where would he take us, post-Obamacare?

Or to put it more simply: Which Ben Sasse is the real one? The anti-Obamacare firebrand? Or the Part D-admiring technocrat? The Sasse who claims to reject the entire “Obamacare worldview”? Or the Sasse who extolled Medicare Part D as “the answer to health reform” and a “patient-empowering solution”?

Will the real Ben Sasse please stand up?

Until he anwers that question clearly, I'll have to go by his public statements and assume that he's a big-government technocrat posing as a small-government conservative.

Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks Vice President for Public Policy. He has spent two decades working for health care freedom.

+ + +

BOUNTY: I will pay $1,000 to the first person who persuades an objective judge that all four of my main claims about Ben Sasse (above) are false. -- Dean Clancy 02/12/2014

This is still up at

The Trouble with Sasse

He supports the basic principles of Obamacare

Ben Sasse has been running an aggressive and imaginative campaign for United States Senate in Nebraska.

Although I personally favor a different candidate in that race, I will be the first to acknowledge that Sasse, a former senior official in the Bush Administration, is a very impressive man who comports himself as a gentleman.

When it comes to policy, he’s without question the most knowledgeable candidate in the race on the intricate details of health care law and regulation at the federal level -- a true plus in the Age of Obamacare. That knowledge – plus his out-of-this-world fund-raising prowess – has won him the favor of many national conservatives.

So far, so good. But there’s a problem. Mr. Sasse, a wealthy former business management consultant with a long list of health industry clients, is positioning himself as a staunchly “anti-Obamacare” candidate; but that doesn’t square with his past record, a careful review of which reveals four things:

    He supports the basic principles of Obamacare, if not all the details.
    While Obamacare was being drafted, he offered its authors advice on how to improve it.
    After Obamacare became law, he prospered by advising health care companies how to implement it.
    He wants to replace it with what may fairly be described as “ObamaCare Lite.”

What makes me think this? His record.

What are the basic principles of Obamacare? 1) A societal goal of universal health insurance coverage; 2) a government mandate (or other form of coercion) on all individuals to obtain health insurance coverage; and 3) generous taxpayer-funded “premium support” subsidies to hide the true costs of the goal from the insured.

Sasse supports all three of these things.

1) Sasses favors a societal goal of “universal health insurance coverage.” He has said:

    I think we should have a universal, a shared cultural or societal goal, of universal health insurance coverage.” 

But we cannot achieve that goal without government taxes, mandates, and coercion. Which brings us to . . .

2) Sasse supports an Individual Mandate. While he appears to have been careful never to publicly say he supports Obamacare’s individual mandate — which is understandable, it being so overwhelmingly unpopular — reading between the lines it’s clear he does. The first piece of evidence is that Sasse has spoken of ObamaCare’s individual mandate as a “good idea,” in a context where no opponent of the idea would do so.  In 2009, while ObamaCare was still being drafted by Nancy Pelosi’s and Harry Reid’s Democratic Congress, Sasse wrote:

    Take the idea of the ‘individual mandate,’ which would require all citizens to have health insurance. There’s an emerging consensus that this might be a good idea. But in the various bills (and the incomplete piles of paper parading as bills), it’s unclear how the mandate would be enforced or what fines would be appropriate.

In context (the quote comes from a piece titled, “Health-Care Reform: The Rush to Pass a Bad Bill”), the remarkably gentle tone of this criticism implies that the author doesn’t personally regard the mandate as wrong in principle, he just thinks the public deserves to have more information about it before Congress votes on it. That’s true enough, I suppose. But why not also mention the moral and constitutional principles at stake?

You cannot achieve the goal of “universal health insurance coverage” without a mandate. The alternative is to hike spending and taxes to near-World War II levels, which presumably Sasse, as a self-described conservative, would oppose.

Incidentally, the individual mandate penalty in Obamacare will have to be made much harsher than under current law, if we ever want to achieve “universal coverage.” Experts agree Obamacare as it now exists will leave about 30 million Americans uninsured in perpetuity. To achieve truly “universal” coverage, the mandate will have to be made much more severe. Would Sasse support that?

3) Sasse supports “premium support.” The purpose of “premium support” is to facilitate the goal of “universal health insurance coverage” by creating a mechanism wherein everyone can obtain government-regulated insurance but its true costs can be hidden from the insured. Sasse has made clear that he thinks premium support – a government-dominated pseudo-market system -- is the only alternative to single-payer, which is totally government-dominated. He doesn’t seem to acknowledge the possibility of free people in free markets providing the health care everyone needs at a price most can afford (with private charitable assistance buying the remainder into the market). He has said:

    I think we're ultimately going to end up with a single-payer system, or a more market-oriented premium support model that actually delivers higher-quality, lower-cost care.

One of the most prominent examples of “premium support” is Medicare Part D.  Part D is a prescription drug benefit program enacted in 2003 for Medicare beneficiaries that creates a government-run pseudo-market. Nearly all Medicare beneficiaries have opted into it. But that’s not because it’s so wonderful, it’s because it includes its own version of an individual mandate: a severe penalty for “late enrollment,” combined with a lack of alternatives. If you don’t sign up, you go without.

Conservatives rightly opposed Part D at the time of its enactment, and have no reason to regret that opposition. Part D was an unaffordable government boondoggle that has added trillions to the nation’s astronomically high unfunded liabilities.

Sasse now claims to have opposed Part D, but the record shows he  was for Part D before he was against it. In 2009, he viewed it as an ideal model for the Democrats to use in overhauling the nation’s health care system. He actually extolled Part D as “a policymaker’s dream.” In an article titled, “Why Medicare Part D is the Answer to Health Reform,” he called the new entitlement “enormously successful,” adding:

    Medicare Part D is (or should be) a policymaker's dream: a government program that efficiently delivers high-quality services, and does so under budget.

He went on to lament:

    Unfortunately, throughout this year's healthcare reform debate, Part D's success has been at best ignored and at worst maligned.

But since hitting the campaign trail, his tune has changed. Last year, he told a reporter:

    I mean, it [Medicare Part D] was painful. I was opposed to it then [2003] and I’m opposed to it now. The mechanism of Part D is less bad than any other government payment methods, but it's still fundamentally an entitlement program that wasn’t paid for, and we can’t afford them. … So I think Medicare Part D was fundamentally flawed because it wasn’t paid for. There could have been ways to have a different conversation about a prescription drug benefit being added into an old Medicare structure of Part A and B, but it should have been done in a way that holds actual cost savings in the system. 

Is that the “opposition” of a man who thinks it was a fundamentally bad idea to put government in charge of seniors’ prescription drugs?

Not only did Sasse offer Democrats public advice about how to improve and pay for their government takeover of our health care (in a piece titled, “Why Medicare Part D Is the Answer to Health Reform”), he also offered the Democrats advice on how to help pay for the government takeover.

 In a 2009 Health Affairs article, he and several co-authors wrote:

     Congress and the Obama Administration are seeking agreement on ways to reform the U.S. health care and insurance system and to expand coverage to the uninsured. One unresolved and controversial issue is where to find the $800 billion to $1.6 trillion that could be needed to finance comprehensive reform over ten years. … One approach under consideration is to redirect federal spending on the Medicaid disproportionate-share hospital (DSH) program to help pay for coverage expansion. … This paper considers several options to reform the Medicaid DSH program. … [Our recommended] approach could produce as much as $44 billion in federal savings in the program and also address the wide federal DSH funding variations across states.” 

Why would the chest-pounding Obamacare hater of 2014 have offered the Democrats advice on how to pay for it in 2009?

Will the real Ben Sasse please stand up?


The test of any candidate’s health reform principles is not just what he opposes  — every Republican candidate claims to want to rip Obamacare out by the roots — it’s what he'd replace it with. What are his basic reform principles?

In light of Sasse's lengthy public record, it seems rather clear that what he wants. He wants Obamacare Lite.

He supports the basic principles of Obamacare – universal coverage, individual mandate, premium support – he just wants it to be less complicated, less top-down, more efficient , and presumably more patient-friendly. That’s all great. But why settle for that?

Why not get government out from between patients and doctors? Instead of a government-run, pseudo-market "premium support" plan, why not true, market-driven, patient-centered health care?

My sense is Ben Sasse is not what he claims to be. I think he's a Mitt Romney-style technocrat masquerading as an anti-ObamaCare firebrand for temporary political purposes.

Having devoted a good part of my adult life to fighting not just the actual realities but the underlying principles of Obamacare, I find that appalling.

I think honesty demands that Mr. Sasse either acknowledge his real views publicly — or repent of them.

Will the real Ben Sasse please stand up?

Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks Vice President for Public Policy. He has spent two decades working for health care freedom.

Frank J. Fleming ‏@IMAO_

You voted to burn down the GOP. Mission Accomplished. Stop pretending you were voting to stop Hillary.

Offline speekinout

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Re: FreedomWorks flips in Neb. Senate race
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 03:20:34 PM »
Sounds like Kibbe's priority is making McConnell lose. Sasse's positions don't matter, as long as McConnell's candidate loses. That kind of pettiness isn't going to attract many independent voters, and it doesn't say a whole lot for Kibbe's endorsements. Vetting has to include substantial issues, not just playground spite.

Offline Once-Ler

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Re: FreedomWorks flips in Neb. Senate race
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2014, 04:47:36 PM »
Sounds like Kibbe's priority is making McConnell lose. Sasse's positions don't matter, as long as McConnell's candidate loses. That kind of pettiness isn't going to attract many independent voters, and it doesn't say a whole lot for Kibbe's endorsements. Vetting has to include substantial issues, not just playground spite.

That is exactly what it looks like.  Sasse was unacceptable until McConnell picked Osborn.  This has nothing to do with conservatism and everything to do with FreedomWork's war on the Establishment.
Frank J. Fleming ‏@IMAO_

You voted to burn down the GOP. Mission Accomplished. Stop pretending you were voting to stop Hillary.

Offline truth_seeker

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Re: FreedomWorks flips in Neb. Senate race
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 05:47:15 PM »
Kibbe gets paid commissions for fundraising and again for advertising placements no matter the result. He's got a nice small narrow, deep and loud market niche.

But they are going to be carefully watched because they are mainly second raters.

Second rate leadership and second rate candidates. If they were first rate, they would probably already be on the "establishment" side.

But it will be a good niche for them for awhile.

A few carefully chosen buzz words: grass roots, we the people, patriot, and you can raise some money.

Too bad we are having this unnecessary internal battle, when it can cost us the larger more important battle with the true enemy.

Sometimes I wonder if the TP isn't a secret ploy by the democrats, to keep their opponents at each others' throats.

Then I stand back, and realize it is entirely within the range of Republican screw-ups, for them to come from our side.

Stupid as it is, it is nothing new.

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