This morning, Fred Knapp with Nebraska Public Media shared his “Exit Interview” with Governor Pete Ricketts. Mr. Knapp asked Governor Ricketts about “an element of the new leadership, called the Nebraska Freedom Coalition…”. While our views are actually closely aligned on policy with Governor Ricketts and those of the Republican Party, Governor Ricketts made claims to the contrary. Additionally, more than once during the interview, Governor Ricketts also exclaimed that anytime someone isn’t honest with you, it makes things difficult. He even goes as far as to say, “When people are going to be dishonest, you’re going to have bad consequences.” Without meaning to, we believe Governor Ricketts perfectly summed up his time as the chief executive of our state.
We’ve always been happy to give Governor Ricketts credit where it’s due, namely in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and keeping unemployment low. He’s been strong on the economy, though, none of these are the qualms we hold with him & his administration. One of the primary differences between those that hold “our views” and those of Governor Ricketts is that we genuinely believe in putting Nebraskans first as opposed to further serving the corporate Uniparty.
Ultimately, we were looking forward to him and his hand-picked party leadership accomplishing so much more. They failed to deliver on key parts of their conservative platform, including a filibuster-proof legislature, long-promised property tax relief, widely supported school choice, an abortion ban in the wake of Roe v Wade, and long-awaited constitutional carry. As the top Republican in the state, not only did he fail the party, he failed the people who voted for him.
When asked about his greatest accomplishment, Ricketts struggled to decently respond. Mr. Knapp even has to keep the Governor honest by correcting him that his “property tax relief” has only masked a structural problem, and provides citations specifically as to why. The policy blunders aren’t even half the problem with Ricketts though. The culture he molded in state politics was for the absolute worst. Never mind the stickers and t-shirts those on the left have unceremoniously created on his behalf, Governor Ricketts lost total control of his party in the end. Over time, Ricketts and his team lost the trust of Nebraska Republicans. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise. When surrounded by yes men, grifters, and elitists, you truly have no clue what a “broad swath of Republicans” think.
Our mission that we have sought out from the beginning is that Nebraskans should always be put first. Governor Ricketts’ response to that is he doesn’t think that mission is representative of a broad swath of Republicans. Ricketts’ dissonant approach of excluding members of the Republican Party who voiced any opposition or aversion to him or his consultants over the years is exactly why Nebraska Republicans united against him and his henchmen this summer. It was unfortunate to see him flee the state convention scared and premature as he saw the writing on the wall.
Governor Ricketts’ time in office included executive directors caught up in lawsuits and resignations, while his own Chairman he forcibly inserted was on record for having been directed to ostracize certain party members. This is all representative of Ricketts’ failed leadership within. If Governor Ricketts really knew what views a large majority of Republicans held, his hand-crafted team wouldn’t have been constitutionally removed from leadership — talk about tone-deaf. His hand-picked successor wouldn’t have received barely one-third of the Republican vote across the state. Maybe if Governor Ricketts' intentions were sincere and 'honest' as he espoused in the interview, he could have prevented all of this from happening.
While Ricketts may have done some positive things as Governor, there are numerous things as the top Republican leader in the state that he failed at. He did not lead the party, grow the party, or retake ground from the Left. Just the opposite, in fact; he gave ground. And while Ricketts may have loved ‘running Nebraska like a business’, those of the Good Life are no longer interested in what the snake oil salesman is selling.
Merry Christmas, from all of us at the Nebraska Freedom Coalition!