Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

I love baseball. I collected baseball cards when I was little and still store some of my “valuable” ones in the basement in case of a tornado. (My iPad isn’t that protected). I enjoy listening to all the great announcers while sitting in the tractor or driving down the road. I love most baseball movies but most of all I enjoy the craftiness of pitchers.

Greg Maddux is known for his craftiness on the ball diamond. He was the type of pitcher that could get into your head and set you up to make you look ridiculous and get you to do what he wanted. ( It was fun to watch unless you were cheering for the opposing team.

In our state legislature we have a Senator who is like Greg Maddux. He can get you to do what he wants and how he wants when you try to engage him in a debate on the floor. No time was that more impressive than yesterday during a debate on a change to our Corn Checkoff program in our state.

ernie chambers

Senator Ernie Chambers the Greg Maddux of filibusters

Senator Chambers masterfully threw his array of pitches at  “not as experienced” senators constantly setting them up. Then as soon as he had them where he wanted he would lead them to the answer he wanted not the answer that they wanted to give.

Senator Chambers was Greg Maddux yesterday and while it was masterful to watch it was frustrating as a supporter of the bill. Senator Larson’s cockiness reminded of any young hitter that thought they could hit Maddux’s 90mph fastball out of the park. They went back to the dugout dragging their bat. Here though, Larson had to pick up his 16 page bill, now shredded into a million pieces, go back to his office and try not just to save his bill but save his reputation as a policy maker as he wanted, he threw a changeup that every single senator swung at and missed. During this time poor Senator Larson, the introducer of the bill, looked extremely foolish. Senator Chambers could have told him the answer he wanted, re-asked the question, and Larson still would have been made to look foolish. (Much like a pitcher actually telling a batter what pitch is coming next)

Any young batter or pitcher would be wise to seek out Greg Maddux even now that he is retired to find out how he did it in his prime and what they should be doing to be able to mimic his ability.  Any senator, young or old, fresh or veteran, would also be wise to seek out Senator Chambers and learn from the master.


Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower                                                     (

ability to lead: As early as sixth grade she displayed remarkableleadership potential. authoritativeness, influence,command, effectiveness; sway, clout.       (

One of the most frustrating things in life is when you have someone who is supposed to be a leader and it turns out they have absolutely no desire to do it.  They will give lip service to it and “act” like a leader but when it actually comes to making the tough decisions they become a follower or an excuse maker.  This doesn’t matter if it is an Elder/Pastor in a church, a coach on a team, a husband or a member of Congress. Those that are truly leaders will lead and those that aren’t only get in the way.

In agriculture right now there is a very important bill that is stalled out in the House of Representatives.  Many  of you know I am talking about the Farm Bill.  It is a bill that is not only important to farmers but also to the school lunch program and SNAP (food stamps).  Why, pray tell, is this stalled out?  It is because of the lack of leadership from the Speaker of the House and certain individual Congressmen. They have wasted 80 hours of debate time to vote on the Repeal Obamacare 33 different times knowing full well that the Senate will not take it up.  I have no problem with a symbolic vote but 33 of them borders on insanity.

In Nebraska, especially the 3rd Congressional District, we are blessed with the “Golden Triangle” of corn, ethanol and cattle. If we are not the single largest grower, producer and raiser of each of these then we are a close second.  Anything that affects these three things is a big deal.  Ag is the main driver in this district from actual crop and livestock production to irrigation and equipment manufacturers in addition to all the other industries that are ag related. When something as important as the Farm Bill comes up to the House and Senate, we expect are delegation to lead in the battle. We thank our Senators for doing this.

However, our Congressman Rep. Adrian Smith, is not leading on this.  Oh, he is saying the talking points like:
  –“ag committee only trimmed Nutrition Title by a few percentage points when the spending for it as quadrupled in the last number of years.
  –“Senate recessed without taking up a disaster bill that the House passed” (There is disaster relief in the Senate farm bill)
  –“we are about a year ahead of schedule when compared to the last farm bill” (A failure to lead then is not an excuse to not lead now)
  –“the bill would come to the floor if the Speaker had the votes” (Be a leader and get those votes)

I know he isn’t on the Ag Committee and is on the Ways and Means committee but he is constantly making a big deal about the caucuses he chairs like the Congressional Rural Caucus and the Modern Agriculture Caucus but being the chair is not the same as leading the fight in the battle for the Farm Bill.  It is time for Rep. Smith to step up and truly fight for his 3rd District which we elected him to do.  It is time to work for the floor and find the votes to pass the bill so it can get to Conference Committee.  It is time to show the people back here why we elected him and that he does think all of ag is important in his district and he isn’t just giving lip service to stay in power.  And, by the way, when invited to speak in front of a bunch of corn farmers, don’t find any excuse to not come. (That doesn’t show leadership but a lack of testicular fortitude to face your critics)

If our Congressmen are going to refuse to truly lead on these issues that we know are important for agriculture then it is time to flood their offices with phone calls and emails.  It is time for us to demand answers when we have the opportunity to talk to  them one on one. It is time for the editorials asking these key questions of “if not now, then when and if not you, then who?”