Skip to content

August 11, 2011


Kleeb says Bruning should resign… and collect sleeping bags

by Deena Winter

Jane Kleeb

Bold Nebraska founder Jane Kleeb

A bold Nebraska Democrat is “challenging” Attorney General Jon Bruning to resign his position in the wake of his campaign trail gaffe in which he likened people on welfare to raccoons scavenging for beetles.

Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Jon Bruning

Bruning made the comment while campaigning in Papillion for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Ben Nelson.

Jane Kleeb — founder of the liberal blog Bold Nebraska and wife of former congressional candidate Scott Kleeb — today said Bruning should step down from his day job “so he can focus on his campaign and feel free to say what he will about our fellow Nebraskans without tainting the high-level position he currently holds. His prejudices against an entire group of Nebraskans prohibit him from objectively doing his job.”

But that’s not all. She also challenged him to start collecting new sleeping bags for kids, saying, “As we start our school year, we have far too many homeless kids whose parents are trying to squeeze by and often have to sleep on floors of friends’ and families’ homes. Welfare is a safety net, and the sleeping bags can be a welcome comfort for too many kids in our state.”

Uh, okay. I get the first challenge — the one about stepping down. That’s something I would expect from a hyper-Democrat like Kleeb. But calling on him to gather up sleeping bags for homeless kids?

Bruning is all over the press for this apparently off-the-cuff remark he made while stumping last weekend at the Heartland Liberty Fest, which is sponsored by the Libertarian Party, Americans for Prosperity and the state Republican Party.

The fallout from Bruning’s remarks — which he has apologized for, saying they were “inartful” — includes an Omaha TV report that delved into racial overtones, which was duly reported by Politico today. The TV reporter said, “For Teela Mickles and other African-Americans we talked to, the raccoon reference brought back visions of an insulting anti-black caricature that is dehumanizing, portrayed as idle, lazy and inarticulate.”

And you can bet Bruning’s opponents won’t let people forget the remark in the coming months.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Roger Yant
    Aug 11 2011

    Kleeb why don’t you go and monitor all your friends in the Democratic party! If all politicians would have to resign after making a gaff, there would be no politicians left. (which is not a bad idea) I love how pious they the dems get at times. They have a campaign to Kill Romney. Get over it Kleeb, he did not mean it that way, what he said is 100% true, now get over it. I am not a supporter of Brunning myself, but for God’s sake, why don’t you dems come up with some ideas instead of running down the people running for office. If you have a policy of Brunnings you don’t like, lets hear it, now that is fair game. You dems are nothing but hypocrites.

  2. Brian T. Osborn
    Aug 12 2011

    I am a Democrat, a disgruntled one, but a Democrat none-the-less. I find your comments to be ill considered, rude and, to put it bluntly, ignorant. I agree with some of your points more than you can imagine, but the things you rant about directed at Democrats are just as applicable to Republicans and Tea Party adherents.
    When you say that the Democrats in Nebraska don’t have ideas you are dead wrong. They have ideas; however, they find it difficult to have them heard and acted upon. I attended the NDP State Convention last year and witnessed the collective will of the party’s legally elected representatives (state convention delegates) totally ignored by the entrenched hierarchy. Dozens of people contributed to the NDP’s platform and proposed resolutions that were swept into the Orwellian “memory holes” the same day that the convention ended. If anything proposed by the grassroots rank and file displeases the “leader” of the NDP (Sen. Ben Nelson) then it is ignored … forgotten. Tell me this doesn’t happen in the NEGOP. I dare you.
    There was once an official blog on the NDP website. Any Nebraska Democrat could voice their opinions on it, rightfully so since the blog belonged to them. I posted something that was critical of Sen. Nelson and the NDP Chair, Vic Covalt, shut the blog down, effectively stifling the right of Nebraska’s Democrats to have their voices heard in a venue that they, in theory, owned.
    Certainly, there are other means of raising one’s voice. There is this blog, where I am a newcomer and don’t yet know what to expect. There is one posted by a Nelson sycophant where I used to post but have long since boycotted due to the moderator’s hypocritical habit of saying one thing … and doing another. Leavenworth Street has proven to be perhaps the most welcoming of divergent opinions. There are others, but without the readership of those mentioned.
    I have pretty much abandoned my active participation in the NDP because I am thoroughly disgusted with the way the party is being run. I was deeply involved, even sitting on its executive committee at one time. What I saw and heard at the meetings proved to me that, so long as the party is run as it has been, the people will never have any voice in making any significant changes. They refuse to allow discussion of the genuinely serious topics, while using up all the available time at meetings with unmitigated bullshit designed to cloud the minds of those in attendance. The party is run by a small coterie of egomaniacs, not by the people as it should be. The only thing they care about is money, money, and more money. The could give a rat’s ass about what the people want. They only want to take care of their own little fiefdoms.
    As for Bruning, I have found him to be an immature and power hungry egomaniac of the worst kind. He hates people on welfare while he has basically slopped at the welfare trough his entire life. He’d better be careful because most of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are welfare babies that slop at the same trough … only they call it subsidies.

  3. Roger Yant
    Aug 12 2011

    Guess you did not understand my rant. If Brunning would have been a Democrats I would have stood up for that person. I’m tired of the gotcha moments by both sides, lets stick to the issues. Kleeb calling for him to step down was asinine. He ment it as he said it, now let it go. Ask him questions about what he will do if elected. But nice response from you. I like you am disgusted with the party I have been part of for years, that is why I no longer call myself a Republican, I am a registered independent. I say fire all 536 in DC and lets get people in there that can sit down and together compromise and get things done. As far as the Democrats not having a voice in the state, I do believe they control the two largest cities.

  4. Brian T. Osborn
    Aug 12 2011

    I can read, and I understood your rant perfectly.
    I, too, haven’t much love for “gotcha” moments, but Jon Bruning has demonstrated a more than normal propensity for saying things a person in his position shouldn’t. I don’t believe that he has demonstrated the kind of maturity that a representative, at any level in government, should have.
    Ms. Kleeb and I agree on occasion, and at times our opinions diverge. In this case, I have to side with her. I know that she, like me, has found the NDP to be a dysfunctional organization and, with her Bold Nebraska, is attempting to do what the NDP has so miserably failed at – providing a platform from which the voice of the people may be heard. I respect her for that, but I disagree with some of her methods.
    You have demonstrated your own hypocrisy by pointing your fickle finger of blame at all Democrats. Perhaps you should turn around and view the group you just left. I believe you would see they are just as guilty of the sins you so heartily point out in the Democratic camp. You need to also demand of the Republican Party that they come up with some answers to our problems, not just blaming them on the weakest amongst us. That is just too damned easy.
    Better yet, Roger, tell us what YOUR ideas are, rather than just running down an entire segment of our state’s population (let alone just those running for office.)

  5. AB
    Aug 15 2011

    Dem or Repub – they are different, but also the same. Should we not hold all citizens seeking representative office to a higher standard of compassion, intelligence, and awareness for all the citizens they seek to represent? Are they not public servants? Rather than tossing ill-conceived red meat to his audience at this event, should he have stepped up and been a leader, with thoughtful direction for how to address the issue of inequality and lack of opportunity, elements which are dragging our nation down?

    For Mr. Bruning to have such disregard in his brain, mouth and perhaps heart towards people who may not have been as lucky as he has been shows me a candidate, whether Dem or Repub, who is not worthy to represent us. How much longer do we as a people want to agree to have such types in charge of our nation’s forward motion and destiny?

    I vote that we find men and women of greater stature to campaign for office, of whatever party.

  6. AB
    Aug 15 2011

    Excuse me, not “ill-conceived red meat” it should be “ill-conceived beetles.”

  7. Aug 16 2011


    Bold Nebraska is collecting sleeping bags because lots of kids whose moms and dads are on welfare often sleep on the floor of friends/family homes and a sleeping bag of their own is a welcome and needed item.

    All of us Bold Nebraska combine politics with ideas, issues and action. We think that combination is often missing in politics and we try to do our best to always give people an opportunity to act on their values and on issues they care about.

    Today, Jon Bruning dropped off 4 sleeping bags today, actions matter and we appreciate his donation.

    You can help us meet our 100 sleeping bag goal…drop-off locations are below or you can buy one online as well.

    Bold Nebraska, 1141 H Street, 3rd Floor, Lincoln

    Jane Kleeb’s Home, 1010 North Denver Ave, Hastings

    Ryan Sherwood Office: 3919 S 147th, Suite 120, Omaha (behind the 24hr Fitness)

    Buy a sleeping bag online, we created a wish list where you can just click and send to us,


Your take

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: