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He's under fire merely for being a "stand-up" man


Races of the Week:Terry vs. Thompson

He’s under fire merely for being a “stand-up” man

Six years ago, Lee Terry came to Congress with the biggest percentage of the vote (66%) of any Republican member of the House GOP’s “Class of ’98.” In his two subsequent trips to the ballot box, Terry was re-elected with similar handsome margins in Nebraska’s Omaha-based 2nd District. In most places, Democrats would get the message and realize that a strong challenge to Terry (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 83%) is a waste of time and money.

But no, they don’t see it this way in Nebraska and, as always, the 42-year-old Terry faces a well-known liberal Democratic opponent fueled by donations from the AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education, the National Education Association, and many other “usual suspects” on the Left. This year, the candidate is Nancy Thompson, a state senator who served as deputy chief of staff to Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson when he was two-term governor of the Cornhusker State.

“And I guess that’s the price you pay when you’re a stand-up person,” said Terry dryly, noting that Thompson has so far raised more money, “but that’s what I am.” Indeed, the former Omaha City Council president wears his pro-life stand like an Olympic Gold Medal, believing in only one exception, the life of the mother, and calling for outlawing abortion completely. He welcomes the support of the National Rifle Association (“A gun doesn’t make you inherently evil”) and is one of six House members in a caucus set up to explore the eventual privatization of Medicare.

But lately Terry has been under fire from Thompson mostly for his votes for the Bush tax cuts and his outspoken defense of the President for deposing Saddam Hussein and rebuilding Iraq. As Terry notes, “My opponent–who is obviously getting her lines from the Democratic National Committee playbook–says the tax cuts are building for the rich. And this is at a time when wage-earners across the board are having their savings go up 10% after taxes. How she cannot connect the dots between the tax cuts and greater savings and prosperity is beyond me!”

On Iraq, Thompson takes the Kerry line of increasing criticism of the U.S. presence in Baghdad, as violence rises and doubts about “Operation Iraqi Freedom” grow among the American public. Undaunted, Rep. Terry vociferously backs the President, hailing the U.S. action in Iraq as “the boldest international strategy I have ever seen–bolder than Ronald Reagan’s, saying ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!'” Noting that public schools are opening, human rights are established, and Iraq is proceeding on schedule toward a stable democracy, the Nebraskan said, “Sure, there are going to be some problems in a transition like this and there will be some hurt. But so far, all the cards are falling in our favor and if Iraq becomes a lasting democracy, that will go a long way toward finally achieving peace in the Middle East.”

No one ever accused Lee Terry of being shy, a fair-weather friend, or a fence straddler. The reason he inevitably faces well-funded opposition is the same reason conservatives should rally to his side: he’s a stand-up person.

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as ???the man who knows everyone in Washington??? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on what???s going on in the nation???s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as ???Gizzi on Politics??? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of ???Gizzi???s America,??? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. John???s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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