Nebraska republican US Senator Ben Strasse
Nebraska republican US Senator Ben Strasse

Recent news about a freshman US conservative republican senator deciding to publicly question the US Senate’s value to the American taxpayers caught my attention, and so I am sharing his story. It is important to note that this newbie senator has been referred to as a tea party’s dream candidate.

NPR Ron Elving provides some background on 11/3/15 about this Senator Ben Sasse:

“Sasse had an unusual path to the Senate. He got a Harvard undergraduate degree, studied at Oxford and got graduate degrees from St. John’s College and Yale University (history Ph.D.). He worked for a prestigious business consulting firm, taught history and served as president of Midland University, a small Lutheran college in Fremont, Neb.”

The Nebraskan freshman republican US Senator, Ben Sasse delivered his first speech on the floor after one year of service. On the November 3, 2015 Breitbart blog, Matthew Boyle posted excerpts from the Senator’s speech. He described how the senator dropped a major bomb on those listening to his maiden speech by questioning the existence of the U.S. Senate. The following is what Mr. Boyle wrote:

“Sasse began his speech by explaining exactly why he waited a full year after the 2014 elections to deliver his maiden speech. A newly elected Senator’s maiden floor speech is always a significant deal for them, and Sasse has been outspoken against the permanent political class in venues outside the Senate floor until now. Now that he’s fighting against Washington, D.C., on the floor, he’s likely only going to get bolder and bolder in how he goes after the career politician class.”

Senator Ben Stasse
Senator Ben Stasse

“Sasse, a freshman conservative, said:

I’ve done two things in my adult worklife: I’m a historian by training and a strategy guy by vocation. Before becoming a college president, I helped over a dozen organizations find strategies to get through some very ugly crises. One important lesson I learned over and over is that, when you walk into any troubled organization, there is a delicate balance between expressing human empathy and yet not passively sweeping hard truths under the rug. On the one hand, it is absolutely essential to listen first, to ask questions first to learn how a broken institution got to where it is because there are reasons. Things drift and fray for reasons; people rarely set out to break special institutions they inherit. Still, empathy cannot change the reality that a bankrupt company is spending more to build its products than customers are willing to pay for them; a college with too few students is not only out of money but out of spirit; a charity that cannot persuade enough donors to invest in its cause might not have the right cause.”

2014-2015 Freshpersons in senate
2014-2015 recent additions to US senate

“Because of this goal of empathetic listening first, of coming to sit and privately interview many of you and also because of a pledge I made to Nebraskans in deference to an old Senate tradition I have waited. But please do not misunderstand: Do not confuse a deliberate approach with passivity. I ran because I think that the public is right that we as a people are not tackling the generational crises that we face: We don’t have a long-term foreign policy for the age of jihad and cyber war; our entitlement budgets are completely fake; we are entering an age where work and jobs will be more fundamentally disrupted than at any point since hunter-gatherers first settled in agrarian villages. And yet we don’t really have any plans. I think the public is right that we as a Congress are not shepherding the country through the serious debates we must have about the future of this great nation.”

“Sasse said he spends his weekends at home in Nebraska and hears from his constituents about how awful Washington, D.C. really is to ordinary Americans. He said:”

“If I can be brutally honest for a moment: I’m home basically every weekend, and what I hear  and what I’m sure most of you hear is some version of this: A pox on both parties and all your houses. We don’t believe politicians are even trying to fix this mess. To the Republicans, to those who claim this new majority is leading the way: Few believe that. To the grandstanders who use this institution as a platform for outside pursuits: Few believe the country’s needs are as important to you as your ambitions. To the Democrats, who did this body harm through nuclear tactics: Few believe bare-knuckled politics are a substitute for principled governing. And does anyone doubt that many on both the right and the left now salivate for more of these radical tactics? The people despise us all. And why is this? Because we’re not doing the job we were sent here to do. The Senate isn’t tackling the great national problems that worry those we work for.”


“I do not think there is any magic bullet to restore the Senate,” Sasse said. “My purpose in speaking today is basically just to move into public discussions I’ve already been having in private as I try to define a personal strategy for how to use this Floor. I want advice. I am opening a conversation and soliciting input on how to contribute to the broader team, and there are many of you who want an upgrading of our debate, our prioritization, and our seriousness about the bigger challenges.”



  1. He lost me with this statement, “To the Democrats, who did this body harm through nuclear tactics: Few believe bare-knuckled politics are a substitute for principled governing.”


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