Omaha Going Obamaha? ‘Not a Shot,’ Republicans Say

OMAHA, 12:33 p.m. CDT —  With a life-size, cardboard cutout of George W. Bush standing sentinel over a bank of phones, a retired school teacher makes her pitch for four more years of Republican leadership.

Glenda Bahr works the phones with George W. Bush looking on.  BRAD DAVIS/The Ballot Box

Glenda Bahr works the phones with George W. Bush looking on. BRAD DAVIS/The Ballot Box

Even as the buzz around Omaha says the city might choose a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1964, Glenda Bahr says that’s not going to happen.

Omahans are too practical, too grounded, to buy into Obama, Bahr says.

“You have people that are extremists,” she says of Obama and the Democrats.  “I don’t think as a general rule we are extremists.  We have stability here.”

Area Republican leaders are counting on that stability to deliver the Omaha area’s one electoral vote to John McCain.

Even though polls have shown a close race in Omaha, David Bywater, executive director of the local Republican office, says Republicans will prevail in the end.

“They come in here and try to buy the votes.  It’s not gonna happen,” he says of the Obama campaign’s three offices in Omaha.  The McCain campaign relies on the county party to spread its message.

Glenda Bahr says she volunteers two or three times a week for the Republican Party.  BRAD DAVIS/The Ballot Box

Glenda Bahr says she volunteers two or three times a week for the Republican Party. BRAD DAVIS/The Ballot Box

That’s where Bahr comes in.  She volunteers two or three times each week.  The country’s future depends on it, she says.

“All of our freedoms are in jeopardy, as far as I’m concerned,” Bahr says.

She says she’s concerned about Obama’s tax plan, which she calls a “redistribution of wealth.”

People should work for the benefit of themselves, Bahr says, not others: “I have no pride in someone else’s achievements.”

Sarah Palin, especially, espouses solid, Heartland values, Bahr says.

“‘You betcha’ is what I speak,” Bahr says.

Growing up in a farm town of 800 people, Bahr says she learned the value of working together — not because the government mandates it, which is what she says Obama would do, but because it’s the right thing to do.

A word of encouragement at the entrance to the Douglas County Republican Party offices.  BRAD DAVIS/The Ballot Box

A word of encouragement at the entrance to the Douglas County Republican Party offices. BRAD DAVIS/The Ballot Box

“People are responsible for themselves and their community,” she says.

Coastal cities might be enamored with Obama’s lofty speeches, Bahr says, but Omahans won’t be hornswaggled.

“Omaha is never like those places,” she says.  “We’re not whiners so much.”

— BY BRAD DAVIS

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