Sen. Sasse: 'We Should Be Talking About Where the Country Is Going to Be in 10 Years'

By Susan Jones | September 10, 2018 | 6:27 AM EDT

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) (Photo: Screen capture/C-SPAN)

( - Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, says he considers himself "an independent conservative who caucuses with Republicans." He said politicians in both parties should be looking ahead instead of sniping at each other:

Yes, so I'm one of about eight people in the U.S. Senate who has never been a politician before.

And I think I have been saying for three years that I conceive of myself as an independent conservative who caucuses with the Republicans. But, frankly, neither of these parties have a long-term vision for the future of the country.

You know, 10 years from now, where are we going to be in the future of work, when young people are disrupted out of jobs three times a decade, future war and cyber, the collapse of community? Like, there's massive stuff happening in America. And these parties are really pretty content to do 24-hour news cycle screaming at each other.

The main thing that the Democrats are for is being anti-Republican and anti-Trump, and the main thing Republicans are for is being anti-Democrat and anti-CNN. And neither of these things are really worth getting out of bed in the morning for.

I think we should be talking about where the country is going to be in 10 years. So, I have been saying for a long time that these parties need to reform and have a future-focused vision. And we're not there yet.

Sasse said he often thinks about changing his party affiliation to indepedent: "I probably think about it every morning when I wake up and I figure out, why -- why am I flying away from Nebraska to go to D.C. this week? Are we going to get real stuff done?


"So I'm committed to the party of Lincoln and Reagan, as long as there's a chance to reform it. But this party used to be for some pretty definable stuff. And, frankly, neither of these parties are for very much more than being anti. And anti, or anti-anti, or anti-anti-anti, it's pretty boring stuff.  We should be focused on the long term. And I would love to see the party of Lincoln and Reagan get back to its roots."

Sasse, no fan of Donald Trump, did concede that "the president has done some good things." He mentioned the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and deregulation as examples.

"I think Donald Trump, in the campaign of 2015-2016, was obviously right that Washington, D.C., doesn't work and does need to be disrupted. But then the question is, the disruption toward what end?

"I mean, truly, cyber is going to be the center of warfare for the next decade and for the next century. What are we doing about it? There's some really good people the president's put in place. General Paul Nakasone at NSA and Cyber Command, wonderful guy.

"But is the White House using its power and its convening power and its focus to help the American people understand the future of warfare, or do we do the drama of Omarosa today and Cohen tomorrow and Manafort the next day?"

Asked if he might run for president in 2020, Sasse joked, "The odds are a lot higher that I run for the Noxious Weed Control Board of Dodge County, Nebraska, than that."

"I'm pretty happy living in Nebraska and going to D.C. five days a week trying to serve the best I can," Sasse added.

"Right now, we spend way too much time talking about campaigning in this country and way little time -- too little time talking about governing. So, in the next week-and-a-half, I'm going to be introducing a piece legislation for ethics reform in D.C. And I think that's a better place to spend our time and energy."

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