Ashford’s secret plan?

Sent in from a reader hanging about the Legislature, a little “Medicine Man” related Separated at Birth:

Connery-Garrett-SAB 01

Ponytailed Rainforest Researcher, Sean Connery, and State Senator, Tommy Garrett!


Here is one we heard recently:

Word is going around the House leadership in our nation’s capital that Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford is…interested in switching parties and running as a Republican in 2016.

You don’t quite need to do a spit-take. But it does seem a little ridiculous, and maybe something that someone in DC thought sounded sensical, without asking anyone from the District.

Sure Ashford has voted with Republicans on a few bills so far. But he hasn’t strayed THAT far from the Dems, and certainly went hard-core left on the recent gay-marriage ruling to thwart any good will he may have built up on the hard right.

One of the thoughts in DC is that Ashford figures that he might/will get primaried from the LEFT in Nebraska’s 2nd District — Jane Kleeb hinted that her Mr. Jane Kleeb could come out of political retirement with a move to Omaha. So the thinking then goes, well Ashford could run as a Republican and everything would be both hunky and dory (as the late Col. Potter used to say).

But those on the Hill must have not glanced at the the last election in the 2nd to see that the right wing is charging hard, and would NEVER support an Ashford candidacy.

And then there is even the little fact that Ashford couldn’t even get traction in a crowded Mayor’s primary — let alone a match with all Republicans.

Maybe there’s an inkling there that says, if Ashford figured he would certainly lose a Democrat primary, then he could instad try to run as a Republican. But the risk to run, and lose, as a Republican would be even greater than the risk of running against a Scott Fleming-Kleeb.

Fun thought experiment in any case.


Did you catch the story in Lincoln where Democrat Mayor Chris Beutler — who has been hammered about the condition of city roads — magically FOUND $10 million, and is VOILA!, going to fix the roads!

And one might say, “Found ten MILLION dollars?”
Usually followed by, “What the hell?”

Well, his challenger, Republican Andy Stebbing looked into it, and is yelling, essentially, “Stupid or Liar?”

“I wonder how many more millions of taxpayer dollars are in that rabbit hole for Mr. Beutler to find and spend on his re-election effort,” said Rod Edwards, campaign manager for Andy Stebbings’s Mayoral Campaign.

“If you look at the timeline of Mr. Beutler’s announcements, it shows either he has no idea what is going on with the city budget, or else he knows exactly where the money is hidden and he’s squirreling it away for his special projects when he needs to look good for his re-election. It’s either incompetence or he’s not being honest with taxpayers. Lincoln’s citizens deserve better,” Edwards said.
(Emphasis added)

The Stebbing camp noted that a year ago Beutler declared the Antelope Valley project, “closed out”. And now suddenly when his campaign needs some Walking Around Money (aka WAM!), Hey, there’s ten million bucks!

Adds Stebbing’s campaign manager Rod Edwards:

“Mr. Beutler owes an explanation and an apology to the taxpayers of Lincoln for either hiding their money or being out of touch with his own budget.”

No doubt Don Walton will get right on this…

To hear how a REAL government budget hawk goes about saving money for taxpayers, listen to my interview with Lancaster County Treasurer, and Lincoln Mayoral candidate Andy Stebbing, here.


That’s something about Hillary having a private account for her government emails, huh?

It’s almost like she INTENTIONALLY mixed her private and work emails so that they would all be unrecognizable.

That is some amazing stuff — and there is bipartisan exasperation at this sort of subterfuge.

Can you IMAGINE something like that occurring, say, at the STATE level?

Can you?


Would be something, huh?


ICYMI, Nebraska Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer had some prime real estate at the Benjamin Netanyahu address in the House the other day.

Sens Sasse and Fischer

Both heaped praise on Netanyahu after the speech, and warned the President on making any bad deals with Iran.


Senator Sasse is taking to the pages of the National Review once again, this time to make his case for the stop-gap plan for those who may get their insurance cut-off, because of Obamacare screw-ups:

Those in Congress who, like me, oppose Obamacare cannot sit by and let the governors twist in the wind. We must help them do the principled thing while helping those most affected by the administration’s illegal actions. We cannot let Obamacare expand geographically by setting up state exchanges, nor can we extend Obamacare’s unlawful subsidies. The former would rubber-stamp Obamacare state-by-state and the latter would baptize the unlawful actions of the Obama administration.

This is the case that Sasse recently presented in the WSJ, and you can read the whole thing here.


Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s office recieved a “Glitter Bomb” from a pro-choice group who thought they were super-clever and hit the Congressman where he lives: by making a mess on some staffer’s desk.

What’s a “glitter bomb” you ask? How does something called a “bomb” get into a Congressman’s office these days?

Well, here’s a video of a reporter who ordered one for himself (it’s cued up at the point where he gets it):

It is a little confusing how something like this still gets through the system, after the whole anthrax attack and all. This is hilarious AND biting and all — up until the glitter is coated in poison, or somesuch.

If Julie Schmit-Albin REALLY wants to make a statement, she should send Fort a dustbuster.

The Wheels Down Politics Show – Andy Stebbing

(Click above to play in the browser or Direct download by clicking here, or by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.)

Andy Stebbing 01Jerry Kratochvil talks with Lancaster County Treasurer and candidate for Mayor of Lincoln, Andy Stebbing.

Andy and Jerry discuss Andy’s career in law enforcement, his eventual run for Lancaster County Treasurer, and his list of achievements as Treasurer. They continue to discuss the current state of Lincoln, and Andy’s priorities for the city versus those of the current two-term Democrat Mayor (seeking his third) Chris Beutler.
Twitter: @Stebbing4Mayor

You can find this, and all of our podcasts at and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.

Who stood out on the Gay Marriage decision?

Doug Peterson 01Observing the various folk during the rollout of Judge Joe Bataillon’s Gay Marriage decision…

(Disclosure: I was a law clerk at the firm Judge Bataillon worked at until he took the bench in 1997. I was certainly friendly and worked on files with him during that time — though I haven’t spoken to him in years.)

First, it is really worth noting that Bataillon is a respected and well thought of judge and was the same as a lawyer.

But…Battalion’s ruling was a foregone conclusion. He had already ruled on essentially the same issue back in 2005, and no one thought he was going to suddenly flip now.

(By the way, note that the Judge’s decision was heavily based on children of gay couples — which I’ve always believed is at the nut of this issue, for both sides: What is the relationship of gay parents with adopted kids, and those who want to adopt. The next knock-down-drag-out of course is, How will it be “taught” in schools?)

And this is a political issue. Battalion was a Bill Clinton nominee, and was Chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party. This wasn’t that hard for him. This issue has been split by many judges, and if one wanted to find the Nebraska law unconstitutional, there was not really a problem to find supporting caselaw, either way.

Which made Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson’s critique interesting. He noted that after reading Battalion’s ruling three times, he never really could find much of an argument against the law — just a listing of cases that agreed with his conclusion.

Kind of harsh? Mabye.

But Peterson was making a political argument as well as a legal one, and did so perfectly.

Peterson stood up next to Governor Pete Ricketts in their presser and gave calm, succinct responses to all of the questions from the super-conservative members of the press who were clearly on Peterson and Ricketts’ side.

What? No?
Not so much?

Anywho, Peterson got the obvious, “Isn’t this just like women’s rights and the civil rights issues of the 60’s?”

And he calmly responded…that he isn’t a talk show host. (OK, that’s my line.) His job isn’t to consider emotion and earnestness. His job is to look at the law — the Nebraska Constitution in this case — and defend what is in the Constitution.

Between the calm demeanor and the giant clunky glasses, Peterson looks and acts the part of A.G. perfectly and nailed it during the presser.

Ricketts, on the other hand was interesting. He immediately came out and blasted Battalion in his press release as an activist judge who was thwarting the will of the people of Nebraska. OK. But as Peterson put it, there was much to criticize in the written decision itself without simply trying to hammer the person.

And then Ricketts was doing fine in his answers — responding to the, “Well, couldn’t the will of the people have CHANGED during the past 15 years!!!!!” from an overwrought reporter.

Ricketts (good): “The people voted, and we don’t poll them every year to see if their feelings have changed…” (paraphrasing).

…making the strong legal point, but then…

Ricketts (bad): “…and when I went around the state during the campaign, people told me they consider marriage between a man and a woman…”

…which just negated the good point.

Oh well.

But maybe Ricketts felt the need to burnish his conservative bona fides by re-expressing how much he is in favor of traditional marriage.

On the other hand, there were Tweets like those from OWH’s Mike’l Severe, saying it was “tough” to read Ricketts’ statement because he otherwise likes Ricketts “as a person and I have a tough time understanding someone agreeing with denying civil rights.”

Which is fine… but its not as if this is some sort of surprise position from Ricketts.

Like it or not, everyone will likely get to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court decision in a few months to see how this shakes out.

And then everyone can continuing pretending to be shocked.


Depending on when you read this, the Winner Take All debate is still chugging along in the Unicameral.

In any case, a number of issues came back around as CPAC was finishing up in DC last week (stay with me here).

See, Rand Paul won the Presidential vote…again. Because his supporters jammed the conference…again. And like Forest Gump touring the White House, Paul supporters showed…again… that if you REALLY try, it’s not super difficult to win tiny votes.

Those on the Paul side have accomplished it in the Douglas County GOP. They almost did it a few years ago at the state level.

And it hit home when Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale was talking about why the proportional distribution of Electoral Votes is a bad idea.

His point is that fringe-ish groups (let us never refer to the Paulies as fully “fringe”!), can win smaller elections. And in the case of the Electoral College, you could see the whole thing screwed up if you went that route.

But, some say, it should be good enough for Nebraska! Look at us!
Nebraskans can handle things! Nebraskans are smaht! Not like everybody says… like dumb! Nebraskans are smaht and want respect!
(Yes, you get a nickel for ID’ing that line.)

It’s as if some Nebraskans (particularly those in the media) always have to check to see what the cool kids think of them.
The LJS last week ran a “here’s what famous people say about Nebraska!” thing — one of the many that always get published.

As Jordan McGrain said in our recent podcast — look, you’ve got “Better Call Saul” starting its season out in Omaha. It’s recognized! People can say it without putting “Nebraska” on the end. Heck, people anywhere in the country can say “Nebraska” without putting the modifier, “the state of…” in front of it!

It is not necessary to make up reasons to be different than everyone else on an issue as important as choosing the President.

Oh, and proportional distribution was all based on the idea of trying to give Democrats the 2nd District vote, anyway. (The partisan hacks…)


Not real sure where all the officialness stands, but it was unofficially confirmed that J.L. Spray will run as Nebraska’s GOP National Committeeman.

This keeps things in the party a little more hunky-dory, than maybe some thought they were.

At least on the outside.


Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert gave her State of the City address last week, stressing economic development and fighting crime.

It is a real trick for a Mayor, who on the one hand has the closest position to working with constituents, but on the other has to often react to events that can often be out of his or her control.

But Mayor Stothert thus far has done a very good job of laying out an agenda, then coming through on it. And in the mean time, she continues to hit the day to day issues, and appears to be on top of issues before they can spin out of control.

She is a busy person.


NRO’s Jay Nordlinger gushed about Senator Ben Sasse at #CPAC2015:

“It’s no stretch to see him president.”

And now Daid Mark at the American Spectator lists him as a leading Presidential contender…for 2020.

Look for some Nebraska reporters to hitch their wagon.


Unless Congress acts, and hopefully quickly, on the takeover of the internet by the unelected overlords of the F.C.C., you can guarantee that the unintended consequences of their recent “net neutrality” actions will spin out of control for years to come.

And your children’s children will marvel at what became of the thing they they’ve heard about third hand — since it’s now illegal to post things that diverge from the official Internet Position — that was so cool and vibrant and giving…before the Department of the Internet took it over.

(Oh, the Department of the Internet! What an outraaaaaageous idea! Ho, ho, ho, you silly conservatives!)

Because OF COURSE the Federal Government will make the Internet better!



I know it is always best to get the best person for the job, and all that.

But are there no Nebraskans that are qualified for all of these major positions in Nebraska government?

I’m not saying that interviews have to stop at the state line, but I’m just wondering whether Coach Riley needs to implement his Walk-On program at the state government level.

Maybe just a little home-grown talent.


Let’s say California kept saying that Nebraska was the great Satan and needed to be wiped off the face of the Earth.

One might argue that Nebraska might have an interest in keeping nuclear weapons out of Jerry Brown’s hands, yeah?

Well, California to Nebraska, as the crow flies, is about the distance from Iran to Israel.

Yet, some in Congress seem to think that Israel is being outrageous in needing to defend itself.

Bravo to Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse for being vocal in their view that the Administration should cut the crap about Iran’s nukes.


Hey! I hope you’re enjoying the podcasts on Wheels Down Politics!

Keep listening, and better yet, subscribe to it on iTunes.
Each podcast will automatically download when it’s ready, and you can click and listen with ease!

These are perfect commute or workout length, and I hope you’ll continue to enjoy.

The next one should be very interesting (and fun!) as well.

And be sure to listen to yesterday’s interview with Shane Osborn.

How much is that Pet Rock in the window?

“Sheridan Blvd.” is a contributing writer on Leavenworth St.

SheridanBlvd01WARNING: What I’m about to say may shock some members of the Legislature. If you think that the one Electoral vote is what the winner-take-all battle in the legislature is about, I have a pet rock to sell you.

I’ve always wondered why we don’t just call a spade a spade, Nebraska’s one Electoral vote doesn’t matter. The argument that if we went to winner-take-all then Presidential candidates would have to focus on “the whole state not just Omaha” is crazy. Sign me up for Scott Walker’s big rally in Grand Island then I’ll hop on Highway 2 and cruise up to Hillary’s shindig in Broken Bow.

What winner-take-all is all about is Brad Ashford’s Congressional seat. If we change to a winner-take-all, POOF! there goes Obama campaigning in Omaha for Hillary, POOF! there goes the DCCC funded field office, and POOF! there goes a few million dollars of advertising. All of a sudden the seat gets a lot easier for Republicans to win and hold. That is what all the hoopla is all about, period. Forget that economic jolt argument. Other than the 5 people hired to staff the Democratic field office there is no economic boost to Nebraskans. All those commercials are shot and made by Virginia based companies and I don’t really care about WOWT losing some rate hiked political advertising.


While we’re on the legislature let’s talk about term limits. If you are going to play around with the term limits let’s add an extra term. Two six year terms is asinine, you’re still limited out after two terms so you will still lose Senators at the same rate and Governor appointments will go through the roof. Lots can change in a person’s life in six years.

Three four year terms however keeps Senators accountable to the people and gets the desired effect of voter fatigue which will make it harder for Senators to get elected the third time. This leads to a legislature populated by a mix of young guns and savvy veterans. The closer we can keep our legislators to the ballot box the less likely they are to get comfortable and make decisions based on influences other than the people.


And for the love of God give ‘em a raise. If you’re Ken Schilz your $12,000 is going towards rent and not much else, like meals and gas to go home. It’s not a citizen legislature it’s a slave legislature. $24,000 a year doesn’t make the job any different, it just more fairly compensates the Senators for their three months of work during session, the participation in committees and the countless hours of reading, studying, and communicating with constituents.

“But Sheridan, the lobbyists pay for all the Senators meals.”
If you think that Walt is waiting at the Runza in Grand Island to buy Sen. Schilz lunch you’re crazy. It’s expensive to be a state Senator with lots of random expenses that you would never think of and it needs to be changed after 20 plus years.


Also, be sure to listen to our most recent podcast with former State Treasurer and Senate candidate (and #NE02 candidate?), Shane Osborn.

The Wheels Down Politics Show – Shane Osborn

(Click above to play in the browser or Direct download by clicking here, or by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.)

IMG_4034Jerry Kratochvil interviews former State Treasurer, U.S. Senate candidate and potential #NE02 candidate, Shane Osborn.

They talk about Shane’s career in the Navy, state government and private business. Shane talks about the state of politics and government today and his potential interest in the Nebraska 2nd District House seat.

Jerry also asks Shane about the “Navy memo” during the 2014 Nebraska U.S. Senate GOP Primary, and gets a candid response.

@ShaneJOsborn on Twitter.

You can find this, and all of our podcasts at and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.

Our Constitutional Crisis

Patrick Borchers is a contributing writer on Leavenworth St.

PatBorchers01It hadn’t occurred to me to attach the word “crisis” to the Constitution until Ben Sasse did so in one of his Youtube videos during the Republican Senate primary in 2014. The video went sort of viral after it was linked on the Drudge Report.

Sasse was referring then to one of Obama’s executive pronouncements delaying a date in the Affordable Care Act. (Obama did so 28 times, so it’s hard to keep them straight.)

At first I thought Sasse’s characterization was overblown, but the more I have thought about it the more I think he’s right. The odd thing about crises is that sometimes it’s harder to see them from the inside than it is looking at the long arc of history.

The United States, by my reckoning, goes through one about every 75 years and this one has arrived right on schedule. In each case the response has been the further consolidation of power in the federal government, and lately pulling it in even further into the White House.

Sometimes the strengthening of federal power has been for the better, but lately I think for the worse.

The first crisis brought us the original Constitution, which was drafted in 1787. It replaced the weak Articles of Confederation with a much more robust federal government.

Rolling forward roughly 75 years brings us to the Civil War. The southern states believed that they had a sovereign right to secede and imagined themselves to be fighting the second American Revolution, but with the North as the enemy rather than Britain.

Of course, the social issue of the time was slavery, though several border slave states did not secede. With the Union’s military victory secured in 1865, the Civil War Amendments (the 13th, 14th and 15th) were ratified. Most obviously they abolished slavery, but they gave Congress considerable new legislative authority.

Rolling forward another 75 years brings us to the Great Depression. FDR’s New Deal depended on a massive expansion in the interpretation of the Commerce Clause to provide federal power for national welfare and regulatory structures. When the Supreme Court proved recalcitrant, FDR proposed packing the Court by adding up to six new Justices (taking the Court to 15 Justices). Although the Court packing plan wasn’t adopted, the Court got the message and started voting to uphold most of the New Deal legislation.

If we roll forward roughly another 75 years, we come to the Great Recession and Obama’s election. Again the response has been a dramatic increase in the power of the federal government, and lately in the White House.

In the two-year window from 2009 to 2011 when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, two enormous pieces of legislation passed – Dodd-Frank and the ACA. Although the scope of the legislation in each case is breathtaking, what’s even more remarkable is the power delegated to regulatory agencies.

What’s equally stunning, however, is that President Obama has claimed both that Congressional action and inaction give him the authority to essentially legislate by Executive Decree. In the case of the ACA – as mentioned above – he 28 times unilaterally delayed implementation of various facets of the act.

In Representative Trey Gowdy’s epic speech on the House floor, he reminded the President that Congress doesn’t pass suggestions; it passes laws.

But even when Congress doesn’t pass anything, President Obama claims the right to act unilaterally. In announcing his Executive action on immigration, Obama said defiantly: “To those in Congress who question my authority to act . . . I have one response. Pass a bill.”

A moment’s consideration is all that is needed to see the patent danger in this line of reasoning. Congress has passed a lot of laws on immigration and there has thus far been no political consensus to pass any more. In the scheme of separated government that we have, the President is to “Take Care” to see that the laws that are on the books are faithfully executed.

But President Obama’s position is that he and the rest of the Executive Branch can decide to enforce the immigration laws it likes and ignore the others, at least until Congress passes an immigration bill that he’s willing to sign. This is, quite literally, Hobson’s choice.

Looking back, I think few now would quarrel with the decision to adopt the Constitution or Lincoln’s resolve in preserving the Union and the Civil War Amendments.

As to the New Deal, in hindsight it provoked only tepid progress against rampant unemployment. In 1938, six years into FDR’s presidency, unemployment spiked at 19%, almost as high as it was when FDR took office. The event that really pulled the United States out of the Depression was entry into World War II. Of course some features of the New Deal, notably Social Security, are stitched into the fabric of most Americans’ expectations of the federal government. But Social Security is actuarially doomed absent significant changes in eligibility and benefits.

In my view, Obama’s expansion and consolidation of power is a bridge much, much too far. He has run roughshod over the Constitution, but perversely the magnitude of his actions has made it difficult to challenge them in court because of the standing doctrine, which requires an individualized injury to sue.

Of course this poses the question of what to do about it. There are more vocal calls for a Constitutional Convention and detailed proposals have been made for amendments that would mandate shrinking of the government, the most prominent of which is Mark Levin’s proposal for the “Liberty Amendments.” While many of these are worth pursuing – I particularly like his redefined Commerce Clause – these are a long-run project.

The more immediate project is to win more elections with candidates who truly believe in a limited government. Unfortunately, the proponents of expanded government have succeeded in capturing the flag of “action” and labeling others as “obstructionist.”

But restoring the size of government to that envisioned by the Constitution is hardly obstructionist; it is greatest imperative of our time.

Out and About

“Lisa Jones” is a contributing writer on Leavenworth St.

LisaJones01Nebraska is facing a lawsuit to overturn the constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. We could know as soon as the end of the week whether Judge Battalion will rule in favor of the plaintiffs raising the case against the state. While this may not mean that the state would immediately recognize same-sex marriage, it would be a clear step in that direction, pending anything further from the Supreme Court.

In general, Republicans have been on the side of traditional marriage, though the opposition to changing the definition of marriage is not monolithic. We are the Party where people who don’t agree with same-sex marriage, especially for religious reasons, can be “out and proud”, so to speak. (This is probably one of the best things about our party for which we never get credit–you can be socially conservative or socially liberal, either way, you can set up shop in the Big Tent if you believe in being fiscally conservative.).

A common criticism, even within the GOP, is whether we should even be focusing on social issues when they prove unpopular or controversial; do we lose traction in the national conversation when our debates discuss contraception more that fiscal policy? I know for me personally, the GOP represents my views on many social issues as well as economic, especially in regard to protecting the unborn. And there is the argument that liberal social policies, by definition, undermine conservative fiscal policy. But imagine if we were not historically the Party of those social issue standards. Would I really ever vote for a Democrat anyway? Probably not, because of their views on fiscal policy. If that is the case for most people, should social issues have that much prominence in our state and national discussion? Does it help us build a stronger GOP? Does that help us win?

I don’t know the answer. Discuss.

This is a time of great change. We will see how much the GOP changes with it.

The Wheels Down Politics Show – Sam Fischer

(Click above to play in the browser or Direct download by clicking here, or by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.)

Sam Fischer 01Jerry Kratochvil interviews political consultant Sam Fischer of Meridian Central Public Affairs.

Jerry and Sam discuss some of Sam’s past campaigns, some favorite aspects of his campaign work and the two discuss the upcoming 2016 Nebraska 2nd District Congressional race and some of the candidates for the GOP nomination .





Check out an ad Sam and Jerry discussed for the 2014 Dinsdale for Senate campaign…

…and an outtake from that ad.

And here is Sam from his good ol’ days.

Fischer - Bush 02

You can find him:
@MeridianSam on Twitter

You can find this, and all of our podcasts at and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.

Sausage production

Sasusage Chamber01Congress is nice.
The White House and the rest of the Federal Government have their goings-on.

But if you really want to see where gub-mint decisions are being made that could actually affect your life, sit down and watch some city council…or some legislature.

You will be fascinated to learn who is running the place.

For instance, there was a debate in the Nebraska Legislature’s Education Committee about Charter Schools. We have heard various arguments for and against the bill that was proposed — and did not make it out of committee — on that subject.

But Gwenn Aspen — who ran for the legislature last year — appeared before the Education Committee to argue in favor of the issue.

She brought with her a survey that showed kids who performed at low levels according to various evaluations scored dramatically better when educated in Charter Schools.

Ms. Aspen stated…

In Nebraska, only 5% of African American children, 6% of Native American Children and 10% of Hispanic children are meeting college-readiness benchmarks as defined by the ACT. This is in comparison with 66% of Caucasian children.

Charter schools have obliterated the achievement gap in many parts of the country. Take for instance Success Academy in New York where the vast majority of attending students are children of color from low income families. Success schools have reversed the achievement gap Where 94% of African American students and 96% of Hispanic students passed the Math exam compared with 56% of White students citywide.

Ah, but enter state Senator Tanya Cook. She disagreed with Ms. Aspen.

Well…not so much disagreed.
Here, you figure it out:

Sen. Cook:

I just don’t believe that black people are that much stupider than white people. And that’s what it really sounds like as somebody who is black and who has lived in northeast Omaha her whole life.

It sounds to my ear as a legislator and as a resident of northeast, Omaha, sounds just a TINY bit patronizing.

OK, so you got that?

Senator Cook is insulted by the statistics you have!
She of course ignores that POINT that Ms. Aspen is making, that kids who are in charter schools succeed — based on the SCHOOL and not based upon race.

But you see, this way Senator Cook gets to express her FEELINGS. See, she FEELS that those statistics are being mean. See she LIVED there, her WHOLE life. And how dare Ms. Aspen come in with her mean statistics. (Which is one reason she made a “point” as opposed to “asking a question”.)

(Watch the whole committee exchange here, if you wish.)

This, by the way, isn’t to say the the Charter School bill was better than sliced bread, or that Charter Schools are the cure of all society’s ills.

But it is to note that this is the kind of response that some of these bills get. “The stats are patronizing…”

Awesome. Glad you’re making laws for people.


And then we jump to the floor of the Nebraska Legislature where “debate” on the Winner Take All bill is taking place.

You listened to the interview with state Senator Beau McCoy (right?!! Didn’t you???) where he talked about the history of the law and the new bill and the reasoning behind it.

Just to catch you up, the “proportional distribution” of Electoral Votes was passed in 1991 so that Democrats could hopefully pick off an Electoral Vote.

That’s it.
That’s the reason.

Don’t believe me? Hey, here is the former Editorial Writer for the LJS BRAGGING that he was the one who had been arguing for it before state Sen. DiAnna Schimek introduced it and passed it with Governor Ben Nelson’s signature:

The candid hope was that, in overwhelmingly Republican Nebraska, outnumbered Democrats just might have a remote chance in the geographically compact Second District.

You got that? It was a purely PARTISAN plan by the Dems.

Not to induce Presidential campaigns to come to Nebraska.

Not to pump up voter turnout.

Not even the dystopian plan to increase ad revenue for the Nebraska media market.

It was to help the Democrats.

Oh, and prior to the 2008 pickoff, Republicans tried NUMEROUS times to turn this back. Ben Nelson even vetoed a bill that passed back in the later 90s on this.

But now?
Ohhhhhhhhhhh it’s horrrribbblllle!

It’s a GOP plot! (Says the outraged Senator Schumacher.)
It’s about RACISM! (Says the poetic Senator Chambers.)

Senator Schumacher went all Neville Chamberlain and waved a piece of paper in the air (from 2011) that said the GOP demanded that Winner Take All pass.

Hmm. Interesting outrage there. I’m not even going to bother to look, but I wonder what percentage of Republicans have been behind Winner Take All, and what percentage of Democrats have been against Winner Take All.

I’m going to just go out on a limb and say that the Dems have been a solid, unified front against the pulling back from the plan to pick off an Electoral Vote for the Democrats. Republicans, not so much.

Oh, and Senator Chambers says its all about racism! Racism, we tells ya! What else could it be???!

“President Barack Obama is black! And when he was up for election against Bob Dole in 1996…uh…well…

“But when Barack Obama is up for election in 2016…and…then…uh…uh…RACISM! RACISM! It’s OB-VEE-US! And now, let me quote ‘Men at Work’!”

Senator Pansing Brooks regurgitated that in the Voter ID bill — all the supporters are RACIST! — and you just keep hearing it, over and over.

It’s sort of like the adage on Godwin’s Law. If the other side pulls that out, you know you’ve won the argument.


The DCCC put #NE02 Rep. Brad Ashford atop their “defend” list.
The NRCC put Brad Ashford atop their “target” list. (With a bitchin’ photo, I might add.)

At least everyone is on the same page, yeah?

You want to talk about the Keystone XL Pipeline?
Have at it.

      • The President said he will veto, and will most likely veto.
      • He said he’d listen to environmental points.
      • The State Dept. says it’s fine.
      • They say the oil drilling won’t make a difference on Global Warming or Climate Change or that 2012 movie when the world ended and they built that Ark in China, or that other movie where all the super duper cold winter survivors holed up in the New York Public Library.
      • And the Nebraska expert on the Ogallala Aquifer says it’s cool — and even some of the anti-pipers seem to agree with that.
      • And trains are derailing all over the place and dumping oil.
      • And this would be the safest, best pipeline yet.
      • Oh, and it would absolutely create jobs.
      • They’d be “temporary” jobs — you know like the temporary jobs when a skyscraper is built, and all of the “temporary” support jobs that are created for all of the people that have to supply and house and feed them.

But please remember folks, the anti-pipeline effort creates jobs too!

  • It creates the jobs for people at Bold Nebraska.
  • And it creates jobs for the other liberal efforts that revolve around them.
  • And we are sure it has been a boon for the liberal bumper-sticker industry, so that’s awesome too.

No doubt, the President is taking this allllll into account when he makes his veto decision.


Didja know…

Senator Deb Fischer hasn’t missed a single one of her 712 votes since entering the Senate.

That little nugget in a recent story about those in Congress whose voting history is less than stellar.


ICYMI, Senator Ben Sasse made a video, similar to the ones back in the campaign, on the Iran nuclear threat.

In is his signature long-form style he takes on the Obama administration for the half-assed (my words) approach they are taking on this most serious of subjects.

See it here:

And if nothing else, you have to give him credit for knocking these out with apparently no notes or anything else. He’s not standing there trying to come up with his next point, or umm-ing or like-ing.

You try it. Not an easy task.


Keep coming back to Leavenworth St!
More and more to come!

The Wheels Down Politics Show – State Sen. Beau McCoy

(Click above to play in the browser or Direct download by clicking here, or by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.)

Beau McCoy 002Jerry Kratochvil interviews Nebraska State Senator Beau McCoy on LB10, the “Winner Take All” bill, in the Nebraska legislature.

Beau and Jerry discuss the history of the Nebraska law which distributes Presidential Electoral Votes by Congressional District. They talk about the past attempts (including pre-2008) to change the law, the original intent of the law, and the arguments for and against McCoy’s “Winner Take All” bill.

You can find this, and all of our podcasts at and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.