How do you rate?

Still a week for Teresa Scanlan to file...

National Journal’s Congressional vote ratings are out.

The rating is based off of how a Member of Congress votes with the majority of one’s party. So while the ratings are listed as Conservative vs Liberal, that is not necessarily the case, though there is certainly a large element of that.

So, for the Nebraska delegation, it shakes out like this:

Senator Ben Nelson is 49% D, 51% R. He’s the 53rd most liberal senator, the 48th most conservative.
Senator Mike Johanns is 65% R, 35% D. He’s the 62nd most liberal senator, the 39th most conservative.

NE-01 Rep. Jeff Fortenberry is 50.2% D, 49.8% R. He’s the 202nd most liberal member, the 228th most conservative.
NE-02 Rep. Lee Terry is 23% D, 77% R. He’s the 330th most liberal member, the 99th most conservative.
NE-03 Rep. Adrian Smith is 23% D, 78% R. He’s the 333rd most liberal member, the 97th most conservative.

The ratings are broken down into three areas, though not every vote considered fits into each area:
Social, Economic & Foreign.
Percent listed below indicates the % of conservatism:

Social: Nelson 50%, Johanns 64%, Fortenberry 55%, Terry 55%, Smith 83%
Economic: Nelson 52%, Johanns 64%, Fortenberry 46%, Terry 83%, Smith 60%
Foreign Affairs: Nelson 50%, Johanns 63%, Fortenberry 48%, Terry 86%, Smith 75%

These all over the board enough for you?

That Nelson is the “most conservative” Democrat Senator would not be a surprise to many hard-core liberals who hate him for it. But there are those who argue that Nelson simply waits out many votes to see if the Dems need him, and when they don’t, votes as Nebraskans would be more happy. This strategy failed him however when it came to ObamaCare and the Stimulus, to name a few. Nebraskans finally took note. Had he been able to straddle those and a few more, you probably would have seen a Nelson 2012 reelection campaign.

We have no doubt that Jeff Fortenberry will argue against these results and his relatively low “conservative” rating. But most would say that Fort is following a bit of the Doug Bereuter route of more “independently” minded votes, like his district likes. Middle of the road.

And while there will no doubt be crowing about something in Lee Terry’s percentages by his GOP Primary opponents, it is difficult to raise a stink with his 83% economic and 86% foreign affairs ratings. There is a pretty strong case to be made that the Tea Partiers are more libertarian on the social type issues — whatever these votes are anyway — so one wonders if any of that would or could even come into play.

And Adrian Smith’s numbers? Solid conservative. Solid Republican. And did we mention that he currently has ZERO opponents in his 3rd District race? Not sure if there are any Unicameral races he would want to throw is weight around in, but at least it could be something to keep him busy this election season.

***

And how about the news that Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will come to Omaha — to raise money for Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell! Ha. What a treat for NE02 Democratic candidates John Ewing and Gwen Howard. We wonder why Pelosi would push aside African American Ewing, and female Howard in favor of Old Whitey Boswell, who last time we checked, cannot represent Omaha. Maybe all those square states in the middle of the country are all the same to the Minority Leader from San Francisco.

Or maybe Pelosi will hold a funder for Howard and Ewing in Des Moines sometime in the future.

***

In the continuing saga of what color drapes would Pete Ricketts put up in the Omaha Mayor’s office after he is elected next year, we received a feisty comment from Ricketts’s former U.S. Senate campaign manager Jessica Moenning regarding our first post stating that Ricketts was interested in running for Omaha Mayor.

Moenning wrote, in a comment, to our second post on the subject:

Pete Ricketts is not thinking about a run for mayor. And if he was, he wouldn’t throw up a a “trial balloon” on an anonymous blog site. There is a difference between people encouraging him to run for mayor or other offices and him having an interest. Get a job.

We never actually found out who it was that peed in Jessica’s Wheaties that morning, but as you can see, she was truly miffed as she furiously typed out that comment — on an anonymous blog site! We were a little surprised to see Jessica take to the comment boards for this type of issue — instead of slipping us an email with the straight info and asking to correct it. But looks like she wasn’t into that.

Thing is, we never suggested that Ricketts had sent this information or suggestion directly to Leavenworth Street as a trial balloon. But the political fact of the matter is that when you take meetings of these sorts and you are less than discreet about them, you give the impression — intentional or not — that you would consider what the person is selling. Now maybe Pete was just being polite, or maybe it was a tertiary subject discussed. But such is the political world in which we live. Besides, it looks like we were correct in our assessment that he is not interested. How about that.

And Jessica, we might suggest that you take over as the “Ricketts family spokesperson”, and give more succinct responses than “that’s just a lotta gossip…”.

Now back to our real jobs. Which we have. And get paid for. In gold bullion.

***

We received a press release from U.S. Senate candidate Don Stenberg yesterday, where Stenberg is now making a concerted effort to separate himself, policy-wise, from his main opponents, Jon Bruning and Deb Fischer.

We give kudos to Stenberg for sending out a release which did not mention South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint’s name a single time, or reference Bruning’s law school articles.

So here is where Stenberg wants you to pay attention:

1) He wants to eliminate the Energy and Education Departments. He says Bruning only wants to make them smaller, not eliminate them.

2) He wants Constitutional Term Limits for Members of Congress. He says Bruning was not for the Unicameral Term Limits.

3) He is not crazy about the current Highway Bill, and its Federal control. He says Bruning has been silent on this issue.

4) He is for stopping insider trading by Members of Congress and their staffs. He essentially then accuses Bruning of insider trading or using his office to make money while AG.

5) He is against earmarks. He says Bruning has asked for earmarks.

Now these are all good things, but we just are not sure there is some big separation in any of these issues for the average GOP voter. Certainly not like the immigration issue was between Dave Heineman and Tom Osborne.

The only one that he may possibly gain some traction on is the “making money while AG” issue. But Stenberg probably needs some sort of smoking gun to show how or what exactly Bruning did that was unethical. We will give that the average person might look at Bruning’s investments and say, “Wow, he made some cash while AG. I wish I made that kind of return on my investments. I wonder how he accomplished that!” But if you do not have an actual answer to that question, the innuendo side of it is really only going to get you so far.

So otherwise, will the little items up there add up for Stenberg? Hmm. It is a tough sell. In a super-tight race these issues could tip voters one way or another. But if Don is looking to make up a good chunk of ground, he needs more and/or better.

But we will at least give him credit for going this route. It at least has the potential to give him a little more traction than the DeMint angle ever did.

***

Have a great weekend!  And when you’re buying stuff on Amazon, use Leavenworth Street’s Amazon links up top! (We may not be employed forever, ya know.)

50 comments

  1. Some Thoughts says:

    Initially I wasn’t a great fan of Johanns, but over time he has really come to impress me. He’s solid, reasonable, but not an ideologue. He seems willing to work with the other party on issues where progress can be made, without conceding too much. He seems to care more about getting something good accomplished than he does about the posturing and political rhetoric.

  2. Kortezzi says:

    Adrian Smith should be a lot more conservative than Lee Terry, if his votes are to represent the views of NE-3. Terry is the guy who looks impressive in this ranking. Fortenberry looks like a wuss.

    As soon as Teresa Scanlan turns 25, she’s eligible to run against Smith. And her conservative views are a good fit. Jane Kleeb would throw a fit, screaming at her magic mirror on the wall! Teresa should be careful not to eat any apples from Jane…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I looked at that National Journal ratings and I see that Ron Paul is ranked as a liberal in it, more liberal than Fortenberry. Give me a break. Who gets to define “conservatism”. These ratings are as subjective as whoever puts them together, based on how they define the categories. Fortenberry, for example, has a 96% rating with the American Conservative Union, and he voted against all the bailouts and handouts – when others caved in. The fact that he votes his conscience and doesn’t follow blind talking points from GOP leadership should be celebrated – just like Doug (Bereuter)

  4. It Just Hurts says:

    to watch and read Stenberg campaigning. It reminds me of a tired, struggled, confused Muhammad Ali boxing Larry Holmes in ’80. Throw in the towel Don. You are getting embarassing. Your self-pride took away a chance for an up-and-comer like Tony Fulton. You’re hurting the party a lot more than you are helping out. Seriously, eliminate the Department of Energy and the Department of Education? Cool sound bite, but absolutely 0 chance to make it happen.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who complains that their representative in Congress doesn’t vote lock, stock, and barrel with the Party leadership on every vote, deserves to have a robot representing them in Congress.

  6. Thank you for your articles! I truly do enjoy them. I do have quite a while to wait before I am of eligible age to run for any of these positions however, so in the interim I shall continue to read your reports. (:

  7. Movie Buff says:

    Does anyone remember the nerd in 16 candles who had a fake ID so he could vote? Maybe we could get Teresa a fake ID so she can run for office!

    Run Teresa! Run!

  8. Macdaddy says:

    I have to admit that I am no Stenberg fan, but this is how he should have been hitting Bruning all along. People are in zero mood for insider trading and crony capitalism whether or not it is legal. Ron Paul was gaining traction by vowing to eliminate whole departments (and then he answered a question about foreign policy). Stenberg needs to show people he gets it. Not that Jim DeMint gets it. He should also show that he knows how the Senate works and that he would be an effective voice in the Senate and not just looking out for himself. Or Jim DeMint.

  9. RWP says:

    Anyone who complains that their representative in Congress doesn’t vote lock, stock, and barrel with the Party leadership on every vote, deserves to have a robot representing them in Congress.

    I wish it were true. I’d prefer a robot (as long as I was the programmer).

  10. Thad Wienkerston says:

    I enjoy a good Lee Terry robocall every now and then. Liberal or not, I ain’t votin’ for him. they took arrr jobss

  11. Anonymous says:

    So I wonder if Jon would back a plan for ensuring those who are on government assistance really deserve the support? I see on Drudge where there are a few states trying to get drug testing performed on welfare recipients. Well instead of doing that maybe we need to be sure they are actually as down and out as they put on. So to that end we should have the state tax commissioner audit their taxes, and their personal property, to see that they have fully accounted for what they have. Most will be fine, but there are a few who will have to do some explaining. Driving newer cars, wearing thousands of dollars of jewelry and owning multiple big screen tv’s and smart phones. IF you have the car, and the required insurance, the phones and the data plans, and tv’s with dvr’s etc. Show the money you used for the purchases on an earnings statement!!! If you can’t show the earnings, or the tax returns, you should be removed from welfare.

    If you are poor, then you can get assistance. If you aren’t you shouldn’t.

  12. It sounds like Anonymous @ 11:13 is talking about a lot of Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and corporations. Government subsidies are only a “nice” way to say … government welfare. When THOSE people, receiving even more money than the “down and outers” quit driving around in their fancy cars, flaunting their jewelry and Rolexes, and enjoying their multitude of electronic toys, I’ll believe that our government is truly attempting to rein in the the excessive spending.

  13. Well, Sweeps, your blog ate another one, so I’ll try it again. (Not blaming you. It is just the nature of the digital beast.)

    My representative in the Unicameral, Mr. Tom Carlson, has advanced a plan to extend our Legislative Representatives’ terms to twelve, rather than eight years. The people of Nebraska already spoke loud and clear on this issue; they believe that any capable person should be able to accomplish what they set out to do within that time frame. Mr. Carlson contends that it requires more time than that to “learn” the job.
    If Mr. Carlson believes he bit off more than he could chew, then I have to ask, “why did he run for the job in the first place?” People who choose to run for a position of representation should have the requisite skills to perform the job before they put in their résumé. If they are incapable of effectively arguing the issues before their colleagues, then perhaps they need to choose a different hobby.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Osborn ought to run for office, he sounds like he has more sense than most of the ones that are already there. He’s not really a Democrat is he?

  15. Anony @ 5:11, send me a couple of hundred thousand bucks and I’ll consider it. Yeah, I’m still a Democrat – an often very disgruntled one – but still a D.
    I struck a truce with Covalt, but if he doesn’t get rid of the censorship on the NDP blog, doesn’t start giving the rank-and-file open access to the party, and genuinely start improving things rather than just putting lipstick on the pig, I’ll probably go back to my snarky old ways.

  16. Dem Observer says:

    A couple of observations:

    1. BTO – a couple hundred thousand bucks? I thought you were all about getting money out of politics and harnessing the power of all of those active liberal volunteers in Nebraska?

    2. Anonymous 8:04 – keep it incognito bro – Moenning will put your balls in a jar.

    3. Mr. Smith looks genuinely happy next to Ms. Scanlon (who should really do something about those roots!). Who knew?

  17. Building a Bright Future says:

    Mrs Moenning and balls is a bad analogy.

    BTO- No I was talking about the people who don’t do a damn thing for all the tax payer money they spend on a lifestyle bigger than welfare. It hurts those who deserve the hand up, not a multi-generational hand OUT! Farmers are working to feed people, and in the process are part of a complex arrangement to keep food prices in some sort of stability, despite the idiot in the oval office and his hypocritical wife. Oh and as far as term limits go, Carlson isn’t asking for a repeal of term limits but rather and extension of the time one can serve. I know you are smarter than Covalt any Kyle so please don’t go out there and say it is otherwise. Oh and by the way why don’t you get yourself elect to the legislature and find out how it is on the other side? Of course you won’t because you are a part of the SUPER MINORITY. Now if you were to move to Saline county and run after Wallman you would have a chance……..Oh and by the way I suspect Sen Carlson is pound for pound twice the orator and thinker you ever pretended to be, and I hold you in much higher regard than Covalt et al.

    Other than that how is the great Nebraska Democrat Party doing these days? Lots of opportunities for state wide offices I see. Heck might only lose one this year, Haar, but hey there is always 2014 when you will have a tough time keeping the seats held by; Dubas, Wallman, and Lathrop. Why it may get to a point where the Libs will have only the seats held by Snowplow, Avery, Council, Cook, Mello, Nordquist, and Karpisek. Hmmm that’s about 7 plus the one or two here or there. Why it will awfully tough to keep chairs and other committee positions. Then it will be time for Winner take all and voter id. Oh wait Voter ID will get done this year:)

    Well here to mud in your eye.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Building- Amen!

    What a bright future for Nebraska citizens, and tax payers. I wish I could be there when the likes of Lathrop, McGill, and Snowplow are shown the door! Nebraska will be the Good Life then.

    Of course it will be interesting to see who takes the leadership roles in 2012/14. I hear the new Speaker will be Senator Adams. After that it will be interesting to see what happens with the last vestiges of the old crowd are gone in 2014. Without the old boys it looks to be a very interesting field for Speaker, and all the other positions of leadership. I suspect Senators Mello and Nordquist won’t be holding down significant chairs. hehehehehee (of course Carlson’s bill might change a lot of this)

    Oh what tangled webs are weaved. Or is it Politics makes for strange bedfellows? Oh wait Senator McCoy has a bill to deal with bedfellows.

  19. Dem Observer,
    You are correct, I’d like to see money out of the equation, but I am not an idiot, and I don’t have a sugar daddy, so pragmatically speaking, I think I could mount a serious and effective statewide campaign for public office on a measly couple of hundred thousand, rather than the couple of million that most of the “expert consultants” would suggest. Send me $20,000 and I’d be force to be reckoned with on the legislative level.

    Building a “Bright” Future,
    I’ll admit that there are a few of those folks that dominate your paranoid fantasies, however, FACTS show that the overwhelming amount of public “welfare” goes to those who really need it the least – the already wealthy. I see far too many recipients of the public largesse, in the form of subsidies and economic stimulii, taking their vacations to Hawaii, attending Husker games in other states, and sending their kids to high school in Ford F-350s to worry about those few welfare moms that have learned to turn their wombs into a permanent ticket to access the federal feedbag.
    Farmers, ranchers and corporatists have been porking out at the slop trough long before our current President was even born.
    I won’t go out there and run for office, unless you want to finance such an endeavor, because, to put it quite simply – I can’t afford it. As for your comparison between Mr. Carlson and I, you are quite simply … uninformed.
    My oldest brother learned to become a naval aviator in about a year of training. Another of my siblings attained a Masters in Electrical Engineering, and yet another a Doctorate in Pharmacy in less than eight years. I learned to be a depot level avionics repairman in about a year and only spent four years getting a bachelors degree. I would think it should take less than eight years for a moderately intelligent citizen to learn Robert’s Rules.
    I have no idea how the “great Nebraska Democrat (sic) Party” is doing these days. It was in dire straights when I became disinterested in its welfare, and I doubt the situation has improved without my consistent exhortations to improve itself.
    As for “winner take all” and “voter ID,” I would imagine that the dolts in this state will eventually approve such tomfoolery, since both of those processes would serve to diminish their rights, and they’ve already demonstrated their disregard for such matters. Slavery is a mantle that fits them well; it liberates them from the the necessity of thinking.
    I might also suggest that you seek some remedial education to refine your writing skills. I don’t pretend to be an expert, and I hate to be a member of the “grammar police,” but good grief, if you want to be taken seriously, at least make an honest attempt to write coherently.

  20. TexasAnnie says:

    BTO is correct…about farmer/rancher/corporate welfare, that is! And he gets extra credit points for even bothering to comment about failed “economic stimulii” (sic). Folks in Nebraska do like their corporate welfare, even when it costs them personally in terms of higher sales and income taxes.

    A case in point is the fast-tracking by the Unicameral this past week of the latest and greatest get rich scheme for the state: computer data centers!!! Anonymous #16 of 11:13pm, 2-24-12, queries:
    “So I wonder if Jon would back a plan for ensuring those who are on government assistance really deserve the support.” I reply, NO, Jon would not support such a plan. I remember well enough his votes for all those previous “economic development” schemes while he “served” in the legislature. Indeed, Nebraska’s legislature has been overrun with JON’s pimping the state’s tax base since the late 1980’s, without demonstrable evidence that tax subsidies do anything other than lower taxes for selected beneficiaries.

  21. Anonymous says:

    BTO- If you think a Senator only needs to learn Robert’s Rules to be effective you are wrong. I will agree that it is one of the fundamental skills an elected official needs, but there are many other skill too. I believe it is the interpersonal (soft) skills which propel an elected official to positions of leadership. Your rebuttal to “Bright” only speaks to you and your brothers’ ability to learn, which is considerable. Your capacity to learn has very little to do with your ability to deal with others. If you were to master Roberts Rules it may help you if you were in the body politic, but I doubt it would get you elected, let alone elected by peers in the legislature to a position of leadership. So I don’t believe your statement on learning the ways of the legislature are predicated on learning Roberts Rules.

    TA- If you don’t like it run for office and change it.

  22. Anonymous @ 9:58 (Which Anonymous ARE you anyway? – Please … at least use a fake name so we can tell you guys apart!)

    I do NOT believe that knowing how to apply Robert’s Rules is the only criteria for a legislator to be effective. It does, however, seem to be what those pushing for an extension of term limits cry about the most. They say they need more than eight years just to learn the ropes. I contend they should know the rudimentary skills before we hand them the controls. I don’t believe that a position of governance is a good place to practice extensive on-the-job training.
    Perhaps my inability to tolerate ignoramuses is one reason I would find it difficult to be elected – too many ignoramuses are allowed to vote.

  23. Assistant to the Clerk of the Legislature says:

    The Legislature doesn’t use Robert’s Rules, it uses the Rules of the Legislature. On matters not covered by the Rules of the Legislature, Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure is used as authority.

    Usually references to the coveted “institutional knowledge” are not referring to the written Rules of the Legislature, but rather the numerous unwritten traditions that often trump the written rules. Such as a motion to invoke cloture on General File is permissible after 8 hours of debate (the written rules say after “full and fair debate”), pulling bills out of committee is a crime against humanity (the written rules authorize it several times over), the Chairman of the Enrollment and Review Committee is always the youngest member of the freshman class (the rules don’t mention it). Etc. etc.

  24. TexasAnnie says:

    Well you have demonstrated a fine job of explaining facts which you know about the Legislature, Assistant!

    Can’t you just tell new incoming Senators what you told us so well above? I’m sure you could impart “institutional knowledge” as well as anyone. And I am aware of some excellent publications prepared by legislative staffers regarding budgetary and programmatic details of state government. It would seem the Senators, old and new alike, have abundant means for ascertaining empirically-based judgments about running state government. So I don’t think that’s the problem with their ability to legislate. No, I think the real problem with legislators legislating for only eight years, is their own experience of limited power…

  25. Anonymous says:

    Then there are the goings on whereby the Senators jockey for positions on the Committee on Committees, Executive Board, Rules etc. Then there is the unwritten rule of seniority when the caucuses meet to place senators on committees. The 2nd caucus is dysfunctional with Ashford and Cornett allowing for it to be 2 R’s and 2 D’s when the R’s have a decisive edge in numbers. If those two senators would agree to the seniority rule Tom White would have never been on the Committee on Committees and other such foolishness. Now with Ashford an Independent he may be off the committee, and Cornett is term limited so……

    Then there is the horse trading that goes on to get bills referenced to and then moved out of committee. Not every bill is a priority to 24 other senators so there is need to get support which in turn garner support for future needs. All of this is a delicate balance and if not played correctly gets a senator put out on an island and unable to move their agenda, for their constituents, adopted.

    But Brian you are correct you wouldn’t think the Legislature would be a place where one starts a career in politics, but then again why not? I can’t remember who said the following but it does seem appropriate; Picking the first hundred names out of a phone-book to fill the Senate would be better for the country (or something to that affect).

    Just look at Norm Wallman to see a citizen legislator who has come up through the ranks. Sen Wallman is a very nice man who has served his country and his community for many years. Yet nobody could mistake him for a legislative giant. Regardless he is the one the people voted in twice!

  26. Anonymous says:

    TA- so whats your point? Seems you just complain and throw rocks all the time. Perhaps you should avail the masses of your mastery of all things policy and get elected to some office. Otherwise you are just another blow hard armchair wannabe player.

    There is a difference in providing guidance and just throwing rocks. Doubt you realize it but most of those in elected office do.

  27. If legislating depends on such secretive chicanery, then perhaps it is time to toss all those rules composed to favor back room bullshit, good-old-boys politics into the shitter and use some commonly accepted rules that are understood by most high school debating team alumni and FFA alums. Why NOT use Roberts Rules to run the Unicameral? Would it put a dent in the style of those opposed to government of, by and for the people?

  28. Anonymous says:

    All those rules are set by the legislature themselves, and if I remember right, are based off Masons Manual for Legislative Bodies (which is used by most of the states).

  29. Then let’s get Ernie Chambers back in there to teach it to those who feel they need more time in the Legislature to understand those rules. Perhaps a boot camp type training program for the new initiates could be instituted with Ernie as the resident R. Lee Ermey. The crybabies lament the dearth of “institutional knowledge;” hell, Ernie is a walkin’, talkin’ encyclopedia!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Why do Republicans hate College so much? I don’t get it? So you hear different opinions. I thought America was the land of free speech and different opinions. Please explain.

  31. Yet another nameless commenter at 7:04 am (Please … please … please … at least TRY to demonstrate some intellectual creativity and bestow upon yourselves a fake name so we can tell you all apart!)

    I don’t necessarily want to throw out what I don’t understand or disagree with. My suggestion was one to make our Unicameral more user friendly. If the people we have been electing to write our state’s laws have been having so much difficulty learning the ropes that they feel they need twelve years in office to do so, then perhaps it is time to make the rules that govern our governing bodies simpler.

    A representative government – one that is truly of, by and for the people – needs to eliminate all the procedural hurdles, concocted by past generations of PROFESSIONAL politicians, that serve only to generate a governing body who’s mysterious mechanisms make what takes place in Masonic lodges appear as open and transparent as a square dance at a nudist colony. Evidently, those who created the rules for our Unicameral did so with the express purpose of masking its inner workings, with so much smoke and so many mirrors that the average newly elected representative spends more time learning secret handshakes, and discovering how to use their secret decoding rings, than they do on the job we sent them there to accomplish.

  32. Anonymous says:

    BTO.

    Be careful what you wish for. Those unwritten rules were developed almost exclusively by Democrats who spent decades in the Unicameral. They are a system of asinine technicalities which prevent debate and votes by the entire floor of the Legislature. Remember: When the entire body votes, Democrats lose. And the Democrats in the Legislature, past and present, and the lobby know this. Democrats only win when people like Steve Lathrop and Lynn Rex can meet behind closed doors, with the people of Nebraska in the dark, and cut deals which help their own special interests (see CIR reform). And that is the system we have.

    Any effort to streamline the system, make it transparent, and eliminate the possibility that 4 members of the Legislature have the ability to kill an entire piece of legislation, will be fought tooth and nail by the Democrats. It is the only way they can keep policy referred to the Education Committee, Health and Human Services Committee, or Business and Labor Committee in the stone ages.

  33. That is the thing that differentiates me from other Democrats. I have always held that what is good for the goose is good for the gander, and I don’t support stupid things done by Democrats any more than I do stupid things done by Republicans. If what you say is true, however, then those Democrats must be awfully intelligent and crafty people, seeing as how our Unicameral has been dominated for decades by its Republicans. And how do you explain the ability of Democrats to “cut deals?” Who are these people they are cutting deals with, if not Republicans? Hmmmmmmm?

  34. Anonymous says:

    First of all, the Democrats who served in the Legislature for decades were VERY crafty. Make no mistake about it. No one could accuse people like Dianna Schimek, Chris Beutler, Dave Landis, Pat Bourne, or Don Preister of being stupid. And those are just the recent ones. Look at the lobby if you want to find the older Democrats who knew how to rig the system.

    Also, the Republican majority in the Unicameral is as big as it has ever been. And with Republicans like Brad Ashford, Abbie Cornett, Denny Byars, Ray Janssen, and Dwite Pedersen (the list goes on and on) who needs Democrats? But the crux of the matter is that the Democrats created a scheme whereby they control a handful of committees, and have for years. The Education Committee hasn’t been controlled by Republicans in your lifetime. On issues going to those committees which the Democrats have controlled for decades, the Republicans don’t even get a seat at the table. And forget about any serious public discussion with differing viewpoints.

  35. Anonymostly says:

    Denny Byars hasn’t been in the legislature for years. He was replaced by Snorin’ Norman Wallman, as reliable a vote for the liberal-progressives as anyone out there. He’s not as bright as Ken Haar, but he’ll vote however Ken Harr or Steve Lathrop tell him to.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps someone should compile a list of every Democrat who ran as a Republican to get elected to the Legislature over the past 40 years. The list will be quite lengthy.

  37. Anonymous @ 9:44 (PLEASE!!!!!!!!! Use a fake name, a number, a series of $%^&$’s, whatever, but always using “Anonymous” is just plain LAZY!)

    You make the case that these very crafty Democrats played the system so well that they are irrevocably entrenched into impenetrable fortresses within their committees. That doesn’t say much for the Republicans in the Unicameral, now does it? Were the NEGOP members so ignorant and incapable that they allowed a MINORITY of representatives to walk all over them uncontested? If that is so, then YOU have just made a very good case for electing even more Democrats to our Legislature. After all, these nasty Democrats have done as they pleased despite a preponderance of Republicans in their path. It must be that their oratorical and debating skills are so clearly superior that their Republican opponents just roll over and let those Democrats have their way with them!
    Now prove me wrong.

  38. Some Thoughts says:

    How crazy would it be if we actually had a non-partisan legislature that tried to accomplish something good for the whole state? Crazy, I know.

  39. Anonymous! says:

    If you are suggesting that Democrats have been more effective at legislating than Republicans, then I probably agree. Their superiority over the years required several variables that didn’t exist in the GOP caucus. 1. Shrewd senior members who had been in the Legislature for decades and taught all of the members of the Legislature the so-called “institutional knowledge” 2. the remainder of the Democratic caucus voted in tandem with their de facto leadership. 3. A significant number of the opposite party joining them. The Republican junior members are and have been more independent of party and deviate from their party leadership far more often. Many of the GOPers are liberals who are only Republicans because they have to be. That is why your fundamental assumption is flawed. The Republicans haven’t really had control of the Legislature for a considerable amount of time.

    Is that a reason to elect more Democrats? Definitely not. Policy enacted with a Democratic Legislature would result in more spending, more taxes, more dependency on government, more poverty, more hunger, more misery, less freedom, less innovation, less population and less jobs.

    Their oratorical and debating skills have nothing to do with it. The scheme they developed doesn’t allow for debate. The decisions on committees are made before the Legislature convenes. Why don’t Republicans try to change the system since they now have the majority? Probably the same reason why nothing else in government ever changes.

  40. Anonymous says:

    2013 will be the begining of the end for the old guard in the legislature. 2015 will signal the end of the old guard. In 2015 there won’t be senators like Ashford, Lathrop, Snowplow, and the others who make statements of not wanting to vote agianst their freinds regardless of political and policy impacts. There will be an end to Judiciary and Labor & Labor democrat chairs and majorities on those committees.

  41. Ahhhhhhhhhh. That’s better … Anonymous with an “!”,

    Soooooooooo. You’re saying that Nebraska isn’t really a thoroughly Republican state? You indicate that perhaps Nebraska’s Democrats have been crafty enough to infiltrate the NEGOP and succeed in getting (gasp!) Liberals elected to the Unicameral by merely clothing them in Republican cloth? Geez! Not only are they master debaters and orators, they are also superior tacticians! Who’d a thunk it? The Democrats, while ostensibly in the minority, actually have the power to decide all that goes on in the Legislature even before it convenes. The next thing you’re probably going to tell me, and at this point I may even be inclined to believe you, is that Gov. Heineman is actually a dyed-in-the-wool Socialist!

    Your arguments weren’t bad, up until the second paragraph where you did a triple-somersault off the high tower into a steaming pile of bullshit. Seriously, you need to find a new script writer if you expect to ever make it to the Oscars.

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