A group of Senators and their hangers-on took to the Capitol Rotunda yesterday to express their desire to repeal the Death Penalty in Nebraska.
They called themselves, and were described by the local media as being “conservative”.
They were all Republicans as well.
So here is the question: If you are a Republican state Senator, are you automatically a “conservative”?
Because anyone can be a Republican. All you have to do is check the box and PRESTO, you’re a Republican! Many politicos would argue that if you want a future in Nebraska politics you’re much much better off registering as a Republican, no matter where you actually land on the political spectrum.
So, lets look at the 10 Republican state Senators who have stated they want to repeal the Death Penalty, and a few of their recent votes:
Colby Coash: Against allowing open votes for Committee Chairs; For repealing mandatory minimums.
Al Davis: For giving illegal aliens drivers licenses; Against allowing open votes for Committee Chairs; For repealing mandatory minimums.
Laura Ebke: For raising the Gas Tax; Against Winner Take All in Nebraska; For repealing mandatory minimums.
Tommy Garrett: For giving illegal aliens drivers licenses; Against allowing open votes for Committee Chairs; For repealing mandatory minimums.
Mark Kolterman: For raising the Gas Tax; Against allowing open votes for Committee Chairs; For repealing mandatory minimums.
Bob Krist: Against allowing open votes for Committee Chairs; For repealing mandatory minimums.
Brett Lindstrom: For raising the Gas Tax.
John McCollister: For raising the Gas Tax; Against Winner Take All in Nebraska; For repealing mandatory minimums.
Now I happened to pick 5 votes — one of which hasn’t come to a vote of the full body yet. And I’m looking at this group, because THEY’RE the ones who have declared themselves “conservative”. (There are others who have comparative voting records on these issues.)
Feel free to pick yours.
At what point does your actual VOTING record trump your declaration that you are “conservative” or, as Bob Krist, who endorsed Democrat Brad Ashford for Congress, declared on the radio:
“I am Republican enough. I am conservative enough.”
Enough for whom?
For your own conscience?
Or how about for those that elected you?
Lindstrom, for one, said his “view of capital punishment has changed since he took office in January.”
So, from December to say, February his position changed…on the Death Penalty? You’d think that is something the voters may have been interested in, no? And he flips on such a major issue in a span of 3 months? What’s next?
And he and the other “conservatives” say their support of the repeal say it’s based on money — it’s too expensive to put someone to death. But Governor Ricketts says he has a study that says the cost is negligible.
So if that is the case, then what is the real reason? (And where does someone like Lindstrom stand on that?)
Look, you can be for or against the Death Penalty, for whatever reason you like. But let’s stop calling every Nebraska Republican a “conservative”.
Especially once they have a voting record to review.
And it would seem that we can pretty much declare that the honeymoon that Governor Pete Ricketts had with this overwhelmingly Republican legislature lasted only about a fortnight longer than that of Darva Conger and Rick Rockwell. (Look it up, kids.)
Here, we’ll make it more up to date: The Cigar Bar law was the “connection” date that the girls make with The Bachelor, and then everything after has been the hounding of the now-split couple by TMZ after the Final Rose ceremony.
Winner-Take-All, Gas Tax, Licenses for Illegals, Repeal of Mandatory Minimums, Death Penalty — where is the Governor and his team on this stuff?
When the session started we were convinced that it was all about back-room deals, and that the Gov was playing Chess against the Checkers players in the Unicam.
Instead there is a tremendous leadership void. Many say it goes back to Team Ricketts failing to mend any fences after the primary. It was a dangerous move and was bound to negatively impact huge swaths of the administration — and we are seeing the ramifications on the legislative side first. Where will we see it next?
And here’s a question: Is anyone in the Unicameral afraid of Governor Ricketts? Are there any repercussions for crossing him? Does anyone care? Usually there is significance when you cross a leader. You mess with the bull, you get the horns.
And do these types of situations usually get better?
We are watching and wondering.
Brad Ashford’s fundraising numbers were announced yesterday — raised about $200K with $162K COH — and the reactions varied.
Some local pols thought they were decent enough. Others thought the comparison to Lee Terry (by the OWH) — an eight term Member — were not on the ball at all. They thought a better comparison would, obviously, be to a freshman member who should be working his butt off to raise cash — as opposed to just grabbing the low hanging PAC fruit.
(For instance, Iowa Republican Freshman Rep. David Young, whose district includes Des Moines and Council Bluffs, has raised over $333K, with $351K COH.)
But the OWH is going to support Ashford no matter how goofy he gets. Heck, they wrote an editorial about mandatory minimums and the legislature, and instead of talking to, you know, a member of the legislature, they took quotes from Congressman Ashford! Wha-huh?
A frequent lament of the political class in the 2nd District is that INCUMBENT Ashford just is not going to be easy to beat. They knew that to be the case, no matter how many newbies to the party thought it would be great to get rid of Lee Terry so they could put in a “real” conservative (sniff).
But now you’ve got Ashford. And he is actually able to say the right thing when asked an easy question (“I’m not concerned about campaigning. I’m here to represent the people…“) — even if it IS true that he is a campaigning flake.
Oh, and when Hillary comes to the 2nd to campaign, and dumps a bunch of cash for the local Democrats because Nebraska doesn’t have Winner Take All, just remember how awesome it is that the state bucks what the rest of the country does on that one.
Back to the “conservative” question, remember back in 2006 when Ben Nelson was “conservative enough” for Nebraska — then was the final vote for ObamaCare?
Now there is another consequence of that vote, with a mandate of ObamaCare coming down that will change the definition of small group market from 1-50 employees to 1-100 employees in 2016.
This means employers with 51-100 employees would be subjected to modified community rating, increasing their premium rates and impacting coverage, in addition to dealing with the employer mandate which also takes effect in 2016.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry is working to fix that by co-sponsoring a new bill (HR 1624) that would let the states decide how to define those markets. And the aforementioned Brad Ashford may be jumping on it as well.
And the wheels spin.
ICYMI, Senator Fischer spoke to the press on her Equal Pay amendment. See it here:
Don’t be surprised if you see her, more and more, in the national press…