Welcome to the Wild West

Wild West UnicameralBoth the OWH and LJS took up the issue of the “un-conservative” / “non-traditional” / “moderate” Unicameral over the weekend.

The OWH took it from the view of the Death Penalty repeal and the LJS took a broad view of “conservatives” and “liberal” issues.

And interesting quote in the LJS from Speaker Galen Hadley:

“Hadley said there is a longstanding theory that Nebraska’s Legislature is comprised of about eight members who always take conservative stands and eight who opt for liberal positions. The rest make choices issue by issue.”

OK then. So for the 36 seats held by registered Republicans, we may need to go ahead and establish those 8 who can be counted on to vote conservative — and then those who are “moderate” or whatever other moniker you’d like to befall them.

But then what?

And what are the voters to think?

For instance, the LJS looks at Senator Tommy Garrett, a big proponent of medical marijuana. Now that may or may not be a good thing or a bad thing. But Garrett says, Hey, if it’s not on GOP agenda, he still has to “use his brain”.

And that’s great. Use away. But if you’re going to veer significantly from your party platform, please inform the electorate.

This whole, “well the voters don’t seem to mind” business is a crock.

The voters don’t know. (And obviously, that’s mostly on them.)

There is a very strong argument, for instance, that if Garrett had announced that he was pro-medicinal pot and pro-death penalty repeal, he would NOT have been elected in his district.

You can make a strong argument that “Conservative” — at least for the average voters — will be defined by a few issues. Death Penalty is probably one of them.


But at what point does the PARTY step up and say, “Uh, said Senator is listed as a Republican, but that doesn’t mean he/she votes with us.”

And of course the actual Party apparatus is between a rock and hard place if said “Republican” is running against a Democrat. Not to mention that the Party’s hands are tied to a great extent about what they can or can’t do.

But just because the Party has to eat it, does the state’s top Republican?

There has to be hard ball, no?
You can’t always just be “liked” and “easy to get along with” or “a great listener” — if you really want to accomplish something.

A famous Nebraska Republican likes to quote:

“There’s no movement without friction.”

The Don Waltons of the world will counter with something like “And with all friction, it comes to a halt!”

But one would think it’s time for a little hard ball.


Asking around, there was this suggestion, at least regarding the Death Penalty Repeal:

The real conservatives should counter with a filibuster, or at least an amendment, that if passed and the Governor’s Veto overridden, would automatically cause the Reporting of a Constitutional Amendment to be placed on the ballot.

Or make a deal with Senator Chambers and Senator Krist, for a commitment to place this question on the ballot in November of 2016, in exchange for letting the bill go into law effective January 1st, 2017.

What would be interesting about something like that would be you would see a lot of the interested money — from the George Soros types who are REALLY pushing this — come out of the woodwork.

You’d likely learn about how hard the Catholic groups and their lobbyists are pushing this — and some of the heavy hitters in and out of government who are backing them.

And could the pro-Death Penalty “forces” organize against them? It could be tough. The conservatives these days are mainly just concentrating on economic issues, and letting many of the “social” issues fall by the wayside.

Could be just a true grassroots issue.


Senator Deb Fischer was on the Sunday shows yesterday, appearing on FOX’s America’s News HQ.

See it here:

Senator Fischer was her straight-forward self. She is an excellent GOP spokesperson and represents the state well.

Are there real conservative leaders, like former state Senator Fischer was, in the Unicam now?



  1. Brian T. Osborn says:

    It is because of the enforced conformity to the will of “party leaders” that I have just become one of the burgeoning numbers of Nebrakans that are registered as an Independent. If both the Democrats and the Republicans would spend more time listening to their constituents, and providing the kind of legislation that they ask for, rather than that which serves the bosses, Nebraska could become a much more successful state than it is.

  2. Oh! Come On... says:

    Sweeper, do you remember who Tommy Garrett was running against?

    The choice voters had was not between Garrett and another more conservative candidate. Anyone who is unhappy that Garrett’s positions on some issues aren’t conservative enough was NOT going to be any happier with Carol Blood in the Legislature.

    Garrett considers issues and makes decisions based on his own best judgment. Anyone who knows Carol Blood would tell you that the only thing you’re guaranteed from Carol is a large dose of nastiness. Tommy was not only the rightest and right choice, he was the only choice.

    • Mary says:

      I agree with the earlier post where they note that Tommy Garrett kept NONE of his campaign promises. Veterans Issues: Smith & Crawford Levy Issues: Smith & Crawford. He votes NO against things like Smith’s gas tax and then talks out of the other side of his mouth saying we need to fix infrastructure. It’s ok that he is anti-tax, but he has no other solutions to correct the problems. He and his supporters ran the nastiest campaign I’ve every seen in 3 decades in Sarpy County. As a Republican, I’m glad I didn’t vote for him. Anyone who never runs on a single issue and only flings mud ends up being EXACTLY what we have. A dirty hippie who supports marijuana and didn’t hold true to our party line. As far as the “nastiness” comment on his opponent…I am in a card group with several Republicans that go to church with Carol and they think she is lovely. She was certainly intelligent and kind when she came to my door. Figures that Garrett’s supporters continue to demonize her. At least she washes her hair.

  3. TexasAnnie says:

    Welcome Brian as an Independent registrant. You and I are undoubtedly on opposite ends of the spectrum concerning most taxing and spending policies, yet, our numbers as Independents makes us too unpredictable to be taken advantage of politically! So we’re doin’ all right.

    Sweeper: When Garrett had a chance to bring SPED funding growth over the next biennium into consistency with growth in all other types of educational funding (AM 1567), he voted in the affirmative. So I guess he really must not be a “conservative, as you suggest.

  4. 12:51 pm,
    That’s exactly the point.
    1) What’s the Party supposed to do in THAT particular situation, of a General Election vs a Democrat;
    2) What COULD the Party have done had they wanted a “more conservative” alternative candidate to Garrett prior to the Primary;
    3) What SHOULD the Party, or the Party Leaders, do NOW if want their “conservative” bills to succeed?

  5. Oh! Come On... says:

    Sweeper, maybe the answer to your questions is that the Party should get in line with the will of the voters. They tried insisting that the voters get in line with the wishes of the Party over in the USSR. That system didn’t work out all that well.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Sweeper, maybe the answer to your questions is that the Party should get in line with the will of the voters.”

    Amen, amen, amen.

  7. The Grundle King says:

    A glossing over of the ‘Garrett for Legislature’ Facebook page reveals a bunch of American flags, several posts regarding veterans, some powerful endorsements, a photo with a supporter carrying a ‘Lower Taxes’ sign in a parade, your generic support for ‘jobs’, and a cute puppy. An OWH endorsement snippet talked about how Garrett felt regarding the importance of Offutt, and also how he believed the NRD’s needed to do more work to prevent flooding.

    What I didn’t find on his Facebook page, nor in the OWH article, was a bunch of posts or comments indicating his desire to advocate for medical marijuana, or to repeal the death penalty.

    I know, news flash right? A politician failing to deliver on campaign promises? Perish the thought. Seriously though, it’s one thing to try and fail re: campaign promises, but it’s quite another to abandon them completely and go off on a quest to seek fulfillment of things that are important to YOU, whilst probably not all that important to your supporters. I mean, if legalizing medical mary-jane and sparing murderers from their deserved fates was a huge issue for voters in his district, you’d expect his campaign to make a big deal out of those issues, wouldn’t you?

    Forget being on board with his political party, he might try getting on board with his own campaign.

  8. Anonymous says:

    …the same voters who elected Pete Ricketts Governor — on well publicized issues?

    Ha, you’re kidding me! Pete was elected because he was the Republican in the race. That’s the only reason.

  9. Oh! Come On... says:

    Pete Ricketts probably isn’t the best example of what the will of the voters would offer up without the influence of way too much money. There were a number of arguably better Republican candidates for Governor that just didn’t have the funds to match what Joe Ricketts was willing to pay to own the office.

    So far, Pete hasn’t shown much skill at handling the job. The last three Democrats Nebraska sent to the Senate were Governors who got their foot in the door because they unseated failed Republican Governors. At the rate Pete’s going, we’re likely to see the next Democratic Senator from Nebraska take over the Governors office in about two and a half years.

    I have a hard time NOT pounding my head against the wall when I think that it’s possible that Joe Ricketts money is paving the way for Heath Mello to go to the Senate.

  10. Lil Mac says:

    Thou shalt not strain at the party gnat while swallowing the one-legged legislative camel.

    We all know that parties are never empowered. Only incumbents are. And personally so. And that power has weight.

    Parties simply offer voters unrealized principles upon which party members themselves cannot entirely agree. That flimsy stuff of party platform is blown away when it encounters an incumbent, who has his or her entire political career to lose, upon which hinges nothing less than their historical immortality.

    What every legislative incumbent has to lose is so powerful and weighty that it can only be countered inside the legislative process by another house of legislative incumbents who are beyond the cults of ridiculousness that arise in the absence of a second house to curtail such in the other.

    On other words, Nebraska’s legislative clock is broken, missing a gear that was its second house. And yet everyone seems to be arguing about what time it is in order to reset its hands. Fix the clock.

  11. The Eye Ball says:

    Hey, if I get to pick the issues, I can make any right winger look like left wing socialist, or make any socialist look like right winger. Also, don’t buy in to this George Soros phobia. Nebraska has long had animosity for the death penalty. There are conservative prosecutors in Nebraska who will not seek the death penalty as they see it as too costly and arbitrarily applied. If the death penalty was cheap and fair, most murderers who be executed which would mean at least 40 executions a year but Nebraska has had no execution in over 15 years.

    This is not the only problem with the death penalty. The question is what execution is best. If you are going to argue for firing squad, I assure you 90 percent of judges would stand in opposition.
    Lethal infection? The pharmaceutical companies don’t want to sell drugs to the Dr Kevorkians of the world and that means they won’t sell such drugs for executions.

    Yet passion is passion. So my question is, if Nebraska abolishes the death penalty, would you move to a state that has the death penalty? If no, why spend so much time opposing repeal of the death penalty?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Those who feel burned and have buyer’s remorse should find a viable GOP alternative to Primary the offender and make an example of him/her. However that entails winning the Primary and General with said alternative candidate, not just beating up the offender who goes on to win re-election.

  13. Unforgiveable says:

    Which Republican Senators will be voting to end the death penalty? After Don Klein charging that bastard today for killing that boy and mom, who has the guts to get rid of it????

  14. Anon says:

    I’d rather see the bastard who killed his mom and brother rot in a jail cell for the rest of his life and be reminded of their faces every single day. A quick death is too good for him.

  15. what death penalty says:

    You have not killed anyone in 18 years. You have one dude there 35 years. Saying we have the death penalty is like saying Erkel is great in bed….. Only he is a virgin.

  16. To what death penalty says:

    Our great defective republican unicameral has allowed the death penalty not to be applied. They should have never given up old sparky.

  17. Macdaddy says:

    You guys think the dude who did all that to his family thinks like you? You think he feels guilt? Will ever feel guilt? Will be haunted by anything? Nikko Jenkins wrote Ernie Chambers begging to be kept in jail. Begging. He got let out and this past Mother’s Day, Andrea Kruger’s kids didn’t get to make her breakfast in bed or a macaroni necklace. They got to buy flowers to put on her grave. You think Jenkins is torn up to spend the next 50 years in prison? You are f’ing delusional.

    I have been hard on Ricketts but I do give him kudos for drawing a line and standing firm for what is right. If there is nothing you can do to forfeit your life, then somebody else’s life is worth less. Sleep well.

  18. KHDS says:


    The only reason Nikko was on the street at the time of his murder spree was because Gary B. Randall (acting as a district court judge) didn’t know how to read the law and properly sentence him.; although that is his actual job.

    Gary’s quote in the OWH story, “I don’t know how they calculate sentences.” (My close paraphrase and recollection.) Hey, pal. There is no “they” in that deal. It was all on YOU, Gary.

    And, of course, dear sweet Gary was retained in office.

    Frankly I was surprised the widower and his lawyer, Vince Powers, didn’t start a campaign against Gary. Vince doesn’t appear in his court.

  19. TexasAnnie says:

    Sweeper: If the Republican Party wanted a “more conservative” candidate than Garrett, they should have tried that “forward thinking” trick of which you congratulated Nebraska Right to Life recently…

    Seriously though, as Lil Mac points out, once in office neither the party nor the electorate retains control of the candidate. Julie couldn’t control Ben Nelson and has recently complained that she can’t get Ben Sasse to do her bidding. Yet Julie undoubtedly caused many votes to be cast for these two men. Does Julie have an obligation to repent her unsavory endorsements? I don’t know. But frankly, I like the idea that even with party power in full force, Republicans can’t get what they say they want. (And I would say the same for Democrats IF they were getting anything in Nebraska.)

  20. TexasAnnie says:

    WOW! Rand Paul has threatened a filibuster if the Senate pursues reauthorization of government spying on American citizens. Rand Paul for President, 2016!!! He’s got the kind of “conservatism” I want!

  21. Thunderlips the Ultimate Male says:

    The GOP, if you haven’t noticed, is really becoming more libertarian in nature rather than hard right on social issues. This has been the case for the past few years and it is showing up in the Unicam. I don’t mind Tommy Garrett pursuing his “Nice Dreams” because at least he is a nice dude and you could sit down after a night and share a bag of Funyuns with him. The bigger issue is with people like Sen Krist who is really a mean liberal who wears a Republican red tie when it suits him and goes after fellow Republican Senators on Facebook just like the kids do (except it isn’t Facebook with the kids, think Snapchat, Twitter or Instagram…or whatever it is this week). Or the true RINO in Kathy Campbell. Those are where the problems are.

  22. warhorse says:

    Macdaddy is correct. Convicted murderers don’t feel guilty. They feel sorry they were caught.

    Why would feeling guilty matter at all? “I’m sorry mommy” should end at Kindergarten. Yet most Americans seem to focus on such motive and intent above criminal action in part to avoid facing their own potential to kill.

    We say of a killer “he must be crazy”. For if he is crazy and you aren’t then you cannot possibly kill. That is comforting but untrue. Everyone chooses every second of every day not to kill, and they fear they would sleep soundly if they did. And you would.

    It is comforting to think it impossible that you could ever kill anyone else. Yet by embracing that lie, you become more dangerously susceptible to the momentary slip of the potato knife that makes you a murderer. It is more comfortable to remain blind to your potential but it is not safer.

    So go ahead kill your convicted murderers, or emasculate them, or jail them for life in a nice place, or give them six months in a dungeon, or let them walk. But whatever you do, keep in mind that your goal is to make an example for every human being around you who has a potato knife in hand and is dead certain that they never ever could plunge it into anything as soft, squishy and mortal as you.

  23. Anonymous says:

    We don’t need a formal death penalty. The prisoners in Tecumseh are taking care of things just fine, thank you.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget about the 150+ people who have been exonerated from death row in recent years. Or our very own Beatrice Six, for whom the threat of the death penalty was used to coerce them into false confessions. Three people served four years each and three served 18 years each.

    This is your government at work, folks. How can we claim the government is broken and inefficient yet turnout around and imply it’s infallible when it comes to the death penalty. It’s utter foolishness, and it isn’t justice.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Thunderlips knows whereof he speaks. Sen. Krist is known for his temper. The only possible way he was elected Chair of the Executive Board is he got every liberal vote in the Unicam plus all the mushy middle who didn’t want a conservative elected to that post.

  26. Bob Loblaw says:

    Government sucks. Plain and simple. Most everything it does is screwed up and inefficient. It can’t fix our roads, can’t run our schools well, can’ run our cities and states efficiently. That’s why I’m a conservative. so I don’t quite understand why anyone would want to give the Government the power to take the life of a fellow citizen. It’s the one mistake that can’t be corrected. No matter how heinous the crime and unrepentant and irredeemable the criminal, I just can’t see how giving government that power is a conservative position. Put them in supermax 24 hour lockdown with no excercise, TV, or books. That is a much worse punishment than death.

  27. Macdaddy says:

    Because Nikko Jenkins’ prospects on the outside were…? Bob, that would be a much worse punishment for you, possibly, but you are missing my point that Jenkins was begging to be kept in jail. He did not want to be let out. He doesn’t look at it as punishment. BTW, your comment that it’s a punishment worse than death? Don’t worry, the EU Human Rights Court has heard you and they agree and they have declared life without parole to be a cruel and inhumane punishment worthy of banishment. BTW, we don’t give government that power, we give 12 fellow citizens that power.

  28. Bob Loblaw says:

    You’re right we give the power to 12 citizens. Who are influenced by sometimes corrupt forensic analysts, overzealous prosecutors, incompetent defense attorneys, and tunnel vision investigators. I can think of prominent examples of each kne of these in Nebraska in recent years. Fortunately no one innocent has been put to death in those cases. But many spent years of their lives behind bars that didn’t have to. And you think this system is capable of handing out death sentences?

  29. That's their only response says:

    Ignore actual cases of innocence and ignore the fact you’re giving BIG GOVERNMENT the ability to kill someone, which is utterly irreversible. You don’t trust the the govt to fill potholes right but you do with killing someone? That’s flipping nuts.

    The only response to critiques of the death penalty is “NIKKO JENKINS! NIKKO JENKINS!” As if that scumbag justifies the government continuing to biff it with wrongful convictions and badgering people into false confessions.

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