What should a “vote changer” do?

Happy Monday!

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer delivered the Republican Weekly Address over the weekend. See it here:

(Entire text of the address at the bottom of this post.)


As has been mentioned here before, Don Walton’s Monday column in the LJS is required reading for Nebraska politicos.


Well, 1) it’s one of the only columns on politics in the entire state. (The OWH would be a lesser paper without the musings of Tom Shatel and Dirk Chatelain on Sports. Why no one on politics?)

And 2), it gives one the opportunity to tear it down.

As he has been doing the entire legislative session, Don has been praising the “independent” Unicameral like a pageant mom at the Little Miss Lincoln event.

They can think on their own!
There are no party whips!
George Norris would be so proud!
(Remember to use your butt-glue!)

So lets knock down a few of these, shall we?

“Nebraska’s nonpartisan legislature counts 49 members and only 13 of them are Democrats.”

See, when you list what PARTY the members are, then that sort of, de facto, makes it PARTISAN. Get that? Chambers is pretty much the only who can claim to not be a member of a party.

“…not all Republicans or conservatives agree. But, of course, neither do all Democrats or moderates or progressives or liberals or whatever.”

Oh,  of course. OF COURSE!
Yeah, except that the Democrats, as we have pointed out on Leavenworth St., DO in fact agree on almost all of what they will vote on.

How could such a thing happen?
You know, in this nonpartisan body!

It’s almost as if someone is “whipping” them to keep them in line.
My, it’s like they are thwarting the immortal touch of George Norris!
How dare they!

(Oh, but Don won’t spill any LJS ink on such an idea. You see, if the Dems vote like Dems, that’s just fine you see. Their partisan and dogmatic votes are good — unlike the partisan and dogmatic votes of the Republicans, which are bad.)

And then there’s this one from The Don:

“But would conservatives rather have the death penalty — and a continued ban on the issuance of driver’s licenses to the children of illegal immigrants — or the property tax cuts and marked reduction in the growth of state government spending that they got with the promise of more?

“The answer, of course, is that most of them want everything. Just like the other side.”

Wait. A. Minute.
“Sides”? What are these “sides” Don speaks of?
George Norris didn’t include sides in his Unicameral.
Isn’t the dome round?

And is Don suggesting that (gasp!) Vote Trading occurred???
Weren’t the Death Penalty votes all about “thinking” and “considering” and “sleeping at night”?

Does he mean it was either Death Penalty or Property Tax reduction?


And then, there’s this:

“But this surprising freshman class was filled with senators who were confident and independent and thoughtful and determined to be free.

“Free to study issues and make their own judgments, independent from political parties and partisan pressure.”


“Free” to tell the people who vote for them that they will vote one way, then get to Lincoln and do the exact opposite.

See all this “oh, there are no parties!” and “they use their heads!” is all cute and altruistic… until you realize the voters are being bamboozled.

Voter use the party affiliations to determine who they are going to vote for.
Oh, and they also use the candidates’ positions to decide who to vote for.

When a candidate says “I’ll vote for X!“, but then gets to the legislature and votes for Y, that’s disingenuous. (a/k/a “lying”.)

And this whole, “well, I hadn’t thought about that…” stuff is B.S.

The Death Penalty issue, for one, has only been around since Keyrock stole Ogg’s mastodon loincloth and Ogg let him know how he felt about it.

If you, Candidate, didn’t know all the twists and turns of it BEFORE you told the voters you’d be for or against it, then shame on you.

At the very least you know what that Senator should do?

They should do like Gandhi said in the movie.

When they Hindu came to confess that he had killed a Muslim child, Gandhiji told the guy to find a child in an orphanage, adopt him, and raise him as a Muslim.

(You see where I’m going with this, right?)

If a Senator voted contrary to how they campaigned, they should LEAD the initiative petition process.

They should say, “You know, I told my constituents that I’d vote one way, and then I didn’t. So since I, at the minimum, misrepresented myself, THE VOTERS should have the opportunity to make the decision themselves.”

And they should physically support the drive. With shoe leather, vocal support and probably some of their campaign cash. Then once it’s on the ballot, they can try to convince their constituents of whatever they want.

THAT would be a little justice.

(And commenters can save all of their “Gandhi was against the death penalty” quotes.)


It is interesting nonetheless to see all of the “touchdown dance” articles from the media after the Death Penalty got overturned.

The introspective, “brave votes”. The “old lady cheering from the balcony”. The Senator who “consulted with the victims…”.

Oh, but don’t expect to see any such stories if it get reinstated by the voters.
It will be about the blood-thirsty Neanderthal (Republicans) who don’t understand the nuances of the issue.


And the OWH took a few fresh swings at Governor Pete Ricketts on the mess in the Unicameral this session.

One of the things that was interesting was the different headlines used by other outlets who picked up the OWH’s story.

The OWH went with:

Observers say Ricketts should have pushed conservative viewpoint earlier on in legislative process

But then they also had this alternate headline:

Legislature: Could Gov. Ricketts have pushed conservative view earlier?

But the Norfolk Daily-News said:

Ricketts’ bobbles chalked up to rookie mistakes

And the North Platte Telegram went simply with:

Ricketts swings, misses

Alas, the headlines for a baseball team owner…


And for your consumption (and if you are unable to watch the vid above), here is the text of Senator Deb Fischer’s Weekly Republican Address:

“Hello, I’m Senator Deb Fischer and I have the honor of representing the great state of Nebraska in the United States Senate.

“For generations, our military has answered the call to protect our freedom at home and our interests around the world.

“These service members are men and women of uncommon courage.

“From the shores of Normandy to the fields of Korea and beyond, America’s sons and daughters have never wavered in the defense of liberty – both as a fighting force and a force for good.

“Because of their sacrifice, the 20th century was ‘the American century.’

“But our work is far from done. Every generation faces evil.

“And every generation has been called upon to step forward and protect our way of life.

“Our nation faces many challenges, and I believe the federal government has no higher priority than protecting the American people in an increasingly dangerous world.

“With this responsibility in mind, the Senate will soon consider its annual bill to authorize funding and set policy for our military, known as the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA.

“I’m honored to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and I was proud to contribute to this bipartisan legislation, which was overwhelmingly approved by our committee earlier this month.

“This bill takes a common-sense approach: it cuts spending from programs that have been delayed or failed to perform, and redirects that revenue to meet the critical needs of our warfighters.

“In all, this year’s NDAA finds $10 billion in savings, which it uses to increase the capability and training of our men and women in uniform.

“It also invests in the future of our national defense, setting aside $400 million for the development of new technologies that will ensure our troops maintain their superiority on the battlefield.

“We are also addressing issues like the growing bureaucracy at the Pentagon.

“Our military is getting smaller, but combat units shouldn’t bear these cuts alone.

“This bill targets real reductions for headquarter and management staff as well.

“It would also take steps for real reforms to our acquisition system – the way our military purchases weapons and equipment – to prevent wasteful spending.

“It’s no secret we live in a very dangerous world.

“As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, I am deeply concerned by growing instability, particularly in the Middle East where violence continues to consume Iraq and Syria.

“From Iran’s nuclear ambitions to China’s aggressive territorial expansion, Russia’s belligerence as a regional bully, and the growing threat of the Islamic State, we have no shortage of challenges.

“This underscores the importance of providing for our military.

“A strong and capable defense deters our adversaries.

“President Reagan said it best with his principle of peace through strength.

“It remains as true today as it was thirty-five years ago.

“But as we all know, sometimes this deterrence is not enough, and Americans are called to act.

“Providing the men and women of our military with the training and resources they need increases their ability to complete their assigned mission and safely return home.

“Unfortunately, too many of our service members pay the ultimate sacrifice.

“From natural disasters to war-torn nations, the United States has rapidly deployed to help those facing danger.

“This past month, one of our own Nebraskans gave his life while searching for victims of the massive earthquake in Nepal.

“Captain Dustin Lukasiewicz of Wilcox, Nebraska was a Marine Corps helicopter pilot who flew the helicopter that disappeared during the disaster relief mission following the Nepal earthquake.

“By forging into danger to rescue strangers in a distant land, Captain Lukasiewicz and his fellow Marines represented the ideals of our nation, personifying our mission as a force for good in the world.

“There are countless stories like this from Americans across our country.

“Brave men and women who serve our nation every day, all over the world.

“Our men and women in uniform inspire me.

“Because of their courage and sacrifice, I believe in a brighter future for our children and our grandchildren.

“There can be another American century.

“With the right leadership and the proper resources, the U.S. military will continue to lead the way.

“May God bless our troops, their families, and our great nation.

“Thank you for listening.”


  1. Jobu Needs A Refill says:

    Clearly the best thing that could’ve happened for the NEGOP would’ve been for Bruning to win the Senate nomination back in 2012 and had Deb Fischer run for and win the Governor’s race in 2014. Deb would’ve been personally visiting the state senators she needed to, and we wouldn’t have had any of this convoluted mess that Gov. Moenning/Ricketts dropped on us this session.

  2. Not Tom Arnold says:

    Property tax cuts? “Marked” reduction in spending growth? Did either of these really happen?

    Adding money to the property tax credit fund is nice, but not really a “cut.” And anyone who’s looked at the budget and taken notice of the backloaded Year 2 understands that Pete got taken on that, too.

  3. Up in Omaha says:

    Is it me or do several Senator like reading their news clipping? They would rather see their name in news getting praise for something “brave” than what is right. It’s time to go back to partisan two house system.

  4. To Wong Fu...Thanks for Everything, Pete Ricketts says:

    To 11:31AM,

    Even better, voters probably should have just promoted Bruning to Governor in 2014. He’ actually ran a government agency and would have brought an experienced staff with relationships at the Capitol. But nah, Pete’s dad said Bruning was just too evil, so instead we get the inexperienced and incompetent, never-managed-anything-before-in-his-life Pete Ricketts and his merry band of in-fighting misfits. With that, we also get repeal of the death penalty (which Bruning successfully defended), drivers licenses for illegals (which Bruning successfully opposed), and an increase in the gas tax. I’m sure there are more than 2200 voters out there who would prefer a do-over.

  5. The Grundle King says:

    While I’m as keen to lay some responsibility for this mess on Ricketts as anyone else, to do so would be to shift responsibility away from those who actually voted to pass this stuff.

    For every liberal in the Unicam, there are 3 who likely promised to be a ‘conservative’ voice for their constituents. Many of those who voiced disgust over Ernie Chambers remarks about how his ‘black blood’ has been “polluted” by the white man…and how if he carried a gun, he’d do so to shoot first at cops and as questions later (see how that worked out for Officer Orozco)…were more than willing to jump on his bandwagon and hand him the most significant political victory of his career.

    No doubt, they’ll be back to help him outlaw mountain lion hunting next year.

    The problem, as I see it, is not a rookie governor, nor an apparently ineffective private/public sector assistant.

    The problem is too many psuedo-conservatives who are too busy lying through their teeth to represent the interests of the people who put them in office. I hate to say it, but it may be time to repeal term limits. Clearly, they failed to get rid of the man they were aimed at (ooh, a 4-year respite!), and they leave 2nd term senators with no large-scale political aspirations free to ignore the will of the people in favor of voting based on their own desires.

    I know it’s not as sexy of a topic, but if we’re going to start petition initiatives, front of the list should be to bring transparency to the legislature by making committee votes open. Public agencies across the state are bound by the ‘open meetings law’…why should legislative committee meetings be any different?

  6. Macdaddy says:

    I agree with Grundle. We’re talking the death penalty here. A legislator is going to change his vote because of a perceived slight? That’s just passing the buck, but then what would you expect from a bunch of liars?

    Let the 104th Unicam go down in history as The Liars’ Club.

  7. Anon says:

    Google and go back and read the article “Meet Matt Miltenberger…” which was in the LJS in February. Interesting reading now that the legislative session is done. What kind of stupid advice does Lauren Kintner give too?

  8. Hesdeadjim says:

    This session was extremely disappointing from the perspective of the voters; It was the crowning achievement of the NDP. Make no mistake, all this trash talking of state Senators, the Gov & Co. is not in-fighting caused by bitter primary defeats. This is genuine grassroots disapproval of the job being done by the people we elected.

    To put it in terms government employees can understand: If Ameer Abdullah had fumbled this many times, he would have been banished to the practice squad of Nebraska Wesleyan.

  9. Anon says:

    Term limits is not the problem, don’t put the lawyers of the low bar in there for eternity, they are not worth the $12 G’s, let them get a real job

  10. Weak minded nincompoops says:

    Is that for real? There are only 13 registered Democrats in our nationally treasured and oft copied (not) unicameral? That’s either a lie, or the Republicraps back in Lincoln are buffoons. What is it exactly that goes on out there? Perhaps we could start with the votes designed on Day One of session designed to ensure that nobody’s feelings are hurt? (Those would be the “secret votes” for leadership.) The session goes downhill from there.

  11. Susan Smith says:

    Many Nebraska conservatives are upset over the voting in lockstep with Democrats by most of the Republican senators. If senators are getting angry feedback is it because of their “bait and switch” campaign tactics? It’s reasonable for citizens to expect candidates to be honest on where they stand on issues when campaigning to garner donations, support and votes.

    Two questions 1)how many of the newly elected senators are Libertarians turned Republican from the 2012 infiltration of the Republican Party by the Ron Paul Libertarians? And now that we see the result of that take over 2) How will this fracture in the Republican Party play out in future elections – Does the Nebraska GOP have a future?

  12. To 1:41 says:

    Ameer could not play at Nebraska Wesleyn as he has exhausted all of his college eligibility based on NCAA rules. Nebraska Wesleyn also does not have a practice squad. The NFL has a practice squad which was formally known as the taxi squad.

  13. Hesdeadjim to 2:59 says:

    I wrote that in past tense, meaning that if Ameer had fumbled so many times during his career at NU while he still had eligibility, he would have been banished to the Nebraska Wesleyan practice squad that very much exists. Their practice squad is also known as the JV squad. Unlike NFL practice squads, they play a few games against other practice squads during the week. No have a seat back on the practice squad bench.

  14. The Grundle King says:

    When the person leading the charge to expand Obamacare in Nebraska is a ‘Republican’ (Kathy Campbell), you know you have a problem in the Republican party.

    She appears to have never found a liberal ideal she doesn’t like.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I do lay some of this at the feet of term limits. Stupid idea to let someone sit out four years and come back. Who drafted that? The way he’s going, Ernie could sit out another four and come back again. In the meantime, we are hurt by second term lame duckers who are selling out to the highest bidder so they can come back and lobby. Forget the poor voters at home, we won’t need them anymore now that we can be lobbyists and consultants.

  16. The Eye Ball says:

    Regardless of how anyone feels about the death penalty, conservatives need to get over their rage and passion and ask themselves: What is the real goal of a ballot initiative on the issue? If it is to resurrect the death penalty, even if passed by the voters, there are plenty of legal obstacles to execution. Nebraska is highly unlikely to see an execution in the next 20 years. So where do you really want to spend your time, money and resources? I know numerous pro-death penalty advocates who consider the initiative process a waste of time and effort. Sure they will vote for it, but they much rather have a tax cut.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The only thing deader than the death penalty is a bicameral legislature in Nebraska. Not gonna happen.

  18. Anon says:

    I have seen a tax cut of 28-33 dollars , they raised the gas tax, fees and exempted from the base. they are peeing all over themselves cutting spending from 6 to 3 per cent. If you have a Senator like Sara Howard who said she heard, as I have heard many during the session say the same, that cutting taxes was a main issue from their voters, of which by her attitude she could care less. There is a better chance of an execution than meaningful tax relief for citizens

  19. KHDS says:

    Here is one thing to think about: Unless the death penalty is restored quickly, that guy who murdered little Tommy Hunter in his Dundee home avoids death.

    Lindstrom et alia should have thought about that.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Many alive deserve death.
    Many dead deserve life – can YOU give it to them, KHDS?
    If not, don’t be in such a hurry to deal out judgement & death.
    We’re already in enough trouble with God; better not to presume to take His place.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I see Republicans here trying to place blame for bad Nebraska lawmaking on senators, the governor, on Ernie, on voters, pundits, the news media, etc. Thoughtful bloggers here feel laws are being passed against the general will of the voters as polled, seem to writhe in intellectual torment as they twist first toward this cause and then turn to that cause, yet none seeming to be the cause. And all while a 10,000 lb Nonpartisan Unicameral sits on their chest. If they notice it, they don’t say anything about it while they are pointing fingers at everything else.

    Too few here seem to want to focus on the fact that that the Nonpartisan Unicameral’s mechanism never works because it is nonpartisan and a unicameral.

    When any lawmaking mechanism is broken, there is no part of it you can blame to make it work.

    Republicans most of all should grasp this. In 1936, Nebraska officially shed its partisan bicameral and Norris shed his GOP affiliation. That ought to give Republicans a hint. Sure Democrats seem to benefit from the chaos but in the way scavengers do in an aftermath. Nebraskans as a whole suffer the unprincipled chaos and cults of personality that arise in the vacuum of unrestrained power that is a Nonpartisan Unicameral. And Nebraskans like it. They think it is more honest and wiser because it has no partisanship or second house to tell its lawmakers they are dishonest and unwise. The lack of hearing reprimands of the usual adult supervision that comes with a partisan bicameral is a silence Nebraskans foolishly assume means Senators don’t need any supervision.

    We cannot talk people out of such ingrained misbelief. We have to have the 10,000 lb thing on their chest slap them awake. There may be ways to do that. But who is even trying? At the moment, there is no serious strategic effort statewide to change lawmaking to a partisan bicameral.

  22. To 4:25 says:

    Clearly you are commenting five minutes after 4:20. Finish up your laser tag tourney and let the adults talk.

  23. Susan:

    Ebke’s the only identifiable Libertarian in the bunch, and her Libertarian principles seem to have lasted right up until she ascended the capitol steps. The rest of the crowd aren’t libertarins; they’re Democrats masquerading as Republicans

  24. Adult Talk says:

    Bent Lindstrom lied to his constituents. He said he supported the death penalty. Even a child knows when he is lied to.

  25. The Eye Ball says:

    Anonymous @ 8:02 The problem is Ricketts derailed conservatives by calling for elected officials to resign. He should have been working with the legislature and drummed up conservatives to testify for bills he wanted to pass. With calling someone to resign, he basically gave on the left wing lobbyists a field day.

  26. Anonymous says:

    What happened to Ebke? She didn’t seem to be a phony like Schumacher, during the debate on term limits after debate by many of the new and other senators she spoke and nailed it by saying their reasoning was self-serving, after that she turned left

  27. The Grundle King says:

    A bicameral legislature sounds nice and all, but I think the chances of establishing one are on par with passage of ‘execution by bear mauling’. All I can see it accomplishing is doubling the number of dishonest legislators. Why shell out another half a million dollars for a few dozen more self-serving future lobbyists? In truth, a reasonable solution would be to change the veto override threshold to match that of a cloture vote. That way, spineless senators like Larson and Smith have to stand behind their votes if they want a measure to pass.

    I support the death penalty petition initiative, if for no other reasons than to piss Ernie off, and to show the legislators what happens when they ignore, or outright lie to the people who voted for them. That said, I’m comfortable with letting the death penalty go to the history books, simply because I have no faith in our government being able to administer it in a timely manner, nor to always find the actual murderer. The Beatrice 6, the kids accused in the Stock murders, and the CSI: Omaha guy should give folks pause. I have no doubt that every single person sitting on Nebraska’s death row today is deserving of the death penalty…and much worse. But I no longer trust the government to get it right every time.

    Macdaddy, part of me understands where you’re coming from when you talk about letting an innocent person sit in prison for 30 years, and how that could be as bad or worse than executing them. The problem, as we’ve seen, is that the innocent person will probably sit on death row for 30 years before they’re executed. I can’t bring myself to accept that as a reasonable sacrifice. There’s already too much injustice in our legal system…no reason to double down on it.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Concerning Brett Lindstrom: He never really said he was a conservative republican. I mean, he ran to the right of Lee Terry but on a Libertarian soap box. He ran hard with the paulista crowd of DCRP back in the 2012 primary, maybe his vote to repeal the death penalty was his nod to them saying “hey, I’m still a paulbot, even though I voted to raise taxes”.

    Whatever his reasons were for voting to repeal the death penalty, override our Republican Governor’s veto, and raise taxes, I’m just ashamed to call him my state senator. Back when I lived in Bob Krist’s district I hated that he was my state senator but at least we all knew what we were getting with Krist.

  29. Death of a Political Career says:

    Just listened to Scott Voorhees’ interview of Brett-i-boy. The only positive thing that I can say is:
    “Sounds like the death a promising political career.”

  30. to 8:46 am says:

    I take issue with your Bob Krist reference. We did not know where he stood…

    He lied about his positions.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Let’s hope the vetting for Nordquist’s seat is very well done. Would be nice to have a solid pick-up in that district. Speaking of Jeremy, wonder how long his job with Ashford was in the works. Right after session ended he showed his house up for sale ( everyone knows how long it takes to get a house ready to go on the market) and immediately he’s in DC with his wife and baby. Is this a smack down for Amanda McGill or did she never want the DC job? If Ashford is all about giving his former legislative buddies jobs, why is Nordquist any more qualified to be COS than McGill? All pretty fascinating stuff when you call Brad Ashford your boss.

  32. 8:46 to 9:27 says:

    You’re right, I was referring to his second election when he ran unopposed and we knew where he stood.

  33. 8:46 to 9:00 says:

    Lee Terry let us down a lot, and he was still a better candidate than any of his primary challengers ever were. Dan Frei’s post primary behavior should have proven this to anyone who doubted it.

  34. Brian T. Osborn says:

    In other words, “You will follow your party line and DO AS YOU ARE TOLD!”

    That’s why I became an Independent.

  35. The Grundle King says:

    I don’t know about others, but I’m less concerned about legislators toeing the party line, and more concerned about legislators listening to the voters and acting in the way they promised to act during their campaigns.

    That’s why I feel the legislative committee meetings should not only be open in regard to seeing how the members vote…but open to the public. Voters deserve to know not only how their representatives vote on the legislative floor, but how they vote every step along the way. Allowing legislators to hind behind a cloak of sheltered anonymity relieves them of accountability, and legislators should be accountable to voters at every step along the way…not just when the public is given the opportunity to watch. If nothing else, the vote trading that is most assuredly happening would at least happen in public view.

  36. Anonymous says:

    At the end of the session, I believe on the hog farm bill, it was bought up about vote trading , didn’t name anyone, and at a point Larson got up and gave a position that he wasn’t vote trading. I cannot help but believe that he was. The committee set-up became a touchy subject a few times, the reaction on the floor was the crickets that as if Ernie was on a rage. The thing is, and as it turned out the lack of (Ha, ha) conservative support and the fight against it, backed by the OWH(red flag), and the POS, there was just too much resistance for the collegial and non-partisan argument, it became what are you hiding, It seems to have been answered

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