A trial balloon for #NE03?

NE03 Ballon 01Did the LJS’s Don Walton float something like a trial-balloon for a 3rd District Congressional candidate in his column today?

Don announced that 83% of Americans don’t like Congress!

It’s time for the 83 percent who disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job (Gallup survey last month) to make themselves heard at the polls. Time for those who believe they have been left out or left behind to speak up and participate.

The people have to make change happen when elected officials won’t.


Well, back in 2012 Congressional disapproval was eighty-FIVE percent.
And if my math is correct, that means a 2% UPtick for Congressional approval.

Oh, and BTW, in 2012, 90% of House members were re-elected.
And in 2014…wait for it…95%!

Point being, “Kick the bums out!” is always a cute little idea (hey just tell Lee Terry!).

So which Bum is Don pointing Nebraskans to?

Certainly not new Democrat Darling, Brad Ashford.
And a guess is that there is no Democrat challenger that Walton wants over Jeff Fortenberry (who he praises for saving African elephants).

And as much as he doesn’t like Deb Fischer, she’s not up. And neither is Ben Sasse.

So, the guess here is that Don wants YOU to not re-elect Adrian Smith.

Now, is there a GOP challenger — or a Democrat — who is going to step up against him? With some name ID?
Who has been beating a drum for the past 8 years?

I can only think of one.

Because it is otherwise sort of random for Don to be encouraging people to vote 7 months or a year ahead, with no one to direct that vitriol towards.

So is this a trial balloon? Maybe encouragement?

Watch to see where this goes…

(Oh, and since Don probably hasn’t turned his MLB Network on since his Bombers disappeared like the steroid-pumped mercenaries they are, tjust wanted to let him know that he parent club of the Omaha/Sarpy County Storm Chasers is up 2-0 in the ALCS. Giddeyup!)


Back to your regularly scheduled issue…

ICYMI, late Friday Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale announced

The 2016 general election ballot will allow Nebraska voters to decide if a legislatively-approved law abolishing the death penalty is repealed or retained.

In addition, enough signatures have been collected to stay the effective date of LB 268 until voters decide the issue.

So that means it’s time for the LJS to up its game…


Sayeth the LJS

“The involvement of the GOP political experts makes clear that the debate does not split along partisan lines.”


We get it, Lincoln Journal-Star. You’re anti-Death Penalty.

But let’s stop with the half-assed, “Anything they do is awesome!” platitudes you’re putting forward.

If you want to claim that the campaign is balanced because there are Republicans volunteering for the committee — and Republicans who rifled it through the Legislature — great. Have at it.

On an issue like this, of course you’re going to find people on both sides of the aisle. (Though take note how often said-editorials talk about the actual current poll numbers.)

But to suggest that they’re balanced because they hired Dan Parson is a high degree of stupid.

As noted here before…

Parsons has worked for a Democrat (turned “Independent”) against the Republican candidate, has supported liberal Lincoln office holders and arguably tilts left on various social issues.

Which, again, is fine.

But political consultants are paid for the gig!

And, when hard-core Leftist George Soros is funding it, it’s a well-paying gig, no doubt.

Do he and Ryan Horn personally object to the Death Penalty? I don’t really care, and neither should you.

Better question: Are they effective political strategists?


There are two kinds of Republicans

So then there’s THIS line from the same LJS editorial:

“…But after (a member of the Unicameral) examined the evidence and his own conscience, he voted for repeal.

Many thoughtful Republicans will follow the same process when they are called to vote on repeal in 2016.”

So, if you’re keeping score on the LJS, those would be the thought-LESS Republicans who are voting AGAINST the repeal. Because of course such a person wouldn’t “look at the evidence or their own conscience.”

Oh, and they add…

The number of Republicans opposed to the death penalty is growing.

Is that right? Based on what metric? What poll, exactly? Or is this from a show of hands at the Friday cocktail party?

They go on to say,

“What’s needed is a vigorous campaign that encourages (Republicans) to take another look at the evidence and provides them with information.”

(Boy, if you’re a pro-Death Penalty Democrat, you must be hiding in a bunker with Jim Webb right about now.)

Wonder how much more evidence and information the folks in Norfolk (who signed the petition sheets in high numbers) will need…


What it may come down to

Here are a few of my thoughts on the whole deal:

You can have an interesting discussion regarding the Death Penalty on whether it is a “Just Punishment” vs “you cannot ever mete out such a punishment”.

That is a valid discussion.

My guess is, that is NOT a discussion the anti-Death Penalty group is willing to take on. It’s too heady.

So instead, they’re just going after those who believe in the Just Punishment idea, but are vulnerable to their their directed “evidence and information.”

If you do believe the DP is “Just”, but have been convinced that it is too expensive or takes too long, you’re simply conceding that if the Repealers gum up the works enough, you’ll give up. OK then.

Then there are the “what if we get it wrong!” arguers. But if you believe in the Just Punishment, then you should believe that it is incumbent on the Government to “get it right“. For instance, Legislative candidate Pat Borchers has discussed some interesting proposals for upping the standard on the Death Penalty beyond “reasonable doubt” as well as other fixes.

(Do note that this argument is different from the “you can NEVER take another life” argument.)

But then there is carrying out the sentence itself.

This is the one card that the Repealers hold that could convince people who are otherwise Pro-Death Penalty.

On the one hand, you can say that the Death Penalty is Just, and that improvements in the Justice System mean that we can only use it on those who most deserve it.

But, if Nebraska can’t actually administer the penalty, it makes it harder to argue that it should still be in place. Again, different from “takes too long” or “too expensive“. This is “can’t do it.”

It is a question that probably needs an answer.

The crazy thing is, there are other states that have already solved this for lethal injection. It is confounding why Nebraska can’t.

[And no one wants to bring this up, but there are many arguments that the firing squad is more effective and even more humane than lethal injection. (A law professor pointed out in TIME Magazine that “it is the only (method of execution) that involves experts specifically trained to kill human beings.“) Of course that violent end to a life is seemingly much less palatable than having a murderer quietly go to sleep forever.

I wouldn’t necessarily argue FOR it — but there is an argument that it makes the whole thing a little more “real” for everyone involved — voter, judge, jury and executioners. It probably SHOULDN’T be easy for anyone involved.]

In any case, it probably IS incumbent on the pro-Death Penalty forces to make the case that they can actually execute someone — or otherwise have a plan beyond what is currently happening — if the repeal doesn’t go through.

Without that, it is much less clear what it is the people who vote for the Death Penalty are actually voting for.

In this particular campaign, unless it’s addressed, this could be the deciding issue.


  1. Book on Horn says:

    Sweeper asked, I’ll answer:

    As a strategist, Ryan Horn has proven adept at separating candidates from their money, but his electoral results have been abysmal.

    As Stothert’s manager, his decision-making authority was removed before a single vote was cast. The candidate and senior staff were not convinced of his competence. For this , he “won” campaign manager of the year.

    Horn convinced Bryan Slone to spend $250K of personal money on a single-digit, last place finish in the 2014 Governor Primary. He convinced the best GOP candidate of the 2014 legislative cycle, Gwenn Aspen, to spend thousands on unnecessary consulting fees and direct mail costs in her head-scratching defeat to Burke Harr, he of the condescending committee work and mystery Blatt bathroom assault.

    And as if he hadn’t done enough damage last year, Horn took over the Terry Campaign, spent lavishly on consulting and television advertising while ignoring early voting, openly undermined his candidate to the NRCC, and brought down the House of Terry in a career-ending defeat.

    So, yes, Sweeper is right to questions the effectiveness of Horn as a GOP strategist working against the Death Penalty.

  2. NOLTE! says:

    Let’s not forget Ryan Horn’s embarrassing defeat in CD2 by Bill Kintner. I think he also had a candidate in the 3rd somewhere that also lost?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey, give Horn a break. He worked years getting Walmart into small communities that didn’t want it there so don’t underestimate his big muscle. The first two comments were spot on…he’s there for the money, but effective? Bryan Slone was too late to the game and Aspen came out sounding nasty before anyone had the chance to love her while her opponent had three campaign managers on any given day. Parsons….can’t remember his last victory if there was one. But? Such is the nature of a cottage industry that politicians and their issues choose which is why Trump is breaking all rules and showing smart marketing works. Horn and Parsons are just taking the checks and skipping to the bank with no skin in the game, because someone will hire them again and again and again.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s amusing how people keep accusing Horn and Parsons of having “no skin in the game” and just “skipping to the bank” with their checks — but no one criticizes those on the other side who are doing plenty of galavanting and skipping of their own with wads of Ricketts cash.

  5. To 2:36 says:

    The difference is that the Ricketts Cronies actually win occasionally. Horn was 0 for 2014. If merit were currency Horn would be in the soup line.

  6. Ricky says:

    Here is hoping Mr Ricketts attends the Cubbies game tomorrow in Chicago. In spite of spending tax payer money while traveling, I still want him to attend so he can see Jacob deGrom dominate his team.
    I’d pay extra cable rates for the television cameras to pan to Ricketts and his daddy as the Cubs are getting shellacked by the Mets. Maybe Ricketts will shed a tear like his hero Boner.
    Too bad Ricketts has such a big ego, or the foolishness of Ne attempting to revive the death penalty would not be such a waste of time. Only a dyed in the wool Repub would agree with what Ricketts is doing.
    I predict it’s never coming back.

  7. Anonymous says:

    A firing squad is led by an officer who puts a round into the head of the victim after he has been shot through the heart by riflemen, the victim often still alive, because riflemen are not always good shots or perhaps flinch.

  8. Mark Andrews says:

    The new Star Wars trailer, plus Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s, wipes politics & global issues from American consciousness until mid-January ’16. That is all.

    • And Mark, when you’re buying your Star Wars merch on the day after Thanksgiving for Christmas, please do it via my Amazon links on Leavenworth St. – the talk of Nebraska politics, because that’s how readers here roll (and keeps the internets on).

  9. The Grundle King says:

    The firing squad thing could be made doable rather easily. First, I can’t think of a single reason why there would need to be a team of individuals standing 20 feet away to do the firing. In fact, I can’t think of a reason why any people would need to be physically holding the guns. Construct an apparatus that holds however many firearms as necessary, that allows the weapons to be fired remotely, and that is built with motorized controls that can adjust the point of aim. The ‘human error’ factor that could result from flinch or a jerk on the trigger would be removed. The execution process could be initiated as it has been done elsewhere, where a small group of individuals each pulls a lever or presses a button to initiate the process, with no one individual being solely responsible for the execution.

    We’ve come a long ways since the days of the hanging gallows and the gas chambers. Technology is our friend, and if the drug companies won’t sell us their products, I’m more than certain we can come up with firearms, ammunition, and the technology to do the job. The anti-death penalty folks might be begging to bring electrocution back on-line as the preferred method.

    Oh, and if Ricky ‘I used to lose people’s mail for a living’ Fulton predicts failure of the death penalty ballot measure, then it will most certainly succeed. Why, just look at how his prediction on the petition initiative turned out (hint: he was wrong).

  10. The Grundle King says:

    Probably so, MacDaddy…which gets us back to the ballot measure. While I remain basically neutral on the death penalty being reinstated, if it does get reinstated, I think it kinda puts the Unicam in a corner. They probably won’t be voting to repeal it again, and yet, the reason many voted to repeal it was because there was no workable way to carry it out due to the lack of execution drugs.

    So, if it gets reinstated, then it seems their duty as legislators is to find a way to make a non-working system work. If the system doesn’t work because we can’t get the resources necessary to utilize the current execution method, then it seems the most obvious solution is to change the method.

    That said, I think you’re right. As many voted to override the veto, I can’t imagine there would be any chance at a filibuster proof majority to change the method to something so horrific as using the same method most of those on death row used to kill their victims.

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