State Senator Laura Ebke of Crete announced yesterday that she was switching from the Republican party to the Libertarian party. (You can find a letter that she posted on Facebook — though not the original that she sent to her constituents.)
Well, as near as anyone can tell it is because Governor Pete Ricketts was mean to her at the Republican convention.
A few points…
1. According to Ebke, GOP = Governor Ricketts
Ebke wasn’t just some voter who checked the box next to Republican. She ran as a Republican and attended the Republican convention, on her own volition.
And yet she now tells the OWH, “she’d been considering the switch for months.” Huh.
Well then she was GREATLY influenced by one person.
Ebke’s faith in the Republican party seems to have been based on what Pete Ricketts said. In which case her positions were based on a person, and not on the party.
One would then have to believe that if the Governor took the podium at the NEGOP convention and praised the courage and fortitude of Ebke, she would have stuck around.
So her convictions were all based on being nurtured in a speech.
And Ebke calls herself a “political scientist”?
[Note, an earlier version here stated that Ebke was a convention delegate. She was not.]
2. Had Ebke orginally run as a Libertarian, she never would have been elected.
Ebke seems to be trying to sell that she has been a “Goldwater Republican” all along, and that everyone knew she was in the “Liberty Caucus”, so it’s no big deal that she is shifting.
But let’s face facts. She USED the Republican party, and it’s positions and resources to get elected, and now that she is firmly ensconced, is ditching it. Could she get re-elected now? Sure, she’s an incumbent.
But had she run originally under the Libertarian banner, she would not have won.
And I don’t have her campaign literature, but I am guessing that when she cited Ronald Reagan and Carl Curtis…and Barry Goldwater as her political idols, no one really took her meaning.
The idea of a “Goldwater Republican” is that you are of the libertarian branch of the Republicans. And you generally reject social conservative stances — especially those on the religious right — in the party.
More than likely Ebke said “lower taxes” and “smaller government” in all her campaigning. Oh and being a Republican.
3. What happened to the “non-partisan” Legislature?
If you read the Lincoln Journal-Star’s senior political writer Don Walton, you would think the ghost of George Norris makes his coffee every morning. And instead of cream and sugar, he flavors it with a healthy dose of “non-partisan legislature”.
And no doubt, Walton will sing the praises of Ebke when she is bucking the Republican Governor who is insisting that Republicans vote his way.
Except that in the same breath Ebke and Walton and the Gang of 13 Harrumphers want to explain over and over that the legislature is non-partisan.
So which is it? Does party — Republican or Libertarian — matter in the Legislature? Or does it NOT matter? And if it doesn’t…who CARES what the Governor thinks or suggests?
Except Ebke clearly DOES care what he thinks, and thinks that her party DOES matter in the Legislature. Otherwise she wouldn’t have seen a need to switch parties.
These legislators are confused — or frankly want it both ways. They want to be members of the party when it helps them to get elected or lets them join a certain faction. And then they want to declare NON-PARTISANSHIP! when they want to break ranks.
There are certainly ways to go about bucking the party line, but simply yelling George Norris’s name each time is simply convenience instead of an argument.
4. The rise of the Libertarian Party
In the wake of Donald Trump, the Libertarian Party has seen a bump. Two former Republican Governors, Gary Johnson (NM) and William Weld (MA) are leading their ticket — though beyond legalization of marijuana, they don’t really have an obvious platform that distinguishes them.
But their notoriety, which is growing, gives Ebke a little more of a community to join, and tout her. Heck I have a few Libertarian party friends in Chicago and late yesterday they were on already Facebook touting the new State Senator in Nebraska — whom they no doubt had never heard of before — who was now on their team.
Once again, it looks like the personal feelings thing really affected Ebke’s decision. “Pete may not like you, but we will welcome you with open arms! And look over there! It’s Vermin Supreme!”
A final note…
Remember when the political nature of the previous administration was criticized, and then with the new Governor, an “openness” and “business minded” approach was praised to the heavens?
And then that same Legislature which loved the new, non-mean Governor, handed him is hat legislatively.
So the new Governor finds a little success by campaigning in a legislative primary and…POW! Brings the political hammer down at the convention.
We will have to look just a little harder now to find the praises for the “new way” of governing in the state. And maybe some will look back at the scalpel approach, and appreciate the political means of the old days. Because you can bet that Ebke’s move won’t be the last of the revenge of those dissed at the GOP convention.