LINCOLN — Outnumbered but undaunted, Democrats in the officially nonpartisan Nebraska Legislature launched a filibuster Monday in hopes of altering a GOP senator-backed plan to redraw the state’s three U.S. House districts.
State Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber launched the talkfest, proposing an alternative plan to the congressional map drawn by a Republican, Omaha Sens. Scott Lautenbaugh.
Republicans enjoy a 34-15 advantage in the Legislature and last week flexed those partisan muscles in giving first-round approval to the Lautenbaugh plan.
That plan would send Bellevue and Offutt Air Force Base out of the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District and into the 1st District, with Lincoln, Columbus and Norfolk.
Democrats have complained that the Lautenbaugh plan is politically motivated because it would move the GOP-rich suburbs of western Sarpy County into the 2nd District. That would help Republican candidates in a district where Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama grabbed an electoral vote in 2008.
Karpisek unsuccessfully offered an alternative map that would have kept Bellevue in the 2nd District and move his home county, Saline County, back into the 1st District, while also keeping Gage and Dakota counties in the 1st District. His plan, he said, would give Democratic candidates in the 1st District a fairer chance at being elected.
“It’s a C.S. map. Common Sense,” said Beatrice Sen. Norm Wallman.
Republicans would appear to have the votes to stop a filibuster after eight hours and advance the Lautenbaugh plan. That would take 33 votes.
But extended debate could spoil a plan to end the 90-day session of the Legislature three days early, on Thursday.
State Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber has expressed a concern that we are all very worried about. We all want to give Democratic candidates in the 1st District a fairer chance at being elected. It’s rare that you see a political candidate, even one at a local level, speak in such a partisan manner, and attempt to make that partisanship appear, somehow C.S. (Common Sense). If Kaprisek were a first grade student talking about another first grade student sharing his blocks, I would tell him that he has to share his legos too. It’s not just selfish if someone else doesn’t share, I would tell little Russy, it’s also selfish if you don’t share. I would then define partisanship for him and tell him that when Democrats act in a partisan manner, that is also considered partisanship. As I’ve learned many times, it’s tough to read tone in print. Kaprisek may have been laughing his tail off when he said all this, but I’ll just have to read the words and decide for myself whether he was serious or not.
If Democrats wanted to give Democrats a fairer chance at getting Democrats elected, they should not have lost 34 seats in the state legislature. This is what happens when you don’t plan ahead.
They may want to consider running and hiding in an undisclosed location in Illinois, or they could bring in national protesters and have them destroy the state capitol. They could get national funds to try and swing the state Supreme Court to Democrats, and they could…wait that didn’t work the first time.
The Democrats claim that Lautenbaugh’s plan is politically motivated because it would move the GOP-rich suburbs of western Sarpy County into the 2nd District, and their plan is…fairer? Their plan is not politically motivatived, because it is C.S. (Common Sense). Common Sense plans in the Democrat half of Nebraska’s state legislature means that we create an environment in which more Democrats get re-elected. I had to check and recheck to make sure this wasn’t part of a Saturday Night Live skit. Does anyone with half a brain believe that Democrats would be “fairer” to Republicans if the situation was reversed? If Republicans act in their own behalf, then that is politically motivated, but Democrats are “fairer” when they try to make things easier for them to win elections. Keep repeating that to yourself in a rhythmic pattern with some pendulum swinging in front of your face, and we’re sure that will make sense to you too. The power of suggestion may do wonders for the fairness of our state in being “fairer” to Democrats. If it doesn’t just hide in an undisclosed location in Illinois, bring in national protesers, and destroy a state capitol.