Sunday, February 05, 2006

Update: Heineman No Longer Distracted By His Own Insecurity

by Kyle Michaelis
Still playing catch-up, it's important to note that Gov. Dave Heineman has rescinded his childish and unprincipled order that state agency heads not meet with gubernatorial challenger and Congressman Tom Osborne without he or a member of his staff present.

Frankly, this is one of the worst abuses of political office that Nebraskans have seen for some time, particularly in light of the fact that Heineman is so desperately protecting his hold on an office to which he has not been elected.

The Omaha World-Herald reports:
Tom Osborne once again can meet with state agency heads without his chief political opponent, Gov. Dave Heineman, sitting in.

Heineman said Thursday that he no longer will join meetings between the congressman - an adversary in the Republican governor's primary - and state employees....

"The governor has made it clear that the congressman can have any information he wants, political or otherwise," said Aaron Sanderford, the governor's spokesman.

Asked why the ban was lifted, Sanderford said Heineman "will not allow political distractions to keep him from doing the people's business"....

Osborne said it was "fine" that the verbal order had been lifted. But he disputed the idea that all, or most, of his meetings with state officials were political in nature.

He also said he was especially upset that, upon returning from a congressional trip to Iraq, he had not been allowed to meet with Nebraska National Guard Maj. Gen. Roger Lempke without the presence of Heineman.

That meeting with Lempke was arranged by his congressional office and was not about the campaign, Osborne said.

"I'm a citizen, I'm a 3rd District congressman, and to deny access to information by state officials is something that doesn't compute with me," Osborne said.

Heineman said through a spokesperson that he wanted to attend the meeting in his role as commander-in-chief of Nebraska's National Guard....

At the time, his spokesman said it made "common sense" for the governor to attend meetings arranged by a rival's campaign manager....

"I didn't want to put my directors in a very difficult position. . . . What would happen if Tom Osborne and I are engaged in a political debate, and he says, 'Your state agency director said this,' " Heineman said earlier this month.

Wow, that is some song and dance Heineman puts on when trying to weasel his way out of being held responsible for manipulating the state government to serve his political ends. I especially like the part about Heineman "not allowing political distractions to keep him from doing the people's business."

Ha, since assuming the governorship one year ago, winning this election has not just been a distraction but has been Heineman's sole concern. Heineman's idea of "the people's business" begins and ends with his winning a four-year term of his very own.

Imagine what it took for the almost Zen-like Osborne to admit that he was "especially upset" by this personal slap in the face and insult to the people of Nebraska. By all rights, he should have gone on a rampage, denouncing Heineman's sickening display of political avarice, but Osborne's been pretty good these last fifteen years at following his doctor's advice and not getting over-heated.

Too bad because he's really letting Heineman off the hook rather than sinking it in like he deserves. On the off chance Osborne loses to Heineman, it will be wasted opportunities such as this that are to blame - failing to capitalize on conclusive evidence that Heineman lacks both the class and integrity to serve the public rather than his own ambitions.

He wanted to attend the meeting "in his role as commander-in-chief of Nebraska's National Guard"...that's the silliest damn excuse I've ever heard. At the very least, Heineman should have tried to make nice with Osborne and admitted he's such a Husker fan that he just couldn't pass up any opportunity he could get to sit down with Coach Osborne.

The people of Nebraska can forgive and probably even embrace the fanatacism of a raving football fan. Fanatacism in the name of Heineman furthering his own career is a different story entirely.


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