Thursday, March 02, 2006

Heineman Endorsed by 2 Elected Democrats

by Kyle Michaelis
Nebraska has a non-partisan legislature. I respect that and, in general, believe it has been an incredible benefit to our state. Still, it rubs me the wrong way that at least two state senators who are registered Democrats - Pat Bourne of Omaha and Abbie Cornett of Bellevue - have thrown their support to Republican Gov. Dave Heineman in his quest for a term of his very own.

The Omaha World-Herald reports:
Tom Osborne may have Barry Switzer and Warren Buffett in his corner, but Gov. Dave Heineman has the backing of 26 state lawmakers and 17 labor unions.

The lawmakers, which include Democrats Pat Bourne and Abbie Cornett, will host a $1,000-per-person fundraiser today for Heineman in Lincoln.

The labor unions endorsed Heineman Monday. The endorsement was made, in large part, because of Heineman's support last year of a jobs creation package.

"Dave's been open and upfront with us. . . . He's been a friend," said Mark McColley, business manager of Steamfitters Local 464.

McColley said the endorsement was for the primary only. The unions could decide to support someone else in the general election....

The Heineman endorsements come less than one week after the Osborne campaign posted a nine-minute video on its Web site featuring Omaha investor Buffett, a Democrat, touting Osborne's virtues.

Also last week, former Oklahoma football coach Switzer hosted a fundraiser for Osborne, a former Nebraska football coach who is now a three-term congressman.

Acccording to the Lincoln Journal-Star, other labor unions endorsing Heineman in the primary include the Electricians Local 22, Ironworkers Local 21, Laborers Local 1140, Machinists Local 31, Electrical Workers Local 1974, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 271 and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 251. In so doing, one representative is quoted speaking of Heineman's sharing many of the same attributes as the man he replaced, former Gov. Mike Johanns. I would largely agree with that sentiment, though certainly not as any sort of compliment.

How can the labor unions turn such a blind eye to the failed style of leadership that has left Nebraska scraping the bottom of the barrel in economic development? Six years of Johanns' vision-deficient leadership left Nebraska with either the worst or 2nd worst growing economy in the nation. Now Heineman - who has proven himself an even more calculating bureaucrat than his predecessor - promises a whole lot more where that came from, and labor wants to call that a good thing?

As for Senators Bourne and Cornett, it isn't that I'm holding them to any standard of absolute party loyalty. Let it be noted that they are the ones who have even made partisanship an issue by getting involved in a primary election in which they are not even able to vote.

At the end of the day, I honestly have no problem with cross-party endorsements, it's only this early in the election it seems safe to say these senators didn't even give the presumed Democratic nominee, David Hahn, a chance. That is what bothers me. At the very least, they owed Hahn an opportunity to develop his message and get his campaign off the ground - maybe even a moment of their time - before undermining his young campaign in this fashion.

And, for who? Heineman, of all people. That's the part I really don't get. He's got very little record to run on and a personality that almost starts to make Osborne sound exciting by comparison. Meanwhile, he's contributed significantly to the over-politicization of public education in this state, without any hint of the political courage or fiscal responsibility to do and say what's right. Instead, he's gone to the even more irrational extreme of complementing these destructive efforts with a push for a self-serving tax cut of almost no value outside campaign advertising.

I guess that's where the $1,000 dinners come in handy, though I still can't fathom why any Democrat would even want a place at this particular table.


Blogger Knightn said...

What is this world coming to?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gov. Dave Heineman proposed transferring money from the Nebraska cash reserve fund. This is a bad idea since states cannot run deficits like the national government can. A recent article in the Economist magazine says states have had negative revenues for a few years since 9/11/01, and only now are getting positive revenues. We need to rebuild our cash reserves while we can, because the Nebraska Apporopriations Committee indicated we will be running in the red again in future budget years.

Also, Nebraska needs to lower property taxes to maintain a healthly housing market. The high school property tax levies should be moderated as proposed by the Nebraska revenue commitee. Dave Heineman repealed this needed property tax relief. Please vote for anyone but Dave Heineman.


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