Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Heineman in Hiding: World-Herald Pulls Its Punches

by Kyle Michaelis
From today's Omaha World-Herald:
Gov. Dave Heineman said Tuesday he has not yet decided whether to support or oppose an initiative petition proposal that would restrict state government spending.

More than two weeks after his Democratic opponent, David Hahn, and a coalition of interest groups announced their opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment, Heineman said he is still reviewing its potential ramifications.

During a Tuesday conference call, Heineman set no timetable for completing his review and making a decision. He said other matters are more pressing.

"On a day-to-day basis, there are a number of issues that demand my time and are more important, such as the drought and foster care," the governor said. "I'm not saying the lid isn't important, but we've got plenty of time with regard to that issue."

I'm glad that the World-Herald has finally taken note of Heineman's shameless silence on the spending cap petition. Of course, what the newspaper fails to mention is that it has now been a full three weeks (not two) since Heineman first raised this pathetic excuse of being too busy to form an opinion on the petition because "he has not had time to review it in detail."

How the World-Herald can allow Heineman to again employ this same cowardly and cynical tactic to avoid taking a stance is beyond me. They at least had a duty to report that Heineman is still sticking to a script written for him weeks earlier. Yet, here we are - three weeks later - and they're happy to disregard their own prior reporting to let Heineman's saying nothing pass for saying something.

It says something, all right - but only about the cowardice of Heineman's political calculations.

Petitioners are hitting up people in the streets and at their homes, expecting them to make a decision whether to support this measure in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, Heineman - the chief executive of our state - has had all the time in the world to make up his mind and has simply refused to state an opinion to escape the consequences.

The people of Nebraska deserve a leader who should, at least, not be afraid to express an opinion. Heineman wouldn't have to make any final decision on the Spending Cap Amendment, but he certainly owes some sort of honest and human reaction to the idea after all his years in state government living off the peoples' dime.

My God, the man has held office in state government for eight years. If he hasn't learned enough from that experience to have some opinion about how this proposal would affect the state, just what the hell have we been paying him for all this time?

It would be one thing to level with the people of Nebraska and explain why he isn't taking a side on the issue, but this line about him having been too busy to study its ramifications is just utter and complete nonsense. It is an answer only the lowest form of bureaucrat would hide behind - as if politics had drained Heineman of every last ounce of personality and courage.

And, how very sad it is that rather than holding up a mirror so Heineman (and voters) would be forced to look at this hideous reflection, the Nebraska press actually enables him as he crawls back into his hole, promising to drag this state's future with him.


Blogger Dave said...

NDP Blog has some excellent satire on the subject.


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