I'm going to take a chunk of space here, however, and repost some of Kyle Michaelis's excellent political analyis. Today, he writes:
Heineman in Hiding: 17 Days and Counting
Paid, oftentimes out-of-state petitioners have now been on the prowl for more than a month in the push to get a Constitutional state govermnent spending cap onto the November ballot. The opposition has organized, challenging the petitioners at every turn with efforts to make Nebraska voters think twice before lending their signature to such an amendment.
Democratic candidate for governor David Hahn declared the petition "irresponsible butchery" weeks ago, even challenging its lead proponent first in a series of Letters to the Editor and then in a live radio debate. In today's Omaha World-Herald, even Dave Nabity - the odd man out in this spring's Republican gubernatorial primary - registered his two cents on the amendment.
But, guess who we still haven't heard from.....yup, Governor Dave Heineman.
It has been at least 17 days since the World-Herald reported:
Republican Gov. Dave Heineman had not decided if he would support the petition because he has not had time to review it in detail.
Well, I say the game is up. Heineman has had all the time he's needed to read the petition, take a look at the facts, and make a decision as to where he stands on this important issue facing the state of Nebraska. Yet, forsaking any claim to leadership, he maintains his cowardly silence because he knows this issue can cost him politically.
By speaking in favor of the petition effort, Heineman would basically be admitting that he's too incompetent and spend-happy to be trusted with the people of Nebraska's money. By opposing the effort, however, he'd be alienating the right-wing fringe whose support proved so essential to Heineman's victory in the Republican primary. Of course, he could just claim neutrality and say it's a choice to be left to the voters of Nebraska, but people would see right through that convenient line from a mile away.
Choices, choices - that's what life's about. That's what leadership's about. Still, Heineman refuses to take a side.
In a local battle between school districts this spring, Heineman was only too happy to jump in unprovoked in a brilliant (though destructive) stroke of political opportunism. But, here, where we're talking about a matter that would directly impact every function of the state government he supposedly heads, Heineman has nothing to say - at least, not until the polling data comes in clearing the way for his having an opinion or the issue just fades away by petitioners not gathering enough signatures before the July 7th deadline.
Either way, this has been a pathetic display of how Heineman operates and what he holds as his truest priority - not the interests of the state but rather his own political career.
This petition is terrible. It will ruin Nebraska. Please don't sign it. I'll sit down and tell you all about it, if you'd like.