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December 31, 2010

What was Heineman thinking?

by Deena Winter

Four inaugural events in four cities, spread across two days?
Gov. Dave Heineman is normally considered pretty politically savvy, but he really whiffed this time. What is he thinking, having not one, not two, not three but FOUR inaugural events? I can understand being excited about being elected governor — THE FIRST TIME around. I might even wear a dress.

Gov. Dave Heineman

But this is his second time at the ball, and the nation is still trying to break out of the Great Recession, Nebraska is grappling with a huge budget gap, and so even if you get all your buddies to pay for the hoopla (and I’ve yet to see a cost estimate), symbolically, it sends the wrong message.
I understand the desire to spread the joy around — after all, capital cities often get to have all the fun and what could be more fun than going to an inaugural event? Well, lots of things, but maybe not if you live in Champion, for example.
But on the eve of what will be a(n) historic budget-slashing session, Heineman needs to forgo the ridiculous pomp and circumstance and let his colleagues in state government know he’s willing to tighten his own belt — or cumberbund. Instead, he’s refusing to say how much this grand party will cost and who will pay for it. Not smart, gov. Even if the law doesn’t require it, you ought to do it.
Kudos to the Omaha World-Herald for first writing about this about three weeks ago, and for some reason the Lincoln Journal Star followed suit with pretty much the same story today (but still put it on the front page, even though it’s old news).
Look for an editorial to follow.

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