Saturday, June 27, 2009

Setting Up a Campaign Against Heineman

The Democrats are obviously setting up their talking points for a campaign with or without Senator Lathrop as his opponent. In a e-memo to their followers, the state Democrat party had this to say:

"We all know that Governor Dave Heineman is a good political operative. He had a long and successful career as a campaign operative before he entered elective office and he ran a good campaign when he beat Tom Osborne in 2006. However, it is apparent that Heineman's political skill set is limited to electioneering and spin because Heineman has proved to be incompetent when it comes to actually governing our state.
The problems at the Beatrice State Developmental Center (herein after BSDC) provide an object example of Heineman's failure as a Governor. Up until the Johanns Administration, governors of both parties made BSDC a high priority. BSDC was a model facility that other states attempted to emulate. However, beginning with the Johanns Administration and continuing on with the Heineman Administration, conditions at BSDC have steadily deteriorated and have reached crisis proportions.

Since Heineman has been Governor, BSDC has gone through not one but two CEOs. After BSDC was cited for several jeopardy incidents in 2007, Vincent Benjamin resigned. After that, things didn't get any better at BSDC and now John Wyvill has recently resigned. As a consequence, BSDC is now more leaderless than ever.

Heineman's failure to properly fund and manage BSDC has cost the lives of several residents and has cost the Nebraska taxpayers millions of dollars in lost federal funding. In the hopes of saving money, Heineman ordered a small on campus hospital at BSDC to be shut down. Unfortunately, that proved to be a disastrous decision since two BSDC residents died because of inadequate medical care. In a panic move that followed that tragedy, Heineman moved 47 medically fragile residents out of BSDC against the wishes of their guardians into hospitals in Omaha and Lincoln. Unfortunately, the cost of this in-patient hospital care was much higher than the cost of caring for these residents at BSDC. In addition, six of these medically fragile patients sued Heineman and state officials for this move.
Another cost of Heineman's mismanagement is that Medicaid has ended its contract with BSDC and the State will now lose roughly $25 million a year in federal funds. Fortunately, for BSDC and the State, those funds were made up with money from general funds. However, there are no guarantees that that kind of funding will be available in future years.

When you add it all up, Heineman's record regarding BSDC is a sorry one marked by mismanagement and incompetence."

It remains to be seen who will take on Heineman, but you can bet he will be accused of murder and other high crimes in what will probably be a losing effort to derail his re-election. This is particularly true given that everything that Heineman does and decides is based on its impact on his re-election.

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