Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lucky for Us, Ricketts Has Been a Failure

Lucky for us, so far Pete Ricketts has been a massive failure in his short term as governor.
Lucky, you say? Jeremy, what kind of Nebraskan are you, rooting for the failure of your governor? Certainly a true Nebraskan would still see fit to root for your governor to be a success despite not agreeing with him on many issues.
And well, that is true. I don’t want my governor to be a failure. I want him or her to be successful in ways that will help Nebraskans. Of course. But when you’re Pete Ricketts, and your agenda is about 25 years out of date, and out of lockstep with sensible Nebraskans, well, for the most part, yeah, in a lot of cases I am going to be rooting for you to fail. So I say again: lucky for us, as so far, we have been awfully lucky that our governor is failing.

How exactly is he failing? Let’s take a look:
*You’re Doing a Heck of a Job, Brownie
Look, is it really fair to judge someone for not fixing the prison system when they’ve only been on the job for 5 months or so? No. But when one of your major campaign promises is that you can fix our broken prison system, then yeah, it makes it a little more fair to judge someone on it at this early juncture. When you go out and hire someone for big bucks to fix the prisons ($180,000 a year), and then a week after that highly paid guy takes a tour of a prison a very serious riot straight out of a Sly Stallone movie takes place, well, then it becomes even more fair to criticize someone. 
To make matters worse, after a prison riot that led to two deaths and nine guards walking off the job, yesterday Ricketts visited the prison. When he was finished, he decided to channel George W. Bush in the Katrina aftermath by saying something almost impossibly stupid: "You’re doing a phenomenal job managing this very difficult situation."
Well, I just don’t know what more to say.

*The Gas Man
Despite countless campaign promises to lower taxes, Rickets was unable to muster enough support in the legislature to prevent a gas tax increase and even saw his veto overriden, despite the fact that our legislature is strongly represented by the GOP. (Technically, Nebraska has a non-partisan legislature but it is made up primarily of registered Republicans, who hold 36 of 49 seats.)

*Ricketts to Seizure Sufferers: Drop Dead
Let’s say your Pete Ricketts. You have an easy decision in front of you. You can throw your support behind an easy to understand law that would legalize hemp oil in the treatment of seizures. It’s a benign form of Cannabis that has no recreational properties. It has been shown to significantly reduce seizures in many of those who suffer from them, in some cases completely eliminating the seizures. In other words, you cannot get high off of it. Since Ricketts is someone who has stated that they believe strongly in the power of local government rather than the federal government, here’s a no brainer. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, or something like that.

Lucky for us, Ricketts has made his opinions on local government versus the federal government quite clear. Here is a direct quote from Ricketts after Ted Cruz endorsed him for governor: “Senator Cruz has been a steadfast opponent of federal government overreach on matters best left to states and local government,” Pete Ricketts said in a statement.  

Ricketts' thoughts on avoiding the federal government cannot be made any clearer than that. So it would be kind of strange for him to advocate for the federal government when it came to something benign like Hemp oil, wouldn't it? It would be pretty strange if he released a lengthy statement on April 30, 2015 that was strongly pro-Federal government over local and state government rights, wouldn't it? Wait, what's this?
While parents and advocates have made their case at the state level here in Nebraska and elsewhere for marijuana’s medical use, our country already has a process in place through the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to determine whether a drug constitutes safe and effective medical treatment. Because of the tested and trusted regulatory framework of the FDA, Americans enjoy the highest-quality and safest pharmaceutical drugs in the world.
Well, crap.

By the way, here's an added gem from that statement:
We are already witnessing the results of an informal medical experiment play out here in our state. In recent years, the use of K2, a synthetic form of marijuana, has spread in Nebraska and the consequences of its use have been increasingly dire in spite of attempts by the Legislature to ban its use. Since April 12, K2 has resulted in over 100 overdoses just in the Lincoln area alone. This is yet another reminder of how dangerous marijuana can be and why any medicinal use needs FDA oversight.
Does he not realize that most users of K2 turned to it precisely because it was legal while marijuana was illegal? Ricketts can buy a lot of things with his money, including the governor's office. What he can't seem to buy is a clue.

*Fiscal Conservative?
Is it really a good idea to purchase $55,000 worth of lethal injection drugs that may not be legal to use, for a death penalty law that looks like it is going to be appealed? Doesn't that sound like a potential massive waste of taxpayer money? Strangely, he failed to obey the recommendations of his beloved FDA regarding the acquisition of this drug. When it comes to keeping people safer from seizures, Ricketts is happy to listen to work with the FDA and deny most folks any help. When it comes to "safely" killing people and making a political point, Ricketts is happy to ignore the FDA.

*Some other ways he is failing, briefly:

*I don't want to get too much into this as the death penalty is one of those laws that people feel very strongly about, but Rickets has failed here in executing his agenda (now THAT is a bad pun). He was unable to rally support for the death penalty from our largely Republican legislature, who are on the edge of eliminating the law from our state. This is fine by me as I do not support the death penalty (studies show 1 in 25 people on death row are likely innocent of the crimes they were accused, for starters), but again, this shows that Ricketts is unable to gather any kind of support for his stances. Simply, he is out of touch.

*Has failed to rally any support behind any of his campaign promises such as a property tax reduction. Instead, as mentioned above, taxes are going up!

*Chief Medical Officer resigned two days after being confirmed for the job.

*Refuses to budge on gay marriage despite his own sister being gay and the tone of the country.

In short, as I feared, Ricketts has not shown himself to be an effective leader whatsoever, which is probably a good thing as his agenda is completely out of touch. Looking over this list, it's fair to say that he has gotten off to a startlingly bad start.

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