Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hoist By Their Own Petard

It may seem odd to some, but we've been talking about the GOP's coming civil war for a long time. If you're someone who pays attention to state-level news from across America - as we do - it's obvious those previously quiet intra-party conflicts have now broken out from behind the doors of formerly smoke-filled rooms.

From the Minnesota Republican Party - where the GOP is seven figures in debt and in danger of losing their own state party headquarters - to the Ohio Republican Party - which as Politico reported yesterday, has been "in a state of open warfare for months" - the extremist Republicans have finally turned their dogmatic machine on their own party, with the kind of results we've been forecasting for years now.

In Nebraska, that battle has spilled onto the floor of the state Legislature, just as the 2012 session is about to end.

Nebraska Republicans in the Unicameral have decided to take up the topic of restoring funding for prenatal care to women living in Nebraska - an extension of the issue they warred over with the Republican Governor in early 2010.

At that time, after some changes in federal law affected a change in who Nebraska's prenatal assistance services covered, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman vetoed a bill put through by both Democrats and Republicans, to attempt to re-create the program Nebraska formerly had.

That previous Nebraska program covered pregnant women who needed to have prenatal care, but were in severe financial distress and could not afford it. That one-time Nebraska program also had one other key feature: it did not discriminate between long-time Nebraska citizens and immigrants to Nebraska. The program was simply designed to help women get prenatal care, in order to help decrease infant birth defects - and in turn, decrease the long-term cost to the state.

Back in 2010, the "pro-life" wing of the Nebraska GOP teamed up with Nebraska Democrats who cared about women, and went after Gov. Heineman to defend their bill - and lost.

This time, however, the forces in favor of helping women - and passing LB 599, a bill that would restore funding for Nebraska's prenatal assistance program - are being led by state Sen. Mike Flood, one of the most powerful other Republicans in Nebraska.

As the vote-counting on LB599 currently stands, it appears that the bill will pass the Nebraska Legislature solidly - but the bill still needs to have at least 30 votes, for a veto-proof majority.

That's a number the anti-immigrant faction of the Republican Party - including Gov. Heineman - is committed to making sure the Nebraska Legislature doesn't reach.

Meanwhile, pregnant women in Nebraska - who are in severe financial straits,  for whatever reason - are still left hanging, as they have been for the last two years.

Anyone who hasn't been completely blinded by partisanship could have told you these kinds of battles were brewing in the Republican Party several years ago, just as we did.

After all, when the Nebraska GOP's methods have blinded them to the point where they simply throw bombs at anyone who disagrees with the party line - even when those people are their own members - what do they expect?

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