Monday, April 16, 2012

Unexpected Events

This past weekend was filled with both expected and unexpected events, from coast to coast. As scheduled, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony happened in Cleveland, and as expected, legendary troublemaker Axl Rose did not show up, even though his band was inducted into the Hall.

In the NBA, NHL, and MLB, there were more than a few surprises over the weekend, too. Of course, the biggest sports surprise may have happened Saturday, when storms roared through Nebraska, and cancelled the Husker Football Spring Game for the first time in its 62 year history. Even though the University of Nebraska lost nearly four hundred thousand dollars due to the cancellation, Athletic Director Tom Osborne tried to feed the fans - for free - who had already showed up on Saturday. It may not have seemed like much, but it was not a surprise to us that Osborne tried to take care of the Husker faithful.

Another much less positive event, that was also not a surprise to us, happened late Friday in Nebraska, when Republican Governor Dave Heineman - a man who claims to be pro-life when it's convenient - vetoed LB599, a bill from the Nebraska Legislature to give pre-natal care to poor women in need.

We've spoken about this bill a great deal lately, in part because we've been so happily surprised at how clearly the fight over this bill is exposing the blatant hypocrisy within the Republican Party.

In Heineman's veto letter, the Governor argued that if LB599 passes, Planned Parenthood might potentially get taxpayer dollars to help poor women with pre-natal services. Planned Parenthood often offers those services at its clinics around the country. However, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland confirmed to the Omaha World Herald that it does NOT offer those services at either of its Nebraska clinics - which exposes Heineman's hypocrisy completely.

The reaction from one of Nebraska's most historically powerful opponents of Planned Parenthood - Nebraska Right to Life - was explosive, as they blasted the Governor for his stance on this bill.

For once, we completely agree with Nebraska Right to Life on Heineman's actions on the Prenatal Care bill - something that you, our readers, may also find unexpected. We don't think you should really be surprised, though. Heineman's past legislative history is not that of someone who is truly concerned about the life of pregnant women, or even someone honestly concerned about immigration.

If Heineman were truly concerned about immigration, he would have brought forward bills during the last decade to crack down - with severe penalties - on agribusiness corporations that hire undocumented immigrants and pay them under the table. He could have done that, or any number of other things to try and work with the Federal government to solve Nebraska's undocumented immigrant problem. Instead, Heineman has done nothing significant regarding immigration since he got into the Governor's office in 2005.

Simply put, Heineman has always done little more than give lip-service to those groups - like Nebraska Right to Life - that he claims to be so closely aligned to. To him and those who think like him - like state Sen. Tony Fulton, or GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney - political advocacy groups are merely political pawns, to be played in a game whose only goal is to win, not to govern.

Unsurprisingly, Romney himself got caught in yet another example of his own hypocrisy over the weekend, as video footage of Mr. Romney from January of this year, contradicted what he and his campaign have been crowing about since the end of last week.

In that January video, Romney said that mothers should be required to work outside their homes, so they can  "have the dignity of work" - as though women who work at home don't have dignity. That footage proves Romney and the Republican Party's latest fake indignation about the "Mommy Wars" is just like Gov. Heineman's claims of being pro-life or against illegal immigration -- just another desperate political pander, that they don't truly believe in.

As we've said previously, this kind of hypocrisy is something we've come to expect from the modern, twisted version of the GOP. If you're honestly surprised about Heineman's or Romney's actions, you haven't really been paying attention.

It's long past time that you do.

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