Pete Ricketts Comes Clean

“I want to thank the distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the Nebraska legislature – and you too, Kintner – for inviting me to speak today. It is, as always, a great honor.

Today I’m here to speak about the progress of our state under my administration. As it happens, though, I accidentally took a double dose of Ambien last night, and boy am I feeling it. It’s like this drug physically compels me to tell the truth.

So here goes.

We could talk particulars, right? We could talk about my blockade of Medicaid expansion for the poor, how all those studies commissioned by you good citizen legislators showed that expanding Medicaid would not only greatly improve the health of our poorest and most vulnerable citizens, it would also benefit the state economically and create thousands of jobs in the field. I saw that related report last year – that our rural hospital network is in danger of collapsing without expanded access to care for the self-employed folks in our rural counties, not to mention the federal subsidies – that’s dollars – that come with the newly insured, some of which will go to Nebraska insurance firms.

And it’s not like we’re saving any taxpayers any money by blocking the expansion. The federal dollars flow to the states that claim it, and those that don’t, well, they are watching from the sidelines.

So, sure, yeah, I’m aware of all that.

Then there’s Obamacare in general. I’m sure you all saw the article last week from Tribune Services, how  they examined all the states where insurance companies are bailing out of the exchanges, leaving the self-insured with fewer choices and less competition and higher premiums, how they were all red states led by GOP governors and legislatures intent on blocking the implementation – and by extension the success – of the president’s key health care initiative. Yes, I know, I stood in the way of Obamacare at every opportunity, with my Republican predecessor paving the way by refusing to provide even the slightest amount of input or any effort at  building a state exchange that would work for our needs, in fact rebuffing and insulting the entire program. I remember his “mantra” for the press: “We won’t need an exchange, because Mitt Romney’s going to win in November 2012 and we’ll abolish the whole thing.”

Of course we never built one, we had no intention of building an exchange. So the state’s poor have suffered greatly as a result, needless suffering, and coverage is extremely thin here in Nebraska as a result. All news I am acutely aware of.

Meanwhile, states like California and New York are doing great with their exchanges, enjoying efficient state management and plenty of insurers and plan options for folks looking to get covered.  Highly competitive. They really have it going on!

Just ask yourself one question: if we had cooperated, if we had expanded Medicare,  and if it did result in massive savings and job growth in Nebraska as well as the protection of our rural hospital network – who do you think gets the credit for that? Me? Pete Ricketts? No – the president gets it. That’s who.

Enough said. I mean, c’mon.

Then there’s the death penalty. Hoo boy, what a joke that is. No executions in, what, 20 years? Something like that? Fourteen million a year to feed a broken system, according to Goss’s report. And no approved method for execution, even with my illegal drug buys from India  that violated federal drug laws and ignored the stated policy of the manufacturer not to supply the drug to executioners. (And thanks again John Gale, top law enforcement official in Nebraska, for your help on that buy.) Feds stopped the drugs at the border, but how could I have known they would do that? I’m not one to think deeply about these things. I just wanted my drugs so I could kill my prisoners.

I know, I know, our death penalty is outmoded, ineffectual, crazy expensive — if you described it as a “government program” it would be roundly despised by Republicans, wouldn’t it? Ha ha, yeah we would hate that boondoggle. But seriously, dad and I decided that the will of the people, as expressed through their elected representatives, was just not what we wanted to do. So we dropped a few bucks (what, about $300,000? My last bike cost more than that) on the referendum, got John and other state officials and luminaries like Hal to jump on, called in some favors, you know. And here it is back on the ballot – just because I wanted it! It’s hilarious – here we are, “Put our ineffective, massively expensive, completely backward-looking priority on the ballot! Screw the people, and screw their representatives!” That’s us. We want it our way. And you know what? I think we’ll get it. There really is one born every minute, folks.

Anyway, I’m kind of woozy from the Ambien, but I hope you’re following the pattern here. There’s progress, there’s common sense, there’s the will of the people as expressed through their representatives in the legislature.

And then there’s us. My dad and me. And all the toadies who suck up to our money.

We don’t care about any of that.

It should be abundantly clear what we care about. Look out, to other horizons. Look over at Wisconsin, where an incompetent governor made a national name for himself, who got a run at the nomination, by crushing public unions and public universities. That state is a mess. Look to Kansas, where they have untaxed their state into an unholy cluster of bankrupt government and failing schools, not to mention an eroding business climate. But you know the name Brownback, don’t you. You know it. Do I even need to mention Jindal? Complete idiot, and he was in the running for 2016 too. Because he screwed his state over like nobody’s business.

So what are we about? Anybody wanna guess? No? Really, it’s very simple (just like me).

It’s power.

Power is what we want. The power to decide who succeeds, and who does not. Who gets a driver’s license and who doesn’t. Who gets health care and who doesn’t. Who goes to prison (Hint: not our friends or their kids, at least not for long) and who dies there – at our hands.

Heck, we’re even suing the state of Colorado for their liberal pot laws. Why? Well, I’ll tell you – it’s an arbitrary thing. After all – ha ha – I buy illegal drugs myself! And try to smuggle them in the country! To deny “free people” (ha ha – sorry that always gets me) the right to grow and use a native plant for their own purposes that involve no offense to any other citizen, let alone the “state”– it’s the most arbitrary of power plays, with no reasoning behind it, just like the power to kill my prisoners. Hell, we won’t even let them have their no-THC cannabis oil for the sick kids. Why? Why forbid proven relief for these epileptic kids, beating their own brains out every day? Because we said so, that’s why. I want that power BECAUSE it’s arbitrary. I want it so that I have it – and you, dearest citizens – you don’t. And it’s important that you KNOW it, that you know it’s an arbitrary thing. A nonsensical, arbitrary demonstration of power you can do nothing about except write letters to me, or to your newspaper. Letters I don’t read.

This is the political dynamic we are fighting so hard to keep alive, for our kind and our descendents. Good governance is for suckers. We’re here to build a power base and to get recognized for it on the national political stage.

It really is as simple as that. Like Walker, or Brownback, or Jindal, if I prove I can wield arbitrary, nonsensical power over an entire state – if I can, with clumsy, empty rhetoric devoid of logic or pragmatism and a cadre of powerful toadies in official positions (not to mention tons of money) effect a reversal of fortunes for all of the people in my state who don’ t share my European heritage, skin tone, background, religion, income level – you know what I mean here – If I can pull that off, as dad has explained to me, I have put myself in the running for the White House in 2020. It’s a natural continuation of the path I’m on. It’s the next step for dad and me.

So yes, of course, you – all of you, from the lowliest immigrant to the loftiest official not in my dad’s pocket – all of you are expendable. Your state is expendable. Your aquifer is expendable. Your efficient public utilities are expendable. Your health and your lives are expendable in pursuit of my one overriding goal. Heck, remember my knee surgery? I went home to Chicago. I’m not letting you backwater hicks  touch my leg.

You are to me, Nebraska, a big flat stepping stone.

And as I’ve demonstrated in my first years in office, with nearly every initiative, I’m more than willing to step on you and step on you and step on you until I reach my goals, as told to me by dad.

Thank you. I would take questions, but I’m really very sleepy. And bald. Hm? Oh, ha, I didn’t mean to say that last part, did I. Or, heck, any of this. Dad’s gonna be pissed. Ha ha. G’night.”

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