Sunday, August 09, 2009

Week 30: Nixon's Grade


Governor Nixon attempted to steer his administration out of the "Dog Days" of summer '09 by looking ahead to the 2010 legislative session last week. At multiple stops around the state, the Governor said he'd make mandating insurance coverage for autistic children a top priority next year. Picking a fight with insurance companies seems timely and devoid of risk. Who wants to stand up and be the voice for the "downtrodden" (sarcasm) insurance industry? A similar Senate bill didn't clear the House this year, and Nixon doesn't seem to mind pinning the blame for its failure squarely on Republican Speaker Ron Richard. "This should've been voted on," Nixon said, in response to a Richard spokesperson withholding judgment on the Governor's plan due to "lack of detail." Richard later wrote an op-ed urging Nixon to "leave politics out of this sensitive issue." Still, this ultimately seems to be a fight that favors the Governor, whose administration has been tarred in recent weeks due to E.Coli-gate. The News-Leader's rejected request for video from the Governor's office to see what officials were walking out of the office on certain days in June is a clear signal that the E.Coli story has not seen its last headline. But transparency would seem to be the rule Nixon's team should follow to put this story to bed. The 2012 ad script on the E.Coli scandal has already been written (and likely taken out of context) by Nixon's GOP opponents. But a potential long-running legal feud with a newspaper about open records and transparency seems to be a potentially unnecessary pitfall they would have learned to avoid from the previous administration.

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