Fonticulus Fides

Friday, January 21, 2005

Good for America

Amid all the inagural stuff yesterday, Nebraskan Mike Johannes was confirmed Agriculture Secretary for the Bush administration.

This is a very good thing for our country. I think the world of Mike Johannes. He is not a politician in the traditional sense. He's a hard-working, disciplined, fair-minded, morally upright man. As mayor of Lincoln, he kept the city operating on a balanced budget and improved our local economy. As govenor of Nebraska (up till Wednesday afternoon), he attempted to do the same, though our state legislature gave him a run for the money on that. He's also Catholic -- he attends our parish and went to daily Mass whenever possible, frequently serving as an acolyte (his wife Stephanie served as a reader). He comes from a farming family, and he worked diligently as governor to promote Nebraska agriculture and protect food production facilities in this state from potential terrorism attacks, so I know he's a good man for U.S. ag secretary.

Still, I do hate to see him leave Nebraska. His successor is not the same caliber of leadership. In fact, if there is anything I could complain about Mike Johannes, it's that he started out believing that everybody else was just as morally upright and disciplined as he is himself. Combine that with an utter lack of quality candidates who were willing to join state government, and you have a guy who had a lot of trouble selecting cabinet members and filling other posts. His lieutenant governor -- now Governor! -- was his third or fourth pick, for example. The first and second refused the job, and when Gov. Johannes got down to Dave I-Was-Born-to-be-Governor Heineman, he was kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel. We had a nice little travesty with the State Treasurer last year -- Dave's right hand and campaign chair person had been appointed State Treasurer in Dave's place when he got bumped up to Lt. Gov., and she was an unethical mess. But I know Secretary Johannes learned from this situation, and he is definitely not the "fool me twice" kind.

Okay, enough politics for today. Be well!



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