Also – an interesting letter in the St. Louis Beacon. Writing in from Sen. Kit Bond‘s home town of Mexico, Bruce Hillis refutes as myth the notion that promoting “Right to Work” hurt Missouri Republicans in 1978. Bond called the efforts a disaster for the party in a recent interview with the newspaper.
Since the midterms there’s been some chatter about pushing Right to Work. With a veto-proof Senate (26-8) and nearly veto-proof House (105-58) it’s a natural cause to consider. Nixon will certainly veto RTW, so looking at the override attempt the question is whether enough Democrats would be on board to make up for any Republican defections.
Without looking carefully at each of the incoming house caucuses, my guess is that is a pretty tough bet. But who knows.
In his letter, Hillis notes that Republicans lost only five state legislative seats in 1978. For state level, statewide offices I’m not sure how it went, but nationally Republicans picked up congressional seats while in Missouri the state’s congressional delegation stayed the same (Democrats maintained an 8-2 edge in House seats, and no Senate seats were up).
So maybe Bond, et al were thinking it could have been a better year in Missouri given the national tide. Of course, he had also lost his 1976 gubernatorial re-election bid and perhaps did not relish the state party taking on a controversial issue in the run-up to his comeback in 1980.
Van Jones has resigned, according to the website DefendGlenn.com.
From the statement:
“I am resigning my post at the Council on Environmental Quality, effective today. On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.
“I have been inundated with calls — from across the political spectrum — urging me to ‘stay and fight. But I came here to fight for others, not for myself. I cannot in good conscience ask my colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining my past. We need all hands on deck, fighting for the future.
“It has been a great honor to serve my country and my President in this capacity. I thank everyone who has offered support and encouragement. I am proud to have been able to make a contribution to the clean energy future. I will continue to do so, in the months and years ahead.”
Pressure on the White House increased as scrutiny on the radical aide had intensified over the last week. Late in the week some pundits predicted he would not make it past to Monday. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Missouri) called for hearings yesterday, following Rep. Mike Pence‘s (R-Indiana 6) called for Jones to step down or be fired.
All of this without a single story (at least as of yesterday morning) from some of the major news outlets in the country. You can bet that wouldn’t have happened five years ago.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) has joined some Republicans in speaking out against plans by the House to purchase additional travel jets for members and other government officials. Her remarks, reported by the Wall Street Journal, are in line with the former auditor’s record of past concerns about earmarks and other types of government waste.
“The whole thing kind of makes me sick to my stomach,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) in an interview Sunday. “It is evidence that some of the cynicism about Washington is well placed — that people get out of touch and they spend money like it’s Monopoly money.”
Sen. Kit Bond, our senior senator and Republican from Missouri, also went on record opposing the planes purchase.
Whatever McCaskill’s motivations are in objecting to such perks – whether she is genuinely grieved by this specific form of government excess or whether she simply believes raising her voice is good politics – she should be commended for taking the right position here.
Hopefully, some leading Democrats in the House will have the guts to speak up against Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team on this issue.
I don’t often agree with McCaskill, but I’ll give her credit on this issue.
Sen. Kit Bond, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, Speaker Ron Richard and former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman spoke to the Missouri Young Republicans at the Party’s annual Lincoln Days earlier this afternoon. Each paid tribute to the group’s role in mobilizing for election victories, and encouraged members to continue the work moving ahead.
I asked Senator Bond if the Democrats will over reach in their legislative agenda, and he responded that they definitely will. I mentioned the stimulus package (and card check, I think) but he also noted that the over reach is, and will, come in the form of attacks on free trade. Interestingly, he also cited the Lilly Ledbetter Act – a measure aimed at addressing alleged gender-based pay discrimination by extending the statute of limitations on such lawsuits – as another example of Democratic over reach (citing the negative impact to the business environment).
One of my favorite moments came when Speaker Richard answered a young reporter’s question about the student curator position for the MU System. Asked why he does support voting status for the student seat on the board of curators, Richard – in frank, almost gruff fashion – told the reporter that he doesn’t think somebody that young is prepared to sit on the board of a billion dollar organization like the MU System.
There are other reasons for not giving special, extra representation to students on the board (students, like all Missourians, are already represented by all members of the board), but I thought Richard made his case well on this point, and I enjoyed seeing him make it. The student-government types at the public universities often have such a juvenile sense of entitlement, and Richard is having none of it.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) supports President Obama‘s decision to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, but appears to have no alternative idea as to what to do with the enemy combatants currently held at the facility.
Located in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba at the oldest overseas U.S. Naval Base, the facility currently holds around 250 terrorist detainees, according to Joint Task Force Guantanamo. More than half of the over 700 detainees ever in custody at Guantanamo have been released, and the Pentagon reports that at least 61 of those have resumed their terrorist activities against the United States.
Two days after taking office, President Obama announced that the detention facility would close within one year. During the campaign he said America’s moral standing in the world had been damaged by its treatment of detainees. McCaskill echoed those concerns this week, as reported by Missourinet.
However, in 2007 she agreed with 93 of her colleagues in expressing the Sense of the Senate that detainees held at Guantanamo should not be transferred to American soil. The state’s senior Senator, Kit Bond (R), opposes Obama’s decision to close the facility, questioning what would become of the detainees.
Sen. McCaskill joins Mr. Obama and the European left in criticizing our holding of terrorists at Gitmo, yet offers no solutions. If she has, she should speak up: I searched her Senate website and found no mention of the issue, let alone any proposal on the matter. Obama has said that to hold enemy combatants at Gitmo is the easy thing, and that closing it down and finding different options is in fact the right thing, but the hard thing to do.
His words could have applied to Sen. McCaskill, who in criticizing Gitmo has done the easy thing, but has failed to do the hard work of identifying solutions.
Missouri State Rep. Shane Schoeller (R-139) is considering a bid for Missouri’s seventh congressional district, currently held by Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Springfield). Blunt is said to be weighing a run to replace retiring Sen. Kit Bond (R-Missouri), and if so would vacate the southwest Missouri seat he has represented for twelve years in the U.S. House.
The KY3 Political Notebook has the story (Hat tip to Combest).
As a reliably Republican district – likely the most conservative district in the state – there are probably a number of well qualified potential candidates. Surely a number of them have to be thinking about throwing their hat in the ring. The KY3 article mentions Sen. Jack Goodman, Sen. Gary Nodler and former State Rep. Gary Marble as potential candidates. Marble has declared he is not interested, however.
If Blunt does step down I hope Schoeller decides to enter the race. From what I have observed of Schoeller he seems seems to be a principled, all-around conservative, who understands issues from both the practical and philosophical perspective. While only in his second term in the Missouri House, he has worked for former Sen. John Ashcroft, Sen. Kit Bond, Rep. Roy Blunt and former Gov. Matt Blunt, and as a lobbyist for the Springfield Home Builders. He’s married, has two kids, and is active in his church. In short, Schoeller could be a great fit for the Seventh. He clearly has the ambition and probably a strong network to tap into, so if Blunt does in fact step down I’m guessing we’ll see Shane run.
Another possibility would be Rep. Bob Dixon, also of Springfield. Dixon is a thoughtful guy, a genuine conservative and a sincere individual with a reputation for great constituent service. Does he want to run? If so, does he have the tenacity and political savvy to win in what could be a very competitive primary? Dixon is well-respected and would certainly have to be taken seriously if threw his hat in the ring.
Whatever these two decide, if this seat opens up we’re likely to see a very interesting primary.
There’s plenty of talk about Missouri’s soon-to-be open U.S. Senate seat, with the coming retirement of Kit Bond. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is the natural front-runner for the Democrats, but on the GOP side there is no clear favorite. Which means, of course, that the state party could see another hotly contested statewide primary, following this cycle’s gubernatorial primary between Rep. Kenny Hulshof and former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman. You’ve heard the names before:
Rep. Roy Blunt
former Sen. Jim Talent
former Secretary of State Sarah Steelman
Rep. Sam Graves
The Democrats could have their own race, however, and it certainly could be fun to watch. Rep. Lacy Clay is purportedly considering challenging Carnahan in the primary.
Question: How much of the Democratic primary vote is Black? While Carnahan obviously has much better name ID statewide, and has won statewide before, and probably has the better network, if Clay can win a large majority of the Black vote, that would seem to make him at least competitive, right off the bat.