Blunt and Wagner: The not so dynamic duo take on energy policy.


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I noted in an earlier post that GOP Senator Roy Blunt and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2) have teamed up to produce some glossy mailers detailing their joint policy positions. Admittedly, such mailers provide a limited canvas upon which present complex issues to voters – although this oversimplification is likely considered a feature rather than a bug by many politicians including, one suspects, Blunt-Wagner. Nevertheless, the mailers are so misleading that it might be useful to shovel out some of the muck that they’re trying to spread.

In the first mailer that I received, images of a benignly smiling Wagner and a manically grimacing Blunt doing his best to mimic the act of smiling are juxtaposed with their promise to fight for “affordable American energy.” The reverse side identifies the object of their pugilistic posture as “the Kander-Clinton energy agenda,” obviously aiming at Blunt’s senate election opponent, Jason Kander.

Silly me – I didn’t know that Kander shared top billing with Clinton when it comes to her energy agenda. I hope this means that Kander, unlike other Missouri Democrats (do you hear me Claire McCaskill?), will be on board with Hillary Clinton’s smart proposals to curb climate change – which are very heavy on investing in clean, renewable energy sources while supporting those whose livelihoods could be will be disrupted by the transition from fossil fuels.

The mailer suggests that Blunt-Wagner are in some type of time warp, busily relitigating the 2009 Waxman-Merkey energy bill. It agonizes about a “type of radical cap-and-trade energy tax favored by Hillary Clinton” – although her Web pages dealing with climate change do not mention cap-and-trade, nor has she endorsed the concept elsewhere. The Waxman-Markey bill did include cap-and-trade provisions, and it seems to form the basis for the Blunt-Wagner scaremongering about “radical” energy policy.

Oddly, the mailer claims that Kander voted for cap-and-trade three times. But Vote Smart does not record any votes by Kander on energy policy from his time as a state senator. Nor, as a state Senator, would he have voted on the federal-level Waxman-Markey Bill.

What the “three votes” probably refers to was Kander’s vote in the State Senate against HCR 46, a non-binding resolution that encouraged Missouri’s Congressional Delegation to vote against cap-and-trade. If so, I, along with many Missourians, say “good on ya, Jason. ” Somewhere down the road, Missouri, as an agricultural state, is going to have to come to terms with the fact climate change will, over time, hurt farmers more than higher energy prices. We call it foresight as opposed to short term thinking and it’s supposed to be highly desirable in governance.

Nor, to be honest, would cap-and-trade, were it a part of the Clinton energy proposals, necessarily pose an insurmountable problem for Missouri farmers. California, another agricultural power-house, made the transition to cap-and-trade three years ago and the results have been far from the catastrophe promised by the Blunt-Wagner duo and their fellow partisans:

“We think we do have a good story to tell,” says Mary D. Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, which administers cap-and-trade.

The program’s quarterly auctions of emissions allowances have gone on largely without a hitch. The program has fit in, as was expected, with other emissions reduction programs implemented under AB 32, the state’s landmark greenhouse gas legislation, including mandates for renewable fuels sources for electrical utilities and emissions standards for new cars and trucks.

It has done so without a measurable drag on economic growth. The program generated $969 million in revenue for the state through the end of 2014, and is expected to generate $2 billion a year or more in the future. The money must be spent on efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

“What we’ve learned is that a cap-and-trade system will not kill the California economy,” says Stanford economist Lawrence H. Goulder, who advised the ARB on the program’s design. “The economy has continued to flourish.”

The mailer includes some cost estimates that first turned up in 2009 when the GOP was fighting tooth-and-nail to kill Waxman-Markey. Needless to say, all of the estimates were shown to be bunkum at the time (see also here). They’re still bunkum.

Borrowing discredited arguments from seven years ago to address an imaginary cap-and-trade agenda only proves how bankrupt the energy policy espoused by Wagner-Blunt is. Contrary to their claims, cap-and-trade is proving to be viable where it has been implemented although it does not, at this time, seem to be the main mechanism endorsed by Hillary Clinton to address climate change. Additionally, clean energy alternatives, which Clinton does emphasize, are currently creating numerous jobs while the industry as a whole is booming.

What this all means is that maybe Missourians should take the Wagner-Blunt duo with a very big pinch of salt.

Campaign Finance: Again, running for governor in what state?


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Eric Greitens (r) [2016 file photo].

Eric Greitens (r) [2016 file photo].

Some of the contributions reported today at the Missouri Ethics Commission for Eric Greitens’ (r) 2016 gubernatorial campaign:

C151053 10/27/2016 GREITENS FOR MISSOURI Marlene Ricketts 412 N Elmwood Road Omaha NE 68132 Retired Retired 10/25/2016 $25,000.00

C151053 10/27/2016 GREITENS FOR MISSOURI Rusty Keeley 2901 Fallings Springs Road Sauget IL 62206 Keeley Companies CEO 10/27/2016 $10,000.00

C151053 10/27/2016 GREITENS FOR MISSOURI JN Pritzker 104 S Michigan Suite 500 Chicago IL 60603 Tawani Enterprises CEO 10/26/2016 $75,000.00

C151053 10/27/2016 GREITENS FOR MISSOURI James Davis 100 Guest Street Boston MA 02135 New Balance CEO and Chairman 10/27/2016 $50,000.00

[emphasis added]

Can’t vote in the election, can write checks.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): there are those all important details


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An explanation:


Charles GHOULba  ‏@charles_gaba
#ACASignups Without downplaying the very real rate hike problem these people face, here’s some important context. #ACA #Obamacare #OE4
7:11 PM – 25 Oct 2016

From Richard Mayhew at Balloon Juice:

….Most people get their insurance through either a government program (Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, VA, IHS etc) or through work. Employer based coverage looks like it is increasing by 5% to 6% this year.
The rest of the market is fairly stable and predictable with few major policy shocks to it. The QHP market is still not stable and still not predictable as the ramifications of major policy shocks are still reverberating.
Is it a problem. Hell yes. Is it a widespread problem. Hell no.

From Representative Vicky Hartzler (r):


Rep. Vicky Hartzler ‏@RepHartzler
In MO, Obamacare premiums are slated to jump 20-29%. Unaffordable for far too many. What is your Obamacare story?
12:08 PM – 27 Oct 2016

Instead of working on a fix for approximately three percent of the people who have coverage the right wingnut solution is to chuck it all.

My Obamacare story? There are no lifetime limits on my health insurance coverage. There are no annual limits on my health insurance coverage. My insurance company can’t rescind my coverage (cancel my insurance) for a paperwork error.

Campaign Finance: like clockwork


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Josh Hawley (r) [2016 file photo].

Josh Hawley (r) [2016 file photo].

And it’s passed through within two days. Today at the Missouri Ethics Commission for Josh Hawley’s (r) 2016 campaign for Attorney General:

C151132 10/27/2016 HAWLEY FOR MISSOURI Missouri Freedom PAC 1747 Pennsylvania Ave NW Suite 800 Washington DC 20006 10/25/2016 $200,000.00

[emphasis added]

We have no idea who is writing the check(s) to fund the PAC.

Oh, joy, more nasty television ads.


Josh Hawley (r) – October 2015 Quarterly Campaign Finance Report (October 18, 2015)

Campaign Finance: actual experience doesn’t matter if you have enough money – part 2 (August 24, 2016)

Campaign Finance: the $2,000,000.00 (and counting) candidate (September 4, 2016)

Campaign Finance: nothing exceeds like excess (September 26, 2016)

Campaign Finance: just passing through, again (September 29, 2016)

Josh Hawley (r) – Attorney General – October 2016 Quarterly Campaign Finance Report (October 17, 2016)

Campaign Finance: New Jersey? (October 19, 2016)

Campaign Finance: deep pockets (October 24, 2016)

Campaign Finance: Same street address, different suite number… (October 25, 2016)

Can Ann Wagner carry a wounded Roy Blunt to victory?


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GOP Senator Roy Bunt and Rep. Ann Wagner are pairing up. In a series of glossy mailers the two jointly take on various policy issues like health care and energy policy about which they spoon out predictable GOP talking points that have mostly been repudiated ad nauseum.

But why together? A money saving twofer? Eh … maybe. But they’ve both got big campaign war chests, bigger than the other guy in both cases, and Blunt is now getting all that dark money support from out-of-state billionaires and their pet PACS.

Maybe the beleaguered Blunt hopes that some of Wagner’s surburban cachet will rub off by association. Wagner’s odds of being re-elected are pretty good. Blunt? Not so much. Today on the Diane Rehm show a prognosticator actually said that Blunt would probably go down. Democrat Jason Kander may very well take his place in Washington.

Wagner only has to please the more moderate, but still relatively conservative, surburban constituents in the second district. She’s good at playing it safe and dishing out treacle that goes down smoothly in that environment. She may do Big Banking’s bidding, for example, but she always couches her efforts to help the big guys as somehow beneficial to the little guy . Her syrupy newsletters rarely even bother to mention her hardcore legislative activities except every once in a while and in the mildest of terms.

Blunt on the other hand, engaged in a state-wide race, has to satisfy both sides of a splintering GOP. On one side he’s got the Trump brigade – which hasn’t been too happy with his corporatist, big-money first approach since their earlier Tea Party days. On the other side are GOP centrists who aren’t too pleased by his detente with the Trumpist barbarians at the GOP gate.

Of course outcomes are often unexpected. Could Blunt possibly put an unwelcome spotlight on Wagner and her retrograde policy positions?

In a just world, maybe.

Campaign Finance: make it an even $11,500,000.00


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Apparently opacity is considered a virtue on some planets.

Erics Greitens (r) [2016 file photo].

Erics Greitens (r) [2016 file photo].

Today at the Missouri Ethics Commission for Eric Greitens’ (r) 2016 gubernatorial campaign:

C151053 10/26/2016 GREITENS FOR MISSOURI Republican Governors Association – Missouri 1747 Penn. Ave. NW Suite 250 Washington DC 20006 10/25/2016 $2,000,000.00

[emphasis added]

What are they gonna do at this point, run more television ads?

Gee, that’s $11,500,000.00 total contributed to this one campaign from one entity. $6,500.000.00 in October alone. So far. And we don’t have any idea who wrote the check(s) to get to this $2,000,000.00 or that $11,500,000.00. So far.


Campaign Finance: Gee, don’t hold back, show us how you really feel… (October 17, 2016)