PrimeBuzz reported late this morning that Governor-Elect Jay Nixon has tapped Missouri National Guard Colonel Steve Danner to be Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard.
A Colonel in the MO Guard and an attorney, Danner joined the military in 1972 as a combat engineer, and he has served with distinction in various roles ever since, including as the Command Judge Advocate with the 35th Area Support Group in Balad, Iraq from 2005 to 2007. He has been a JAG Officer since 1981.
The Adjutant General oversees the state’s Army and Air National Guard Units. Danner will inherit a force that has not been spared the abuses that have been heaped on the Guard and Reserves in pursuit of Bush’s folly in Iraq. The Missouri National Guard faces the same problems with force strength, retention, recruiting, equipment shortages and repeated deployments that are pervasive in Guard contingents all over the country.
In addition to those problems faced by virtually every Guard unit in the country after seven years of war, Danner will inherit a National Guard with a whole other set of problems, too. The current Adjutant General has been accused of discriminating against black and female Guardsmen. Two federal complaints have been filed, and thirteen black soldiers have publicly signed a letter to the NAACP alleging that the outgoing AG, Major General King Sidwell, and his chief of staff, Col. Glenn Hagler, have “fostered a climate of institutional discrimination” in the ranks of the Missouri National Guard and discriminated against blacks and females when it came to awarding promotions.
Don’t be surprised if the wingnut chorus treats us to a couple of barbershop numbers over the appointment. They won’t question his credentials or qualifications – they are impeccable and beyond reproach. But they might have a problem with his politics. He donates heavily to Democratic candidates, including Jay Nixon, to whose gubernatorial campaign Danner donated $3000 between 2006 and 2008.
Danner has a solid Democratic pedigree. He has been involved in the Missouri Democratic Party practically his whole life. He and Nixon go back to 1990 when they were freshmen Democratic state senators together. He was legal counsel to the Missouri House speaker back when Democrats held the majority, and was a top aide in the Lt. Governor’s office under Mel Carnahan. His mother is Pat Danner, who held the Missouri 06 for four terms, winning an upset over an incumbent republican in 1992, and even surviving the ‘republican revolution’ of 1994 to win reelection as a freshman Democrat in that climate. She withdrew from the reelection race in 2000 after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and Steve stepped in to defend the seat, narrowly losing to Sam Graves, who was just elected to a fifth term.
My advice? If anyone wails about the political side of Danner with regard to this appointment just look at them and sigh and explain how the military works (wingnuts rarely actually know anything about the military that isn’t conveyed in “Red Dawn“) “Of course he’s a politician! He’s a Colonel, and Colonels who aren’t politicians…are Captains. The only difference with Danner is we know up front what his politics are.”