• Talk about swift action in the lege. I can’t call enacting $25 million in tax credits to build a new Kansas City Chiefs training facility in St. Joe bi-partisan, because the House and the Senate sent the bill to Matt Blunt before Nixon was sworn in. In a year when the state faces somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 million in shortfalls, we’re going to help build fancy digs so helmeted Brobdingnagians can practice butting heads?

    Oh, sure, the Chiefs’ owners pledged to make $50 million worth of common-area improvements to Arrowhead Stadium in K.C. And, who knows, maybe they’ll even be better at honoring their pledges than the owners of the St. Louis Cardinals were about Ballpark Village. Or not.

    Nixon was surprisingly unflappable about this additional kink in his budget:, especially when  you consider that the project goes $15 million over the usual Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB) cap of ten million.

    “This was an initiative of the previous administration,” Nixon said at his first press conference as governor. “No pun intended, but I’m not going to Monday morning quarterback that deal.”

    But Democratic Senator Wes Shoemyer was blunt about his disapproval:

    “What you’re going do is raise the ire of the folks down the street,” Shoemyer said, referring to lawmakers, “and get this board handcuffed so when we really need you, and really need the things you’re able to do, we won’t be able to do them.”

  • Nixon kept Lt. Gov. Kinder in the dark about his (Nixon’s) plans for the MDFP. One can’t help wondering if that was oversight or deliberate provocation–and if the latter, why.

    Although [Nixon] included Republican legislative leaders in his job creation plans, Nixon did not brief Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder about plans to use money from the Missouri Development Finance Board for a small-business loan program. That was a bit of an affront to Kinder, who is chairman of the finance board.

    Nixon’s chief of staff finally met Friday with Kinder’s chief of staff about the small business loan proposal – three days after Nixon issued an executive order to develop the loan plan and more than three weeks after Nixon first outlined it.

  • Howard Dean’s replacement at the DNC, Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia, was born and raised in Missouri.

    “I grew up in Kansas City, working in my dad’s ironworking shop. From my parents and teachers, I absorbed the basic lessons of hard work, faith and responsibility for others … I was drawn to the Democratic Party of John and Bobby Kennedy and the man from Independence, Harry S Truman. I attended the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School.

    So? I’d rather have the Vermonter (originally from New York) heading the DNC. Kaine has said that the fifty state strategy worked well, but that he’ll make some changes anyway. Chris Bowers gives us the substance of the changes and his take on it:

    In short, the DNC will be moving away from the long-term, decentralized, fifty-state strategy of Howard Dean’s tenure, and toward serving as a short-term, centralized re-election effort for President Obama in 2012.  It will continue the move away from paid media ushered in by Howard Dean, maintain or increase the amount of resource expenditures in most states, and the number of states it targets will be a broader effort than the narrow focus we saw in 2001-2004 (but more narrow than 2005-2008). However, it will return to the traditional role of the DNC as a supplement for the sitting President’s re-election campaign, rather than as the long-term, localized institution building operation that is was from 2005-2008.

    The fifty-state strategy of 2005-2008 is going to be replaced with the “re-elect President Obama” strategy of 2009-2012. Both have their advantages, but I still consider firing the 200 state party organizers a real blow to the long-term development of local Democratic Party talent and infrastructure.

    Hear, hear! Additional money in most states? Wonderful. “A real blow to the long-term development of local Democratic Party talent and infrastructure”? Way less than wonderful.

    But take my criticism for what it’s worth: I’ve always been a Deaniac.

    Photo of Kaine courtesy of Firedoglake; Photo of Dean courtesy of Wikimedia