, , , , , ,

Remember that when asked if he would meet with President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, GOP Senator Roy Blunt replied that he was too busy to do so? I can imagine that particular excuse didn’t go over too well with many Missourians since very few of us have the luxury of refusing to do our jobs because we’re “too busy” doing something else like attending fundraisers. I bet he’s heard plenty from constituents about that particular gaffe. Now, however, Blunt thinks he can turn the tables and make the “too busy” meme work for his reelection effort.

State Jason Kander is running for Blunt’s senate seat. Recently, Blunt has found a way to pander to rampant anti-immigration sentiment by attacking “sanctuary cities,” that is, cities that shelter and protect undocumented immigrants. For some reason he thinks that he can score points by calling on Kander to take a position on urban sanctuaries although there are no sanctuary cities in Missouri. Kander’s spokesperson, quite reasonably, responded that Kander “is focused on his job and hasn’t had an opportunity to review the legislation being debated in Washington.”

A Blunt proxy, the red-meat regurgitating state Sen. Bob Onder, stepped forward to do Blunt’s dirty work and immediately set up a Web page soliciting those frightened souls who are worried about sanctuary cities to put the heat on Kander:

Jason Kander’s campaign recently claimed he was too busy to take a position on the efforts to defund Sanctuary Cities, which protect thousands of violent illegal immigrants from deportation. There are too many American lives at risk to allow Jason Kander to hide from this issue. Tell Jason Kander to take a position on Sanctuary Cities today.  Sign the petition

Of course the “too busy” situations are not exactly equivalent. Reviewing proposed federal anti-immigrant legislation isn’t actually Kander’s job while vetting Supreme Court nominees is one of the most important parts of Senator Blunt’s job.

Nor is Kander evading the issue of immigration. He has indicated that he supports some parts of the President’s executive order although he objects to the use of an executive order to counter GOP inaction on the immigration issue. It’s highly likely that he has not, as his spokesperson indicated, reviewed the legislation that Blunt wants him to comment on – nor is it his job to do so – yet, at least. I’m not worried that he’s incapable of coming to an informed position and acting on it when he takes Blunt’s place in the Senate.

Nor, yet again, can one be blamed for wondering just what, besides fundraisers, has been keeping Senator Blunt so busy that he can’t do his constitutionally mandated job? One telling example: Blunt recently voiced his intention to fight new fiduciary rules that reqire investment advisors to put the interests of their clients before their own desire for lucrative commissions.

On the subject of raising funds, Could Blunt’s position on this issue have anything to do with the fact that during the period 2011-2016, he received a little over $970,000 dollars from PACs representing financial industries – and well over a million more dollars if contributions from individuals working in these industries were to be added in to the total. Seems pretty clear whose business keeps Senator Blunt’s calendar so full that he can’t do the part of his job that involves serving “the people.” It seems like it’s all just one big fundraiser for Blunt.

And what about Onder’s fear-mongering in Blunt’s name about “thousands of violent illegal immigrants” and “American lives at risk”? A recent article in USAtoday examined the various efforts to determine the risk of violence from undocumented immigrants and concluded that, “using the data we have, it seems impossible to responsibly claim that those immigrants are more likely to commit crimes than their American-born neighbors.” Evidence to the contrary almost always seems to be anecdotal

Blunt has learned Donald Trump’s lesson well. Immigration scares poorly informed white Americans who are more than willing to generalize from isolated incidents of immigrant criminal behavior. What this means, of course, is now that the election game is finally on, and Kander is proving to be more formidable than anyone thought he would be when he first declared, we should be prepared for more of the same type of inept looney tunes from the Blunt camp.