There’s been lots of attention directed toward Governor “Kid Slick” Greitens’ “dark money” caches – and speculation about who’s keeping them filled up to the top. The fact that he openly took a few heaping – and I mean heaping – helpings of the folding green from the likes of the Humphreys family and a few other billionaires – many from out of state – has also drawn a fair amount of attention, especially since he made lots of noise about how he intended to run the money-changers out of the political temples in Jefferson City. But I’m pleased to tell you that Greitens has seen the light – he is now going to permit everyday thousandaires to support his climb to the top.
How is Greitens going to do that? He’s calling for a special session of the legislature specifically to enact repressive anti-abortion restrictions that didn’t make it through during the regular session. We all knew that this legislation was just window-dressing, bad ideas that were meant to placate the evangelical rightwing which has made suppressing women’s reproductive choice it’s biggest cause. Nobody except for a few anti-abortion hysterics really wants to see laws like the ones that stalled out last session become law.
So why call a special session to pass bad laws? Governor Greitens gets to burnish his anti-choice credentials, crucial for any aspirational GOP presidential candidate, and which he, as a political newcomer in a hurry, needs to do poste haste to establish solid bona fides for the campaign slogs he undoubtedly plans for the coming years. And he’ll be using our tax dollars to do it.
Because that’s where the thousandaires come in. You and I, citizens of the once-great state of Missouri, will get to support the Eric Greitens vanity legislative session with our tax-dollars – regardless of our anti- or pro-choice beliefs. The last special session, a couple of weeks ago, cost upwards of $65,000, money put to good use to try and benefit special big-money utility interests. But hey, don’t worry. So what if the state’s running budget deficits. Just cut social services and infrastructure way past the bone that we’ve already laid bare and we can maybe, sorta patch in those tax revenue shortfalls that are on their way while we fund endless special sessions. Or not.
Of course, if Greitens is going to spend our tax-dollars to support his political ambitions in this way, he’s got to show results. There can be no recalcitrant legislators voting to support women’s right to control their body, nobody with qualms about usurping local control (see abortion sanctuary cities if you don’t know what I’m talking about) during Greitens’ big special session. Governor Kid Slick’s gotta shoot straight and win or it’s wasted effort. And wasted dollars – which even outstate Missourians might notice.
How to ensure that Governor Kid Slick gets what he wants? Let me count the ways: (1) Bully lawmakers and demean them – Greitens claims that he has to call the special session because lawmakers just won’t do a hard day’s work like everyday Missourians – and, (2) true to the fascist model that seems to appeal to so many GOP “outsiders,” hold rallies that put a strong, decisive-appearing Governor Kid Slick at the center of the action. The effect on his target audiences will be even better if (3) he can get a leading anti-abortion political VIP like Mike Huckabee to hold his hand while he’s out demagoging. Think of football pep rallies, or Donald Trump’s come-to-daddy, make-America-great-again, fist fests. Gets the ol’ team spirit flowing every time. And it looks like it’s working:
Christi Miller of Troy, Mo., said she traveled to St. Charles to hear the governor speak because of how important the issue is to her. Miller said she had been an active anti-abortion advocate for about seven years. “I know I was not a supporter at first,” Miller said, “(but) I’m fully behind him now.”
Nothing can ruin a good time, though, like a bunch of bellyachers – which is why Governor “dark money is free-speech” Greitens – get the irony? – doesn’t think that constituents who want to rain on his parade should be allowed to do do so:
A group of abortion rights supporters who stood outside the venue before the rally began said they were asked by police to leave the premises.
Some of them were kept out of the rally by members of the governor’s and the venue’s staff despite having tickets.
Some in the group continued to protest from the sidewalk after being refused entry.
Diane Seider said she was among the protesters who were not allowed inside the building. She said someone at the door told her protesters could not enter the building because they weren’t anti-abortion advocates.
Seider estimated there were about 50 protesters outside. She said she thought the governor should welcome any Missourian to his events, because he represents everyone in the state.
“I was really quite shocked,” Seider said. “How can you only let the one side in?”
How can you only let one side in? Ticket holders yet? The answer to question is clear; it’s a question of goals. If what you want is nothing more than to create an appearance that generates enthusiasm, whip up the faithful, ratchet up pressure on the legislature, while you personally make out like a bandit PR-wise, you’d manage your rallies just like Greitens. If you start out not giving a tinker’s damn about the folks who might derail the presidential train you’re trying to gun up, it’s obviously important that you suppress their contrary (non-dollar) free speech to the greatest extent possible.
And what does this mixture of ambition, corruption and authoritarian posturing give us, the citizens of the state who are footing the bill? A bad case of political poisioning maybe? Let’s hope we can tough it out until we can spit out the bad seeds.