Outside yesterday’s Governor’s Ham Breakfast at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia:
Well, Kris Kobach (r) is certainly doing his part.
The World Is a Cargo Cult (June 27, 2017)
In Missouri’s U.S. Senate race, Josh Hawley (R) slammed Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) this morning for “hiding out” in Washington, D.C. For the record, the Senate is in session, which means McCaskill just went to work.
One twitter commentator suggested that Hawley might need a tutorial on how government works. In fact, lots of folks have been wondering this summer if Hawley’s really up to speed when it comes to “work,” and “politics” stuff – an impression that this post-primary awkwardness reinforces. Perhaps a tutorial would be just the thing.
Want more evidence that our hero is a little slower on the uptake than we’d expect from a Yale and Stanford graduate? How about Hawlely’s inability to let us know what he thinks about major issues in Missouri politics like the ballot initiatives that will come before the voters this November: we’ll vote on a higher minimum wage, clean government measures, including fair redistricting reform, increases to the gas tax to pay for sorely needed infrastructure improvements, and legalization of medical marijuana.
“Yes” or “no” stuff for any thinking politician, right? But Hawley seems to be a little worried that he might get somebody’s dander up if he expresses a real opinion on possibly controversial topics, which may be why he’s so willing to temporize. He declares that:
… he needs to read through all of the proposals and is still making up his mind. He said he’s inclined to support medical marijuana, but he said he wants to make sure there are enough protections to limit it to medical uses.
We’ve known that these initiatives would probably be on the ballot for some time – and even if we hadn’t, each of them is important enough, and most have been swirling around in the national conversation with such force, that we should be able expect a serious candidate for statewide office to have well-thought out opinions.
Senator McCaskill, I notice, is able to discuss the propositions straightforwardly without obfuscation or withdrawing into a shuddering heap. What we get are clear cut answers about what she believes will work best for Missourians. She likes all the propositions – expressing serious enthusiasm about clean government measures, something that all ethical politicians should be able to endorse. She even approves of the gas tax – a position that takes courage in these days when a sizeable section of the electorate has been brain-washed to think that you don’t have to pay for what you get – or that the other guy doesn’t deserve what you get.
There is one aspect of the questions raised by the ballot propositions that Hawley is willing to commit to. Our prim, proper and very religious AG is pretty clear that no one should be able to toke up who isn’t suffering from an agonizing or terminal disease. Easy-peasy decision if you’ve got your priorities straight.
I was surprised by the decision of the Missouri Farm Bureau to endorse our lackadaisical Attorney General Josh Hawley in his run for the U.S. Senate. You might be surprised by my attitude since the Farm Bureau has for some time been reliably Republican, a position practically dictated by the perceived competition between out-state (GOP) and urban (Democratic) interests. But it’s true.
Remember when our Attorney General and GOP senatorial contender Hawley first tried out a little lame trash talk trash about Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill? He called the down-to-earth Missouri Democrat, one of the few Missouri pols to hold town halls – even during the height of the raucous Tea Party anti-Obamacare frenzy – a phony who was out of touch with Missouri voters. Rich B.S. indeed, as we have shown in an earlier post, coming from an elite Washington lawyer who, according to emails to colleagues, only returned to Missouri in 2011 to enter politics.
But more important to the question at hand, are farmers likely to get anything out of Hawley that’s good for them? Consider the question of Trump’s mindlessly escalating trade war which has triggered massive agricultural tariffs: Not good for Missouri Farmers, especially in the long run since Trump doesn’t seem to know how to find a way out now that he’s escalated the hostilities.
McCaskill has the backbone to call Trump out on an an impulsive and sloppy approach to the issue. Hawley, on the other hand, resolutely sticks to vague GOP talking-around-the-issue-points. Despite the looming potential for disaster for many Missouri farmers – if not this year, next – Hawley will just “trust” that the attention-addled reality TV-star and failed construction mogul Trump knows what he’s doing when it comes to economic theory and all will work out before there are too many bankruptcies in that out-state Missouri that loves to hear GOPers tell it like (they think) it is.
Nor do these highly flexible folks, such as our prim little Josh Hawley seem to want to stand up for the principles that they espoused so fervently during the Obama years: you know, that stuff about bailouts – bailouts that, incidentally saved our auto industry and which were repaid. But hey, a $12 billion in one-year farm bailouts to be handed out right after a budget-busting, deficit-building tax cut for the wealthy – no big deal to folks like Hawley – who doesn’t seem to care about much more than fighting the far-right religious wars and pushing conservative evangelical orthodoxy down the throats of the rest of us. How’s that for phony?
So why has the Farm Bureau decided to go with Republican comfort food? even though it could end up killing them? Don’t despair. I think I may understand just what the real appeal of GOP – and Josh Hawley – right or wrong, weak or strong, might be.
In an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch today on why so many Trump supporters voted against the anti-union Proposition A, a union man – after praising the ways his union gave him a good life – and apparently unaware of Trump’s bad history with unions – justified his support for Trump and, presumably, anti-union Trump supporters like Hawley, by appealing to the demographic fears that the “good old days” of white privilege will disappear if too many of those brown folks make it over the southern border:
“I like what Trump is doing for the country, though I don’t agree on all of his policies,” [ Scott] Long said. “If you want to be a citizen, you shouldn’t just walk across the Southern California border. … I like how Trump wants to close the border down.”
And, even more explicitly:
Dennis Brinkler, a union electrician who voted against the legislation, also cited immigration as a reason he’s supporting Trump and state Attorney General Josh Hawley, an anti-union Republican who is challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, in November.
If you doubt that there’s an underlying racist theme there, the same article cited some union leaders who attributed union support for Republicans like Trump and Hawley explicitly to “protests of police shootings of unarmed black men” and fear of black protest against a repressive status quo:
“Some of the guys I represent in their 50s, it’s hard for them to grasp shutting down a highway because of an incident that may have happened with the police, and often that’s people on our side of the party,” White said, referring to protests in Ferguson after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer four years ago. “That’s hard for a lot of the old white guys to grasp.”
There you have it. Trump’s calling card: playing on white resentment and the old folks’ racial fears.
And you can bet that the oh-so-educated and refined Hawley is going along with it, helping to demagogue the thinly disguised racism of Trump’s immigration policies. As the St. Louis American put it after Hawley defended Trump’s cruel and ill-considered immigration policies, particularly the forcible separation of children from parents seeking asylum in the U.S., an undeniable human rights violation carried out so incompetently that many of the children cannot be reunited with the parents:
[…] Hawley backed and defended Trump’s political play of using the forcible separation of children from their families to force Democrats to support the construction of his absurd border wall and pursuit of more punitive immigration policies. Hawley should return to whatever rock he crawled out from under and leave it to actual human beings with blood in their veins to enact public policy. Hawley is a representation of a new generation of Republicans willing to accede the party and its values to the disaster of the Trump administration.
I expect Hawley’s – probably more timid – dog whistles will increase over the next couple of months as Big Daddy Trump gets even more explicit about his overt racism. Sadly, it looks like lots of Missourians are inclined to be responsive
* 1st word in title changed from “whose” to “who’s” (8/18, 4:35). Thanks to comment noting the original error.
“…If they are willing to accept the fact that they got played they can fix it…”
“…by the way, there already is an inclusive stance on abortion. It’s called ‘pro choice.'”
Over a month ago an anti-choice member of the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee introduced an amendment to the party platform utilizing the anti-choice language of a fringe anti-choice group (unbeknownst to everyone else, probably). The amendment passed. The base of the Missouri Democratic Party was not happy. At all. They let everyone know.
At the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee meeting today:
Alison Dreith @alidreith
As @billy_moffett said, “Now that we saved Labor Rights it’s time to protect a Woman’s Right to Choose in the MDP platform.” @MoDemParty #MDPReproRights
12:01 PM – 11 Aug 2018
Today the state committee met, reconsidered the amendment, removed it, and approved the platform with its original pro-choice language from the platform committee:
Sarah Felts @sarahfelts
61/68 folks voted yes! 2 abstentions.
12:59 PM – 11 Aug 2018
There you have it.
The elephant in the room (July 3, 2018)
Against abortion? Don’t have one. (July 6, 2018)
Getting played (July 8, 2018)
When GOP Rep. Billy Long (R-7) first ran for Congress there were whispers that, in today’s parlance, he was more than familiar with the swamp that his idol, Donald Trump – evidently facetiously – promised to drain. With the arrest of New York GOP Rep. Chris Collins for insider trading, the swamp gas miasma around Long has thickened. Collins has been stripped of his position on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and he is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee. The question is why isn’t Rep. Long under similar investigation – or maybe he is and we just don’t know about it?
As The Daily Beast reported last year, Collins authored four bills that would likely have benefited the company. Two of them, separate versions of the same bill introduced in the 114th and 115th Congresses, had just one cosponsor: Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, which has oversight over the Food and Drug Administration. While no one has accused him of any legal wrongdoing, Long also held stock in Innate. Long signed on to both pieces of legislation the day they were introduced. The first was filed in December 2016, and didn’t make it out of subcommittee before the session ended.
Then in January, Long bought between $15,000 and $50,000 in Innate stock, apparently as part of a Fidelity retirement account. In July, Collins once again introduced his bill, which would have expedited FDA approvals for treatments such as Innate’s, and Long was once again an immediate co-sponsor.
Long’s staff is of course denying that Long had any insider info from his colleague Collins with whom he coordinated to pass legislation that would enhance both their financial bottom lines – instead, his spokesperson claims, he just happened to decide to buy the Innate stock ” ‘when it became a daily topic on the nightly news in January of 2017,’ a timeline that suggests that Long, not a financial brokerage, made the decision to purchase Innate stock.” However, the circumstantial evidence amassed by Talking Points Memo (TPM) that Long and other GOP colleagues may have received insider information from Collins is somewhat compelling. As TPM notes:
[…] they all say they were just following the market and doing their own research. It had nothing to do with Chris Collins. Well, lots of reporting says Collins was pitching colleagues on it hard. And it seems like quite a coincidence that 5 members of Congress, all Republicans bought in. This seems to bear a lot more scrutiny.
Certainly, we know that Rep. Long is inclined to go easy when it comes to forestalling corrupt behavior, as would befit a guy with a reputation for being on the make. Remember Long’s 2017 vote to gut the Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule, “a major bipartisan law that helps safeguard trillions of dollars of payments to the US and governments around the world.”
However, given that most GOPers in the House voted the same way, – the party of corrupton perhaps? – I’m not holding my breath and would recommend that you also refrain to do so if you expect to see Long perp-walked out of Congress. The law got Collins fair and square, looks like Long may weasel out – and his fellow GOPers will probably be just fine with that -particularly those who may be equally guilty of conspiring with Collins to line their personal pockets.
Ever notice how politicians who haven’t anything much to deliver try to exploit “culture”?
When Josh Hawley, Missouri’s current Attorney General and, as of last Tuesday, the GOP candidate seeking Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill’s senatorial seat, was in High School, he was driven two hours round trip to the expensive, private, Catholic Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. No reason for the local banker’s son to mix with the hoi polloi in his home town of Lexington, population ca. 5000. There’s no doubt that the banker’s son’s privileged upbringing helped fit him into the rarified east coast circles, first in Yale and Stanford, and later in a high-powered law firm and the conservative non-profit that he inhabited for 15 years prior to returning to Missouri in 2011.
Yet, oddly, now that he is running for office in a rural, agricultural state, he has asserted that folks in cities like New York and Washington D.C. “look down on the kind of upbringing I had.” Even more laughably, Hawley seems to think that growing up in a farming state equals dirt under the fingernails, declaring that “farming is a way of life, it’s a way of life that you live everyday, it’s a way of life that I grew up in … .” Perhaps they inhaled Eau de Manure at Rockhurst High.
Meeting with farmers at a get-together sponsored by the Missouri Dairy Association, the elite lawyer even came in costume: jeans and boots. Maybe he was taking his cue from GOP Senator Roy Blunt’s blue-jeaned, plaid shirted tour of the state in a rented pickup during his 2010 campaign. Hey, it’s worked a few times for elite, high-living GOP pols why not for the otherwise prim and proper-seeming Hawley.
One problem with Hawley’s salt of the earth act? Claire McCaskill’s backstory.
A middle class daughter of the state who worked as a waitress to secure a Mizzou education, and then worked her way up serving in local and state elective offices before running for a federal position, is, from my perspective, in much better position to understand the needs of the state than Johnny-come-back-lately, Josh Hawley.
And even though McCaskill is ending her second term as a denizen of D.C., Babylon reborn to some Tea-Party turned Trumpie types, she’s been undeniably tireless in her efforts to keep in touch with the temper of the region – her listening tours and kitchen cabinet meetings have taken place regularly, even in off-election years. While she’s struggled to remain true to basic Democratic principles, she’s also listened and learned from those who see the issues differently, sometimes angering those among us who are more progressive in our leanings. But I wager that many of us, such as myself, respect her effort to represent as many of her constituents as she conscientiously can.
McCaskill’s work-ethic and her approach to meeting the obligations of her job also contrast with the pampered Hawley’s easy-going approach. In fact, he seems to have handled both the job of Attorney General and his role as a senatorial candidate in such an anemic fashion that, according to some reports, he’s inspired some in his own party to claim that he’s “allergic to hard work.”
Think it over. Who’s really the birth-right elite insider here, the one who lived a sophisticated life among political movers and shakers in Washington D.C for over a decade and came back to Missouri to play the role of the chosen one in state Republican politics. On the other hand, who’s the politician who’s earned whatever insider status she has by working hard and never forgetting the needs of the people who sent her to Washington D.C. Remember, you usually get what you deserve – which will be determined in the voting booth come November.*
*Paragraph revised to improve clarity 8/9, 11:22 PM
Proposition A, the anti-worker, anti-union “right to get paid less” initiative went down to defeat. Big time.
At the Missouri Secretary of State web site:
State of Missouri – State of Missouri – Primary Election, August 07, 2018
as of 8/7/2018 11:51:34 PM
3080 of 3228 Precincts Reported
YES 432,103 32.655%
NO 891,126 67.345%
Total Votes: 1,323,229
The thing is, working people had to spend over $15,000,000.00 for that victory. In November every working person needs to remember who in the General Assembly voted for this and vote for their opponent. Otherwise, it’ll be back.
Via the Missouri Secretary of State web site:
State of Missouri – State of Missouri – Primary Election, August 07, 2018
as of 8/7/2018 11:15:40 PM
U.S. Representative – District 4
363 of 363 Precincts Reported
John Webb Republican 26,787 26.518%
Vicky Hartzler Republican 74,226 73.482%
Party Total: 101,013
Renee Hoagenson Democratic 24,139 51.871%
Hallie J Thompson Democratic 22,398 48.129%
Party Total: 46,537
Steven Koonse Libertarian 312 43.944%
Mark Bliss Libertarian 398 56.056%
Party Total: 710
Total Votes: 148,260
There were two very good candidates in the Democratic Party primary. Now comes the hard part…
Yesterday at the Butterfly Festival at Powell Gardens in Kingsville, Missouri:
Oh, and vote “No” on the anti-worker, anti-union Proposition A on today’s ballot.
Powell Gardens – CAFO permit stayed pending outcome of appeal (July 28, 2018)
Butterfly (August 6, 2018)