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Even the smartest politicians have missteps every now and then

To be clear, I think that Jason Kander is one of the smartest politicians in the state. He seems to have an instinct about where the Democratic Party is going. He may have the best political instincts in the state.

However, his performance last week should comfort every other politician in Missouri that even the best politicians slip up now and then.

For decades secretaries of state, regardless of which party they were a member of or who was in the majority, have presided over the election of a temporary speaker at the beginning of the legislative session and have done so as statesmen and spoke on the issue of service and responsibility.

Kander decided to try to grab some attention for himself. He gave a lecture on right-to-work, which was preachy and self-important.

Jason Kander is a smart guy. He knows full good and well that the Missouri House of Representatives have voted many times on voter ID and, hell, the voters approved it at the polls.

In fact, the only two incumbent Republican House members who voted in favor of voter ID were defeated – and they were defeated in primaries by candidates who supported voter ID.

Ultimately, the House Speaker gave a dignified speech where he made a point to say he didn’t intend to lecture the Democrats. You couldn’t help but wonder if the political gods might conspire to produce a Richardson vs. Kander U.S. Senate matchup in 2018.

It just goes to show that not everything a politician does should be done to get retweets on Twitter, but, of course, feel free to retweet this column. I don’t know what Jason Kander’s future plans are, but if he takes on a national profile, then I suspect he will do Missouri proud, but this was a mistake.

While Kander’s lecture wasn’t the best performance, it wasn’t the worst by far. That dubious honor goes to Secretary of State Becki Cook. In a twist of fate, it was Speaker Richardson’s father, former Rep. Mark Richardson, who had a bipartisan coalition of votes to become speaker when Secretary Cook performed what was likely the most openly corrupt act in Missouri political history and refused to close the board.

After holding the board open for days, a Democrat and a Republican were bought off and he lost. At the time, the hopelessly liberal bias press praised Cook’s courageous act. I think it would be hard to imagine how proud Mr. Richardson must be, watching his son give that address to the House.


  • Seems odd to me that someone wouldn’t expect that the Governor would invite Michael Goguen to his inaugural. If a guy gave me a million dollars for something, I think I’d invite him to the ball. Greitens was elected by the people of the state and he was elected unapologetically taking Mr. Goguen’s money. If anything, it shows that the public cares about campaign finance reform in the abstract, but they simply don’t care about where an individual candidate’s contributions come from.
  • Maybe its just me, but the new Capitol security seems a bit much. Further, we have been told that law-abiding citizens carrying concealed weapons made us safer. I’d guess that there are enough concealed weapon carriers in the Capitol to keep the People’s House not only safe, but easily accessible.
  • Meryl Streep’s speech at some award show is so symbolic of how out-of-touch the elites on the coasts are to Missourians. Does anyone truly believe that there is even one single Missourian who voted for Donald Trump who didn’t know damn good and well that everyone in Hollywood wanted them to vote for Hillary Clinton?
  • Classy move by the now-former Attorney General Chris Koster in his note on the last day in office wishing Gov. Greitens and Attorney General Joshua Hawley well.

WHO WON THE WEEK? From last week’s This Week in Missouri Politics:

  • Victory Enterprises’ Joe Lakin: Speaker Todd Richardson
  • Rep. Jean Evans: Speaker Todd Richardson
  • Me: Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr and Bill Kenney, who it was announced will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame later this month
  • Rep. Tracy McCreery: Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr
  • Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis: Senator Ryan Silvey