After taking a few months paternity leave, I am back with Texts from the Trail, only in its new and updated form, under the This Week in Missouri Politics flag. It just seems like a more natural space, and we hope you will enjoy the column as much as we do working on it.
It looks like the campaign is on, as the top of the ticket is now solidified for both Democrats and Republicans, and the ad war is underway in the Governor’s race. John Brunner started off the TV wars with an ad promoting his business experience, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder came out of the gate with an ad reminding voters that he is a winner who fights the social fights, and Eric Greitens came out of the gate with an ad literally shooting a figurative target of the politicians in Jefferson City. Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway debuted her first television ad today, which highlights her record as former House speaker and federal prosecutor.
More interesting may be the question of who is paying for the negative ads on John Brunner being run by a committee overseen by Hank Monsees out of the Kansas City area.
The latest debate with the St. Louis and Kansas City FOX affiliates, as well as the Post-Dispatch, was very interesting with Hanaway likely being the toughest and Greitens continuing the argument that Republicans in the legislature are corrupt and his opponents are ineffective insiders.
Several Democrats have watched Greitens with delight – as many Republicans had their share of schadenfreude over Bernie Sanders scorching the Democratic primary with reckless abandon – likely because he was only recently a Democrat. Greitens has no ties to any Republicans who have been serving the state, likely for the same reason.
After a few minutes of discussion of Donald Trump the candidates focused on a host of issues important to the state. However, the Post-Dispatch wrote 20 paragraphs on the debate – two outlined the moderators and when the election is.
Ten of the other 18 paragraphs were about the Republican candidates’ hesitance to support their duly-elected presidential nominee. Many rolled their eyes about the coverage, but in all honesty, it’s the candidates’ fault for bringing them into the debate in the first place.
To turn a phrase from a capitalist from the big screen, Gordon Gekko:
Some say a fool and their gubernatorial ambitions are soon parted. I say a fool and their gubernatorial ambitions were lucky to be acquainted in the first place.”
Let’s see if they make the same mistake in the general election.
Speaking of the Post’s coverage, if Donald Trump is the dominant story in the governor’s race, to what degree do the nominees support their party’s presidential nominee?
There are a few obvious questions Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster will have to answer:
- Do you endorse Hillary Clinton?
- Have you ever sent her an email?
- Have you met with her in the last 12 months?
- If so, have you been contacted by the FBI in regards to their criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton?
- If you met with her, did you insist on an attorney being present to protect yourself from becoming a co-conspirator in the FBI’s criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton?
- Are you endorsing any other targets of FBI criminal investigations?
- Have you spoken with anyone from President Barack Obama’s Justice Department about their criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton?
- If you are, in fact, “all prosecutor, no politics,” with the facts that are publicly known which crimes would you charge her with, or would you be willing to join President Obama’s whitewash of her wrongdoing for political gain?
- Do you stand with Hillary Clinton, whose goal it is to bankrupt the coal industry and take jobs from coal miners or the Missourians employed by Peabody?
- Do you support Hillary Clinton’s pledge to end fracking and spike Missouri gas prices, or are you with Missourians who rely on American oil to fuel American cars?
- Do you stand with working men and women in labor unions who have been so generous to your campaign on trade issues, or with the NAFTA supporting Hillary Clinton exporting jobs to Mexico?
- The only issue in the primaries that Hillary Clinton was to the left of admitted socialist Bernie Sanders was gun control. Do you stand with Hillary Clinton or the NRA?
- You voted several times in the state senate to cut the Missouri’s bloated Medicaid program, do you stand by your votes or do you stand with Hillary Clinton’s plan to inflict more socialism on capitalism loving Missourians?
- You presided over moving the previous question in the state senate on voter ID, do you still stand by your votes or with Hillary Clinton’s pandering to the radical left on the issue?
- Do you believe anything Hillary Clinton says without verifying it, and if you do are you willing to put the lives of Missourians in the hands of someone with a lengthy and verified track record of lying to Missourians?
- Would you allow your niece or the daughter of a close friend to ride on a plane alone or travel with Bill Clinton? Or do you share some of the same reservations Senator McCaskill has about the former President’s treatment of women?
You see, while for the mainstream media, there is only one narrative and that is that any Republican is awful and unelectable, if the campaign for the Governor’s Mansion is more than half about the presidential nominee, Attorney General Koster may, in fact, be the best choice, but he certainly has his share of questions to answer about Hillary Clinton.
I’m just a simple hillbilly from West Butler County, but I’d imagine the vast majority of Missourians, come November, choose to trust their future to a man who has signed the front of a private sector paycheck over a bureaucrat who has only signed the back of a gub’ment paycheck and who is a sworn enemy of the NRA to boot.
The media might find the best way to elect their darlings is to make federal races federal races and Missouri races Missouri races.
On Sunday, This Week in Missouri Politics will have businessman and candidate for governor, John Brunner. Check your local listings for broadcast times, and as always, the show is available at noon on Sundays at www.twmp.tv.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.