A Blunt Ad in Missouri Causes a Stir

Hat tip to Fired Up, Missouri, one of the best state-focused blogs on the web today.

Last night, the Roy Blunt campaign posted a gross web video with an image of 9/11 rubble and a Robin Carnahan statement about the proposed Park51 project. As Randy Turner writes, "Blunt apparently wants us to be deeply offended because Robin Carnahan said she wasn't going to tell the people of New York what to do about the construction of a mosque in the Ground Zero area and she didn't want New Yorkers to tell us what to do in Missouri."

The Blunt campaign pulled the web-only ad after receiving push back. This morning, Robin Carnahan released the following statement:

Robin Carnahan Demands Apology for Congressman Blunt’s Shameful Ad Exploiting 9/11 Victims and Families

Congressman Blunt releases ad exploiting 9/11 victims and their families to avoid talking about role in $700 billion Wall Street bailout

St. Louis, MO – Today Robin Carnahan released the following statement after Congressman Blunt released a web video shamefully exploiting 9/11 victims and their families for political gain in a desperate attempt to avoid talking about his role in passing the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

“Congressman Blunt’s desperate attempt to avoid talking about his role in the $700 billion bailout by exploiting victims and families of the 9-11 tragedies is the very worst kind of Washington politics,” said Robin Carnahan. “Congressman Blunt should immediately own up to what he did, take responsibility for it, and apologize to the families of the 9-11 victims, whose tragedy he exploited for his own personal political benefit."

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Missouri Trending Red

The Show Me State is often hailed as a bellwether of national political trends. If so, the Democrats may be headed for a rough spell. More than 1.8 Republicans went to the polls Tuesday in Missouri for every Democrat. In the 2008 presidential primaries, and the 2002, 2004 and 2006 party primaries, the Democrats outnumbered Republicans at the polls.

Steve Kraske who writes the Prime Buzz column on Missouri politics at the Kansas City Star points to the above chart that tracks the party preference of voters in Missouri primaries from 1944-2010 to demonstrate how Missouri, once a Democratic bastion, has been slowly trending Republican.

The McCain-Palin ticket edged the Obama-Biden ticket by 3,632 votes out of more than 2.9 million cast in the 2008 Presidential election - a margin of 0.12 percentage points - to claim Missouri's eleven electoral votes. In presidential elections since 1956, as Missouri has gone, so has gone the nation. And the 2008 miss was only the second time the Show Me State voted for the loser since 1900. 

After the election, Kevin Smith, a forty year veteran of Democratic presidential campaigns, said “Missouri has lost its status as a bellwether, it has established itself as a red state when it comes to national politics.”

Tuesday's results seem to confirm Mr. Smith's analysis. 

Running Against Obama

For all the talk of the Democrats running against George W. Bush, it's clear that GOP is running against Barack Obama or in the case of Brian Nieves, a State Representative in Missouri now running for the State Senate, against Barack Hussein Obama.

Here are three GOP ads from around the country beginning with the Nieves ad in Missouri. Keep in mind that he is running for a seat in the State Legislature when you watch his commercial. Nieves, it should be noted, was one of the sponsors of Proposition C, the recently and overwhelmingly passed state initiative that seeks to exempt residents of the Show Me State from having to comply with PPACA, the US healthcare reform package signed by President Obama earlier this year. Nieves, who served in the Navy and is a Zone Pastor in the Church of the Living Bread in his hometown of Washington, MO just west of St. Louis in Franklin County (the meth capital of the Mid-West), is a 'Tea Party Patriot' who goes around telling people that 30 years from now others will ask "where were YOU during the patriot uprising?" All very amusing, if he weren't off his Show Me rocker. 

Meanwhile in the Mountaineer State, John Raese released this ad, his first of the campaign, in his bid to become the next Senator from West Virginia. The conservative Republican makes no direct mention of Governor Joe Manchin, the Democratic candidate, and concludes the ad by proclaiming, "I won't be a senator that's a rubber stamp to Barack Obama, I'll only serve you." Raese, a businessman, ran unsuccessfully against Jay Rockefeller in 1984 and against Robert Byrd more recently in 2006.  The Hill has some more background. 

Down in Arizona, John McCain though facing a primary challenge from the right still seems to think that he is facing off against Obama. On the plus side, at least Senator McCain shows enough respect to refer to the President as President Obama something neither Nieves nor Raese could bring themselves to do.

Missouri's Proposition C: 'Of No Legal Significance'

"Of no legal significance.” 

That was the response by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs when asked about the Administration's viewpoint on Missouri's Proposition C which passed overwhelmingly on Tuesday. More from The Hill:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs flatly dismissed Missouri's vote Tuesday rejecting a key part of the healthcare law.

Gibbs said Missouri’s vote approving a ballot initiative to exempt residents from the new law requiring individuals to buy health insurance was “of no legal significance.”

Asked what it means that voters in Missouri would vote against the federal mandate, Gibbs said: “Nothing.”

Gibbs is correct that the Missouri vote doesn’t trump federal law, but it has given a boost to those calling on Congress to repeal the healthcare law.

Republicans spent much of Wednesday trumpeting the vote as a victory that sent a message of voter disapproval to the White House.

The Missouri vote was to begin with a low-turnout affair among an electorate dominated by Republican primary voters, conservative activists and Tea Party extremists. It has no legal standing still that's not stopping others from pushing similar referenda in other states.

The measure, a legislatively-referred ballot initiative approved by the Missouri General Assembly during the 2010 regular session, bars the Federal government from mandating that people buy health insurance, and would shield Missourians who do not have insurance from the law’s tax penalty called for under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) signed into law by President Obama earlier this year.

Comparable measures have already been enacted by legislatures in five states — Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana and Virginia — according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that is pushing the initiatives. Arizona and Oklahoma are scheduled to vote in the November general election on state constitutional amendments to nullify the insurance requirement. A judge in Florida tossed a similar constitutional amendment off that state’s ballot two weeks ago, sayings its language was too overtly political.

Government by referendum is a slippery slope. The United States is a representative democracy and those who are pushing these measures would do well to remember our Constitutional form of government.

Michigan, Missouri and Kansas Results

Michigan Primary Results

The big news from Michigan is the defeat of seven-term incumbent Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick who was ousted by State Sen. Hansen Clarke in the Democratic primary in Michigan's 13th Congressional District that encompasses most of Detroit. Clarke won with 48 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Rep. Cheeks Kilpatrick.

It's the end of a political dynasty, a mother done in by the corruption of her son, Kwame Kilpatrick, the disgraced former Mayor of Detroit, now serving a jail sentence and awaiting yet another trial in Federal court for additional crimes related to alleged misuse of campaign funds. Rep. Cheeks Kilpatrick serves on the House Appropriations Committee and had served a term as the chair of the Black Caucus. She becomes the fourth House member to lose her seat to a primary challenger.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero won the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Michigan while former Gateway Chief Executive Officer and political novice Rick Snyder, another of those self-funded millionaires, won the Republican primary for Governor beating out four candidates including the current Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, the nine-term Congressman Pete Hoekstra (MI-02), and two others.

Bernero, who was backed by labor, won the Democratic nomination over State House Speaker Andy Dillion. Snyder is seen as the favourite to win the Governorship in the Fall.

Governor Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, is termed out.

More from the Detroit News.

Missouri Primary Results

The big news likely through when hell freezes over among conservatives is the largely symbolic slap at the Obama Administration's health reform which went down to defeat by a three to one margin in Missouri's Proposition C. From the New York Times:

The measure was intended to invalidate a crucial element of President Obama’s health care law — namely, that most people be required to get health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Supporters of the measure said it would send a firm signal to Washington about how this state, often a bellwether in presidential elections, felt about such a law.

“My constituents told me they felt like their voices had been ignored and they wanted Washington to hear them,” Jane Cunningham, a state senator and Republican who had pressed for a vote, said Tuesday night. “It looks to me like they just picked up a megaphone.”

The referendum, known as Proposition C, was seen as a first look at efforts by conservatives to gather and rally their forces over the issue. In the end, though, the referendum seemed not to capture the general population’s attention. Instead, Republican primary voters (who had the most competitive races on Tuesday) appeared to play a crucial role in the vote’s fate.

Practically speaking, it remains entirely uncertain what effect the vote will have. The insurance requirement of the federal health care law does not come into effect until 2014. By then, experts say, the courts are likely to weigh in on the provision requiring people to buy insurance.

“While we’re disappointed that Missourians didn’t vote against this, we think the courts will ultimately decide it,” said David M. Dillon, a spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association.

For some, the outcome was not merely about health care, but about the role of states in setting policy.

“This really wasn’t an effort to poke the president in the eye,” said State Senator Jim Lembke, a Republican. “First and foremost, this was about defining the role of state government and the role of federal government. Whether it’s here in Missouri with health care or in Arizona with illegal immigration, the states are going to get together on this now.”

Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma have similar measures on the ballot this November. Here's more on this story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Beyond the nonsense in the Show-Me State, Missourians also went to polls to decide meaningful contests in the race to succeed the retiring Senator Kit Bond, a Republican. In the two primaries, two members of Missouri political dynasties prevailed. On the Democratic side, Robin Carnahan, the current Secretary of State in Missouri and the daughter of Mel Carnahan, a former governor won easily, while Republicans chose Representative Roy Blunt whose son Matt was also formerly governor. Rep. Blunt is the former Republican Whip, the number two leadership position, in the House. He represents the Missouri Seventh Congressional District in the southwestern part of the state that borders Oklahoma and Arkansas.

More on Missouri results from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star.

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