Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ed Martin's Communications Director Says He Was Egotistical, Shady, and Talked Out of Both Sides of His Mouth

Theresa Petry, the former communications director, had some choice words about Ed Martin while announcing that she'll never work in politics again:
Theresa Petry was, for many, the face of the Martin campaign. So it came as a surprise yesterday when she briefly posted the following on her Facebook wall: "ALL politicians are: egotistical, shady, and talk out of both sides of their mouth! Many are male chauvinists! Very disappointed to know I worked my butt off ... but it seems I won't get paid what was originally promised! Now I know why when I asked for a contract 4 different times ... I was ignored :( -- Lesson learned! Never work in politics."

Yes, Petry acknowledged today, the posting was a reference to Martin.

"He thinks that apparently I agreed to work February and March for free. That's not how I remember it," she added.
Petry apparently was considering another job offer in February, so Martin worked out a deal with her. But he didn't start paying her until April, and didn't tell her until November that he wouldn't pay her for February and March. Classy guy, that Ed Martin. Anyway, the whole post by Deb Petersen is very interesting. Check it out.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lee Enterprises Breaks Written Agreement, Screws Over Former Employees

I know people probably don't feel like reading about politics today, but this is an important story and I for one am thankful that I've been lucky enough to never have been in the unfortunate situation of my livelihood depending on the actions of unethical actors who care more about profit margins than the employees who spent their lives working their ass off for the company.

From the St. Louis Newspaper Guild:
Proving once more that the Post-Dispatch’s corporate owner has no heart – or holiday spirit – Lee Enterprises today notified that paper’s former employees who retired under the Guild contract in effect from June ‘04 to March ‘10 that their free medical coverage was being eliminated; those retirees would now have to pay 100% of the premium cost to keep their health care.

Such action flies in the face of contractual language in effect when those members retired and this office will soon file a grievance on their behalf. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Lee has launched an economic attack on former employees living on fixed incomes, so we have a pretty good idea of what their response will be and the likely course of action that will then ensue.

A few years ago Lee announced that they were doing the same thing to Guild members who left under a former (blue) contract that ran from 1994 to 2004. Initially it was for 30% of the cost but last year they raised that amount to 100%.

After that first assault, this office filed a grievance which was denied – based on the fact that retirees are no longer part of the bargaining unit and are no longer represented. Lee also maintained that expired contracts cannot be grieved (note that they waited to do this latest assault until after the yellow contract expired, as well). We countered, asserting that the right to medical care in retirement was a ‘vested’ right and that it vested the day the employee went out the door. All that other stuff about bargaining units and contract expiration – while nominally true – could not trump it.

They refused to participate in the grievance process, so we filed for arbitration. They refused to arbitrate, so we filed a federal lawsuit. They moved to dismiss and we cleared that hurdle. Along the way were other grievances, other filings and a bunch of other stuff (to read it all, check out the rest of our website) and we now find ourselves having won the initial lawsuit and preparing for appeal. After the judge’s decision in our case, I was hopeful that Lee would not attempt the same thing with our later retirees. But no. They did and here we go again.

However, while much of this looks and feels like deja vu, there are some notable differences. For openers, many of those who left during this last contract, left during one of two buyouts offered in 2005 and 2007. Many who took the buyout had not yet reached the age of 55; they were lured into retirement with enhanced credits for pension calculations and cash. And added to those lovely parting gifts was the written promise of free retiree medical. One has to wonder – it’s bad enough trying to circumvent our expired collective bargaining agreement – how do these scrooges plan to weasel out of such affirming letters on company masthead and upon which the ink is barely dry?

It’s terribly disturbing to realize that a lot of former coworkers will soon be without health care and are still more than ten years away from medicare eligibility. What does Lee Enterprises expect them to do? It would seem incredibly callous for corporate to take the position of, “Well, that’s their problem” when it was Lee who enticed them into retiring in the first place! This latest action by our corporate overlords goes beyond mere greed – it is a despicable act by an outfit that has apparently decided that employees who can remember JFK, Viet Nam and the Beatles are too expensive to keep around and are willing to lie to their faces in order to sever that relationship.

As before, the Guild will stand with its retired members and take all appropriate measures to hold Lee Enterprises accountable for this latest attack. Please know that the Guild office will be closed on Thanksgiving and the day after. We will file all necessary paperwork early next week and we will announce a meeting for our affected members sometime in mid-December. Until then, even though this action could be financially devastating, please try to not let this ruin your holidays – believe me, these people aren’t worth it. Growing up, my mother had a big sign in her kitchen. It read: Illegitimi non carborundum. Loosely translated, it means, ‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down.’ Please hang in there; your Guild has your back and we’re fighting for you. In the meantime, if you can’t afford to pay 100% of Lee’s stated premiums and you have to go out and buy cheaper insurance, please keep good records and all receipts.

We will keep you posted on events as they occur.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gina Loudon Changes Subject to Cover for Her Guest's Bigoted Remarks

I wrote previously about Gina Loudon's promotion of Angry White Dude, a blogger who says that white women should avoid black males and that black people hate white people. Loudon apparently got some complaints about this guy last week, so this week she tried to justify having him back by saying that she likes to promote discussion. And she suggested that the reason people were upset with the guy is because, get this, he has photos of women from Hooters on his website. Completely unmentioned by Loudon was the fact that he claims that black people hate white people, that white women should avoid black men, and that "hatred, violence, ignorance and laziness is the hallmark of the American black race in general." In other words, Loudon changed the subject and then defended him on tangential issues. My guess is that her P.R. firm is working on promoting his new book, so she's trying to come up with lame excuses to justify her profiting off of thinly disguised hate speech.

Relatedly, Angry White Dude stopped by my blog and left a whiny comment complaining about political correctness. Here's what he said:
Thanks for pushing maybe one or two new readers to my page (you have so few! Pity!). I fail to see the hatred you speak of. I don't hate black people and believe blacks can accomplish everything any other race can...by hard work, making quality life decisions and education. The same as it is with anyone else.

No, you don't like my words but it doesn't mean they aren't true. I refuse to allow myself to be chained to political correctness. In your pitiful world, ANY criticism of blacks is hate or racism. I don't live in your world...I live in the real world.
And my response:
Um, wow. Not very good at reading comprehension, are you? What I actually did was point out very specific examples of objectionable content from you. For example, you claim that "Black people hate white people." And what, exactly, did you use to back up this claim? You based it on anecdotal evidence from "two acquaintances." So, according to you, you spoke to two whole people and then used that conversation to make a generalization about everyone with dark skin. In other words, you're willing to judge people you haven't met because of their skin color. What exactly do you think bigotry is other than making sweeping, negative generalizations about entire groups of people based only on selective evidence?

And your crybaby complaints about political correctness don't make your claim any more plausible or any less obnoxious. Maybe you and Gina Loudon believe that you both are the most persecuted people in the world, but I don't, and not many other people do either.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ed Martin Would Have Already Solved Crime Problem By Now!

Apologies for stealing that headline before Jake Wagman could think of it, but I couldn't help but notice that Ed Martin seems to be very bitter about the election. So bitter, in fact, that he's taken to suggesting that crime in St. Louis is somehow Congressman Russ Carnahan's fault:

This makes total sense because, as everyone knows, U.S. Congressmen are the people most responsible for crime rates in nearby urban centers (as well the arbitrary method CQ uses to declare "the most dangerous city"). If only Carnahan had voted yes on the Let's Make Sure to Stop Crime in St. Louis Amendment!

Since Ed Martin was so shamelessly willing to use this unfortunate news to attack Carnahan, I decided to check out what old Ed's amazing crime fighting plan was. And lo and behold, I found out that Ed doesn't include crime at all on his issues page. In fact, if you search his website for "crime", you'll find that he doesn't mention it at all except while busy ranting about terrorists, illegal immigration, or Russ Carnahan. In other words, he says nothing at all about crime in St. Louis, yet is now using it to attack Carnahan.

Anyway, given tonight's weather, I thought I'd add my own contribution to Ed Martin's thoughtful discourse:

Update: Ed Martin gives a really lame explanation:

Eric Hoffpauir weighs in on Martin's claim:

Also worth noting, I searched Ed Martin's website for mentions of funding police in St. Louis and Jefferson County and found none. Again, it's silly for him to be making this an issue now when he didn't talk about it at all during the election.

Post-Dispatch Reporter Dismisses Substantive Criticism As "Sticks and Stones"

I've written a couple posts recently that were very critical of Post-Dispatch reporter Jake Wagman, and particularly his biased coverage of the Russ Carnahan/ Ed Martin race. I think I provided good evidence for my assertions, but as someone who tries to be open-minded, I realize that people might have reasons for disagreeing with me. However, in my posts, I did provide substantive criticisms, by which I mean specific claims that can be argued for or against. For example, I said that
  • Jake Wagman improperly left out crucial information in his latest article about the election in a way that fed into Ed Martin's insinuations that the election was somehow stolen or cheated.
  • Wagman trumped up stories about election problems in Ed Martin's 4,500 vote loss while completely ignoring well-documented voting problems in a race that Barbara Fraser lost by less than 180 votes. This suggests an inconsistent application of whatever criteria he uses to decide that a story is "newsworthy."
  • Wagman wrote a piece that was basically a press release for Ed Martin attacking Carnahan on the wind farm without getting a single quote from the Carnahan campaign or the Democratic Party.
  • In that same story, Wagman failed to do any research other than the press release, and so left out information that vindicated the Carnahans.

  • You can agree or disagree with these claims, but they are substantive claims. I provided evidence for those claims, and it should in principle be possible for people who disagree to provide evidence against these claims, such as saying, "the Post-Dispatch has a policy of always doing X, which is why Wagman did what he did," or "Wagman has X, Y, Z responsibilities that prevent him from getting quotes on every story." Those would be the types of reasons people could provide in a responsible, adult debate.

    However, I submit that for anyone interested in honest and open debate, it is not cool to respond to substantive criticisms with vague dismissals that don't even attempt to address the substance. If I had just called Wagman a name, then it would make sense to respond with a vague dismissal. But I backed up my claims, so any legitimate response would similarly at least attempt to also make substantive claims and to back them up with evidence. So, with that in mind, consider this tweet yesterday from St. Louis Post-Dispatch Reporter Jeremy Kohler:
    No substance. No supporting evidence. Nothing. Just a knee-jerk "circling the wagons" response that pretends that there was nothing worth responding to. So naturally, I invited him to expand on his critique:

    So far, Kohler has not responded, and has instead moved on to other conversations.

    Personally, I would like to think that a reporter at the Post-Dispatch who has time to make defensive remarks on Twitter would be interested in getting to the truth and as such seriously considering criticisms that relate to how journalism should be conducted. But we shall see.

    Exhibit B of Wagman's Biased and Lazy Reporting

    Yesterday, I wrote about the terrible reporting of Jake Wagman that fed into Ed Martin's ridiculous insinuations of "voter fraud" in Congressman Carnahan's decisive 4,500 vote win over Martin. Wagman left out important information, and, as a point of comparison, has been completely ignoring students who were apparently illegally purged from voter rolls and denied provisional ballots in an election that was decided by less than 180 votes. All of this was worse, I wrote, given the context of Wagman's other terrible reporting on the Russ Carnahan/Ed Martin race.

    Today, I present a further example of that context. As noted, the St. Louis Tea Party that idolizes Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe has had nothing but glowing praise for Wagman's reporting on the Carnahan/Martin race for the past two months. Check out this tweet from Dana Loesch in September:
    Yup, Dana Loesch said it was a "solid piece." That should be your first warning.

    If you read the story, you can see why Loesch was so excited about it. The post basically amounts to nothing more than an Ed Martin press release, suggesting that the "perception of coziness" from Tom Carnahan being awarded $107 million of federal funding would be an "unwelcome liability" for the Carnahans. Wagman quoted BFF Ed Martin in the story, along with Lloyd Smith, the executive director of the Missouri GOP. He did not quote any Democrats in his hit piece.

    And to further see just how absolutely terrible Wagman's reporting was, compare it to his colleague Bill Lambrecht, who actually took the time to figure out the details of the funding. Here's my previous summary of Lambrecht's article:
    In order for Ed Martin's claims to be true, Russ Carnahan would have had to have some influence over the process of awarding the funds. However, as is clearly reported in the article, neither Russ Carnahan nor Robin Carnahan had any roll in deciding how the funds were used:
    Russ Carnahan was among 244 House Democrats who voted for the legislation. But officials from the Energy and Treasury departments, who jointly administer the program, said that neither Russ nor Robin Carnahan played a role in the awards.
    But hold on because it actually gets better. Not only did Russ Carnahan not play a role in the awarding of the funds, he couldn't possibly have played a role, because the funding was awarded automatically to projects that met the basic criteria:
    The upfront payments to Lost Creek, a $300-million-plus project, and various other projects aren't awarded competitively but on the basis of meeting various criteria. For instance, companies were required to submit accredited designs and start building by the end of this year. Energy Department officials described the process as automatic; the Treasury Department is required to issue the payments to those who qualify within 60 days of application.

    "Treasury has no discretionary authority in this," said Treasury spokeswoman Sandra Salstrom.
    In other words, any projects that met certain criteria were funded, including another $85 million dollar project in Missouri last year and a $170 million dollar project in Illinois.

    So not only was there no influence from Russ or Robin, there was no possible role influence could play! Martin's claims of "funneling" were completely fabricated. Tom Carnahan says as much in the article:
    In an interview, Carnahan, 41, the youngest son of former Gov. Mel Carnahan and former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan, said he is untroubled by criticism of the payment. He said that neither his family's political clout nor any lobbying could have played a role in the process.

    "Not only was there not any contact or anything like that, it was not necessary," he said, referring to the eligibility requirements.
    Tom Carnahan also said that his company has invested a lot of money in rural Missouri:
    Carnahan asserted that his 5-year-old company has been responsible for $600 million investments in Missouri "that have made gigantic contributions to the economy in rural Missouri. I'm very proud of that. We need to be doing more to support renewable energy, not less."
    And lest you think that this tax credit was the result of some sneaky language put in by Russ to help out his brother, the article reports that the payments were actually composed of two tax credits: one that has been around since the 70s and one that was first approved in 1992. Prior to the stimulus, the credits were reauthorized in 2008, and even Roy Blunt voted for them:
    In fact, Robin Carnahan's opponent in the Senate race, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, was a key backer of the financial bailout bill in 2008, one of several measures that reauthorized the tax credit.
    Finally, Martin and tea partiers have been complaining that the award was in the form of cash rather than tax credits, and this was also explained in the article:
    Critics of the Lost Creek funding have seized on the design of the payment. Rather than giving the credits after companies file tax returns, the stimulus legislation provides for upfront payments equivalent to 30 percent of the cost of the project. It was done that way, the Treasury Department has said, so "the near term goal of creating and retaining jobs is achieved, as well as the long-term benefit of expanding the use of clean and renewable energy."
    So given that Ed Martin has been repeatedly making accusations about undue influence in a process that Carnahan could not possibly have influenced, what exactly is Martin's explanation for his repeated acusations of corruption?
    "I'm not saying there's anything illegal; it may not be corruption with a capital 'C' with people taking bribes. But it doesn't smell right," said Martin, who raised the issue while debating Russ Carnahan over the weekend.
    It doesn't smell right. That's Ed Martin's pathetic explanation for months of smears about a process that Carnahan couldn't influence.
    Now, I suppose you could try to defend Wagman by pointing out that he got quotes from the Carnahans the following day, but that largely misses the point. If you put out misleading information one day, then put out true information the following day, there's going to be a percentage of people who only saw the first information. So putting out one-sided smear pieces is damaging to the journalistic ideal of an informed public. Furthermore, when you see what a great job Lambrecht did actually getting the details of the case, it makes you wonder why they hell Wagman just prints smears from a press release without doing any investigation whatsoever. Really, it's just not responsible journalism, however you spin it. Which is exactly why Dana Loesch loved it.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    St. Louis Activist Events for Nov. 22-28

    Jake Wagman Fails As a Reporter

    During the elections, I was mildly critical of Jake Wagman's puppy love of Ed Martin and unprofessional vendetta against Congressman Russ Carnahan. But after seeing his pattern of lazily reprinting Ed Martin press releases continue even after the election, it's now obvious that Wagman can no longer be considered a trustworthy source of information. Wagman's bias combined with the fact that he really just does not work very hard at his job creates a putrid mix: people who rely on him for news will for all practical purposes be less informed than those who ignore the Post-Dispatch entirely, because they'll be getting their information through a filter that's too blinded to get both sides and too lazy to check facts. I saw Wagman on election night and he told me that he doesn't take any criticism personally because it's just part of the business. He's right. It's not personal. He's just a bad reporter.

    The latest example of Wagman's desperate plea for approval from "cool kid" Ed Martin is his "report" (read: paraphrasing what Ed Martin told him on the phone) about the security firm hired by the St. Louis City Board of Elections. The story is that a security firm hired by the Democratic chairman of the board was not voted on by the rest of the board, and that other members had complained about the decision. Now, this certainly seems like a reasonable news story and there's nothing wrong with passing this info on to the public (although it's an interesting choice considering just how much important information floats by Wagman as he's "busy" tweeting about the Cardinals and writing his 1 or 2 blog posts a day). But what's particularly defective about the story is the information that Wagman leaves out, which naturally plays into Ed Martin's story of a "cheated election." Wagman starts off his article with a false dichotomy:
    When Republican congressional hopeful Ed Martin complained that the St. Louis Board of Elections hired a security firm that had worked for his opponent, it was easy to dismiss his concern as sour grapes by a candidate who lost a close election.

    But e-mails obtained by the Post-Dispatch show that the chairman of the Election Board, a Democrat, hired the firm despite the objections of other board members, including a warning about the perception of a conflict of interest.
    Actually, Ed Martin knew on Wednesday, November 3rd, that there were not enough disputed votes to change the election results, but he nevertheless refused to concede until the following Monday. So whether or not there was a dispute about hiring someone at the Election Board, it clearly was "sour grapes" for Ed Martin to wait a full week to concede, while sending out his tea party followers to scream "Voter Fraud!" and "Stolen election!" and generally to try to create the impression that something was untoward about the election (BTW, Wagman was also too lazy to note that the exact same people screaming outside of the Board of Elections were the Ed Martin supporters at his press conference). But more importantly, the fact is that two people in plain clothes "hanging out in the lobby" (which is all that's alleged) obviously had nothing to do with the outcome of an election that Carnahan won by 4,500 votes. Yet nowhere in Jake Wagman's article does he mention that this had no bearing on the election results, which is what Ed Martin was implying from the beginning.

    Furthermore, compare Wagman's breathless "reporting" on Ed Martin's pet story with an election where one might actually have reason to question the results. Democratic State Senate candidate Barbara Fraser lost by less than 180 votes, while Washington University students in that district were apparently illegally purged from voter rolls and denied provisional ballots. The St. Louis Beacon reported on this. The local public radio reported on this. But Jake Wagman was too busy tweeting about the Cardinals. Or maybe Barbara Fraser just didn't seem "cool" enough for him. Either way, the fact remains that while Wagman pushed Ed Martin's bogus "voter fraud" story in an election that was decided by 4,500 votes, he completely ignored an election decided by 180 votes with numerous reports of disenfranchised voters.

    Now, I suspect Wagman is the type of reporter who'd rather repeat the beltway tripe that "if you're getting criticism from both sides you must be doing a good job" than actually honestly consider any criticism. In fact, he'd probably use my criticism to try to pretend how objective he is. But if he does subscribe to that view, then what does it say about him that the St. Louis Tea Party (which says that the NAACP is "racist," that NPR needs to be defunded, that Fox News, Andrew Breitbart, and James O'Keefe are "objective journalists," etc.) has had nothing but glowing praise for Wagman for the past two months of election coverage? Consider:

    Honestly, if you go two months of election coverage getting nonstop praise from a tea party that bases its whole philosophy on the Andrew Breitbart/ James O'Keefe model, you might want to reconsider your standing as a journalist. And there are so many other examples of Wagman's bias in this past election. He refused to ask Ed Martin certain questions, even when Charlie Brennan noted that Martin was being evasive. He didn't get quotes from the Carnahan campaign and from Democratic officials on many occasions. He would refuse contact from Democratic officials on multiple occasions. He wouldn't bother to get quotes from relevant parties during smear pieces on Carnahan. He refused to ask how the tea party was funded. He refused to ask what role St. Louisan John Burns played in James O'Keefe's plan to sexually humiliate a CNN reporter. He was too lazy to point out the St. Louis Tea Party's support of Roy Blunt, reported by his own colleague Tony Messenger, or to point out that their "criticism" of Blunt lasted approximately 2 days, exactly as much time as it took to get written up in the Post-Dispatch. And on...and on....and on.

    Now, just to be clear, it's not quite as simple as saying that Wagman has a "Right-wing bias." In fact, Wagman has Democratic politicians he sucks up to just as much as Martin. His main criteria seems to be trying to impress the members of the good old boys club. But this sucking up to power comes at the expense of good journalism, and prevents him from doing the kind of honest reporting that is needed for a well-functioning democracy.

    I realize that it's not a great idea to be so critical of a reporter at the only major daily newspaper in town. However, sometimes it's better to get things out in the open that many people are willing to say only in private. The reality is that Jake Wagman does not do a adequate job covering politics. St. Louis deserves better.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Missouri Republicans Vote To Block Unemployment Extensions

    As reported by FiredUp, Missouri Republican Congressmen Blunt, Akin, Emerson, Graves, and Luetkemeyer all voted against extending unemployment benefits at a time when unemployment is near 10%. So did John Shimkus in Illinois.

    Charles Jaco of KTVI had a nice report showing one of the 40,000+ Missourians affected by this absurd and heartless political posturing:

    Note to people who want to post angry comments without bothering to know what they're talking about: this is a vote that required a 2/3rds majority. So yes, Republicans blocked it. Try reading next time.

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Tea Party Tells Blunt "We Will Not Back Down"...Then Backs Down

    From two days ago:
    But since Roy Blunt publicly defended his stance on earmarks yesterday morning, there has basically been complete silence from the St. Louis Tea Party on the issue. In fact, since yesterday, the tea party has attacked Claire McCaskill, who supports earmark reform, multiple times and not said anything critical of Blunt. Ennenbach hasn't said anything critical of Blunt. Hennessy hasn't said anything critical of Blunt. So basically, they completely backed down.

    But the real question is, will they be held responsible? The media gave them coverage for their so-called "pressure" on Blunt (BTW, while national groups encouraged people to call Blunt about earmarks, the St. Louis tea party did not). So shouldn't they also cover it if the tea party completely backs away from their threats?

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Roy Blunt Brushes Aside Tea Party Nonsense

    As was pointed out both here and at FiredUp Missouri, the St. Louis tea party's claim that they were somehow surprised by Roy Blunt's support of earmarks was nothing short of laughable. Blunt had always supported earmarks, and did nothing to suggest otherwise during the campaign. However, the tea partiers tried to pretend that Roy Blunt signing the "tea party treaty," which said nothing whatsoever about earmarks, was somehow an agreement by Blunt to no longer be the Washington D.C. wheeler-dealer that he's always been.

    Well, Roy Blunt put that nonsense to rest today. During an interview with KZRG, Blunt points out (what was obvious to all) that he's never made any secret about his views:

    So will the tea party continue to pretend that they didn't know who Blunt was before the election despite his long history in Congress? Or will they finally admit that their decision to not support Chuck Purgason put someone in office who stands for absolutely none of their stated principles.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Activist Hub Radio 11/14/10

    This week Adam and I continued our discussion of the fallout from the Republican takeover of the House. We featured Jon Stewart's interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, and the false equivalences between liberal opposition to Bush, and the Tea Party's opposition to the government. We also talked about the deficit commission and attempts to pass the Bush Tax cuts during the lame duck session.

    Washington Post Oped calling for President Barack Obama not to serve a second term

    Digby's post

    Maddow/Stewart Interview

    Hate Speech On Christian Radio: Gina Loudon Hosts Guest Who Says White Women Should Avoid Black Males

    Gina Loudon hosted a blogger named Angry White Dude on her radio show yesterday:
    And yes, he is as obnoxious as his name suggests. I don't have the interview from the show, but from his blog you can see that this is the kind of crap Loudon's guest says on a regular basis:
    While it will chill the blood of liberals, AWD will break it down for you: Black people hate white people. Certainly, there are some who have broken the hate for whites that nearly every black person learns from an early age. But nearly every black person in America has an ingrained hatred for white people. Black people can be civil towards whites in work and at play but never let yourself believe your black acquaintances don’t really hate your white guts deep down.
    He later said:
    Hatred, violence, ignorance and laziness is the hallmark of the American black race in general.
    In previous posts, he also called Kanye West, "stupidious negroidus rapperious," and said the following:
    I don’t think it’s racism if white women avoid black males. I’d say it’s pretty damn good sense…according to crime data.
    This type of hateful rhetoric is nothing new for Loudon, who in the past has claimed that she had reason to believe a reporter was gay because, according to her, he had "the psychological profile of person who attacks children" and compared gay marriage to marrying animals. On yesterday's show, she asked Pamela Geller how her children should interact with Muslim children "to assess their level of radicalism."

    It is pretty sad, however, that a "Christian" radio station provides a platform for this kind of hate speech.

    A Very Brief History of the Courageous St. Louis Tea Party

    October 2009: Dana Loesch and Bill Hennesssy tell Roy Blunt that if he doesn't endorse Doug Hoffman over Dede Scozzafava, they will vote him out. Dana says:
    We will vote you out! We will come at you with so much heat, you won't even know how to handle it!
    Roy Blunt ignores them. They cry themselves to sleep, but nevertheless "quietly support" Roy Blunt in the Republican primary against Chuck Purgason, who did endorse Hoffman.

    Present: Tea Party claims they have evidence of Roy Blunt pinky-swearing that he hates earmarks, and they demand that he vote for an earmarks ban. Dana says:
    I can't say what the heat is going to be like if @royblunt refuses to stand against earmarks.
    Roy Blunt ignores them. They cry themselves to sleep, and decide to attack...Claire McCaskill?

    In fact, tea party "media liaison" Jen Ennenbach claims that McCaskill's support of an earmarks ban was a "desperate repositioning strategy" by McCaskill.

    Actually, McCaskill has been fighting earmarks since she was elected in 2006, but let's not have pesky facts or coherency get in our way. The tea party is courageously standing up to the people with a D next to their name who are actually reforming congress, because putting real pressure on a Republican would be way too scary.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Another Innocent Victim of An O'Keefe/Breitbart/Loesch Smear Campaign

    As I've said repeatedly, the reason I criticize the leadership of St. Louis Tea Party so much is not because I think the core tenets are offensively wrong (though I do disagree with them). Rather, I criticize the St. Louis Tea Party because of their repeated use of blatantly unethical, dishonest techniques that will destroy innocent people's lives merely for the sake of cheap political points and/or self-promotion. A new story today reveals another innocent victim of a smear campaign by Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe, with aid of course from our own Dana Loesch.

    O'Keefe, on probation for breaking the law in New Orleans and discredited after trying to sexually humiliate a CNN reporter (potentially with help from the St. Louis tea party's John Burns), presented a secret video claiming that a teacher called students the "N-word" while she was talking about how hard it is to fire teachers with tenure. Here's how Dana Loesch described it:
    O’Keefe’s latest video shows teachers’ union leaders discussing how they helped rig elections and call black students the N word.
    The teacher attacked by the O'Keefe video, Alissa Ploshnick, was suspended from her job after the video came out. And, as was reported yesterday, it turns out that Ploschnick was a hero who had previously thrown herself in front of a van to save her students:
    Alissa Ploshnick risked her life to save the lives of a dozen Passaic schoolchildren. She threw herself in front of a careening van to protect her students and landed in the hospital with broken ribs, a fractured wrist, a badly bruised pelvis and glass cuts in her eyes. She could have died.

    The president of the United States, Bill Clinton then, sent her a letter. It read:

    "I recently heard about your act of heroism and wanted to commend you for your selflessness. True heroes are rare in today’s world. And, all too often, those who are really making a difference in our communities go unnoticed and unrewarded. I am delighted to be able to give you the recognition you deserve. You are an example for all of us, and I applaud you for your sense of duty.’’
    For those not familiar with the video, it's worth noting that Ploshnick didn't call any student the n-word. Rather, she described another teacher doing it to illustrate how hard it is for a teacher to be fired. There's also nothing in the video to suggest that she was endorsing the use of the term: she seemed to just be making a point about their tenure system. Ploshnick had been taken advantage of by an unethical employee of James O'Keefe:
    "I felt like I was raped,’’ says Ploshnick referring to the moment she learned that what she thought was a private, even flirtatious, talk with a "nice" young man who bought her drinks was really part of a political scam to discredit her union in an web videotape called "Teachers Gone Wild.’’

    "Give me a smile and say hello and I’ll do anything for you,’’ says Ploshnick. "I’ve always done it. It’s hard to reteach your heart and your brain.’’
    Says the blog nj.com:
    O’Keefe made Ploshnick, a teacher who saved the lives of children, an unwitting star in a web-based movie, a phony exposé of nothing but the cynicism of ideologically driven pseudo-journalists. All O’Keefe managed to do was ruin the reputation of a woman who should be honored as a hero — and was, not only by Clinton but also by Montel Williams and Oprah Winfrey, a fan of Gov. Chris Christie’s...

    And let’s face it: Alissa Ploshnick wasn’t punished, her reputation wasn’t destroyed, her professionalism and heroism disregarded, because she repeated a word someone else said.

    She was sacrificed to a political cause.
    And Dana Loesch was right there sacrificing her along with O'Keefe. The site Big Journalism, with Dana Loesch as the Editor, promoted this story in multiple articles. She hosted O'Keefe on her radio show on October 26. Loesch herself attacked a journalist for analyzing O'Keefe's history of dishonesty. Loesch, of course, was previously silent when O'Keefe was busted trying to sexually humiliate a CNN reporter by isolating her on a boat full of sex toys while secretly videotaping her. Its not entirely clear how she squares her blind support of O'Keefe's misogynistic tactics with her self-proclaimed "conservative feminism."

    And, in fact, this isn't the first time Loesch has participated in trying to destroy an innocent schoolteacher. Loesch previously claimed that a beloved St. Charles teacher was "indoctrinating students" by forcing them to watch Michael Moore's movie Sicko as part of a "Great Literature" course and had called a student a "teabagger." In fact, the movie was shown specifically for the purpose of asking students to evaluate how Moore used rhetoric to try to make his point (so it was educating students to think critically about rhetoric, the exact opposite of "indoctrination"), and the other students from the classroom all testified that the teacher did not call the student a "teabagger." And after trying to destroy a teacher's credibility without even bothering to get the full story, Loesch never offered any context or issued any corrections.

    But of course, the mainstream media will continue to offer up false equivalencies between the Left and the Right (pretending that these Breitbartian strategies are the moral equivalent of Keith Olbermann being too enthusiastic about name-calling), and will continue to treat any criticism of these dishonest and evil tactics as disagreements about political positions. It's truly sad that our standards have fallen so far that the media, for the most part, no longer pushes back against dishonest smear campaigns and attacks on the innocent.

    Will Blunt Join McCaskill and Obama in Fight Against Earmarks?

    The St. Louis Tea Party has been engaging in some political theater lately, pretending to be surprised that Roy Blunt still thinks of earmarks the same way he's always thought of earmarks. But it's worth noting that both President Obama and Senator Claire McCaskill have come out against earmarks. President Obama made them a focus of his weekly address:

    And here's what Senator McCaskill had to say:
    WASHINGTON, D.C. - As one of Congress's leading proponents of earmark reform, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill made the following statement following President Barack Obama's weekly address in which he called on all members of Congress to help reform the earmark process.

    "Earmark reform has been a lonely fight for a long time, so it's encouraging to have others taking this issue seriously, especially among Democrats since I will be the only senator from my party opposing earmarks after the new year," McCaskill said. "The bottom line is that tax dollars shouldn't be doled out based on politics or secret deals, and it's time both Democrats and Republicans join together to stop them."

    McCaskill has been leading the battle against earmarks since she was elected in 2006. In addition to never requesting any earmarks, she has introduced legislation to ban the practice. She views earmark reform as one way to help return fiscal responsibility to Washington. Her other efforts to curb government spending include a proposed cap on discretionary spending, pay-as-you-go legislation, and cracking down on federal contracting waste and fraud.
    What a great opportunity for Roy Blunt to cooperate with Democrats on meaningful reform!

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    St. Louis Activist Events for Nov. 15-22

    Tea Party Claims They Were Funded By "A Contribution Box in the Office"

    The St. Louis tea party spent a fair amount of money working on the last election. A few examples:
  • They paid rent and utilities for an office for at least three months for an office.
  • They paid for a billboard in the southern part of Missouri's 3rd congressional district.
  • They ran extensive facebook advertisements.
  • They ran google advertisements and other ads that linked to endorsements of Ed Martin.
  • They appeared to have several paid employees managing the office and get out the vote efforts.
  • They produced a lot of political schwag, such as the stickers they placed on Taxpayers for Ed Martin yard signs.
  • All of these combined, of course, cost a fair amount of money. And given that in previous campaigns they were not even able to raise $1,000 from their membership, despite repeated requests from Hennessy, Durbin, and Hoft, I was left wondering just where they got their income for these elections. In a recent St. Louis Beacon article, Jo Mannies apparently asked that question, and here's what she got in response:
    Ennenbach said the St. Louis Tea Party's operations this fall, such as rent, were funded by contributions. "We have a contribution box in the office," she said.
    Hmmm, really? A "contribution box" is supposed to explain their donations? I for one find it extremely implausible that they were previously terrible at raising money for campaigns but then magically raised multiple thousands of dollars from people dropping cash in a box in their office. Given their apparent violations of their 501(c)4 status, and their longstanding support of GOP insiders like Roy Blunt and Ed Martin, I hope someone can get to the bottom of just where these donations were coming from.

    Roy Being Roy

    Bill Hennessy, co-founder of the St. Louis Tea Party, was shocked, shocked he tells you, to find out that Roy Blunt supports earmarks:
    When you vote for a candidate for high office, sometimes you do so with fingers crossed. You just don’t know how they’ll handle the new responsibilities. Will they succumb to pressure and influence? Or will they remain true?
    It's hard to even keep track of how many things are wrong with Hennessy's opening paragraph.

    You have to cross your fingers? You just don't know how "they'll" handle new responsibilities? Actually, Roy Blunt has been in Congress since 1997 and was a member of the House leadership, so it was quite easy to know how he views earmarks. He views earmarks the same way he always has, and nothing about the campaign suggested otherwise.

    "Will they succumb to pressure and influence?" Technically, it's impossible for Roy Blunt to succumb to pressure and influence, considering that he's been doing the bidding of the powerful and influential throughout his career. That's who he is: there's nothing to succumb to.

    Will they remain true? Of course. He remains true to who he always was. Again, there was never any reason to suspect otherwise.

    It's truly remarkable to see Hennessy write about Blunt as if he is some unknown entity just entering the national stage. However, I suppose that's the only position the St. Louis tea party can take to try to salvage their dignity after the elections. The reality is that they lost to Russ Carnahan, lost the Charlie Dooley, and lost in their opposition to Prop B. The only tangible effect they had on the election was the fact that they prevented Chuck Purgason, someone who actually exemplifies tea party values, from winning the Republican primary against Roy Blunt, a classic Republican insider. So, in order to simultanously claim that they are both (1) influential and (2) something other than an astroturf group that supports the same old establishment Republican Party, they have to thread the needle by pretending that they had reason to believe that Roy Blunt the Senator who somehow legislate fundamentally differently than the way Roy Blunt has always legislated. It, of course, defies credulity, but that's hardly anything new for the St. Louis tea party.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    Confirmed! John and Gina Loudon Were Kicked Out of the St. Louis Tea Party

    In the past, I've written several times that there appeared to be serious rifts between Gina Loudon and the rest of the St. Louis Tea Party. First, someone left an anonymous comment on my blog suggesting that there were tensions between Dana Loesch and Gina Loudon, and right around that time Bill Hennessy said that a tea party member needed to be (metaphorically) "beheaded." Later, I noted that Loesch had bitterly suggested on Twitter that Gina Loudon wasn't an "actual St. Louis Tea Party organizer."

    Today we have confirmation of the rift, and of the fact that Gina Loudon and her husband John Loudon were kicked out of the St. Louis Tea Party. On a discussion on Vanessa Roman's facebook wall, Ed Reggi made the following comment (I'll post the full quote + screenshot below):
    For the record, Dana (who I sort of knew prior to her going Tea Party global) has NEVER said one homophobic thing. If anything she has always come across (to me) as very non-judgmental ...in the area of LGBT. However, I will suggest Chris plenty of other "Tea Party" folks, like Dr. Gina Loudon and her husband, do come across very much anti-gay and homophobic. Dr. Gina Loudon and her husband, former Sen. John Loudon both supported the recent National Organization for Marriage rally held in Clayton. NOM (as it is known) is a political organizational front for mostly fundamental christian members to send their tax-free donations out-of-state to help create anti-LGBT legislation under the guise of democracy and patriotism. Their recent $1 million effort helped oust three Iowa Supreme court justices all because they did their jobs granting same-sex couples the freedoms of marriage supported by the Iowa Constitution. Not only did these three Judges do their job by protecting a minority from the tyranny of the majority, it was an unanimous ruling was made by a 7 justice panel appointed mostly by previous Republican Governors -- ironic no?
    In response to this, Chris Loesch, Dana's husband (who also is a central member of the St. Louis Tea Party), replied:

    You can see a full shot of that conversation and it's context here:

    The tea party did a good job covering up the rift, but now there's no doubt that it's real. Of course, that doesn't stop "Dr. Gina" from advertising herself as a St. Louis tea party member:

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Will St. Louis Tea Party Challenge Senator Earmark? Doubtful.

    (Bill Hennessy wearing a Roy Blunt sticker at the primary celebration)

    I noted a while ago how the St. Louis Tea Party, unlike other tea party groups around Missouri, was completely unwilling to support conservative primary challengers to Washington insider and Big Spender Roy Blunt. In fact, many of them admitted they supported Blunt in the primary. The St. Louis tea party tried to justify this by claiming that Blunt was a new man and "had gotten the message" from them. However, when Blunt was recently asked by the Wall Street Journal if he had changed at all over the past five years, he basically said no:
    He waves the query away with, "Hey, well, I've been a pretty conservative member of congress," and then he changes the subject.
    In other words, their claims that Blunt was somehow a new man were ridiculous, as anyone could have predicted.

    And given that Blunt beat Carnahan by a whopping 13 percentage points in a year where basically any Republican would beat a Democrat in a statewide race, it's pretty safe to say that, ironically, the St. Louis Tea Party actually prevented a tea party candidate (Chuck Purgason) from being elected to the Senate.

    What remains to be seen, however is whether they will attempt to exert any pressure whatsoever on Blunt. The tea party has expressed strong support for an earmark ban. Cofounder Dana Loesch, for example, has criticized both Senators McConnell and Inhofe on their support of earmarks:

    As far as I know, however, she hasn't said anything about Roy Blunt. Jen Ennenbach, described as the "spokesperson" for the St. Louis tea party, has said she "hopes" Roy Blunt will support the ban:

    However, their suggestions, or rather "hopes," are unlikely to be taken very seriously. Roy Blunt has been dubbed "Mr. Earmark" and, more recently, "Senator Earmark." It seems unlikely he will even address the "hopes" unless the tea party makes a lot of noise.

    And, for a couple of reasons, it doesn't seem like a good idea for them to press the issue. First of all, doing so would likely remind people of just what an un-teaparty like candidate they supported in Missouri, when genuine alternatives were available. And second, their pushing the issue of earmarks would likely reveal just how truly weak they are, as Blunt would almost surely ignore them.

    Either way, it should be an interesting six years.

    Daily Show Takes On Puppy Mill Supporters

    It was amazing to see the crazy statements that the spokesperson for the so-called Alliance for Truth, the group formed to defend puppy mills, was willing to make to a national TV show. She said Prop B was "like ObamaCare" and would make the country more "communist." She argued that we should be allowed to stack dogs in cages where they can defecate and urinate on each other because "we stack humans" (as in, humans live in apartment buildings). She even criticized organizations that rescue dogs and give them away!

    This is the kind of reasoning that was behind the primary organization pushing against Prop B. Their entire campaign was based on conspiracy theories and absolute gibberish. Yet they were almost able to block Prop B in Missouri. I think that says something about the pernicious influence of bad information in our society. We really need to figure out a way to fight back against the absurd misinformation that dominates Missouri politics.

    Anyhow, with that depressing introduction, here's the Daily Show clip:

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Advancement Project Files Complaint Over Students Purged From Voter Rolls - UPDATED With Full Complaint

    Just got some breaking news from Denise Lieberman, the Senior Attorney for a nonpartisan group of election protection advocates that was monitoring the elections. See my previous reporting on this issue here and here.

    The press release:
    (ST. LOUIS -- Nov. 11, 2010) – With a razor-thin margin of 176 votes separating the candidates in State Senate District 24, 198 provisional ballots remain to be counted and Advancement Project has discovered that many students may have been wrongfully turned away without being provided provisional ballots. If these allegations are substantiated and reveal an illegal purge that could affect the outcome of the election, voters or candidates could seek legal remedies including setting aside the election.

    As election officials move to certify final election results next week, Advancement Project, a leading nonpartisan voter protection organization, is investigating apparent wrongful purges of student voters at Washington University’s campus, many of whom were inexplicably missing from the voter rolls on Election Day and were turned away without being offered a provisional ballot.

    “We received reports that students who were duly registered and voted at the polling site on Washington University’s campus as recently as two years ago could not be found on the voter rolls at all, were turned away without being directed to their correct polling location and were expressly refused provisional ballots,” said Denise Lieberman, a senior attorney with Advancement Project who headed non-partisan Election Protection efforts in Missouri.

    “Under the law, voters cannot be purged from the rolls unless they’ve died, been convicted of a crime, been adjudged incapacitated, notified the election board that they have moved outside the county, have asked to have their name removed from the voter registration roll, OR have not voted in two federal elections and have had mailing notices returned as undeliverable,” Lieberman said. “No student who registered and voted on campus in 2008 could be legally purged from the rolls unless they had affirmatively changed their registrations to a new jurisdiction or fell into one of the other categories.”

    Under the law, voters who move within St. Louis County remain registered voters in the county. While they may be placed on the inactive list if mailings to an old address were returned, this does not prevent them from voting. Rather, the poll worker must direct them to the polling place serving their new address, where they should be allowed to cast a regular ballot upon completing a change of address form.

    While some Washington University students who registered on campus in 2008 have moved since then, most have moved within St. Louis County, typically to Clayton or University City, and thus, should have been allowed to vote.

    “These students should not have been dropped from the voter rolls,” Lieberman said. “At the least, if there were problems verifying their eligibility, they should have been given a provisional ballot. That way their votes could have been counted later when their eligibility was established.” But a poll supervisor for the campus polling site reports being told by election officials not to give students provisional ballots.

    Moreover, where provisional ballots were used, too often, voters who moved were not directed to their new polling place and instead made to cast provisional ballots in the wrong location, which may not be counted because they were cast at the wrong polling place. Advancement Project accordingly has urged officials to count such ballots unless it was clear that the poll worker directed the voter to her correct location but the voter refused to go.
    >Full complaint here:

    St. Louis County Voter Purge Complaint -

    Veterans Day

    Two of my favorite people in the world, my grandfathers, served in World War II. My cousin is (thankfully) on leave after serving in Iraq for a couple years. I greatly admire the courage and honor of good soldiers, and appreciate the incredible difference they make in the world through their engagement of some of the most difficult situations imaginable.

    Here's hoping that we continue to have amazing soldiers, but without the need for so many wars.

    Loesch's Blind Love for George Bush

    Dana Loesch tweeted this the other day:

    When someone on Twitter questioned that claim, she suggested that he must have been "living under a rock:"

    Hilariously, Loesch made the comments a day after, in the words of John Amato "swooning" over George Bush in a post on Big Journalism. Here's what Loesch had to say:
    I love how his face seemingly peeks out from the black-and-white news columns of the day to defiantly whisper: “PSSST. HEY. Still heeeeere.” His existence may have been obscured by the hubris surrounding the current administration, an increase in terrorist attacks, a movement born partly because of several Bush policies, and an election; the sudden appearance of Bush across all the networks and on the front and cover pages reminds us that even though he isn’t the sort of GOPer grassroots adore, he was infinitely better than the man currently in the White House, a man who bows to anything with a pulse.

    The excerpts from his book give insight into the process leading up to the decisions what the rest of the world would see and whether you agreed with him or not (I’ve long been on record abhorring NCLB; also the prescription drug act was neither “compassionate” or “conservative,” and neither was TARP) the man would make a decision and stick with it. Mainly though, I love how fist-in-the-air defiant he is in the book.
    Defiance on steroids. Balls!
    Loesch was widely mocked for her gushing love-letter to Bush. John Amato:
    Have you noticed all these conservatives who now say that Bush wasn't a beloved figure? Where were they when Bush was attacking countries that didn't attack us, and torturing terrorism suspects, for starters? Of course, he increased the debt as much as he could while giving all our surpluses to the richest of the rich. Now that he's back and trying to spin his way out of being the worst President in the history of America, the wingnuts are making it up as they go along.
    What this illustrates is the fact that these so-called Tea Partiers are just typical bloodthirsty wingnuts. When Bush passed NCLB, there was no grassroots outcry. When he passed the prescription drug benefit, there was no grassroots outcry. TARP produced some push back, but remember that by that time Bush was a popular as e coli and it was hardly fashionable to be one of his slavering fangirls.


    They do love a codpiece, don't they?

    I can't prove it, but I would bet money that the very people who now decry deficits and spending and say they were horrified by Bush's domestic policies are the same 30% who stuck with him to the end. What they loved about him was his crudeness and cruelty and --- more than anything --- that he inspired such loathing from liberals. It's the in-your-face defiance that they admire, the eagerness to be politically incorrect, the exclusion from the process of those whom they see as not fully "American." It's a defining characteristic of the right. Domination, exclusion, and eliminationism are what animates their thinking, not deficits, taxes or the constitution.
    In fact, Digby's last quote is provable, and absolutely correct. Despite Loesch's repeated claims over the past year that she was "incredibly critical of Bush," in fact she she spent all of 2008 defending Bush from criticism, specifically about government spending. In fact, she even defended Bush on the bank bailouts known as TARP. A reminder of a couple of her quotes:
    Here's Dana Loesch defending George Bush's spending in a post titled "Bush sacrificed conservatism to keep us safe:"
    The media finally won.

    People believe every bad thing written and said about the man.

    “Spending! We’re concerned about spending! This administration spent!”
    Well yeah. Maybe because WE’RE IN A WAR.
    You tend to SPEND in WARTIME.
    Unless you want your ass kicked.
    And in a later post:

    We’re spending more because WE’RE IN A WAR. DURR. Our spending during this wartime is still LESS than that of Vietnam and WWII.
    And the real kicker, where Dana Loesch, Queen of the Tea Party, defended the bank bailouts:
    He apologized, even though the blame is not his if you know economics, for all of us being in this mess and how he was going to do his best to make it easier. He wasn't flashy but he was frustrated, frustrated at the mess and over how many were ignoring the very thing that caused it.
    So yeah, that was Dana Loesch "being critical of Bush." And that's what she uses to claim that the Left isn't critical enough.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Penn Slammed Loesch on Her Defense of Sherrod Smear

    This is a little old, but pretty funny. Libertarian Penn Jillette really wants to like Dana Loesch, but he just can't believe that she would stoop to the depths of defending Andrew Breitbart's smear campaign against Shirley Sherrod based on misleading editing. Says Jillette:
    Dana, don't defend bad edits, OK? Please, don't be a nut. I like the tea party. Please, give me a reason to stand behind you. C'mon Dana. Don't be f**king wacky!

    Democrats Have a Strong Bargaining Position

    Democrats have power over something Republicans want. Republicans want the Bush tax breaks for billionaires to be renewed. That is who butters their bread. Republicans want the tax cuts for billionaires restored permanently. Democrats have said they might be open to do it temporarily. I'd say it shouldn't be done at all, at least for the wealthiest 2%. However, if Democrats wanted to compromise, they sure as hell should not do it before passing a budget that makes sure that necessities of government are taken care.

    We need to make sure that Republicans work with Democrats to keep government functioning, then we can talk about their precious tax cuts.

    Bush's Criteria

    In his new book, George Bush describes thinking about selecting Jack Danforth as his running mate. Bush said Danforth was honest, ethical, forthright, and principled, but Cheney had more experience. So....Cheney:
    "I was intrigued by Jack Danforth. An ordained minister, Jack was honest, ethical, and forthright. His voting record over three terms in the Senate was solid. He had earned my respect with his defense of Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 1991. He was a principled conservative who could also appeal across party lines. As a dividend, he might help carry Missouri, which would be a key battleground state.

    "I thought seriously about offering the job to Danforth, but I found myself returning again and again to Dick Cheney. Dick's experience was more extensive and diverse than that of anyone else on my list."
    It's hard to even imagine what those eight years would have been like if we had had an honest, ethical, forthright, and principled Vice President.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Did Kinder Have to Put Ed Martin In His Place?

    Several media outlets reported that State Republicans were not enthusiastic about Ed Martin's desperate, far-fetched suggestions of voter fraud following his loss to Congressman Russ Carnahan. Jo Mannies in the Beacon reported:
    Republican consultant John Hancock has talked to Martin. While not divulging their conversation, Hancock said that "any time there's a possibility of election tampering, fraud or deficiencies, they ought to be thoroughly investigated."

    Hancock added that he was proud of Martin's enthusiastic effort. "Sometimes there's a political victory in defeat," Hancock said. "He can claim that now."

    Hancock's comments indicated he wasn't challenging the outcome of the Carnahan-Martin contest, a view that appears to be held by some other prominent Republicans. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder noted Wednesday that Carnahan's victory was large enough to prevent an automatic recount.
    And David Weigal at Slate:
    What's the evidence for this? There isn't any. There is nothing that suggests that the late counts from St. Louis weren't in line with every other late count from St. Louis. There are no local Republicans backing him up; they won a lot of races in the state while he was losing, and the vote patterns don't point to anything unusual in a district that's voted Democratic since the 1940s.
    But aside from the behind the scenes discussions, the especially interesting thing was that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, fairly early on, spoke out publicly against the suggestions of voter fraud. As first reported on FiredUp Missouri, Kinder said the following on Dana Loesch's radio program:
    When you're 4,400 votes down it's pretty hard, okay, to mount a legal challenge. And I don't expect that one will get very far. I understand the frustration. I understand the suspicions. But we have a Republican Director of Elections in St. Louis City named Scott Leiendecker. Ed Martin and I both talked to Scott today, and he says there -- while he understands the reasons for some suspicion, he personally had his hands on the whole thing and there's no reason for us to disbelieve the numbers.
    Kinder had even harsher words for Martin in the Beacon:
    Kinder, reflecting his role as party powerbroker, isn't going along with Martin's call. While praising Martin's performance, Kinder said, "Ed Martin clearly did not get it done in St. Louis County, and we're clearly taking note of that."
    So why would Kinder feel a need to so publicly squelch Ed Martin's conspiracy theories? One interesting thing first noted by Jo Mannies, is that on the exact same day that Ed Martin purchased his "edmartinforcongress.com" domain, "edmartinforgovernor.com" was also purchased.

    This seems to indicate that Martin has higher aspirations than just hanging out with the St. Louis Tea Party. In fact, it sure looks like he might be stepping on some toes, considering that Kinder had been the presumptive GOP candidate for Governor for quite some time. Did Kinder feel a need to put Ed Martin in his place?