Jasper County Republican Party Pooh Bah Gets The Front Page Of The Joplin Globe

I don’t know what the original conception was relative to the story that appeared on Sunday’s front page of the Joplin Globe, but I do know that it came out as an advertisement for the Jasper County Republican Party and its efforts to get out the vote for Roy Blunt and Tom Schweich. 

It also read as a plea for volunteers from the ranks of uninspired Republicans to help out the party two days away from the election.

The headline of the story could have been:

Help! Local Republicans Looking For Volunteers! Sign Up Now! Hurry! Democrats May Win!

The story, though, had this headline:

Turnout worries GOP

With this subhead:

                                   With low number of voters 

                                   predicted at local polls,

                                   party ratcheting up efforts

And in the spirit of fairness, on this Jon Stewart sanity weekend, without further comment, I shall post the entire story, so readers can judge for themselves:

Jasper County Republicans are trying to ratchet up local voter turnout in the wake of predictions that only 20 percent of the county’s registered voters will show up at the polls on Tuesday.

Republicans need a high voter turnout locally to offset areas around Kansas City and St. Louis where Democrat voter turnout is expected to be high, said John Putnam, chairman of the Jasper County Republican Central Committee.

“The prediction they had for our voter turnout was the lowest in the state,” said Putnam, citing a report issued by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office earlier in the week, based on numbers of absentee ballots cast.

The office was predicting voter turnout statewide would average more than 51 percent.

Workers in the election division of the Jasper County clerk’s office now expect the local turnout will land between 30 and 35 percent, said Doris Moorehouse, a deputy clerk in the office.

She said the 20 percent level was based on numbers of absentee ballots cast earlier, but that those numbers have increased significantly since the report to the state.

“We’ve gotten a lot more absentee voters since then; now we’re up to 1,778. We’ve never been this busy in an off-year election,” she said at midmorning Friday.

The county had more than 7,000 absentee voters two years ago, she said, when voter turnout was 61.5 percent. Jasper County has 76,247 registered voters.

The same report that noted a 20 percent prediction for Jasper County forecast a 54 percent turnout in Jackson County and 55 percent in Cass County, both in the Kansas City area, and 47 percent in St. Louis city and 63 percent in St. Louis County. Among other counties in the region, turnouts are predicted at 45 percent in Newton County, 58 percent in Barton County, 52 percent in Vernon County, and 22 percent in McDonald County.

Putnam cited the results of earlier statewide elections when Jim Talent won the U.S. Senate race and Matt Blunt won the gubernatorial contest.

“In the cases where Republicans have won close statewide races, there has been a high voter turnout in Jasper and Newton counties, and a margin (of victory) for Republicans of about 70 percent,” he said. “It’s not an issue in the congressional race, but we’ll need that for Blunt and Schweich (Roy Blunt, GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, and Tom Schweich, for auditor),” he said.

Putnam said he also is concerned because Jasper County has only a single countywide race — the presiding commissioner race between John Bartosh, the GOP incumbent, and Timothy Teed, an independent candidate.

He said the committee is working to sign volunteers to work telephone banks, distribute literature and place candidate yard signs.

“Our volunteer numbers are lower, but it’s hard to compare,” he said. “In the presidential year you have people knocking down your door to volunteer; it’s always lower in the off-years.”

Jon Stewart’s Sanity Rally Misses The Point

The Jon Stewart rally, which reportedly dwarfed in attendance the Glenn Beck honorfest, was fairly entertaining (although at times it devolved into a grade-school presentation of its raison d’être) and for the most part politically neutral.  That was the problem with it, of course.  Stewart went out of his way to make both sides equally culpable for the mess that is Washington, D.C., these days.

This myth of moral equivalence is usually the preferred argument of those defending right-wing extremism—”the left does it too!—and it was a little off-putting to see and hear an obviously liberal-leaning Stewart try to put the blame on both sides. 

Not only has it been clear that Republicans in Congress have done little to help and a lot to hinder efforts by Democrats to fix the economy, a video montage Stewart ran containing snippets of extremism expressed by television talkers was more than a little unfair. There is about a thousand times more of that nonsense coming from the right as from the left, and much of the responses coming from the left were in reaction to right-wing hate-talk.

It’s like this: If someone wants to debate an issue, Stewart’s call for decency is good advice.  We all should be able to present our points without recourse to name-calling.  But when one side has resorted to referring to the President of the United States as a Kenyan-born racist socialist, who wants to deliberately destroy the country, or when someone, like Billy Long, says that liberals, “wish to do away with the moral center of our nation,” then the proper reaction to that stuff is not a pat on the back or, “Oh, that’s just concerned right-wingers expressing their angst.”  

No, the proper response to that kind of dook is to condemn it, and condemn it in the strongest possible terms. In fact, that’s what Stewart does on his show nearly every night.  It’s not uncivil to point out the lack of civility on the other side and there is no moral equivalence between an attacker and a defender.

And wasn’t it rich that calls from Stewart and others to stop shouting at each other and work together were preceded by confessions last week from top Republican leaders that their strategy to defeat Obama and gain power will be a continuation of the “no compromise” warfare of the last two years:

John Boehner: “This is not a time for compromise, and I can tell you that we will not compromise on our principles.”

Mike Pence: “What I’ve said is there will be no compromise on ending this era of runaway spending, deficits and debt. No compromise on repealing Obamacare lock, stock and barrel. No compromise on defending the broad mainstream values of the American people in the way we spend the people’s money at home and abroad. On issues that go straight to principle and straight to the concern the American people have on spending and taxes and values, there’ll be no compromise.”

Mitch McConnell: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” 

Now, President Obama and congressional Democrats need to understand that Republicans, especially if Tea Party candidates win big on Tuesday, mean it when they say they have abandoned the political art of compromise.  This isn’t just campaign rhetoric. 

And no amount of Jon Stewart-inspired reason and decency and sanity will be enough to put Republicans in the mood for an orgy of political deal-making, or even a flirtatious wink of agreement.

Because of the Republican Party’s failure to police itself, its failure to exercise adult supervision over its extremist candidates, there will a number of steroidal Obama-haters in their ranks, many of them with big mouths, who won’t take kindly to any notion of agreeing with Democrats about anything that matters.

Democrats need to understand that truth right now—and prepare a strategy to deal with it—before the real fighting starts next year.  Hopefully, there will be so many internecine battles within the GOP that Republican extremists won’t get far with efforts to impeach President Obama and shut down the government, but that is only a hope.

But it is a sane hope.

[Stewart photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]

America Is Not A Center-Right Nation—Just Ask Tea Party Leaders

Joe Scarborough, of Morning Joe, often talks about how America is a “center-right” nation.  And he often talks about how Barack Obama should recognize that fact and govern that way.  Here is a typical example from the other day:

…he’s got some great opportunities, but he’s going to have to come to the middle. And if he comes to the middle where America is—not the middle as defined by left-wing bloggers and other people. If he comes to the middle where America is, he’ll be just fine.

Well, Scarborough is a conservative Republican, so it’s understandable how he might project his politics onto the whole country, but he uses polling to support his point. He claims, based on a Gallup poll, that 40% of the public think of themselves as conservatives and only 21% call themselves liberal.

But since most people aren’t political junkies, and since it’s hard for even junkies to accurately define what it means to be a liberal or a conservative, the simple truth is that it is impossible to say the country—in whole or in part—is this or that based on what people tell pollsters.

And even if it were the case that one could call the country this or that politically, what does that have to do with how President Obama–or any president–should govern the country?  Is that Scarborough’s definition of leadership?  To simply lead people where they are already going? 

Thankfully, the Founders didn’t feel that way or we all might be speaking London Cockney today.  And thankfully Harry Truman didn’t feel that way or we might still have an all-paleface military to match our all-paleface Tea Party.

The truth is that our ideological national identity cannot be defined by what people tell Gallup or any other polling group about their ideological preferences. Over time, what it means to be a conservative or liberal has changed and keeps changing, and people just don’t keep up with the changes. 

I can make a good case that, if anything, the country is more center-left than center-right, just by noting what people who call themselves conservatives believe about ideas that used to be thought of as liberal ideas.

For instance, it’s no secret that conservatives abhor any hint of socialism, and frequently attack liberals for being socialists.  Yet, it’s obvious that you won’t find much support among conservatives these days for abolishing Social Security and Medicare.  And there is absolutely no doubt that those two programs represent the closest thing we have to socialism in America. They represent, to date, the crown jewels of liberalism.

And so it is that we have people who identify themselves as conservatives who often vigorously defend those socialistic programs and certainly won’t vote in droves for candidates who propose their demise.

Even Tea Party fanatics—the right wing of the right wing—won’t touch the socialistic programs.  Last night on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, a fascinating segment with four major Tea Party leaders revealed just how slippery the terms liberal and conservative are, as well as how unfocused the Tea Party movement is in general.  

Watch the following video clip and ask yourself just what the term “conservative” means, if uber-conservatives aren’t willing to acknowledge, not to mention abolish, socialism, as it is practiced in the United States:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

It may be true that twice as many people call themselves conservative as call themselves liberal, but what that means is not as clear as people like Scarborough think.

As Lawrence O’Donnell demonstrated, when hard-core conservative activists either don’t see or don’t care that Social Security and Medicare are socialistic endeavors, then conservatism certainly doesn’t mean what it used to.

Springfield Paper Endorses The Mystery Man

Well, the Springfield News-Leader has “strongly” endorsed Billy Long.

The paper said:

Long promises to bring common sense to Washington.

Is that what you call Long’s “fed up” simplicity? Common sense?

And the paper noted the most salient fact about Long’s campaign:

His platform and public explanations of it during the primary and general campaigns have at times generated questions and claims of contradiction.

At times? And “claims” of contradiction? His move to get the endorsement of an anti-Social Security group called Conservative Congress was successful. They endorsed him. Why? I tried to find out from the group but they aren’t talking.

Here is Conservative Congress’ position on an issue that should be of utmost importance to voters here or anywhere:

Conservative Congress supports candidates who are committed to de-regulating and dismantling wasteful federal social agencies and programs. Specifically, Conservative Congress supports candidates who seek to dismantle the Department of Education and Social Security, by and through constructive reforms…

Conservative Congress endorsed Long because it believes he is “aligned with” their Issues Statement, from which the above language comes.

Yet Long has pretended he doesn’t know what the fuss is all about. He has denied knowing anything about it.

The News-Leader defends Long with this:

He’s new to this. He’s learning. He listens. He’s willing to modify his views.

Yes, that’s the point!  He is willing to modify his views, at least until after the election. He led Conservative Congress to believe one thing about his views on Social Security and he is leading 7th District voters to believe something else.

With this discrepancy in his position hanging out there, how can a reputable newspaper endorse him, “strongly” or otherwise?

A Steaming Blunt Refuses To Answer A Simple Question: Did He Know Her Or Not?

Although I don’t recall seeing anything about this story in the Joplin Globe or on our local “news” stations, some of you may know about the accusations—raised by the Democratic Party—that Roy Blunt employed a Nicaraguan woman by the name of Dora Narvaez, who, shall we say, wouldn’t survive the Arizona Test in terms of proving her U.S. citizenship.

The woman told the Kansas City Star that she worked for Blunt in 1990 for a period of six months, around the time she was seeking political asylum in the United States.  Blunt, who at the time was Missouri Secretary of State, had written a letter on her behalf to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, saying that,

Dora Narvaez has done some work for Roseann.

Roseann, of course, was Blunt’s first family-values wife.  But apparently when Blunt used the word “worked,” he didn’t mean it in the conventional sense.  When the story first came out, the Blunt campaign said that,

…the woman merely helped at some church events, and was never employed by the Blunts.

Last week, Blunt told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he does not recall the woman at all:

Speaking to the Post-Dispatch editorial board today, Blunt said his family never had a “housekeeper,” though they did occasionally have someone, Blunt said, clean their home.

But Blunt said neither he, Roseann or their three children remember Narvaez filling that role.

“We often had somebody who would come in maybe twice a month,” Blunt said. “None of us remember her ever doing that.”

Blunt added: “I don’t know if I ever met the woman.”

So, yesterday KMBC’s Micheal Mahoney ask Blunt a simple question:

Did you know her or not?

An easy question, right?  “Did you know her or not?”

All Blunt had to do was say “yes” or “no” or “I don’t remember because I’ve remarried since then and I’ve made it a point to forget everything about my former family-values life.”

But here is how Blunt, who is steaming around the state on a last-minute tour, reacted:

Obviously, Mahoney hit a sore spot with his question.  And I suspect Blunt, like most Republican candidates these days, will be off-limits to reporters between now and next Tuesday.

And I also suspect that it won’t matter at all to most local voters (I predict: 65%+), who have consistently supported him through his family-values failures and his affection for lobbyists in general (like Big Tobacco) and in particular (like his second wife and other members of his family).  And, no, I’m not even going to bring up Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff.

Here is a video from the Missouri Democratic Party about the issue:.


More From The Christian Taliban

Yesterday it was a Christian school board member in Arkansas expressing his godly displeasure with homosexuality. Today, courtesy of Show Me Progress, we have this robocall from the Missouri House Republican Campaign Committee*:

Needless to say Courtney Cole’s ties to the pornography industry, gay or straight, likely goes something like this: Someone donated to her campaign who once did business with the son of a cousin of the uncle of the brother of a lawyer who once worked for a law firm that represented Bound & Gagged magazine in a dispute with a disgruntled employee.  Or something just as ridiculous.

And that, of course, makes her guilty of promoting pornography and therefore an enemy of our Christian State.

Uh-oh.  I just linked to a Wikipedia entry about a gay magazine. Oh, my God!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the contribution from Christian soldier Rita Crowell, whose inspiring letters appear regularly in the Joplin Globe‘s Voices section.  Here is yesterday’s Talibanic assault on Democrats:

To vote for a Democratic Party candidate is to vote for the anti-God, anti-life and anti-family intrinsically evil Democratic Party’s platform.


*If you follow the link to the HRCC, you can watch Joplin’s Ron Richard tell us how proud he is of the HRCC. Presumably that includes the robocall.

Solid Christian Beliefs In Arkansas

“If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

—Leviticus 20:13 NAB

About five hours southeast of Joplin is a little town called Pleasant Plains, Arkansas.

Pleasant Plains, a nice sounding little town, is home of the Midland Mustangs and the Midland School District.  And a man named Clint McCance is a member of the Midland School District Board of Directors. 

Mr. McCance claims to be a Christian.

The Midland School District issued this apology today:

The Midland School District, Board of Directors, administration, faculty, and staff do not support or condone the comments Mr. Clint McCance posted on his personal social networking page. Mr. McCance was not acting as an agent of the school board, but as a private citizen when this comment was posted. This post does not reflect the thoughts of the board or administration of the Midland School District.

So, what is all the fuss about?  What could school board member Mr. McCance have posted that necessitated an apology from the school district?

Here are some of his comments from Facebook (screenshots here) in which Mr. McCance was showing his displeasure over the initiative on Facebook encouraging folks to wear purple “in memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse“:

Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE.

In response to some criticism, McCance posted this:

…being a fag doesn’t give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then dont tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that shit to yourself. I dont care how people decide to live their lives. They dont bother me if they keep it to thereselves. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die. If you arent against it, you might as well be for it.

He finished with a flourish:

I would disown my kids they were gay. They will not be welcome at my home or in my vicinity. I will absolutely run them off. Of course my kids will know better. My kids will have solid christian beliefs. See it infects everyone. 

Such solid Christian beliefs are not an aberration, sadly. They represent the thinking of many Bible believers around these parts and they certainly and accurately reflect a biblical view of homosexuality.

And as long as the Bible is taught as the infallible Word of God, there will always be plenty of Clint McCances.

Thanks For The Warning, KZRG Fans!

Everyone knows the Mushroom Theory: Keep ’em in the dark and feed ’em dook, and pretty soon you’ll have you some biggo mushrooms!

Well, it’s true.  KZRG, a local, heavily promoted, right-wing talk radio station in Joplin, keeps local listeners in the dark, feeds ’em full of dook, and guess what?  Pretty soon these things sprout up out of nowhere:

All over our fair city one can see these monuments to extremism, in front of businesses and homes. It’s as if the owners, who consented to the placement of these signs, are saying: “Only right-wing extremists are welcome here.”

Apparently, these KZRG-friendly outposts are proud of daytime talkers, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity. They are proud of late-night programs like Coast to Coast, a program that features not only lonely conspiracy nuts, but explores the demon-haunted world of pseudoscience.  In other words, Coast to Coast is a lot like daytime talk! 

I, for one, am thankful that my neighbors and local businesses have put up flags to warn me of approach.

And trust me, I will avoid them when I can.

A Glaring Omission In Joplin Globe Coverage Of The Long-Eckersley Race

So far, the Joplin Globe has ignored the controversial charges against Billy Long made by his opponent, Scott Eckersley, relative to a Springfield woman’s claims that Long attended after-hour parties at a Springfield restaurant that involved strippers and gambling and underage drinking. The woman also accused Long of making racial slurs and exhibiting homophobic and sexist behavior.

Last week, Eckersley released an ad featuring the woman, Jennifer Case, and her claims and has stood by it, despite denials from Long and the owner of the restaurant.

In a front page story in Monday’s Globe, 7th District hopefuls take race to homestretch, nary a mention of the controversy, even though the article contained other charges Eckersley has made against Long:

He contends that voters will see Long as too “extreme.” Eckersley has accused Long of being willing to “feed at the trough of the special interests” just as “career politicians” do.

He has assailed Long on issues that include Social Security and subsidies for agriculture. On the former, he has accused Long of supporting the dismantling of Social Security. On the latter, he has said Long wants to eliminate subsidies.

Why no mention of Eckersley’s ad and the woman’s claims? Why no questions for Eckersley about the paucity of corroborating evidence? Why no questions for Long about his association with the Springfield bar?  Beats me.  But Globe readers deserve to know what’s going on, since Eckersley has chosen to make the Springfield woman’s claims a campaign issue.

Springfield media has done some reporting on the charges. The Springfield News-Leader has made at least an attempt to investigate them* and here is a report from Springfield’s KSPR:

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*Today, the News-Leader published Eckersley’s objections to its original reporting on the story:

Eckersley called the previous day’s News-Leader article “an attack job.”

In a press release Monday, he said the News-Leader behaved unethically. The release said reporter Wes Johnson asked Case’s 18-year-old son, “Do you know how much trouble your mother is in?” and a photographer took pictures of Case after she asked him to stop. The release quotes her as saying she told reporters that she saw strippers with Long. On Friday, Case had answered no when a reporter asked whether she had ever seen Long with strippers in the room.

Long didn’t respond to the criticism at the forum until Eckersley mentioned that a Joplin news outlet had published Case’s story. Long pointed out that the news outlet was The Fuse Joplin, a blog.

News-Leader Executive Editor David Stoeffler said he reviewed a tape of the interview with Case, and “it was a professional interview” conducted at a local restaurant.

He said the photographer said Case did not ask him to stop taking pictures, that the hourlong tape contains no indication that she asked to end the interview or photographs and that she says three times that she didn’t see Long with strippers.

Stoeffler said Case’s son asked Johnson whether Case was in trouble. Johnson said Case was raising serious allegations, and Johnson’s job was to determine whether they are true.

Unless You’re A Tea Party Manly Man, Never Kick A Girl When She’s Down

In what can only be characterized as a symbolic moment in this campaign season, a man wearing a Rand Paul shirt stepped on a member of MoveOn.org last night in Lexington, Kentucky, site of the latest Jack Conway-Rand Paul debate. 

The manly Paul-man in the video put his foot on the woman on the ground in an act of Tea Party bravery.  This short video clip, more than anything I could write, demonstrates what life might be like in a world dominated by Tea Party libertarians:

In a news report, which can be found here, an anchor remarks, over a different video of the incident, that Lexington police are trying to determine if the man “stepped on her intentionally.” 

Yes, it just might be possible that the cowardly bastard was actually a good Samaritan chiropractor who was merely trying to realign her spine.

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