Politics

As President Barack Obama prepares to announce the official end of U.S. combat in Iraq, several St. Louis area residents expressed concerns about the cost, in both lives and dollars, of the effort to bring democracy to that Middle East country.

Allen Hill, a Vietnam War veteran from Festus, is leery of the real reason the United States is ending its military operations in Iraq.

President Barack Obama's explanation to be delivered on television Tuesday night -- that it's now time for the Iraqis to defend themselves -- sounds to Hill a lot like what then-President Richard M. Nixon said in 1975, when the U.S. ended military action in Vietnam.

The national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is finally swooping into Missouri with a TV ad aimed at helping Democratic nominee Robin Carnahan by bashing her Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt.

Respondents of a recent Real Clear Politics Poll indicated that 50.7 percent of Americans disapprove of the job that President Obama is doing, and 61.4 percent expressed the belief that the country is on the wrong track. Similarly, an Associated Press poll released on Aug. 16, 2010, showed that only 32 percent of independents agree with the Democratic policies of the current government, down from 52 percent of independents who supported a Democratic led government at the last election.

In 1964, when Mr. Akin and I were 17, the movie "Seven Days in May" was released. Starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, it is the story of an attempted military coup in the United States following the president signing a treaty with the then Soviet Union. While the movie is not considered a classic, it may have had as profound an effect on the thinking of presidents and members of Congress as any film over the past 60 years.

The Missouri Democratic Party owns up to two special websites -- theveryworstofwashington.com and favorofthemonth.com -- set up solely to highlight what it views as the failings of the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Roy Blunt.

As Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan is being bombarded with negative TV attack ads, the Missouri Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against one of the sources.

America is a peace-loving nation. — George W. Bush

My parents were born in the decade following WW I -- also known as "The Great War," "The War to Make the World Safe for Democracy" or "The War to End All Wars." Their children were born in the decades following WW II -- an armed conflagration of global proportions that demonstrated that the first one hadn't ended wars, after all.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, on Tuesday clarified her position on the Bush tax cuts by saying that she eventually may support a phaseout of tax reductions for the wealthiest Americans once the economy was back on track.

"It's a matter of timing. Right now is not the time to do this," Carnahan said in an interview after she had addressed members of the Missouri National Education Association in a tele-town hall held at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley's re-election campaign announced today that it is agreeing to one debate, moderated by the League of Women Voters and televised throughout the region.

"A television debate that everyone can see," said campaign manager John Temporiti, adding that he hoped such a debate would be viewed on the Web as well as on broadcast television.

The timing of such a debate would be up to the League, he added.

The two current lines of attack lobbed at Missouri's two major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate -- Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan -- both revolve around the same word: Deceit.

He's accused of misrepresenting his role and votes in the federal bank bailout, while she's under fire for switching her stances on the Bush tax cuts.

Missouri voters are likely to hear a lot about both issues as the Senate race heads into its final two-month stretch.

In 1982, Ronald Reagan signed into law both the Highway Revenue Act and the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TERFA). The Highway Act raised gasoline and trucking industry taxes. And with a yield of about 1 percent of the gross domestic product, TERFA is commonly viewed as the largest tax increase in peace time American history.

But 1982 was just a start in that Reagan initialed new tax increases every year from 1982-87. His 1983 social security tax hikes are still being implemented today.

Karla May, left, and Hope Whitehead
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | file photo

State Rep. Hope Whitehead, D-St. Louis, is challenging her narrow defeat in the Aug. 3 primary by Karla May, who was backed by Mayor Francis Slay.

Whitehead has scheduled a news conference at noon today downtown, in front of the Civil Courts building, where she plans to file a lawsuit asserting that city Democratic Party chairman Brian Wahby improperly allowed May to post "challengers" inside the polling locations.

In what's already shaping up as a take-no-prisoners U.S. Senate contest in Missouri, the independent spending is about to explode.

Joe Biden in stl
Bill Greenblat | UPI | 2010

Vice President Joe Biden exhorted fellow Democrats gathered here Friday to remember what they stand for, and what they've delivered, when they make their case to the American public to keep Democrats in control in Washington, and to elect more Democratic governors.

Biden contended that Democrats can fare best in this fall's elections if the party and its candidates "lay out honestly what we did and honestly what the alternative is."

As it stands, said Biden and other national Democratic leaders, Americans are hearing a earful of inaccuracies and some outright lies.

Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine asserted Thursday that the Republican emphasis on the proposed mosque near New York's Ground Zero, and the growing inaccurate belief that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, "confirm a narrative" that the GOP is "whipping up fear and division" in the hope that such destructive tactics will win votes.

"The party of 'No' is wanting to go backward," Kaine told reporters after addressing national Democratic officials during today's "executive committee" portion of its two-day meeting in St Louis.

The campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan is demanding an apology this morning from the camp of Republican rival Roy Blunt, in the wake of a new Blunt campaign Web video -- now pulled off the internet -- that features footage from New York City's Ground Zero, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, juxaposed with audio of Carnahan declining to take a position on a mosque proposed to be built nearby.

Carnahan, currently Missouri's secretary of state, said in a statement this morning:

State Rep. Cynthia Davis will still wield political clout, even though she lost her Republican bid for the state Senate.

Davis, R-O'Fallon, confirmed this afternoon that she has been elected chair of the St. Charles County Republican Central Committee, effective immediately. The vote, conducted Tuesday night, was unanimous, she said.

Davis' selection for the unpaid but powerful post underscores the clout of the Tea Party movement in St. Charles County.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, has gone on the air with her first campaign TV spot -- which features her in jeans talking about jobs, blasting Washington and "the government."

Emerson, who has been in office since 1996 and remains Missouri's first and only Republican woman elected to Congress, offers up an outside-the-beltway image as she heads into her latest re-election bid.

Republican congressional candidate Ed Martin condemned late Tuesday the suspected arson attack on the campaign headquarters of U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay appears to be the first prominent Missouri politician -- Democrat or Republican -- to weigh in on the national debate over the proposed construction of a new Islamic center and mosque in New York.  

The proposed site is just a few blocks away from Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center towers stood before they were destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people (in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.).

Democrats in Missouri are abuzz over today's report in Politico, the national online politics site, about the "$22 million TV ad blitz" soon to be launched by the National Republican Congressional Committee in 40 House districts around the country.

No Missouri House seats are among them, despite frequent national GOP assertions that U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, and Ike Skelton, D-Lexington, are among their targets.

A top official from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is accompanying the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, U.S Rep. Roy Blunt, around the state today to emphasize the chamber's commitment to help the congressman from southwest Missouri as he seeks to succeed another of their favorites -- retiring U.S. Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond.

At a "prayer vigil" held Monday night by his allies, state Rep. Brian Nieves blamed his legal troubles on unnamed "kingmakers and the powerbrokers in the state of Missouri" who he contends want to block his likely ascension to the Missouri Senate.

"They want to hang me up like a scarecrow," asserted Nieves, R-Washington, to at least 150 people attending a riverfront rally in downtown Washington, Mo. The crowd frequently broke into cheers and standing ovations to show their support.

Amid state and national handwringing among Democratic officials and the faithful, Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine are headlining a meeting of national and regional Democrats in St. Louis later this week.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was quick to thank the U.S. House Tuesday for its vote in favor of a bill allocating $26 billion to the states to stem projected teacher layoffs and Medicaid cuts, in the wake of the continued economic downturn.

In Missouri's case, more than half of its expected share will go toward the next fiscal year's budget, said state Budget Director Linda Luebbering in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

With legal fights looming, state Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, is becoming more visible and vocal in defending himself against accusations that he threatened and assaulted a campaign worker for a GOP rival.

The first related court hearing, originally set for Thursday morning in Cole County, has been postponed until Sept. 2.

Missouri's two major nominees for the U.S. Senate -- Democrat Robin Carnahan and Republican Roy Blunt -- are launching new campaign efforts as they head into the final dog days of August.

And both camps are focusing on Blunt.

Carnahan has just gone up on the air with her campaign's first TV ad, which is running statewide. Although allied groups have run ads attacking Blunt (an indirect benefit for Carnahan) since late last year, this is the first spot that the Carnahan campaign is paying for.

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, and his 3rd District Republican rival -- lawyer Ed Martin -- have agreed to debates, although they haven't agreed on how many, when or where.

In fact, Martin has announced a series of three weekly debates in August, beginning next Tuesday. Trouble is, Carnahan wasn't consulted and doesn't plan to show up.

I have long believed that we should instruct our politicians:

Ask not what programs you can enact to burnish your legacy -
Ask what programs you can repeal to set our people free.

The recent dust up over the extension of unemployment benefits has given me an idea.

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