Politics & Issues

Political news

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.

Kent D. Syverud
Washington University photo

Kent D. Syverud, dean of the Washington University School of Law, has been appointed as one of two independent trustees of the $20 billion Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust fund established by BP to settle claims for damages from the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an interview with the Beacon Monday, Syverud said he understands the importance of the position.

“It is a public responsibility, and I care about it and understand the importance of it,’’ he said. “I will do my best.’’

To succeed, small businesses need fertile ground in which to grow as well as protection against predators and unfair competition. Whether we like it or not, government plays the role of "traffic cop" in our economy; ensuring for everyone, including small businesses, that we are headed in the right direction and avoiding calamitous outcomes.

Brian Nieves
Official photo

A court date has been set for Thursday morning in Cole County Court in Jefferson City on a protection order being sought against state Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, Mo. Nieves just won a primary last week to be the party's nominee for state senator in the 26th District, which includes parts of St. Louis and Franklin counties.

After California's ban on gay marriage was tossed out by a judge this week, could Missouri's gay-marriage ban be next?

That fear prompted Frieda Keough to show up in Clayton's Memorial Park on Thursday, homemade sign in hand, to join about 70 others protesting Wednesday's decision by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. He ruled that California's Proposition 8, approved by voters in 2008, violated the rights of gays and lesbians who wish to marry.

Roy Blunt, now the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, and U.S. House colleague Todd Akin were both swift today to assert that July's jobs figures make clear that A) the federal stimulus spending hasn't worked and B) the Bush tax cuts can't be allowed to expire.

Blunt, R-Springfield, has been highlighting his "Where are the Jobs?" slogan -- with signs as well as talk -- ever since his victory party Tuesday night in south St. Louis.

At the "Women for Roy Blunt" event
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | 2010

Former Missouri House Speaker/U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway, who's now a lawyer working with the Ashcroft Group, helped launch Monday a "Women for Roy Blunt'' coalition aimed at promoting the U.S. Senate bid of the southwest Missouri congressman.

Hanaway will cohost the coalition, along with Renee Hulshof, a radio-show host in Columbia, Mo., and the wife of former U.S. Rep. (and unsuccessful 2008 gubernatorial nominee) Kenny Hulshof.

Peter Kinder primary election night 2010
Rachel Heidenry | 2010 | St. Louis Beacon

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder was fitting in national TV and newspaper interviews today around his previously scheduled afternoon flight to San Diego to take part in a meeting of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

For all the flaps over some of his ill-conceived Tweets in recent weeks, it appears that Kinder was arguably the biggest victor in Tuesday's primary -- Republican or Democrat -- who was not on the ballot.

State Sen. Chuck Purgason's smaller-than-expected vote tally in Tuesday's Republican U.S. Senate primary, coupled with the defeat of state Rep. Allen Icet in the GOP contest for auditor, has prompted some post-primary talk about the true clout of Missouri's Tea Party movement.

"The Tea Party movement did not show a lot of strength,'' said Dave Robertson, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "The Republican 'establishment' was able to withstand the assault from the Tea Party wing."

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund, an environmental advocacy group, is launching a new statewide ad campaign in Missouri that accuses U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, of being too close to major oil companies.

A spokeswoman said the ad buy is "in the six figures" for a week's worth of spots on cable and broadcast stations in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan didn't mention it yesterday during her Senate primary victory speech, but the Missouri Republican Party -- and her mother -- made note of it today.

Today is Robin Carnahan's 49th birthday. It's also the 49th birthday of the nation's 44th and current president, fellow Democrat Barack Obama.

The Missouri GOP and former Sen. Jean Carnahan, D-Mo. -- who both make note of the U.S. Senate race -- obviously have different takes on Robin Carnahan's shared big day.

The state Republican Party said in its release, in part:

One second after Tuesday's polls closed, and before the votes were counted, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley launched his first full-throttle campaign attack against Republican Bill Corrigan.

It was not as dramatic as Confederate forces firing on the Union troops at Fort Sumter in April 1861, but Missouri's passage of Proposition C is certainly a notable skirmish in the 2010 reappearance of the states' right struggle. Channeling their inner John Calhouns, State Sens. Jane Cunningham and Jim Lembke have emerged as the new preachers of the nullification doctrine.

In a political showdown that Republicans favored and Democrats wanted to avoid, Missouri voters gave strong approval to Proposition C, the state referendum that calls for Missouri to opt out of the federal health care reform law that was passed four months ago. More than 72 percent of Missouri voters supported the measure.

Peter Kinder primary election night 2010
Rachel Heidenry | 2010 | St. Louis Beacon

Proposition C won handily Tuesday, as Missouri voters went to the polls for the state's primary that sets the table for this fall's elections.

The biggest surprise was Republican state auditor candidate Tom Schweich's unexpectedly strong victory over rival Allen Icet, after polls had shown them neck and neck.

Proposition C seeks to exempt Missouri from some of the new federal health-care mandates, although both sides agree a legal battle is expected.

Given that the St. Louis area has the highest number of bicycle-related accidents in Missouri and that St. Charles County is considering banning bicycles on certain highways, how can St. Louis be touted as a great destination for cyclists?

"Cyclists from other cities come here and can't believe how much nicer motorists are than those in other cities," said Patty Vinyard, executive director of the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation .

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's office just announced that only two initiative petitions have been certified for the Nov. 2 ballot. And the proposal to change the way Missouri selects its judges is not one of them.

Today was the deadline for announcing certification.

Carnahan's staff reported that the judicial measure, which would have called for the election of all Missouri judges, only turned in enough valid signatures in one of the six required congressional districts.

By the numbers

Even before the polls close today, state Auditor Susan Montee -- a Democrat with no serious primary opposition -- will be on the streets with St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom and Mayor Francis Slay to visit "National Night Out" events around the city to highlight anti-crime and anti-drug efforts. 

"It's broken."

Despite differing viewpoints, nearly everyone the Beacon spoke with about our immigration system had that same answer. Their thoughts on reform differ in many ways, but agreements did crop up and often included the need to simplify the bureaucracy, to control our borders better and to impose some penalties on people who came here illegally or who are now here undocumented, without necessarily sending them home.

Tuesday's primary -- featuring candidate contests, a St. Louis school bond issue and the first statewide vote on federal health care reform -- will be an end and the beginning.

For many candidates, Tuesday's primary results (click here to read the Beacon's overview of the races and issues) will spell the end of their political hopes. But for others, their primary victories will launch their new campaigns for Nov. 2 election.