By Leigh Deveres January 21, 2014 2:24 pm Missouri Republicans have drafted a bill that would allow parents to pull their children from science classes that are teaching the theory of evolution. According to the National Center for Science Education…
The Missouri Senate voted to eliminate all funding for the state’s driver’s license bureau on Monday due to concerns about its keeping records of concealed-carry holders. The Raw Story reports that the chairman of the appropriations committee, Kurt Schaefer (R), admitted that the cut was made to send a message to Governor Jay Nixon (D) and his administration, and said, “They will not be able to issue any drivers’ licenses.”
The state of Missouri is reportedly only state to have its driver’s license bureau also be the agency that issues concealed carry permits. According to The Raw Story article, the state gave that power to the bureau ten years ago for the purpose of allowing law enforcement to be able to identify people who carried concealed weapons. However, Missouri lawmakers have gotten more concerned about the possibility that these records would be shared with the federal government, leading ultimately to confiscations of guns from law-abiding citizens.
Gun-confiscation paranoia has been around for quite awhile in our society. Much of this is due to the widespread slippery slope argument that the NRA makes, and that lawmakers, particularly Republican lawmakers, parrot, when it comes to universal background checks or other records tracking gun ownership and purchase, or any tiny bit of regulation regarding firearms.
Probably one of the most pertinent facts that people who trumpet the slippery slope argument regarding background checks and other recordkeeping ignore is that a national gun registry is illegal. Furthermore, the bi-partisan background check amendment thatfailed in the Senate last week, despite widespread support in the populace, made creating a federal gun registry an actual crime.
It was not, as the NRA and various right-wing news sources reported, a statement regarding how the White House intended to make such policies effective, nor how they were planning on moving towards a federal “gun-grab.”
You can read the memo itself here. [PDF]
The main problem with the slippery slope argument, for any issue, is that it assumes one specified action will follow a previous action, and another specified action will follow after that, and so on. It completely ignores the possibility that there are other actions that could occur, that things could easily stop far short of the fateful endpoint, or that nothing further will occur after the initial action is taken. Firearms regulations don’t necessarily lead to disarmament and tyranny; there are many nations with various types of firearms regulationsthat are far more stringent than ours that are still peaceful and democratic. In other words, it’s an extremely narrow viewpoint to take on an extremely complex issue that requires a much broader view.
Students in Missouri have no sexual education requirement, so there’s a good chance they don’t know how to properly protect themselves from STIs or unintended pregnancy. Soon, though, they may be able to protect themselves from guns.
Missouri State Senate is considering a bill that would require all first graders in the state to take a gun safety training course. Using a grant provided by the National Rifle Association, it would put a “National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program” instructor in every first grade classroom.
The measure would also require teachers to spend eight hours in a training course for how to respond to an armed assailant in the school. But the NRA will not foot the bill for the cost of substitute teachers on those days — despite the organizations stated focus on protecting the classroom.
And if the legislature is truly worried about protecting their students, sex education is a good place to start.
SALEM, Mo. • Like job applicants clutching résumés, more than a dozen Republican candidates for Missouri’s 8th Congressional District seat paraded before an auditorium full of Ozarks-area voters, touting fiscal conservatism, gun rights and pro-life credentials.
There was little disagreement on those or other topics among the 12 men and one woman who participated in a forum Thursday night as they seek to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau.
But both the questions and answers in the event, organized by the GOP congressional committee that will choose the Republican candidate for the post, were telling.
If some national Republicans are suggesting moving the party toward the middle on guns and other hot-button issues, no one here got the memo.
“Here in the Ozarks, most of us have and use guns. This level of freedom is something to be thankful for,” moderator Joyce Karnes told each candidate as part of the pre-set list of six questions. “… We want to know without a shadow of a doubt that (the eventual candidate) would vote to keep that freedom if it comes to that.”
All the candidates said they oppose new gun restrictions.
“Our gun rights are under attack as they’ve never been under attack,” responded candidate Bob Parker of Raymondville, before shouting to the audience, “I need more than 10 rounds to protect my freedom!”
National gun control debate since the recent massacre of children in Connecticut has focused in part on calls to limit semiautomatic ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
The eventual Republican candidate is expected to have a strong advantage over the eventual Democratic candidate in the heavily Republican district, which takes in a wide swath of southern Missouri.
The candidates who showed up for the event at Salem City Hall were instructed to put their cellphones on a table and leave the auditorium so they couldn’t be informed of the questions asked of the candidates as they came back in one by one.
The candidates’ views on the issues — guns, abortion, the federal deficit, economic development — were virtually identical, tracking with the conservative wing of the GOP. But there was some nuance in what they chose to focus on.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, widely considered one of the frontrunners in the race, introduced himself to the crowd of about 200 as “the only candidate in this race who can say he or she has carried 29 of the 30 counties” in the 8th District.
“I am 6-0 in election campaigns. I have never lost,” noted Kinder.
Another of the frontrunners, former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who lost last year’s Senate primary to GOP nominee Todd Akin, tried to turn that experience to her advantage. “I have been tested in battle, and I have a lot of battle scars,” she said, “and I think that’s the kind of person you need up there.”
On fiscal issues, the candidates shared opposition to the agreement between Congress and President Barack Obama to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts. The universal view was that the deal should have included deeper spending cuts, a point on which they attempted to outdo each other.
“Stop spending, stop spending, stop spending!” said state Rep. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau.
The GOP nominee will ultimately be chosen by the 86 members of the 8th District Congressional Republican Committee after Emerson officially resigns.
Other candidates vying for the ballot spot include:
• State Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, the Missouri House speaker pro tem.
• Lloyd Smith of East Prairie, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party and Emerson’s former chief of staff.
• Former U.S. Rep. Wendell Bailey, R-Willow Springs, who also is a former state treasurer.
• State Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla.
• Former State Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington
• Former state Rep. Scott Lipke, R-Jackson
• State Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff
• Former state Rep. Clint Tracy, R-Cape Girardeau
• Pedro Sotelo of Kansas City
• Attorney John Tyrrell of Mountain Grove
• State Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau
After taking leadership of the Missouri Republican Party last weekend, conservative firebrand and perennial candidate Ed Martin offered words to his supporters that could pretty much sum up his entire approach to politics.
“We are surrounded, but as the great Marine Chesty Puller noted, being surrounded simplifies the situation. We can advance in any direction,” Martin wrote — in typically militant language — in a letter to supporters Tuesday. “Mount up.”
Martin might seem a strange choice to lead a state party that recently lost the most winnable Senate race in the country because the voters deemed its nominee too far right.
Martin is, after all, from the same cultural conservative, anti-establishment, Tea Party wing of the Missouri GOP as former Senate candidate Todd Akin. And Martin lost his own race in November, for Missouri attorney general, by a similarly wide margin as Akin.
Despite that backdrop, and other baggage from his often-tumultuous career in and around Missouri politics, Martin on Saturday narrowly won a vote of the Missouri Republican State Committee to unseat Missouri Republican Party Chairman David Cole.
The news stunned many in Missouri politics. Some say Martin’s aggressive, sometimes abrasive brand of conservatism — along with two high-profile campaign failures of his own — make him an unlikely leader of a party that lately has had problems both with keeping the peace internally and winning statewide elections.
“He is controversial within the party. … He’s made a lot of enemies,” said Ken Warren, a political scientist at St. Louis University with Democratic Party ties. “I’m very surprised that the Republican Party would pick someone to chair the party who is so divisive.”
If so, those Republicans for the most part aren’t breaking ranks, despite the narrow 34-32 Republican committee vote.
Among Cole’s supporters was U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. Asked about Martin’s victory, Blunt on Tuesday issued a one-sentence written statement: “I congratulate Ed and look forward to working with him.”
That was the double-edged sword that conservatives found themselves holding last year when they boosted Akin past two better-funded GOP establishment candidates to win the Senate nomination against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., then considered the most vulnerable senator in the nation.
While Akin’s religiously infused conservatism and no-exceptions opposition to abortion sat well with his supporters, it cut the other way after Akin’s comments in August about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy. The comments — rooted in an old anti-abortion movement myth that rape cannot cause pregnancy — created a national firestorm and, by most accounts, cost Akin the election.
That’s not Martin’s account, however. In an interview Tuesday, he argued that the lesson from Akin’s loss wasn’t that he was too conservative but that he was underfunded.
“What we know in retrospect … is that the Republican Party was outspent by $20 million,” Martin said. He acknowledged that the reason Akin couldn’t raise as much money as McCaskill was “partly from what happened” with the rape comments.
Martin’s tenure in Missouri politics has often been controversial. A former commercial lawyer, he was former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt’s chief of staff in 2007 when he fired Scott Eckersley, a lawyer under him, after Eckersley warned that the administration was improperly destroying email records.
ST. CHARLES • State Republican leaders have decided to hold another countywide St. Charles County caucus to replace Saturday’s disbanded meeting but a date has yet to be determined, a representative of presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign said Thursday.
Jay Kanzler, the Romney representative, made the comment after emerging from a closed-door meeting with state GOP officials and representatives of rival candidates Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich.
Republican State Chairman David Cole, one of two state GOP officials at the session, said only that an announcement would be made Friday by the state party on what would happen next.
Kanzler said “the decision has been made by the Missouri Republican Party and the Romney campaign supports efforts to make sure that everyone participates that wants to participate in the caucus process.”
The representatives of the three other campaigns who attended refused to comment after they left a meeting room at the St. Charles County Administration Building.
The session, which lasted more than two hours, also included Lloyd Smith, the state GOP’s executive director.
County Executive Steve Ehlmann, the county’s top Republican elected official, was there at the 1 p.m. beginning but left after welcoming the group, he said.
Saturday’s countywide caucus, at the Francis Howell North High School gym in St. Peters, was adjourned with no delegates selected after boisterous disputes over caucus rules - including a ban on video and audio recording - and the selection of a caucus chairman.
Paul and Romney backers complained loudly during the caucus Saturday about Dokes’ decision to recognize only one person nominated for caucus chairman - Matt Ehlen.
Leaders of the Paul and Romney campaigns alleged that caucus organizers and Santorum supporters shut down the meeting after they realized that Paul and Romney backers together had enough people present to achieve a majority and split the county’s delegates 50-50.
None would have gone to Santorum or Gingrich under that scenario worked out at the scene by the Paul and Romney forces.
Romney and Paul campaign leaders also said they had agreed to use their joint strength in votes to pick Stafford, the Paul activist, as caucus chairman.
Dokes said he and other caucus organizers had wanted to allot the delegates on a proportional basis based on the relative numbers of those attending supporting each of the four candidates.
Police said about 2,500 people took part, but the county committee said a smaller number - 964 - registered as caucus participants as they walked into the building.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Given the extremely rocky road he’s traveled down these past many months, it’s no surprise that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder finally decided not to run for governor. In a late Friday statement, he announced he would not seek his party’s nod to challenge Dem Gov. Jay Nixon next year.
Long considered the presumptive Republican nominee, Kinder faced a series of serious stumbles all year long—all of his own making. (Or as he called it, a “nimbus.”) In the spring, the St. Louis Post Dispatch revealed that Kinder had billed taxpayers for stays of two months a year at St. Louis luxury hotels, so that he could attend society balls, baseball games, and Tea Party conventions. Only after picking a huge, ugly fight with the Dispatch did he finally reimburse the state, and even then, it was impossible to know how much he owed since the state’s Republican auditor whitewashed his investigation.
Later, over the summer, a photo emerged of Kinder in the company of a former stripper at a St. Louis bar which advertises that “every night’s a pantless party.” It turned out that Kinder had long known the woman, Tammy Chapman, and she subsequently gave a damaging interview in which she described Kinder’s years-long (and unwanted) “obsession” with her, including non-stop visits to the strib club where she worked. Kinder emerged from hiding after several days to deny Chapman’s interpretation of their relationship, but the fact that he repeatedly came to see her while she was working went uncontested.
All of this came on top of Kinder’s reputation for “odd social skills" and embarrassing antics on Twitter. (Sample tweet: “MUST READ :) RT @instapundit: TOP TWENTY worst #TrampStamp #tattoos”.) His polling against Nixon had also been abysmal, to the point that Kinder even released an August internal poll showing him down “just” seven points (and this was supposed to count as good news). And when his fundraising dried up thanks to all of unforced errors, Kinder claimed he just wanted to give donors “a break.”
Things had gotten so bad for Kinder that Democrats were unquestionably rooting for him not to bail. Well, we can’t always be so lucky, I suppose. Wealthy plastics magnate Dave Spence entered the Republican field a week ago, undoubtedly spurred by Kinder’s weakness. Conversely, Spence’s move probably helped clarify Kinder’s thinking. Kinder’s departure makes Spence the instant front-runner for his party’s nod, particularly since Kinder endorsed him when he announced he was dropping out. At the same time, Nixon’s bid for re-election just became more difficult, no question, but he’s a strong fundraiser with a healthy level of crossover support and still retains the advantage.
H/T: David Nir at Daily Kos Elections
JEFFERSON CITY • The failure of legislation moving the state’s presidential primary to March could result in Missouri returning to a caucus system.
A spokesman for the Missouri Republican Party would not discuss what party leadership is considering, but a conference call has been scheduled tonight for the Missouri Republican State Committee to discuss options.
States must report their planned primary dates to the national parties by Saturday, and with the Missouri Senate adjourned until next week, abandoning the February primary and moving to a March caucus might give the party a chance to stay in compliance with rules set up by the national Democratic and Republican parties.
Under current state law, a primary must be held in February. National party rules dictate that only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada can hold presidential nominating contests before March 6. States that violate that rule have been threatened with the loss of half of their delegates to the national convention. Other penalties, such as fewer guest passes to the convention, have also been considered.
A bill moving the state’s primary to March has become stalled in the state Senate, a victim of the stalemate over a massive economic development bill. In response to the Senate’s failure to pass a bill, Missouri GOP Executive Director Lloyd Smith said the party would “explore all of our options, including those that do not require legislative action.”
While state law mandates that a presidential primary be held, it does not specifically say that the results must be used to divvy out delegates to presidential candidates. It only says that the results of the primary must be reported to the state parties.
The responsibility of selecting delegates to the national convention is left up to the parties and is to be done at caucuses around the state, and ultimately, at the party’s district and state conventions.
"Missouri law sets forth how the presidential primary will be conducted, but the process of selecting delegates for the national conventions is left to the political parties," said Laura Egerdal, communications director for the Secretary of State’s office.
County caucuses are already scheduled for March, just as they always are during presidential election years. Participants at those caucuses will select delegates to congressional district and state conventions, where delegates will be chosen to attend the Republican and Democratic national conventions.
Traditionally, the results of the presidential primary have been used to allocate delegates at the caucuses. But Missouri law does not appear to mandate that, meaning Republican officials could — in theory at least — essentially turn the presidential primary into a straw poll and tell the Republican National Committee that the true presidential contest will be held at the Missouri Caucuses in March.
"I like the caucus system, because I think it encourages people to get involved," he said. "It’s a much more involved process than simply showing up and casting a vote in a primary."
Missouri is not alone in potentially violating the national rules for presidential primaries. Florida is expected to move its primary to January, which would result in the entire nomination process moving even earlier. In 2008, the Iowa Caucuses were held on Jan. 3.
Any change is unlikely to affect Democrats, who are not expected to have a contested presidential primary. A spokeswoman for the Missouri Democratic Party said the hope remains that the legislature will pass a bill moving the primary back to March.
Senate leaders have said the bill, along with all other bills on the agenda of the special legislative session, will not be considered until a deal is struck on an economic development bill.