Your faithful observer is starting to see spots before his eyes.
“Spots” is broadcast-ese for “commercials.” Political commercials. Most particularly, Republican candidates for governor. Three of them were almost cheek-to-jowl in one of the late night shows the other night.
The timing of two of the commercials was—uh—awkward, shall we say?
Only about forty-eight hours after the Orlando incident, Eric Greitens was blowing up something with (what appears to these eyes unfamiliar with weapons) a military-style assault rifle. His solution to politics-as-usual is to fire about 13 shots in two seconds until something he is shooting at explodes. Some folks we have talked think it was poor manners to continue running these spots in the immediate wake of the Orlando tragedy.
Catherine Hanaway uses a shotgun to also blast “career politicians” while touting the mom, home, and apple pie virtues and claiming that she “passed” a law expanding gun rights (to be honest, SHE didn’t pass it, the legislature did). And the question arises with her commercial too—whether it was poor taste to brag about expanding gun rights in the wake of Orlando. It might seem odd to some that she criticizes career politicians after a career that began as a manager of Senator Bond’s campaign in northeast Missouri in 1993, election to the Missouri House in ’98, her extensive work recruiting candidates and donors to help Republicans gain control of the House, her term as Speaker, her losing candidacy for Secretary of State in 2004 and her subsequent political appointment as federal prosecutor in eastern Missouri under the George W. Busch administration.
Compared to those two is John Brunner, who so far has advertised nothing more than his promise to create more jobs and an emphasis that he’s so rich he “can’t be bought.” We’ll wait to see if he shows anything indicating he has something else to offer or any specifics about how he can create more jobs in a state where the unemployment rate is just above four percent, a figure that fits several definitions of “full employment.”
We didn’t see a Peter Kinder spot while Greitens, Hanaway, and Brunner were hoping late night viewers would find something significant in guns and generalities. But he had been on the air earlier attacking the unmitigated evils of the Left, which is nothing new for him.
Perhaps the candidates will tell us in spots to come what they’ll do to solve Missouri’s problems—poor school funding, poor transportation funding, medical care and mental health services, whether they think significantly higher sales taxes are preferable to a graduated income tax, stuff like that requiring more than platitudes, diatribes, and firearms.
The campaigns by Hanaway, Brunner, and Greitens blasting career politicians certainly seem targeted at Kinder, who has been in office either as a Senator or Lieutenant Governor since 1993, the year that Hanaway became a campaign worker for Senator Bond.
Another spot thrown into the mix during that late night show regurgitates attack ads from Brunner’s 2012 Senate race, accusing him of not paying some taxes on time, setting up offshore tax-avoiding accounts, and refusing to make his tax returns public. The spot is backed by one of those character-assassinating super-PACS that lacks the courage to be honest about who is giving it money. In this case, it’s something called LG-PAC.
Brunner admitted four years ago he and his company missed some payment deadlines.
And for an outfit that won’t reveal the source of its funding for this kind of advertising smears to criticize someone for considering his personal tax returns a private matter—and would YOU want your tax return made public?—is, to say the least, blatant hypocrisy.
LG is an organization that does have to tell the Internal Revenue Service who its donors are. But Joe Mannies with St. Louis Public Radio, one of the state’s top and long-time political reporters, says the report apparently doesn’t have to be filed until after the August primary. And don’t bet that LG will be willing to reveal what IT files with the IRS.
So what is LG-PAC? Several reporters have tried to find out. It’s registered with the Federal Elections Commission, not the Missouri Ethics Commission, although it is spending money on a state race. It’s run by Kansas Citian Hank Monsees.
A check of its website indicates it has Brunner, Hanaway, and Grietens in its sights. But it also has a picture of a smiling Kinder and a link to a newspaper article about one of Kinder’s positions. Kinder disavows any knowledge of LG’s leanings although the webpage seems to tilt his way.
Scott Faughn at the Missouri Times has reported the outfit’s bank is located in Virginia and has no branches in Missouri.
LG isn’t alone is this swamp. Mannies also notes American Bridges, which admits its largest contributor is financier George Soros, is most likely to support Democrats and liberal policies. It’s targeting Senator Blunt. Blunt, on the other hand, has Karl Rove’s One Nation Super PAC, which already has announced big spending on his behalf. Not connected to the Blunt campaign, of course, but it is unlikely to say anything nice about Blunt’s challenger, Secretary of State Jason Kander.
Another one is called Missouri Rising, an arm of America Rising. It already has done some anti-Chris Koster stuff.
The Missouri legislature and the United States Congress could expose who’s too gutless to openly admit supporting this kind of campaigning that only further weakens public confidence in the election and governmental process.
But gutless birds of a feather flock together. And neither the legislature nor the Congress wants to disturb gutless geese that lay golden eggs.