Democratic Senate Candidates Finally Come Out Swinging – At Obama!: The Message from Missouri by Gregory Hilton

Another ominous sign for Democrats is that some of their most prominent Senate candidates are now turning sharply against the Obama Administration. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is trailing in the polls by 23% and is now shifting rapidly to the right. She has joined Republican effort to stop funding for terror trials in the United States, and back home she is emphasizing her independence from the White House.
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) has also seen his popularity ratings plummet, and has responded by denouncing his party’s liberal wing. Bayh says “Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Democratic party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country, that’s not going to work too well.”
These Senators are being joined by other Democratic lawmakers who are trying to rehabilitate themselves by ignoring their voting records. They are now castigating proposals they previously advocated.
Missouri’s Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate was a solid Obama booster in 2008. For the past year she has been silent on the issues but has now decided to come out swinging. The surprise is that her rhetoric is not aimed at Republicans but at the Obama Administration.
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) is opposing GOP Rep. Roy Blunt in the race to replace retiring Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO). Carnahan is no longer an Obama cheerleader and now says she is “disappointed” with the President’s budget. She blames the White House because “there hasn’t been anything that’s been done since the financial crisis to prevent the exact same thing from happening. I think that’s a failure.”
Carnahan says “Budgets are about setting priorities and it’s time Washington started making fiscal discipline and tackling the long-term budget deficit higher priorities.” She is asking why the administration can not get the “long term deficit under control,” and “Missouri families have to balance their checkbooks and our government should be no different.”
She has suggested no budget reductions, and what she is really disappointed in is Obama’s tanking poll numbers among Missouri independents. Carnahan is currently trailing Congressman Blunt, the former House Republican Whip, by a 49 to 43 percent margin, but this race will be a toss-up throughout the year. Missouri is seen as a bellwether state because it has voted for the winning Presidential candidate in all but two presidential elections since 1904. In 2008 it voted for McCain.
CARNAHAN NEEDS TO START ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Robin Carnahan announced her Senate candidacy on February 3, 2009, and for the next 10 months her campaign website avoided any discussion of issues, and it still provides little information. Her favorite topic is her new calf, Moxie, and Carnahan appears to be the most unimpressive Senate candidate the Democrats are nominating this year.
The GOP welcomed her recent opposition to the Obama budget but wondered why she remained silent for so long. Carnahan’s anti-Bush message was loud and strong in 2008, but now she has seen what has happened in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. Carnahan knows the voting record of Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) came back to haunt her, so her strategy is say little and to claim she wants bipartisan solutions. Carnahan and Lincoln have formed a joint Missouri Arkansas Victory Fund to raise campaign cash.
Carnahan is starting to meet with newspaper editorial boards but still refuses to give direct answers. For example, she will not take a position on cap-and-trade and instead says “a squabble in Washington makes me crazy.”
The Secretary of State will not say she is for gay civil unions, but only that it is something the state “should consider.” In 2004, Missouri passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage. When KMOX asked to be more specific about her position on gay marriage she replied “This election is about getting more jobs,” and refused to make an additional comment.
Carnahan denounces the spending of $1.2 billion every day on imported oil but ignores the fact that it was her party which stopped the development of nuclear power for 35 years and always shot down attempts to drill for oil and gas off shore.
She says health care “doesn’t need to be a big partisan fight,” but then offers no recommendations.
Rep. Blunt is chairman of the G.O.P. Health Care Solutions Group, and a leading opponent of the public option. He has been very specific in describing alternative solutions for health care, while Carnahan meekly says “we have to avoid partisanship.”
Alvin Reid of the St. Louis Globe Democrat noted her recent budget remarks began with the words “From where I stand.” Reid says “From where she stands? Where does she really stand on many, many issues? You might not agree with Republican Blunt, but at least you know what he believes in and where he is coming from. She ripped into Obama’s budget, but didn’t offer any alternatives.”
REPEATING THE 2006 McCASKILL STRATEGY
Carnahan has no voting record and wants to portray herself as a moderate. Her goal is to repeat the successful 2006 strategy of then State Auditor Claire McCaskill which resulted in the defeat of Sen. Jim Talent (R). McCaskill campaigned as a moderate and she captured the suburban independent vote in both St. Louis and Kansas City.
McCaskill benefitted from anti-war sentiments, GOP scandals, as well as opposition to Bush’s plan to privatize social security. There was strong Democratic enthusiasm which resulted in impressive turnouts in the two major cities. Surveys demonstrate that many voters turned out to oppose Bush rather than to support McCaskill. The huge Democratic enthusiasm of 2006 has not yet emerged in 2010.
McCaskill endorsed Obama in January of 2008 and was one of the first Senators to do so. She claims to be a Senate moderate and consistently emphasizes her opposition to earmarks. What McCaskill fails to explain is why she votes for every bill that is loaded with earmarks. Carnahan has also promised to take an anti-earmark stand.
THE POLITICAL DYNASTIES
Carnahan’s father Mel was Governor of Missouri from 1992 until his death in an airplane crash three weeks prior to the 2000 election. Her mother, Jean Carnahan, was appointed to the Senate to fill the seat Gov. Carnahan won posthumously by defeating Sen. John Ashcroft (R). She served for two years and was defeated in 2002 by then Rep. Jim Talent (R) when she sought a full term. Her vote against Ashcroft’s nomination to serve as Attorney General was not popular.
Robin Carnahan’s grandfather also served in Congress, and her brother Russ is now a Member of Congress. Blunt served as Missouri’s Secretary of State from 1984-1992, and was defeated in two statewide elections. His son Matt was Governor from 2004 to 2008.

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One response to “Democratic Senate Candidates Finally Come Out Swinging – At Obama!: The Message from Missouri by Gregory Hilton

  1. Missouri always has bad governors and even worst Senators Party doesn’t seem to make any difference the political machines in this state always go to the bottom of the barrel for the rotten apple

    We need a 3rd choice this time None of above

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