Archive for August 3rd, 2012

The Captains Five On The 1st

This upcoming Tuesday is voting day for the Missouri primaries and I feel the need to address one of the races.  Most of the television ads in the St. Louis market are focused on the three right-wingers trying to out-conservative each other with terrible attacks to win the Republican nomination for a Senate seat.  But I’m much more interested in the Democratic primary for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District.  Two long-time politicians and current Democratic Congressmen that I respect are both running for the same seat.   Democrats in Missouri rarely go head to head in elections, so the outcome of this primary is particularly impactful.  Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan are both good candidates, but only one can win.  I’ve been torn on who to support for awhile now, so I thought I would cover the topic in a very political #Friday5

 

Top 5 Thoughts On The Missouri’s 2012 Democratic Primary

 

1.  Lacy Clay had a hand in causing the currnet mess

For those who are unfamiliar with the situation, here’s a very brief synopsis.  St. Louis has had 2 Congressional seats for the past decade.  The 1st district was Clay’s, composed of the City of St. Louis and north St. Louis County.  The 3rd district was Carnahan’s, composed of the most of the rest of St. Louis County.  When Missouri lost a Congressional seat due to the 2010 Census redistricting, the Republican controlled Missouri Legislature proposed that a seat should be removed from St. Louis.  The proposed new map was typical partisan bullshit.

The new districts would lump most of Carnahan’s 3rd together with the existing 1st district, and then carve out a small portion of the southern part of the 3rd combined with part of other districts to form and new 2nd district.  The plan by Republicans was to lump all of Democratic leaning St. Louis into one district.  That way going from nine Congressional seats to eight would be at the expense of the three Democrat seats and not the six Republican seats.  Democratic Governor Jay Nixon rightly vetoed this map, which meant that the Republican controlled Missouri Legislature would actually have to get a few Democrats to vote for the map to override the Governor’s veto.

This seemed unlikely at the time, which would have resulted in the map going to court for a decision.  But the veto was actually overturned due to a few key votes from Democrats in Kansas City.  And Lacy Clay had a hand in securing those votes, according to documents provided by Russ Carnahan.  Here’s a link.

I’m still embarrassed that such a biased new Congressional map actually passed the Missouri Legislature with help from Democrats.  St. Louis City and County combined contains nearly 25% of Missouri’s population, which would entitle the region to two of the state’s eight congressional seats.  St. Louis is being underrepresented in Congress, and the fact that Lacy Clay had something to do with this is a point against him.

 

2.  Lacy Clay was always extremely outspoken against the War In Iraq

I’ve taken a strong stance against the U.S. war in Iraq since before the invasion in 2003.  I was a vocal critic from the start, and so was Lacy Clay.  He voted against the Iraq War from the moment it was proposed and every chance he was given afterwards, which I’ve always admired.  Granted, Russ Carnahan wasn’t elected to Congress until 2004 so he didn’t have a chance to vote against it initially.  And also, he did consistently vote against it once he was in Congress so no knock against him.  But Clay has always been EXTREMELY outspoken about it to anyone who would listen.

Lacy Clay was the commencement speaker at my Masters graduation ceremony at UMSL back in 2006.  He spent and good ten minutes passionately arguing against the war, often to very loud heckles coming from the crowd.  He pissed many of those in attendance that day and absolutely delighted me in the process.  His strong and anti-War stance has always impressed me, which will always be a point for Clay in my book.

 

3.  Russ Carnahan stood up against the crazies in the St. Louis Tea Party

I spent a good chunk of 2010 disgusted with the foolhardy uprising of the Tea Party.  The organization was SO manufactured and the participants were SO narrow minded that I couldn’t take them seriously.  But what drove me really crazy was the silence of local Democratic leaders on the subject.  I understand why no one wants to stand up to an unruly mob, but someone has to, dammit!  And in St. Louis that person was Russ Carnahan.  For a great perspective on Carnahan standing up to the Tea Party check out this post from St. Louis Activist Hub.  I’ve met this local Blogger on a few occasions and I can personally attest that he is one of the most reputable sources for information in St. Louis politics.

Bottom line is that Russ Carnahan stood up against the Tea Party back when few others would, which is a definite point for him.

 

4.  Lacy Clay is a respected member of the Congressional Black Caucus

I’ve always disliked the high percentage of white men in elected positions, and Congress is a perfect example.  The fact that there had only been four black Senators before Barack Obama’s election in 2004 is ridiculous.  The House has a much better ratio of minorities, but it’s still a long way from being truly representative.  I think it’s wonderful that Congressman Cleaver from Missouri is the current Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and I’m glad that Lacy Clay is a respected member as well.  Representing minorities often takes a back seat in Congress, and losing Lacy Clay would definitely add to that problem.  With another point to Clay, that leaves the score tied a two a piece.

 

5.  Russ Carnahan is the more moderate candidate.

When comparing the voting record of both men, nothing really stands out to me.  While I disagree with both of them on certain issues, I think they are both good candidates.  For me what it comes down to is Carnahan’s more moderate tone.  Clay is known as more of the fiery liberal, and I think it works for him.  Like Clay, most of my views are actually quite liberal.  But I usually end up voting for the more moderate candidate in this situation.  I think the extreme polarization of Congress over the past few years is slowly destroying America and the solution is more moderate candidates.  To me Carnahan has never seemed afraid to work with anyone to accomplish a goal.  He proved this point spectacularly with an impressive showing last nite on the Better Know A District segment from The Colbert Report.  You can watch the whole clip here.

 

 

Watching Carnahan hold his own against Stephen Colbert really reinforced just how willing he is to go outside of his comfort zone.  And since it looks as though the House will once again be overwhelmingly Republican in 2012, I want the Congressman representing St Louis who can work those in control.

So with a 3-2 final score, I’m endorsing Russ Carnahan for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District.  But I think either candidate will do a great job representing St. Louis.

 

 

The primary in St. Louis is Tuesday, so please go and vote!

 

 

Ciao,

The Captain

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