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GEORGE KENNEDY: Election results were no surprise

Thursday, November 4, 2010 | 12:43 p.m. CDT

In search of a smiling Democrat, I went Tuesday night to Chris Kelly’s election watch party. I deliberately went early, before many results were in, because I expected that the outcome at state and national levels would eventually extinguish any merriment.

That expectation proved prescient, but even early on, Chris himself was just about the only one present – other than some pool players in the back of the room – who seemed to be having any fun at all. Everybody knew it would be a bad night for party faithful, though I don’t think many realized quite how bad it would turn out to be. Who ever heard of an incumbent state auditor getting beat?

One prominent former officeholder surprised me twice, first by offering to buy me a beer and then with his analysis of the mood of the electorate. That mood, he speculated, was so sour that an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate, vowing only to clean up Washington, could have defeated either party’s nominee this year.

We’ll never know whether that’s true, of course, but two things about the Senate race seem indisputable: First, Robin Carnahan ran a weak, almost altogether negative, campaign, and second, she encountered a perfect storm. The collection of anti-tax ballot propositions could almost have been designed to bring out pro-Blunt voters. The bans on earnings and transfer taxes got even more votes statewide than he did. Missouri turned red.

At the local level, some of Tuesday’s results were equally predictable. Our three Democratic state representatives were handily re-elected, thus cementing Columbia’s reputation in the Capitol as Havana on the Hinkson. And we do love our parks. The quiet opposition to the parks tax that worried mayors past and present only mustered a third of the voters.

We also love our puppies, at least in the city limits. In the county, not so much. The dramatic disparity shows in the helpful interactive online map ColumbiaMissourian.com editors labored into the early hours of Wednesday to create. That map shows an interesting correlation. The precincts that voted Yes or No on Proposition B are almost a perfect match with the votes for Scott Christianson and Ed Robb for presiding commissioner.

I wouldn’t allege that Prof. Robb is pro-puppy mill, but the map certainly suggests that his relentlessly critical campaign registered with many of the suburban and rural residents who didn’t want more regulation.

(The first few months of 2011 should be interesting around the County Government Center, as the new presiding commissioner rubs elbows or butts heads with the Democratic officeholders – all of them re-elected without opposition – whom he called overpaid and incompetent. It might be a cause of some concern for those officeholders that their constituents outside Columbia seem to have believed Prof. Robb’s charges.)

Tuesday’s results remind that Columbia is home to a good number of unrepentant liberals, but as if to confuse an analyst, they showed themselves again to be law-and-order liberals. The proposed Taser ban won less than a quarter of the vote. When an anti-Taser campaigner told the Missourian the group might go back to the City Council to ask for stricter limits on use, he appeared more wishful than hopeful.

At Wednesday morning’s campus town hall session, University President Gary Forsee quoted a bit of his father’s post-election wisdom. No matter what the outcome, the senior Mr. Forsee said, the sun always comes up the next day.

Sure enough, even for Democrats, it did.

George Kennedy is a former managing editor at the Missourian and professor emeritus at the Missouri School of Journalism.

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Comments

Deana St John November 5, 2010 | 3:55 a.m.

Mr. Kennedy, I take issue with some of your statements.

"I wouldn’t allege that Prof. Robb is pro-puppy mill, but the map certainly suggests that his relentlessly critical campaign registered with many of the suburban and rural residents who didn’t want more regulation."

First of all, your disclaimer at the beginning of the sentence is quite silly. It's akin to saying "Now, I'm not a racist, but I really wish all those Asian students would learn to speak English." By defensively claiming you're not something or don't feel a certain way, you are really just affirming your true belief.

Second, you imply in this statement that the reason us backward country folk voted "No" on Prop B (which I did) was because we didn't want more regulation. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps some of us (not necessarily all) do think there should be strict regulations on puppy mills but that the proposition was not the way we think regulations should be implemented? I, personally, am strongly in favor of stringent regulations on both puppy mills and pet owners in general. All pet owners, whether you raise dozens of dogs to breed and sell or just own one little Chihuahua, should be held accountable for not properly caring for their pet(s). I completely agreed with two of the propositions points:

"require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles"

and

"create a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations"

"Large-scale" dog breeding operations should definitely have to do all those things, and it should be a misdemeanor to violate that proposed law. But, why should dog breeders be singled out and forced to comply with the new regulations? All pet owners should have to abide by these laws, not just dog breeders. The proposition unfairly puts a burden on dog breeders to follow laws that other pet owners don't. Of course there are animal cruelty laws, but they only matter after the fact. Are the dogs and cats and other pets that non-dog breeders own not important as well? Who will protect them and insure that they are well cared for? People can just as easily abuse one animal as they can 50, and maybe even more so because it would easier to hide the cruel treatment of one dog behind closed doors as opposed to trying to hide cruel treatment of 50 dogs.

(Report Comment)
Deana St John November 5, 2010 | 3:56 a.m.

(cont.)

Also, I don't agree with this clause of the proposition:

"prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets"

Why should people be limited in how many breeding dogs they have? If someone has the space, time, money and commitment to care for 100 dogs, then they should be perfectly allowed to do so. It is completely arbitrary. I'm sure there are plenty of dog breeders who own more than 50 breeding dogs and treat all of their dogs with care and love. Why should they be punished because of others who mistreat animals in puppy mills and give the whole business a bad name?

The seizures and raids of puppy mills that are so frequent on the news is a heartbreaking thing. The owners should be dealt heavy penalties and spend an extended period of time behind bars. But the problem is that legitimate dog breeders are being demonized because of the actions of others. It's no different than passing a law that prohibits immigration of Muslims into the country because a few Muslims are terrorists. Prop B will prohibit the practices of legitimate dog breeders because of a few others who've acted wrongly. Do you not understand that?

Of course, I think the people behind the proposition had good intentions, but Prop B unfairly penalizes a whole group of people for the actions of a few. And you may be wondering how this penalizes them. If they are such upstanding dog breeders, then they will have already been practicing all of these requirements. True, but Prop B also arbitrarily limits breeders to the number of dogs they can have. I already know of one family who is now going to get out of the dog breeding business because of the number clause. Their business included much more than 50 breeding dogs. They are inspected every year and pass because they treat all of their animals humanely. But now they are going to stop breeding and just sell off their remaining animals until they have no more. And then they'll be another family on unemployment.

I just wanted to bring to your attention that it is quite naive to assume that just because people voted against Prop B, then they must hate puppies (as your sixth paragraph suggests) and want to stop further regulation (as your seventh paragraph suggests). I love puppies (and kitties) and think there should be strict regulations. But those regulations should be on all pet owners, not just those who choose to breed and sell their animals.

But what do I know, I'm from the country.

(Report Comment)
Shelley Powers November 5, 2010 | 7:22 a.m.

I agree that Robin Carnahan ran a bad campaign. I even emailed her campaign early on and asked them to run at least one positive ad. By the time of the election, I was voting for her reluctantly. I think next election, we need to go outside the Carnahan family for Democratic candidates.

(Report Comment)
Tina Fey November 5, 2010 | 7:29 a.m.

Face it George - No More Liberal Ditships. Basically, do you get it?

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward November 5, 2010 | 8:03 a.m.

Don't know if this is good or bad news.....

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release) –Nov 04. 2010
ST. LOUIS – Leaders of St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets, Inc. announced today that all Schnucks markets and their affiliates will be moving their operations out of Missouri by the end of 2011.

'This is a regretful moment in Schnuck's long and proud history, says Sherwyn Meer president of the Homer Group. 'But it is imperative that The Schnucks chain of supermarkets will be fully prepared to weather the financial impact of the end of all agriculture in Missouri, the inevitable result of the passage of Proposition B.

For more information :
Media Contacts :
Will Loris
314-949-4062
http://www.schnucksmarkets.com

(Report Comment)
Daniel Jordan Jordan November 5, 2010 | 8:05 a.m.

Tina. Reasoned, courteous, and civil as ever.

(Report Comment)
Laura Johnston November 5, 2010 | 8:40 a.m.

@Terry Ward: It appears that press release is a fake.
I can find no such information at the official Schnucks website, which is www.schnucks.com.

Laura Johnston, ColumbiaMissourian.com

(Report Comment)
Jessica Bryand November 5, 2010 | 9:22 p.m.
(Report Comment)

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