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DAVID ROSMAN: Early political announcements don't mean good government

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:02 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 26, 2013

Break out the bumper stickers. It was the worst-kept secret in Missouri politics.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, wants to be the attorney general of Missouri in 2017, officially announcing his candidacy last week. Why announce your intentions 38 months in advance? To raise money, of course, because the person with the most money must be the political favorite and the right person for the job. Just ask the political reporters and pundits who seem to look only at the financials, not trusting their own polling.

Not that Schaefer has the lone hat in the political stream for the attorney general seat. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, has announced his intent to announce, and Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, has announced that he is thinking of possibly announcing that he will announce. Confused yet?

These three, and others in the state GOP, have been courting the conservative right, the tea partyers and other anarchists, supporting bills that would make the Constitution of the United States shiver in its hermetically sealed case. Or strip the state of some extra funds to fix roads, pay for teachers and do those other things that we expect from the government.

However, in the world of politics, the person who becomes the early front-runner is also usually not on top for long. This is not just the GOP and not just locally, but nationally and statewide. So, how serious must we take Kurt and Tim? Very, if you are a Democrat.

We also know that Attorney General Chris Koster wants to be governor. It is a natural step in his storied political career. But it must be noted that he has not said a word, officially or otherwise. We also know of a few Dems who would like the opportunity to replace him, though the pool is limited. I heard tell of a judge who may perchance be interested in the attorney general seat, but that is pure speculation from a third party. Rumor Control Central, you know.

One must really wonder: Why announce so early? Does this not interfere with the governing of the state, the reason we elected Schaefer? He’ll be running a campaign for three of his four years left in office. Jones will be out of office for at least two years before the 2016 elections — he is term-limited and will be out of office at the end of 2014.

Schaefer, of course, is showing his hand a bit too early for most. Certainly a bad move in poker and politics where you would want to hold your cards close to your chest. I even know this and I stink at poker.

What Schaefer, Jones and others who will announce before November 2014 want is recognition. As the song goes, seeing your name above a bar is just not good enough and “you don’t have to call me darlin’, darlin’. But you never even call me by my name.” Without name recognition you just won’t get the votes.

I worry about who will be the top cop for the state. Do we want someone who has shown little care for the state or federal constitutions? One who believes in nullification of law though a process that has been chided by the federal courts? Does Missouri need an obstructionist attorney general?

I am confused by the conservative's and Libertarian's deep hatred for the Affordable Care Act, as to deny health coverage for thousands of Missourians by refusing to expand Medicaid or creating a state-controlled medical marketplace. Not that any of their ilk are bad people at heart. I just think that they have come to believe the propaganda machine of the right-wing right-wingers and have badly misread that socialist, atheist Ayn Rand.

Schaefer has announced early. What is next? He and others will have to answer one very important question: “What have you done for me and Missouri lately? ‘Cause lately I could do without you.'” But only lately.

There are muddy waters in politics. So who will be next to attempt to toss a hat across the rapids of the mighty Missouri toward Jefferson City?

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. He writes a weekly column for the Missourian.


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