Monday, May 14, 2007

It's Official! Barnes is in!

At 12:30 central Kay Barnes will announce her candidacy for the MO-06 congressional seat, currently occupied by Sam Graves. She is making the announcement at a press conference in front of her 94-year-old mother’s house in St. Joseph surrounded by four generations of family.

Come January 2009 – Kansas City will be boasting not one, but two former Mayors in the House of Representatives. This will tip the 5-4 balance of the Missouri delegation to favor the Democrats. (I'm dancin' in my jammies here!)

Sam Graves managed to secure the seat in 2000 after a close race with Steve Danner, and hasn’t really faced an opponent capable of mounting a campaign against him since. His opponent in the 06 mid-terms, Sara Jo Shettles, gained the endorsement of the KC Star, but still managed to garner only about 40% of the vote after a vicious and slanderous barrage of smear from Graves and the trailer-trash version of Karl Rove, the loathsome toad Jeff Roe. (Here is the gist of the story…over 20 years ago Ms. Shettles sold advertising for the pop-science magazine Omni. Omni was a Bob Guiccione publication, so Ms. Shettles was a pornographer. Ro(v)e called her answering machine and did a burlesque routine. Classy guy.)

Sara Jo Shettles is, I’m sure, a very nice lady and would have done a fine job in the House. But she didn’t have a couple of the requisite ingredients to push back against the Graves-Ro(v)e slime machine. She didn’t have the money, and she didn’t have the name recognition. Barnes has both, in spades. I almost forgot…the endorsement of Walter Cronkite is a given…He is her first cousin.

It doesn’t hurt Barnes any that the Graves brand name is being tarnished by the US Attorney scandal – Sam Graves is the brother of Todd Graves, one of the ousted US Attorneys – and the only one who had another side-scandal working that involved the long-standing Missouri tradition of patronage for political donors in the form of MO Department of Revenue fee offices. Every license plate in Missouri is issued by a political crony, and it’s that way no matter which party controls the Governor’s office.

Jeff Ro(v)e predictably dismissed the challenge, of course. I think he said something about values or some such. It was pretty much whipping a dead horse. Oh yeah, I remember now…Sam Graves represents the values of the 26 counties of the 6th district, Barnes represents the values of the 26 blocks of downtown KC. She will have a very difficult time convincing people in St. Joseph and the Northland that downtown Kansas City should get a second member of Congress. (I wonder if Ro(v)e noticed that Missouri's senior Senator, Kit Bond, has not ruled out endorsing Barnes over Graves? I sure did! Graves has problems in his party. I don't know what he has done, but he has pissed off a lot of the states Republican powerful.)

Well, I have something Ro(v)e might not. I have relatives and deep roots in the tall corn of the MO 06. I’ve actually bought the tags for my car in a fabric store on the town square of a rural county in the 06. My relatives and their neighbors are not happy. The Republican franchise is tainted up there right now. Iraq and Medicaid cuts have poured vinegar in the Republican's milk and they can't take the rural areas for granted any longer.

Given the choice between someone who spent the last eight years in Washington doing a mediocre job, and someone who spent the last 8 years leading the biggest city in the district to revitalization and prosperity – I have every reason to believe they will select the girl from St. Joe done good.

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