For the first time since Sam Graves slid into the seat in 2000, he is facing a real challenger in the person of popular former Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes, and it is already getting nasty.
This race is quite possibly going to be the nastiest fought battle for a seat in the entire 111th congress. Graves is, without a doubt the meanest sonofabitch in the Missouri delegation, if not the entire congress. He routinely uses that white-trash, trailer-park minion of Rove, Jeff Roe to wield a hatchet – but Kay is highly skilled with a scalpel. May she show Roe his black little political heart before it stops beating. I think he – and Graves – may have made a tactical error in conflating winning elections against sacrificial lambs with successful electoral strategy. Graves has been a nasty, negative campaigner from day one, starting with the Republican primary in 2000.
In 1999, the National Republican Congressional Committee recruited Teresa Loar, a moderate Republican to challenge popular conservative Democrat Steve Danner, the son of long-term and much-loved Congressman Pat Danner. Then late in the election cycle, Danner stepped aside, guaranteeing that a first termer would be elected in November 2000.
Congressional attack dog DeLay saw a chance to put a junkyard cur in that seat, and there was no room for an ethical moderate Republican who would work for the constituents instead of the Party Agenda. DeLay wanted an acolyte, he wanted a swaggering jingoistic goon, and he was gonna have one, no matter what. Roy Blunt and Tom DeLay called Loar personally, telling her, in essence, “Step aside, little lady.”
When she didn’t, Roe unsheathed the long knives. They went through her trash, they followed her, they staked out her home and office, they stalked her like paparazzi, getting in her face and snapping pictures nonstop.
Sam Graves is busily trying to paint Kay Barnes with the Nancy Pelosi brush, making sweeping statements like “She’s going to be very frustrated because the 6th is not like San Francisco.”
And that is the kind of garbage that makes this daughter of the 6th just want to slap the jackass silly. I went to high school in the 6th, I am the same age as Graves, and I know a dozen jerks just like him. No kidding the 6th isn't like San Francisco! You don't say! Why, I would have been totally confused without Sammy setting me straight. (Get it? That was a poke at San Francisco and the Camp cover. Geez, Sam, try to keep up. These are the jokes, Son...)
We tire of your antics. The 6th has a history of flipping regularly, the people are not as homogeneous as Graves would like to think. A whole bunch of us have been to college - hell, some of us have even been to europe! For the most part, we aren't scared of brown people, don't think terrorists are gonna blow up the courthouse in Trenton, And are more concerned about CAFO's than gay marriage. Shoot, a whole bunch of us realize that our marriages aren't in jeopardy if the gay people we know are given equal standing in their relationships.
Graves is banking everything on xenophobia and immigration. And yeah, we are concerned about the problem of undocumented labor, and the drain on our schools and healthcare systems - but we are also smart enough to cypher two and two and come up with four. We know that deporting ten million people en masse would wreak economic havoc. We also realize that if they would get the CAFOs under control, a lot of our problem with immigration would be solved as a byproduct.)
Graves has been the most loyal of Bushies, and it’s going to bite him in the ass. He can’t run away from his support of Bush on virtually every issue. His unflagging support of a war that the district wants over yesterday would probably be enough to sink his chances in 2008.
But then, he followed aWol off the SCHIP cliff. Bush isn't running next year, but Graves is. And that is gonna hang him. The people of the 6th are fed up with the dirty politics, the lies, and the loyalty to Bush. They went for McCaskill last November, and they passed Amendment 2 with a comfortable margin. So keep misreading and underestimating us. And by all means, continue the way you have.
I already have my little black dress picked out for January 20, 2009!