Friday, May 23, 2008

Impressions of the Democratic AG candidates (and Friday Housekeeping Notes)

The debate moderator, and the candidates. Left to right: Margaret Donnelly, Jeff Harris and Chris Koster

Of particular interest to Missouri readers, I attended the Democratic AG candidate debate yesterday evening at UMKC and I have great pictures and audio to transcribe. What I saw on that stage was a deep bench. Three capable lawyers with impressive resumes took questions from four local journalists for an hour and a half, and every one of them presented a compelling case. Damn, but Democrats are looking good these days. Can't swing a dead cat without hitting a couple of strong Democratic candidates.

Mike Mahoney and Steve Kraske both let their masks slip, of course, but that is to be expected of those two, and everyone in the KC media market knows it. I wanted to rush the stage and the people around me groaned audibly when Mike Mahoney started shilling for Voter ID "Why shouldn't voters have to prove who they are?" (We already do. We just don't have to overcome the onerous burden of showing a government issued ID and producing a notarized copy of a birth certificate, and if you are a married woman, your marriage license - which is what the latest attempt would have mandated!) I heard the subtle implication that he liked the option of amending the constitution to make people prove citizenship and name changes every single time they cast a vote for anything - we already identify ourselves in an effective and non-burdensome manner and there have been no instances of voter fraud to justify their draconian measures. Kraske needs to be the press secretary for some republicanor other and be done with it. Ah jeez - ranting about the sorry state of the local media again - sorry.

At the reception after the debate I had a lovely 15-minute chat with Chris Koster's mother and she is a hoot! She also confirms that he was always a "weird republican." He has the strongest courtroom experience - he was the only person on the stage who has tried a serial killer. He also said some very reasonable things about the application of the death penalty. He has tried cases where he asked for it, and is grateful they all ended in pleas of guilty in exchange for a sentence f life in prison. I was impressed with that answer. I also heard something I wanted to hear from him - I heard him say that he cast votes as a republican that he regrets. Full marks for that, in this age of accountability coming back into fashion.

Jeff Harris is a witty guy - he did get the laugh lines, and frankly, the ability to engage a crowd like that is a very strong asset when one is campaigning. It has been proven over and over that that people vote for people who are likeable, and Harris certainly is, and he is strong on consumer protections. He was the only one on the stage who has worked in the AG's office, for our current AG and future governor, Jay Nixon. I like that he is willing to go after CAFOs.

Margaret Donnelly
has a strong background in family law, and served on the Budget Committee in the House. She has overseen staff and budgets larger than the AG's office and has the management experience to hit the ground running.

Like I said...Deep bench. We Democrats seem to be cursed with them these days. Innit great? [/gloating]

Anyway - more on the debate later. I'll transcribe, you can decide. Deal?

Hey all - It's Friday, so we are keeping our eyes and ears open for the Friday News Dump™, and the cats are coming soon, but I have some stuff to do that is going to take some time, including a trip to Target for gadgets. (Yippee!) Then I need to spend two uninterupted hours with a new software package that I have been meaning to learn for weeks - literally. Both the gadgets and the software will enhance your blog reading experience, so I must find the time...

I have had a very busy week, following two weekends in a row that I was away attending gatherings of Democrats, and both of my to-do lists (one for the cyber world and one for the corporeal realm) have become practically overwhelming.

Thanks for your patience. Kitties and the news dump - and more debate blogging - are coming along as time permits. And of course there will be the nightly newswrap for the Nightowls - but don't be surprised if over the weekend you only get three or four posts a day besides the roundup and quick hits, because my partner is busy, too. Or there is the alternative - and in my case that would be spinning my tires for another two weeks, and I don't need that aggravation, and you deserve a better quality of blogging than that would produce.

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