Sunday, January 15, 2006

"Perception Becomes Reality"

It seems the News-Leader is intent on "Perception Management" when it comes to supporting Roy Blunt in his candidacy for House Majority Leader. Editorial page editor Robert Leger became the official media apologist for Roy Blunt today, pointing out that . . .

"Rep. Roy Blunt's quest to become the House majority leader is a major local story for southwest Missouri. If he is successful, it will assure continued federal support for key Ozarks projects such as highway improvements, university research, water quality protection and Jordan Valley Park."

But isn't obtaining federal support for district projects what any good Congressman would do for his constituency? True, it would be a lot more fun for the local paper to cover a House Majority Leader than another bland party functionary like Gene Taylor, but is Leger really being completely open with his readers when he says . . .

"No evidence has surfaced that Blunt crossed legal lines like DeLay did. He doesn't make a habit of dining or traveling with lobbyists other than his wife. The amount Abramoff donated to Blunt's leadership PAC is relatively minor."

Technically, Blunt probably didn't cross legal lines, and he won't be indicted like DeLay, but his well-documented ethical lapses - his eleventh-hour addition to a Homeland Security bill to benefit big tobacco interests (not to mention his sleeping with a lobbyist working for said interests), his letters sent on behalf of Abramoff clients to protect their gambling interests in Mississippi, his shuffling of PAC monies to help his son's candidacy back home - does anybody really know how much tainted money ended up in ROYB's coffers?

But Leger shrugs off such questions. "For purists," he says, "any liaison with lobbyists is suspect. Perception becomes reality."

Perception has become reality for Roy Blunt. In reality, Blunt actually did do Jack Abramoff's bidding by writing letters to the Department of Interior urging them to limit tribal expansion that would compete with Abramoff's casino clients. In reality, Blunt did try to attach an after-hours rider that would benefit Philip-Morris, the company that employed his girlfriend. And, as far as we can tell, none of this directly benefited Blunt's constituency in the Ozarks.

Of course, Blunt is now calling for lobbying reform, but this seems a little disingenuous given the fact that he was the main GOP connection to K Street during the lobbyist feeding frenzy that has characterized this Republican-controlled Congress. In effect, Blunt is calling for lobbying reform to curb his own questionable behavior. I guess that's admirable.

Despite what the News-Leader would have its readers believe, Roy Blunt isn't the "aw shucks" former social studies teacher who was sent to Washington to inherit the GOP's 7th District seat. He has become nothing more than a very effective full-time fundraiser for the Republican Party - and what's worse, he has chosen to favor a new constituency while he was away. Blunt has represented lobbyists and PAC's more than his own people back here in Southwest Missouri - and that perception-turned-reality is precisely why his once promising bid to become Majority Leader is now in jeopardy.


Citizenkan said...

I saw your link at the News-Loser. I've enjoyed reading through your posts and your ultrasound story was hysterical!

Keep up the good work on Roy. I had high hopes in 04 that a better man had stepped up to challenge Blunt, but apparently voter inbreeding runs deeper than I imagined.

Gay said...

Bravo! You've hit the "aw shucks" nail right on the head.

My eyes rolled at the statement that "He (Blunt) doesn't make a habit of dining or traveling with lobbyists other than his wife." DUH! His wife WAS/IS a bigtime lobbyist.

Keep on talking!

RSmith said...

I know there is a group out there trying to draft Jim Kreider of Nixa to run against Roy, but does he even stand a chance? Roy has virtually unlimited resources and hasn't really needed much $$ up to this point to keep his seat.

Besides, Kreider hasn't even said he would run. I think he's waiting to see how much $$ they can raise. I really doubt it will ever be enough to match Roy's treasure chest.

We haven't had a Democratic Representative from the 7th District since Charlie Brown (1957-61). A lock for the GOP for 45 years.

I'm depressing myself.

Citizenkan said...

I hope Shadegg takes the Majority Leadership post right out from under Roy. He's their only hope for any type of meaningful reform.

Kreider is doing a real disservice to the Democrats by playing coy. Of course, until the state and national Dems commit to financial support for a 7th District candidate, it will be another 50 years before we get the Republicans out of southwest Missouri.

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