Several sources are reporting today that a new name has emerged on the Republican side of the quest to replace Christopher "Kit" Bond in the U.S. Senate. Thomas Schweich, a law school professor at St. Louis's Washington University and an attorney with Bryan Cave, is apparently being recruited by former MO Senator John C. Danforth, former Hungary ambassador and Bush cousin Bert Walker, and former Belgium ambassador Sam Fox.
My immediate reaction to this news was "if he's coming from Danforth, I gotta be concerned." While Danforth served as a Republican, he has made it a habit in recent years of stabbing Christian conservatives with pointy sticks, despite his credentials as an Episcopalian priest. Danforth was at the head of the wave of GOP "moderates" blaming social conservatives for the ills of the GOP. Sound familiar? And now he's promoting a candidate for Senate. Tell me I shouldn't be suspicious.
But there's another, more significant reason to be concerned about Schweich.
In 2002, Schweich joined such conservative stalwarts as the Democratic State Committee, Laborer's Local 579 and 676, AFSCME & AFL-CIO, and the Jackson County Democratic Committee in supporting... Claire McCaskill. In 2002, McCaskill was the MO State Auditor and was beginning her quest for the nomination for the U.S. Senate seat of then-GOP Senator James Talent. Schweich's $500.00 donation to McCaskill is documented in the January 2002 report from "Friends of McCaskill" to the Missouri Ethics Commission (page 35).
If this is indicative of Schweich's positions, I'd almost rather see Sarah Steelman in the race. At least I have more confidence that she's more of a conservative, and as far as I know she hasn't been complicit in trying to oust a sitting GOP senator. I'm sure that Mr. Danforth is a fine man, but I do not trust his conservative credentials, especially considering his recent Democrat- and moderate squish-like campaign against social conservatives, so in turn I do not trust his candidate choices. We do not need another so-called "moderate" in the Senate. We need a conservative. And Mr. Schweich, while probably a wonderful person, doesn't appear to have the creds.
Late last week I had the opportunity to have a brief phone conversation with Congressman Roy Blunt, who is currently the only GOP candidate pursuing Bond's Senate seat. He is obviously laser-focused on Robin Carnahan and defeating her in the Senate race. His main concern is in preventing a far-left liberal from winning the MO Senate seat. Rep. Blunt told me "It’s important to hold back this onslaught of wrong-headed policies" with respect to the current Obama administration moves. He also stated "If I didn’t think this was critical to the future of the country, I wouldn’t be running". I asked Blunt about some of the accusations that he may not be conservative enough for the seat. He mentioned his very conservative ranking in the ACU and National Journal surveys, and he discussed some of his current activities in the house, including his work trying to provide a GOP/conservative alternative for health care reform, fighting cap-and-trade, and working to oppose hate crimes legislation ("we shouldn't have different levels of victims..."). My conversation with Blunt reinforced my feeling that he is a very strong candidate for the Senate and is unquestionably conservative enough for the job.
Interestingly, Blunt "reached out" to Schweich shortly after the news emerged about his interest in the candidacy.
I am still concerned about the prospects of a contentious campaign in the event that additional candidates enter the race, especially one of the nature of the 2008 Steelman/Hulshof gubernatorial primary campaign. I do not believe the GOP can sustain such a blood-letting. We currently have a proven candidate in Blunt. We have a speculative almost-candidate who has almost no real track record but who seems to have a lot of interesting things to say in Sarah Steelman. And now we have another maybe-candidate who is being sponsored by a "moderate" Danforth and who has a record of donating to the bad guys.
Better give Blunt the whack-a-mole mallet, because they may start popping up like the Chuck-e-Cheese game before long.