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Earmark Issue Opens the Door For Steelman

After Senator Claire McCaskill’s comments about earmarks (and the glaring hypocrisy of those comments), Congressman Roy Blunt said something that I believe leaves no doubt that former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman will challenge him for the Republican nomination to the Senate seat being vacated by Senator Kit Bond.

“I’ve never been nearly as effective at this topic as Sen. Bond, who’s fought hard for our state,” Blunt said in a radio interview with talk radio host McGraw Milhaven Wednesday morning. “But I certainly wouldn’t be the person to say I’m not going to be out there competing for things that are good for Missouri.”

“I would hope that Claire would change her mind on this,” the former House Minority Whip added.

What?  Look, let’s not take the one position that McCaskill is (semi)right about and ask her to change her mind.  Blunt really stepped in it with this one.  Make no mistake, Steelman is going to take this issue and run with it.  On Saturday, she released a letter in response to a Missouri GOP press release aimed at Robin Carnahan:

A recent communication sent from the Missouri Republican Party to Robin Carnahan contained the following question (#6 out of 10):

6.) Senator Bond supports worthwhile projects for Missouri in Congress. Senator McCaskill won’t. Would you join with Senator McCaskill, so that Missouri unilaterally disarms itself, and gets nothing while other states get projects in Congress?

An Open Letter to Fellow Missouri Republicans

I recently saw the ten questions sent out by the Missouri Republican Party for Robin Carnahan. I don’t have any quarrel with most of the questions. However, I am bewildered by question no. 6, which not only asks Robin Carnahan’s position on the improper, inefficient, and corrupt practice of earmarking, which is an entirely appropriate question, but actually defends pork barrel spending at a time when most republicans, at least those who don’t live in Washington D.C., are trying to stop the mounting and dangerous deficits.

I don’t believe that a majority of the state committee supports inefficient and wasteful spending. I know that a majority of Missourians don’t.

The Missouri Republican Party should not proclaim earmark spending a virtue. It is not. This does nothing but harm the efforts of principled politicians of both parties, who recognize that the old way of doing business; earmarks, pork, and a lack of accountability, has cost America jobs, security, and confidence. The old ways can no longer be tolerated.

I have been asked how the Republican Party lost its Congressional majority. One of the major reasons, in my opinion, is that our party no longer has credibility on fiscal issues. I want our party to flourish and expand and to help lead the country out of this economic disaster. But why would anyone believe in our principles when Republican elected officials don’t? We can no longer be the party that says one thing and does another. We must restore fiscal restraint and discipline. We must be the party that supports ethical reform by holding our elected officials to a higher standard of public service than exists today. We must always remember that Congress is spending taxpayer’s money – it belongs to the people – and it should be spent prudently.

Please remember what Ronald Reagan said in 1964, “The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing. ”

Sincerely,

Sarah Steelman

She also didn’t waste any time taking Blunt to task on her Twitter page:

The Hill reports Roy Blunt is defending earmarks! “Caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender” song title?

[I hope I'm not the only one who doesn't get the reference.]

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another letter/video/speech from Steelman in the very near future (or at least once the school year is over as she is teaching class at a college).  This one will be the start of a candidacy.  Keep an eye on her website.  Eventually it has to change from Steelman for Governor.  I’m guessing they aren’t wasting the money on a redesign now to roll out the Senate campaign later on.

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