ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Blunt - State of the Big MO

And no, this isn't going to be about the Majority Leader seat in the US House. It's about the governor of Missouri - Matt Blunt:

Blunt credits GOP legislators with creating jobs, righting budget
By Matt Franck
Wednesday, Jan. 11 2006


Gov. Matt Blunt used his second State of the State address Wednesday to call for measures he said will improve health care, boost property rights, provide relief from rising energy costs, and lock up child molesters.

But first, the governor joined his fellow Republicans who dominate the Capitol in a kind of victory lap.

Throughout the first portion of his 45-minute remarks, Blunt credited Republican legislation with creating jobs, righting the state's budget, restructuring public education funding and even smoothing out hundreds of miles of roads.
Is it a "victory lap" to talk about the legislative accomplishments? Did Blunt refer to the party affiliation of each bill's sponsor? Why do I think that the Post-Dispatch doesn't like Blunt? Why is this tone in a news article?
"It may not be normal in politics, but what we have promised is what we have delivered," he said, enjoying one of the loudest ovations of the night.

Blunt said that success was built on changes to the state's workers' compensation law and other business-friendly legislation. And he credited tough but prudent budget decisions - such as cutting the Medicaid program - with creating a "small but real surplus."

Those changes were part of wide-sweeping agenda last year by Republicans, who reveled in their first control of both the Legislature and the governor's mansion in more than 80 years.

This time around, Blunt's agenda, like that of the Legislature, is relatively less ambitious.

Even so, the governor said he plans to tackle what may rank as leading pocketbook issues facing Missourians, vowing to make health care more efficient, while addressing rising energy costs.

Perhaps the most specific of those recommendations is a requirement that all motor fuel sold in the state contain at least 10 percent ethanol.

"This standard will spur even greater economic development in rural Missouri," he said. "For all of us, it will provide cleaner air, lower prices and greater independence from Middle East oil supplies."
Ahh, the ethanol position. This goes over well with the MO farmers, no? (Course, Iowa farmers LOVE these kind of statements.) Sensible policy IMO - and good politics for midwest...
Blunt provided less detail on his health care initiatives but did call for creation of a Healthcare Information Technology Task Force. He said an accompanying $25 million outlay would seek to modernize "the delivery of care, reduce administrative burdens and eliminate waste and fraud."

I believe this is similar to what Gingrich has been calling for since '94.
Blunt also called on the Legislature to address a problem he blamed on the U.S. Supreme Court. He criticized the high court for ruling that government can
condemn private property for economic development.

Last year, Blunt assigned a task force to offer recommendations on the use of eminent domain. While that group called for greater rights for property owners generally, the panel did not provide specifics on the divisive issue of what constitutes "blight."

The governor also did not mention specifics on defining blight but made it clear that he would not let the Supreme Court have the final word.

"One of government's most basic responsibilities is to respect and safeguard the rights of the people," he said. "Sadly, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision undermined those very rights."

Kelo rears its ugly head... In my little MO town, there was quite a fight recently over the potential re-development of some "blight". The voters threw a fit (and the elected officials supporting it out of office), so that was a victory for democracy. Kelo changed all that... Nice to know that Blunt has concerns.

Blunt also stood behind his controversial proposal demanding that 65 percent of
education money be spent on classroom expenses. He did so despite the fact
Republican leaders have failed to make the issue a priority this session.

Critics have attacked the plan for failing to count positions such as
counselors and nurses. Blunt said he's open to compromise on that point.

"I am open to meaningful discussion on this issue, but the bottom line is that
more dollars must be delivered to the classroom," he said.

"Controversial"? I wonder how controversial such a position would be at the ballot box? While the "critics" will point to counselors and nurses, what Blunt is truly targeting is the adminstration and bureaucracy within each school district. If schools were private enterprises, these cost centers would be lean & mean... with the largesse of local, state, & federal tax dollars, they're bloated.
Hitting on a theme that enjoys far more consensus, Blunt vowed to impose life sentences for child-sex offenders, saying such criminals likely could not be rehabilitated.

"We need to face facts," he said. "We have had little success at changing the behavior of child-sex offenders. Too many children have been permanently scarred for us not to take action to appropriately punish these evil criminals."

Blunt did not say exactly which offenses would merit a life sentence. Some prosecutors have said they are concerned that minimum sentences for lesser sex crimes could make it harder to win a guilty verdict.
Hmmmm, I wonder if the Judge Edward Cashman incident is going to push this politically viable position to the fore... We can only hope.
After the address, Democrats seized on the core assumptions of Blunt's remarks, saying that the economy has neither recovered nor improved under GOP

Senate Minority Leader Maida Coleman, in her formal Democratic Party response,
spoke of a state saddled with high utility bills, waning health care coverage
and underfunded public schools.

"From one government failure to another under Gov. Blunt's administration, this
state is on a fast track to the bottom and is dragging each and every citizen
along with it," said Coleman, D-St. Louis.
Yes, that's a good response... It seems that the Dems have got the attacks on "core assumptions" down pat - even if they are based on incomplete facts. Unfortunately, they offer nothing substantive to deal with the issues being handled by Blunt.

Well, there's no doubt that our friend Brian J. is going to increase his calls for Blunt in 2008... I say he's got to have one more successful term under his belt (he's up for re-election in 2008), but he'd be a strong contender in 2012.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (1)
John said...

The whole speech struck me as nothing more than Bluntman applauding himself for his ability to spend other people's money, and twice channelling the spirit of Karl Marx.