One of the most amusing rhetorical devices I've seen this cycle from the Roy Blunt campaign is the suggestion that Robin Carnahan and Democrats are trying to make the race about "anything but the issues," by which be means "I'd like to talk about anything other than the issues with record in Washington." On one level, it's interesting to hear the candidate from the Party of Personal Responsibility work so hard evade responsibility for his votes and actions -- but I also find it hard to blame Blunt and his staff for the ploy. Would you want to try to explain away the bipartisan condemnation of your unethical behavior?
Regardless, any suggestions that a candidate's public record shouldn't be scrutinized are absurd and should raise red flags about what said candidate is trying to hide. So here, in no particular order, are the top ten things I'd be particularly averse to discussing if I were a certain candidate for the U.S. Senate.
- Blunt has TWICE been named one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress"
CREW, 2006: "Beyond Delay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress" Blunt comes in at #1: "Rep. Blunt's ethics issues stem from the misuse of his position to benefit family members, his connections to Jack Abramoff, and a trip paid for by a foreign agent."
CREW, 2005: "Beyond DeLay: The 13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress" "Rep. Blunt’s appointment is a case of ‘new boss, same as the old boss.’ While Rep. Blunt may be new to the job, he has long followed Rep. DeLay’s pattern of ignoring campaign finance laws and ethics rules."
Public Citizen, 1/13/06: "Roy Blunt: Ties to Special Interests Leave Him Unfit to Lead" "In this report, Public Citizen compiles a disturbing dossier on Blunt, based on original research and a comprehensive compilation of news accounts of recent months. In the end, what emerges is a portrait of a legislative leader who not only has surrendered his office to the imperative of moneyed interests, but who has also done so with disturbing zeal and efficiency."
- Blunt got in trouble in 2003 when the Washington Post reported that he had included a clause in a homeland security bill that would have benefited Philip Morris; the move was particularly problematic because Blunt was dating Abigail Perlman, a Philip Morris lobbyist
The Washington Post's WhoRunsGov.com: "WhoRunsGov.com: "In 2003, Blunt got in trouble when the Washington Post reported that he had included a clause in a homeland security bill that would have benefited Philip Morris. The measure was particularly problematic because Blunt was dating a Philip Morris lobbyist at the time; they’ve since married and adopted a daughter from Russia."
Washington Post, 6/11/03: "It is highly unusual for a House Republican to insert a last-minute contentious provision that has never gone through a committee, never faced a House vote and never been approved by the speaker or majority leader. Blunt's attempt became known only to a small circle of House and White House officials. They kept it quiet, preferring no publicity on a matter involving favors for the nation's biggest tobacco company and possible claims of conflicts of interest...."
- Roy Blunt is not the leader of the House Republicans right now because his own colleagues were concerned about his many ties to Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff.
Post-Dispatch, 2/3/06: "Blunt's downfall was not solely due to his status as an incumbent. Lawmakers said that his deep ties to the lobbying effort, his status-quo agenda, and his close relationship with ex-House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, helped doom his bid. DeLay was forced to step aside after a Texas grand jury indicted him last year; he also is under scrutiny in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal."
Washington Post, 2/3/06: "Post-Abramoff Mood Shaped Vote for DeLay's Successor" "What Blunt presumed would be his greatest asset -- his links to the current leadership's system of power and favors -- turned out to be a liability. "