What in the world is this all about?
So nine months before Thomas Schweich wins the GOP Auditor primary – to say nothing of actually knocking off Susan Montee -- he can't commit to KY3's Dave Catanese that he'll serve his entire term because he might need to extract revenge in 2012?
Comments like this will no doubt improve his chances of being the "consensus candidate" in his primary against House Budget Chair Allen Icet, State Rep. Cynthia Davis and perhaps others.
I need to check my First-Time Candidate Handbook, but I think the correct answer to questions such as this is something like the following: "Unlike Sarah Palin, I'm interested in doing the job – that's why I'm running."
Schweich's demands for a cleared primary are all the more confusing when you remember how was outraged with the idea of a cleared primary in the US Senate race. To jog your memory, this is what Tom Schweich sounded like in March:
The end of the Missouri Republican Party
By Thomas A. Schweich
Published March 3, 2009 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Across the state, large numbers of forward-looking Republicans are concerned that a small group of Missouri Republican leaders have - without a serious dialogue or discussion about the future of the party - anointed U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt as the GOP candidate to replace retiring Missouri legend Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond. There has been an active effort to crush, pre-emptively, any possible challenger. Yet most of them acknowledge that Blunt will have very difficult time winning.
Roy Blunt is a dedicated public servant, a patriot and a worthy man. But I believe he should not be the nominee of our party for Bond's seat.
As a lifelong Republican and Missourian - and a former ambassador and senior international law enforcement official under President George W. Bush - I am at a loss for why the Republican Party of Missouri would rather be united in defeat than fight for victory. Blunt's vulnerabilities have been discussed widely on talk radio and the Internet. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who has announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the seat, will paint him as a leader of the Congress that delivered us a multi-trillion dollar deficit. She will say he turned a blind eye to the greeding frenzy on Wall Street.
Worse yet, I already can see the advertisements showing grainy pictures of his family members, trumpeting that they are lobbyists for some powerful industries that have hurt ordinary Missourians. And, like it or not, Blunt's son - another well-meaning guy - left the governor's office under a cloud that has not yet lifted. Can you imagine the field day that Carnahan will have? For Republicans, it is in all likelihood a recipe for disaster. Most everyone knows it, yet only a few will say it out loud.
Missouri already has popular Democrats serving as governor, senator and attorney general. If we lose the second Senate seat, the party will be in such shambles that it could take a decade or more to recover. While there is no denying Blunt's commitment to serving his country, he represents the Republican Party of the past, not the party of the future. We need to change direction before it is too late.
The new head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, has said that the party is looking for fresh faces - people with a lot of energy and a commitment to rebuilding the party with a completely new image. Blunt is the opposite of what Steele has said he wants. I guess we have not learned anything from the elections of 2008.
Moreover, the Missouri Republican Party seems to have no plan for responsible Missourians. Just saying no to what Obama or Nixon wants is not a plan.
We need a party that is devoted to preserving the free-market system against the Obama onslaught on private enterprise, while recognizing that hard-working, responsible Missourians who have lost their jobs and health care should have a pretty strong federal safety net until they are back on their feet. We need to close regulatory loopholes and crack down on economic criminals, not nationalize our financial and auto industries with huge new federal bureaucracies.
We need to stick by our core values of protection of life and the right to bear arms but get out of people's bedrooms and private lives with our mean-spirited moral dictates. And we need a nuanced foreign policy that achieves our security objectives without using tactics that backfire and actually make us even more enemies around the world.
We need a party that is more economically responsible, more tolerant, more energetic, less closed-minded and less judgmental. Blunt cannot credibly take Missouri forward on that sort of a platform.
We should not discourage competition in the race for the Republican nomination for Senate. We should shed some light on the back-room politics of the sedentary, uncreative Republican leadership in this state, which appears to be in denial about the unfortunate route that we are traveling right now. They either should stop crushing the competition and start looking for a new direction or stand aside and let others take on the task.
Thomas A. Schweich is ambassador-in-residence and visiting professor at Washington University. He served the Bush administration as ambassador for counter-narcotics and justice reform in Afghanistan, deputy assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement affairs and chief of staff of the U.S. mission to the United Nations.