Kay Barnes spent part of last week revisiting her role as mayor, something she does more often than is typical. Barnes visited the Power and Light District to attend a marker dedication mid-week. On Saturday she was at the Sprint Center to cheer on her KU Jayhawks, and beforehand listened to Terry Riley laud her as her name was added to the plaza in front of the arena.
On both occasions Barnes took the opportunity to single out City Manager Wayne Cauthen for his role in developing downtown. Barnes’s praise was another in a long line of slaps at Mayor Mark Funkhouser by Barnes and her political henchmen. Much like Bill Clinton’s constant criticism of his successor, Barnes’ digs at Funkhouser are out of line.
What makes it worse is that her whining just seems like sour grapes. Barnes tried her best to keep Funkhouser from winning. She called press conferences and called community leaders to secret meetings. She angrily defended her record on TIFs against an audit launched by Funkhouser and completed by his replacement. She did everything possible to get her choice for mayor elected. But she lost. And she lost in her own backyard.
As we approach the holidays it is worth a look at the current Iowa polls for the race for presidential nominations. One reason to look now is that the holidays will likely “freeze” the campaigns pretty much where they are. It may not be until January 2nd, with less than 48 hours left, that the campaigns will have full impact again. Barring major news, The Source would expect recent Iowa polls to be close to the final result.
On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney continue to separate themselves from the pack. Third place in most recent polls is a close race between Giuliani and Thompson, but they are at least ten points back from second. Despite the endorsement of the Des Moines paper, John McCain is battling for last with Ron Paul.
What is telling here is that Huckabee continues to perform well despite repeated attacks from both Romney and Thompson. Romney keeps talking about Huckabee as if he expects him to drop back off the radar, but Huckabee has been leading in Iowa now for over two weeks, and is building that lead in many polls. In fact, RealClearPolitics.com shows Huckabee’s average lead to be over 10%.
On the Iowa Democratic side, Barak Obama is making a run, passing Hillary Clinton in several polls in the last week. John Edwards, who had a brief stint in first place last spring, is in third, unlikely to rise or fall. For months some political insiders have expressed that Clinton’s support was soft, and that may be starting to show. Obama may also benefit from the Democrat caucus format, as he is more likely than Clinton to pick up the caucus-goers who supported candidates who got less than 15%.
If Huckabee and Obama win Iowa as they are poised to do, what comes next could be interesting. Both show strength in several states that follow. As the lower tier of candidates drop out, where their supporters go may well tell the big picture. The Source can see a scenario where Obama gains most of the support from lower tier “anti-Clinton” voters. We can also see a pattern where Huckabee picks up the bulk of Thompson, Hunter and Tancredo supporters. This puts each in position to challenge on Super Tuesday.
A new Rasmussen poll was released today which shows Mike Huckabee as the clear front runner in Missouri. Huckabee wins direct match-ups in the state against both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He also performs better against the Democrats than Rudy Giuliani.
When looking at the polls favorable/unfavorable ratings, Huckabee has a favorable rating of 53%, higher than either Clinton, Obama or Giuliani and a much lower unfavorable than any other candidate polled. When asked which Republican is most in line with Missouri “attitudes and needs,” Huckabee finishes on top followed by Giuliani and John McCain with Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney further behind.
The poll asks several interesting issues questions as well. Missourians overwhelmingly (92%) want English as the nation’s official language. 82% even say employers should be able to require English be spoken on the job.
One year ago the Kansas City Star had a story they could have investigated that would have saved Kansas the embarrassment it went through last week. Only their own bias and inability to see past that bias prevented them from doing their jobs.
One year ago, Phill Kline ran ads that attacked the moral and ethical standards of Paul Morrison. Kline, with the help of a previous Morrison victim, told Kansas voters about Morrison’s past history of sexual harassment and of his bargaining with a victim to make it all go away. Did the Star send reporters to investigate this claim? Did they investigate if Morrison had continued this pattern? Did they ask women at the Johnson County courthouse if they had similar experiences with Morrison? Did they follow him, like KCTV5 followed Phill Kline, to see if he was the moral and ethical man he claimed to be?
Obviously they did none of the above, or they may have broken this story a year ago. At the time, Morrison denied he was a womanizer, and the Star took him at his word. Not only did they defend him, they attacked Kline for having the audacity to question Morrison’s character. Mike Hendricks, in an October 27, 2006 column headlined “Ads shred candidate’s credibility,” implied that it was Kline, not Morrison, who had a poor character. Hendricks said, “I still don't know why it matters what did or didn't happen between Morrison and a female employee…” Well, Mike, maybe now you know why it matters. Barbara Shelly, in an October 25th column headlined “Kline’s desperate campaign tactic,” also says it is Kline that “lacks character and judgment.” Do you see, now, Barbara, why Kline's claims were a pattern worth investigating?
This all begs the question, if the Star had investigated the story, would they have written it given the political consequences. The Star wanted Kline out of office so badly; would they have ignored even solid evidence handed to them? Remember that Morrison was deep into an affair at the time. Would the Star have felt that was a worthy story? Would evidence of that affair made a difference in the election?
It is sad that we even have to question the integrity of our only significant newspaper. But time and again the Star has disappointed us with their lack of objective reporting. The Source doubts this will change any time soon.
Kansas City Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver was one of only 49 members to vote against the 2008 Defense Authorization. In voting against the bill sponsored by fellow Missouri Democrat Ike Skelton, Cleaver voted against pay raises for our troops, personnel increases for several branches, and equipment to protect the men and women who protect us.
In addition, Cleaver voted against $980 million for National Guard equipment. That vote is ironic since Democrats keep saying how much they care about the National Guard being well stocked with equipment and personnel.
Cleaver also voted against provisions which assure wounded warriors of receiving the health care they have earned through DoD and VA health care programs.
This isn’t the first time that Cleaver has voted out of step with the vast majority of Congress. It isn’t the first time he has failed to support our troops. Given that no other Missouri representative voted with him, it is unlikely his vote even represents his constituents.