Monday, July 18, 2005


You lose again, Missouri (and again, again and again)

The Boy Governor has been mighty busy in recent weeks.

From day one, Matt Blunt has boldly and bravely stood up to average Missourians, determined to conquer their unreasonable and outrageous demands such as access to healthcare and honest, open government (please note my June 26 posting "Missourians Blugeoned by a Blunt"). As I recall, Blunt's victory margin was less than one percentage point. But like his role model in the White House, neither a slim margin nor low approval ratings (35 percent for Blunt this month!) should ever deter the ideologue from defeating the selfish special interests of regular working folks. His untiring commitment to improving life for the downtrodden underdogs of corporate Missouri - homebuilders, insurance companies and railroads, to name a few - is truly inspiring.

Let's examine his ongoing efforts for further inspiration:

1) Blunt signed a law making any complaint filed with the Missouri Department of Insurance a closed record. Until now, complaints against insurance companies have been a matter of public record here in Missouri. Essentially you, the average citizen, could request access to any complaints filed against any insurer. I myself have examined such records when purchasing an insurance policy to ensure that I'm dealing with a reputable company. Well, not anymore. You lose, Missouri.

2) Blunt signed a law prohibiting discount brokers from placing a homeseller's property on Multiple Listing Service for a one-time fee. This service has allowed a homeowner who wants to sell his own home an opportunity to bypass real estate agents, yet have his listing out there for the public to see it. Now a homeowner who wants an MLS listing must go through a traditional agent, who inevitably will insist on an exclusive contract and a cut of the sale. The bill was so egregiously anti-consumer and anti-competitive that the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department requested a veto from Blunt. But the Missouri Association of Realtors ponied up $50,000 in a one-time lobbying fee to Blunt family friend Greg Hartley, a former top aide of the gov's dad, U.S. House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo. Hartley, it should be noted, has close ties with Tom Delay and lobbyist/crook Jack Abramoff. You lose again, Missouri.

3) Blunt signed a law requiring that a homebuyer can't sue a builder over shabby construction without first allowing the builder to fix the problem or mediating the dispute. On the surface, the law sounds commendable, but it requires the buyer to jump through an interminable series of legal hoops, and if the i's and t's aren't dotted and crossed perfectly, the homeowner's right to a fair hearing in court is forever forfeited. Yes, I'm afraid Missouri that you lose yet again.

4) Blunt remains hellbent in his efforts to give away a bridge on Missouri's Katy Trail to Union Pacific Railroad. For those not from Missouri, the Katy Trail is a hiking and biking trail on abandoned Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad right-of-way, running across the state from St. Louis to Kansas City. The trail is hugely popular and a national treasure. The one gap in its length is an abandoned lift-span bridge over the Missouri River at Boonville, where the middle span has been raised indefinitely for 20 years. The city of Boonville has raised money to fix the bridge for public use, but Blunt stands in the way. He insists on handing the bridge over to Union Pacific (which owns the bridge, but legally must keep it in place as long as the rail line is used as a hiking trail). UP wants to tear down the bridge and sell it for scrap, and it's probably no coincidence they've hired an active Republican fund-raiser, Ted Kettlewell of Fulton, as a contractor to do the job. We learned yesterday from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Blunt has ignored and tried to hide legal advice from a lawyer he hired to study this affair who said that the bridge should not be removed. Missouri, you haven't lost this one yet. But you might still.

Now lest I beat up too much on the Boy Governor, let me take issue with the Democrats. The first three items I've discussed here deal with legislation passed by the state's General Assembly. None of these votes broke down on partisan lines. In fact, the real estate listing law passed unanimously. Where the hell are the Democrats when we need them? We know where the Republicans stand. Are we to assume that we now have two parties who care not a lick about the average Missourians best interests?

Conservatives quoted

"While I didn't invent negative politics, I am among its most ardent practitioners."
- Lee Atwater, architect of the GOP's ongoing strategy of dirty tricks and skullduggery.

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