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  • July 31st, 2020

GALLOWAY FOR GOVERNOR

By Joel M. Vance

 

When Donald Trump sent me a check for $1200, I gratefully accepted–and turned around and donated it to the campaign of Nicole Galloway, Democratic challenger to Missouri’s Republican so-called governor, Mike Parson, who is a pale but passionate imitator and groveling toady for Donald J Trump. I can’t get at Trump directly, but the next best thing is to find people who can.

 

If Trump, in his infinite generosity, sends me some more of the American taxpayers money, I plan to donate it to the campaign of Joe Byden. It’s not that I couldn’t use the bucks myself, but in this age of Trumpian psychosis, it seems more important to oust the fascist nightmare that is looming on the horizon like a green storm cloud, harbinger of catastrophic damage.

 

You’d think it would be enough even for the dimwitted MAGA troglodytes who mindlessly follow and believe everything Trump says to disavow him when he appears in the White House, the nation’s First House, hawking cans of beans because the company’s bean counters gave him some money. Lost among an avalanche of Trump scandals is that he tried to pressure the British into moving the British Open golf tournament to his golf course in Scotland. That didn’t work, like most of his business ventures, so he has turned to bean selling

 

This is so far beyond accepted behavior of any politician, much less the president of the United States, that it dives headfirst into the realm of Banana Republic politics. It is so shameless that we all should be ashamed for Trump, since he is totally immune to self-criticism, and doesn’t see the inappropriateness of anything he does, including selling beans out of the White House.

 

Back to Mike Parson, who is running as a Republican for a second term as governor of Missouri. He hasn’t yet disgraced the governor’s office in the capital building by touting beans, but don’t count it out. His every statement as the Show Me state’s First Citizen, seems to be a whiny echo of something that Trump spouted off about a day or two earlier.

 

Just as Trump finagled the 2016 election in his favor, despite losing the popular vote by 3,000,000, Parson ascended to the governorship by default. The elected governor, Eric Greitens, resigned after he sank almost out of sight in a welter of misconduct, including financial hijinks, sexual misconduct, and a tsunami of public reaction against his antics.

 

Parson entered politics by defeating Russ Carnahan, son of Mel Carnahan, one of if not the, most popular governors in the state’s history. The younger Carnahan was a state representative, while the elder Carnahan died in a plane crash after having been nominated for a senatorial seat by the Democrats. It was too late to replace his name on the ballot–so he earned the distinction, probably unique, of being the only senatorial candidate in history to win an election after he died.

 

He was succeeded by his wife, Jean, the most gracious lady ever, who went on to an all too brief career as a Senator until Missouri’s ever capricious electorate ousted her in favor of Jay Ashcroft, who then went on to carve a career mostly memorable because it appears to be over.

 

My wife, Marty, and I stood in a solemn throng at the Capitol when Jean Carnahan, in company with some of the nation’s most revered politicians, led a solemn procession in a memorial ceremony for her husband. Think of the courage it must have taken her to hold up under such a public tribute to her husband. If there was a dry eye anywhere in that crowd, it had to have belonged to a Republican.

 

A few facts about Mike Parson that might help explain why I think he, as governor of my home state, sucks. Remember when Donald Trump pardoned Roger Stone his confessed , convicted and sentenced criminal bosom buddy? You may have seen a widely shared photo either in the news or on social media, of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the gun wielding Bonnie and Clyde of the St. Louis suburbs who waved firearms at protesters in front of their home, Prosecutors have filed charges against them and Parson says he will pardon them.  Parson’s role model in law enforcement must’ve been Roscoe P Coltrane, the buffoon sheriff  from every redneck’s favorite television series “The Dukes of Hazard.”

 

And, as is well known, Donald Trump wants to send American schoolchildren back to their classrooms possibly in an effort to win the vote of those disgruntled parents more interested in getting the kids out of the house than they are for the welfare of the children. Mike Parson, in a whiny echo of Trump is determined to force kids back into the classrooms, so they can bring coronavirus home to grandma and grandpa , their parents, brothers and sisters and anyone else unfortunate enough to rub up against them. Parson says, “Schoolchildren are at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get Covid 19, which they will–and they will when they go to school–they’re not going to the hospital. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it.”

 

As usual Parson is following Trump’s lead in kicking the can down the road so he can blame someone else of things go wrong which they inevitably  will. In the matter of sending kids back to school, Trump said he would leave it to the governors to make the decision and Parson dutifully said he would leave it to the local authorities to make the decision. So, in today’s muddled political landscape, the buck doesn’t stop anywhere it should. It’s a hot potato that no one wants to handle and in the long run, the nation’s children suffer.  Tell that to kids who wind up on ventilators in the hospital that they were not going to go to, Mikey.

 

The Missouri governorship has been a muddled mess almost from the get-go. Missouri became a state in 1820 and has elected governors both good and bad from all corners of the political spectrum ever since. It was Thomas Crittenden, a Democrat, who pardoned Frank James, brother of Jesse, and a psychopathic killer, who certainly deserved to fry in the electric chair as much as any prisoner who ever made a final trip to the death house at the Missouri state pen, just down the street from the Governor’s mansion in Jefferson City.

 

In more modern times we have had a succession of governors whip sawing back and forth between Democrat and Republican, some good, some terrible. The first one I remember was long ago, memorable to me because he was reputed to have chased the lieutenant governor from a duck blind at the Dalton Cutoff hunt club with a shotgun. It may be apocryphal but that’s the way I heard it just up the road in Dalton where I was living in the nineteen fifties.

 

Besides the afore-mentioned and venerated Mel Carnahan, the Republicans elected Jay Ashcroft who later became an evangelical right wing Attorney General.  He was so offended by the bareboobed Spirit of Justice statue  in Washington that he ordered the offending nipple covered at a cost of $8000 for drapes, a bargain compared to the shower of money Parson demanded for transforming his digs when he got elected as Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor.

 

First off, Parson stuck the state’s taxpayers $8470 to replace furniture in his new office at the Capitol. Then he topped that off by spending $46,000 upgrading his suite of offices. This orgy of self-indulgence came at a time when he and Governor Greitens (before he was scandalized out of office) were lobbying for a reduction in funding for higher education and a reduction in healthcare for about 20,000 elderly and disabled Missourians.

 

A first impression of Parson is that he sort of an inoffensive dork, which would be acceptable if he weren’t the state’s governor. Ever following the Trump lead he has downplayed the need for wearing face masks as the state sinks deeper into the Covid 19 pandemic. He recently spoke at a dinner of the state’s cattle raisers, largely attended by elderly people seated shoulder to shoulder, none wearing face masks.

 

And he went to Washington to attend a dinner and pay tribute to the great orange leader with remarks almost as muddled and confused as those uttered daily by his idol. “Thank you Mr. President. You said when you come here, I ‘m just honored and humbled to be sitting here with you, the vice president, the First Lady and the Second Lady. The dreams you think about someday never imagining them to be a reality but here we are so it’s an honor to be here today.” Couldn’t have said it better myself unless I were a bumbling, babbling idiot. Melania is not the First Lady anyway.  She’s the Third Lady–you forgot about Ivana and Marla.

 

At present, the race for governor is considered a dead heat between Parson and Nicole  Galloway. If that is true, half those polled must’ve covered themselves with Ashcroft’s nipple drapes so they couldn’t see the facts. There simply is no comparison between the two candidates.  Parson should’ve shot himself in the foot with every parent in the state of Missouri by following Trump’s lead in insisting that children he forced back into school this fall, despite the overwhelming risk of infection from Covid 19, either to themselves or to those at home and around them.

 

Nicole Galloway is a virtual tornado of fresh air in Missouri politics. She is honest, super intelligent, dedicated, fearless . She is, in short, everything people profess to want in a politician and, especially, in a leader. She has one thing that far too many politicians lack–integrity.

 

No political pundit is maintaining that Galloway’s run for the governorship will be easy–if anything it’s a long shot. She’s running as an outsider, in a deeply red state, against an incumbent, who has a deeper war chest, plus the backing of the fatcat Republican special interests.  But she also has a history of being in the right place at the right time, and of comeback victories against the odds.

 

Don’t let her teenybopper appearance fool you.  At 38 years old, married with 3 children, she has the advantage of both youth and experience. She has been the Missouri state auditor for five years, appointed to fill a vacancy by Jay Nixon, a popular two-term Democratic governor. She is often described as “normal” and not in a pejorative sense, but in the sense of being a political outsider not beholden to any special interest. That may be an advantage in an election where people are justifiably suspicious of the good old boy network and are often inclined to kick them all out and start over.

 

The Republican establishment is almost certain to mount a vicious smear campaign against her in the weeks before the election, but that may be an uphill battle, defending a candidate with dubious blotches along his own political path

 

Ms. Galloway is a political anomaly in that she has been on an election ballot just one time, but that one time, in 2018, saw her win reelection to her auditor job. She carried eight counties, including Cole, my home county where I would have given her about as much chance of winning as I would have given myself. More typical of Missouri’s political tendencies in that same election, Josh Hawley, the twerp of baby politicians, defeated Claire McCaskill the Democratic incumbent, popular, intelligent, experienced, but unable to survive the red tide of Show Me politics.

 

Before her reelection, Ms. Galloway was the Boone County Treasurer, an appointed job. Thus, she was appointed to her first two political jobs, but then she made the Republican establishment uneasy by winning her first on-the- ballot race, and now she’s taking aim at the top job.  The Auditor’s job has been seen in the past as a launching pad for the governorship. John Ashcroft, Kit Bond, and Claire McCaskill all started as the state’s auditor (I voted for two of the three, Ashcroft being the exception). All three later became US senators.

 

Ms. Galloway is from Fenton, a St. Louis suburb, the daughter of political conservatives (her father is a civil engineer and her mother a registered nurse). Her father-in-law is a Republican lobbyist. She is Catholic, athletic (she won a soccer scholarship to Missouri AT&T where a former coach is quoted as saying “she might run over you, but then she’d help you up.”

 

At AT&T Ms. Galloway earned degrees in applied mathematics and economics and then went on to get a graduate degree in accounting at the University of Missouri and also became a certified professional accountant. At the University she also met her husband Jon.  They married in 2008.

 

As to her political beliefs, she is quoted as saying she supports ” working people’s values.” She supports civil rights for the LGBT Q people, and same-sex marriage and is pro-choice.  Ms. Galloway has been endorsed by a diverse group of political interests, including the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, and the United Auto Workers.

 

She believes in (as do about 80% of Missourians according to polls) sensible gun regulation. That has earned her a 0 rating from the National Rifle Association, but the NRA has become synonymous with the gun wielding bullies, represented by the Bundy clan who illegally occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge a while back.

 

The same shoot first and let God sort them out philosophy seems to be driving the quasi-government thugs who are tear gassing and brutalizing peaceful protesters in various cities across the country, purportedly protecting federal property while breaking bones under the direct orders of the Orange Thug-in-Chief.

 

As obsequious a toady as Parson is to Donald Trump, I fear a day when Missourians protesting about anything that is wrong with the country find themselves confronting paramilitary troops on the steps of the Capitol in Jefferson City.

 

No matter that’s state property not federal. The days when there was separation between state and federal authority seem to have vanished under the regime of the delusional would be king now disgracing our democratic republic with his porky presence and that of his equally disgusting minions like Mike Parson.

 

The only viable way to forestall the looming threat of fascism, represented by the Trump teargas crusade and its enablers like Parson is to vote them out, overwhelmingly, on November 3. That’s less than 100 days from the moment you read this.

 

Vote, folks.  Anyone who fails to vote is basically voting for the likes of Trump and Parson.

 

 

 

 

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