Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Elephant in the Room

at Breakfast Session
Donnelly: "We have to be sure about our values as Democrats."
Harris: "You'll never have to doubt who I am."
Koster: "If experience matters . . . I've been there."
Rep. Jeff Harris and Rep. Margaret Donnelly touted their longtime party loyalty and credentials in an effort to highlight differences with Sen. Chris Koster at a breakfast session featuring the three leading candidates for Attorney General.

All three spoke before hundreds of Ozarks Democrats at a breakfast sponsored by the Democratic Alliance.

"I've been part of standing with other Democrats against the cruel and foolish Medicaid cuts," Donnelly said to cheers. Harris said he was proud to have lead the fight against an "immoral, irresponsible," agenda put forth by Republican lawmakers. "I'm not going to change my convictions, I'm not going to change my stands. You'll never have to doubt who I am," Harris said.

When Koster got his turn, he spent most of his time touting his experience as a prosecutor. Koster used vivid and graphic language to describe some of the things he witnessed as a prosecutor who supervised and directed thousands of criminal and civil cases in Cass County.

Koster described an intense 40 hour interrogation of a serial killers, the dredging of lakes to find bodies and a juror who threw up while listening to Koster's argument because "he couldn't stomach the evidence."

"If experience matters in the state's top law enforcement job, I've been there," Koster told a hushed over banquet hall.

Donnelly and Harris stuck to bread-and-butter, traditional Attorney General issues, and in a pre-emptive strike against Koster's remarks, Harris said, "Anybody that tells you that this office is about prosecuting hardcore criminals, that is not the case."

Donnelly said the protection of Missouri families would be her top priority as Attorney General. She argued she would be the strongest voice for consumer advocacy, touting a House bill she's introduced that would make it mandatory to recall unsafe children's products. Right now, it's voluntary for companies to recall such items. She boasted of being able to help net $1 million dollars in the state budget that will go towards local forces tasked with fighting meth.

"I've been in Democratic politics in this state for 30 years," Donnelly said. "When Jay leads the statewide ticket, we have to be sure about our values as Democrats," she added. She closed her speech with a rallying cry that could be viewed as a case against Koster. "We cannot turn that (office) over to someone who cut 100,000 people. We can't have those people in that office," Donnelly said. "You will never doubt where I stand on those Democratic values."

(By the way, I would have had a picture of Donnelly, but she left after her speech to attend an event in Kansas City. I'm told she would return to Jackson Days in Springfield tonight.)

Harris recalled the tough battles he fought as minority leader, beginning after a disappointing 2004 election cycle. "I went all over this state to tell people there were better days ahead," Harris said. The former Minority Leader also noted the work he's done around the state, stumping for candidates. He even began his marks with a ringing endorsement of the Democratic candidate in the 135th legislative district. "Isn't it about time in the #135th district we had a Democrat in there . . . We need Nancy Hagan," Harris said to cheers, while reminding the crowd of his work and dedication to down-ballot candidates.

"I've been a Democrat for 43 years," Harris said, while noting the local endorsements of Commissioner Dave Coonrod and Rep. Charlie Norr.

"I was also born a Democrat."

Harris pledged to lead the fight against the Missouri Farm Bureau, which he called "just an arm of the Republican party." He pledged to take on the predatory lending companies, the utility companies as well as Internet predators and corporate factory farms, to make sure they "don't pollute our natural resources, and don't pollute Ozarks streams." He also said that any Medicaid provider that tries to game the system "would be punished."

Koster said his experience is what sets him apart from Donnelly and Harris. "What makes my candidacy unique is simply that I've been there," Koster said. He said that no other candidate has dealt with homicide and interrogated killers up close. He spoke about prosecuting cases involving women who killed babies, husbands who killed wives, swindlers who had stolen the life savings of widows and toddlers who had been rescued from meth labs.

"No other candidate in this race can tell you those stories," Koster deadpanned.

"I want to take the extraordinary foundation Jay Nixon has built and make it aggressive and exciting," Koster said. He pledged to pursue the unpopular case "as long as it was right and just," and added that he would be "an enemy of environmental polluters, a prosecutor of corporate greed and a defender of families."

"While not every person in Missouri has been given a voice by this administration, every person deserves one," Koster said. "That's why I became a Democrat."


Jack said...

Your tag line is funny. Koster is the only Democrat candidate in the AG's race with any chance in beating Gibbons. When he was a Republican, he was always to the left of thier party. As a moderate Democrat he actually can win vs the lefty wacos Harris and Donnelly.

At some point the Democratic party will realize (or should realize) Koster is our best opportuntiy. If we elect this guy it is a huge win for he party.

For all that Democrats have going for us, we are very short sighted. We need to pick the best person and back that person. Koster is the best. Koster is going help the party much, much more then Harris or Donnelly. It does not matter how long he has had a (D) by his name. What matters is that he has experience, support and money.

When Harris and Donnelly attack Koster it does not benefit all Democrats, it only benefits Harris and Donnelly. If we want to eat our own, continue to attack Koster. If we want to control policy in the state, support Koster.

Guy Roth said...

I will take any sentence from you that says Koster is or was a republican because that is the truth. What would benefit all democrats is if Koster stayed in the Senate and started voting like an actual democrat. If Koster is a real democrat in the Senate than why is the Senate Minority leader supporting someone else. She has had to battle the guy and still continues to do so because he is not a democrat. Get Serious!

Thomas said...

Koster is not our own....that is disgusting and offensive to real Democrats Jack. Before you post another comment again, you should realize how it is making people like me, a usually quiet Democrat, speak out. Koster has to earn his stripes before he gets to wear the name (D) next to his name. Harris and Donnelly have done that.