Monday, April 27, 2009

Weaver: Steelman Could Become "National Star"

Says Exploratory Committee Papers Were Finalized Monday

Sen. John McCain's former top aide and current close confidante John Weaver thinks former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman has the potential of becoming a national star.

In an interview with The Notebook Monday, Weaver confirmed he's advising Steelman's exploratory candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2010. He said the final paperwork for her committee was completed Monday.

Weaver isn't being paid by Steelman yet, but he was a full advocate for her cause during our wide-ranging conversation.

"If Robin Carnahan had a casting call for who she'd want her opponent to be, Roy Blunt would win the part hands down," Weaver said. "No one in Washington or Missouri can work through a scenario where he can win. It's just not there," Weaver added.

Team Blunt would obviously disagree. So having heard many of the counter arguments made by advocates for Blunt, I put those questions to Weaver:

1) How can Steelman beat Blunt if she wasn't able to beat Kenny Hulshof a half a year ago? Steelman fared best in Southwest Missouri against Hulshof, but that will be Blunt's strength. How does she make the math work?

Weaver: "It's an entirely different race in a different environment. I mean, here's a guy who helped in pursuing the intellectual and fiscal bankruptcy of the Republican party. The party has a few questions to ask itself: Are they going to put a real conservative up in the general election, and frankly, are we going to put someone who can win?"

2) But Steelman's campaign will be in part based on out of control spending and earmarks. Those are arguments she used against Hulshof. And she still lost. Some people just like earmarks, because it's money coming to their town.

Weaver: "They were not the issues that the are now. No offense to [Hulshof] but we saw what happened to him in the general election. The time for K Street Republicans, big government Republicans is gone in our party. She's clearly the fresh face for a new start for our party. Roy Blunt's yesterday's news."

3) So let's say she's able to beat Blunt. It's still a long, tough, expensive campaign. She's still battered, and walks into the general bloodied, just like Kenny Hulshof did. A walk in the park for Robin afterall . . .

Weaver: "Sure, it's a tough primary. But I can give you lots of examples of cases in the history of this country where a good candidate comes through and wins. When she defeats Roy, she will immediately command national attention. She's got the profile to become a national star. Roy doesn't fit into that. Sarah Steelman has the ability to draw totally different types of constituencies in the general election. I guarantee the Democrats want to run against Roy Blunt. They don't want to run against Sarah Steelman."

4) Doesn't Sarah Steelman need to become a better speaker if she wants to become a Senator?

Weaver: "I think she's a fine speaker. I think Sarah just has to run Sarah's campaign, not a consultant's campaign. She's a good communicator because her message is strong. The Sarah Steelman I know doesn't need coaching or training. She just doesn't need to be overhandled."

You can bet the barn that one critique you'll hear thrown back at Steelman from Republicans is that just a few years ago, Weaver left the Republican Party to work for Democratic candidates.

Weaver served as political director to McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign. After McCain's tough loss, Weaver reportedly became disillusioned with the GOP. By 2002, he was doing work for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But soon after that, he was back with his close friend McCain. Even after he left McCain's 2008 effort in the middle of a staff shake-up, he still kept in close touch with top McCain aides and the Senator himself.


whistleblower said...

My take on the comments from the "Blunt Camp":We should not have Primary Elections. They're too messy. Whoever jumps in first should be the candidate. -Even if they're not the best candidate. ---I can see why Roy Blunt was quick to announce his candidacy. Unfortunately, that's not a good reason to vote for him.

The best public speaker, is the best candidate. -President Obama was the best public speaker in the presidential race. How many Republicans considered him to be the best candidate? --Sorry Roy.

Earmarks make the hometown people they'll vote for you. -That's the kind of thinking that has caused the downfall of our government. Looking out for the entire country is the primary responsibility of our elected representatives in D.C. --If, and only if, we have a surplus, should earmarks even be considered. -Roy has it backwards. He seems to think his primary responsibility is to get reelected. Pandering to constituents is not always the right thing to do. Those that focus on making the voters happy, have a tendency to avoid making the tough choices.

I hope Sarah decides to join this race. We all know that we need to “clean house” in Washington. We also know that hiring the same housekeepers, that have been in charge of the cleaning for many years, are not likely to do a better job than they have done in the past.

gumshoe said...

Sarah would have a much better shot at taking on Carnahan than Blunt, but she cannot and will not win the primary.

Even if she were miracously able to defeat Blunt -- her resources, as you mentioned, would be depleted.

The truth is, I agree with Weaver. Steelman could be a fresh face and a national star for the Republican Party. Steelman is what the Republican Party needs... but she cannot attain a statewide elected office because of the old Republican Guard who run politics in Southwest Missouri.

The National Republican Party is the real loser here.

Alice Keith said...

So the Steelman's decide to hire a Washington Democrat to advise their campaign on the heals of Mr. Steelman getting an appointment from the Nixon Administration. Weaver is a well-know Republican antagonist in Washington. Couple this with the absense of a post-loss Steelman endorsement of Hulshof, support for the trial lawyers' agenda and consistent attacks not on Democrats but Missouri Republicans and what Republicans have is poison pill candidate. If you don't believe me, GOPers, ask yourselves, why is Gov. Nixon and Sen. McCaskill jeering Cong. Blunt and cheering the Steelmans...not because they fear the Steelmans?