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Inconvenient truths plague latest round of partisan attacks against Nixon, Blunt

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 1, 2009 - Two of Missouri's favorite political targets -- Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, a Republican -- have attracted new jabs unveiled Wednesday by their critics.

Both attacks sidestep some key -- but inconvenient -- truths.

The Missouri Republican Party on Wednesday launched a Web video entitled “Jay Nixon: Mortgaging our Future.''

The video accuses the governor of putting the state "hundreds of millions of dollars further in debt'' because he is proposing a statewide capital-improvement program of as much as $1 billion that would be paid for by issuing bonds.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a set of make-believe baseball cards of a political team that the DSCC calls "The Suits." The "players" are all "current and former Republican politicians from Missouri" who recently have endorsed Blunt's bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010.

Said the DSCC: "Collectively, the figures in this group have decades of insider experience in Washington DC, whether it was as the chief legal mind in George Bush’s Administration, a senator who marched lock-step with Bush-Cheney for six long years, or a senator who has been voting the wrong way since the Reagan Administration."

Both parties' jabs omit certain pertinent political facts that the attackers apparently would prefer to ignore.

Nixon's proposal, for example, is patterned after the last massive bond-issue effort in Missouri, which took place in the 1980s, when a Republican-- Christopher "Kit" Bond -- was governor.

Is the state GOP now faulting Bond's $600 million program? With inflation taken into account, Nixon's proposal isn't much different in size.

And Nixon's proposal, like Bond's, also would require voter approval. So it would be the public who decide whether they want to take on the debt.

As for the DSCC's attack, it's true that Blunt is lining up the GOP's institutional support. But the same can be said of the only announced Democrat for that Senate seat, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

The only difference is that Carnahan got the Democratic big-shots lined up behind her months ago, and made a big deal of their support back then.

Lately, She hasn't emphasized her prominent Democratic backers, who include President Barack Obama, because she hasn't had to. Unlike Blunt, Carnahan has had no embarrassing pop-ups of potential Democratic rivals.

Is she did, Carnahan might be rolling out her institutional allies just like Blunt has done.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.