Some Blunt talk on Truth Squads, economic growth

posted at 12:25 pm on October 9, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier this morning, I had an opportunity to speak to one of the next generation of Republicans on the national stage, Governor Matt Blunt of Missouri.  Governor Blunt recently gained attention for his sharp criticisms of statements from Missouri prosecutors who had joined an Obama Truth Squad, and who had strongly implied that they would use their power to prosecute critics of Barack Obama.  Two weeks ago, Blunt compared these tactics to the execrable Sedition Acts and told Obama to “grow up” — and he was in the same frame of mind when I spoke to him this morning.

Some have questioned whether Republicans overreacted to the high-profile inclusion of prosecutors and a sheriff to the Obama Truth Squad in Missouri, with Democrats saying that they never said they would prosecute people.  However, the original KMOV report said they would look for violations of Missouri ethics laws, which certainly implies some sort of legal action against critics:

Blunt pointed out in the interview that KMOV has stood by its initial report.  “No one wants to be the target of a prosecutor,” Blunt told me.  Just the mention of that provides a “chilling effect” to free political speech, and required a strong response.  At best, Blunt said, the Obama Truth Squad was “extremely careless with their language,” and at worst attempted to look like a “police squad”.

I asked him about the propriety of prosecutors being on truth squads at all, and Blunt said he didn’t have a problem with it, as long as they explicitly separated that from their regular work.  Everyone, he said, should be able to participate in the political system.  But when District Attorneys and Sheriffs appear to threaten legal action against critics of one particular candidate, that could give a strong impression of bias that would taint the rest of their work.  Prosecutors are expected to be more than advocates in their work — they represent The People, not just The Party, and have extraordinary responsibilities to go with their extraordinary powers.  When a prosecutor suggests that criticisms might violate the law, that is “implicit intimidation” of critics.  “It reeks of the Sedition Acts,” Blunt told me, echoing his September 29th statement.

Blunt also thinks that this shows a “predisposition to legal action” on the part of Obama.  In his statement last month, Blunt noted that bloggers often write untrue accusations against him.  He mostly ignores them, and refutes them when he thinks it’s necessary.  Obama could do the same simply by refuting the criticism, using more speech as a corrective to bad speech, rather than attempt to intimidate critics into silence.

I asked Blunt about the accusations of hate speech in Florida from a McCain speaker referring to “Barack Hussein Obama”.  Blunt was, well, blunt in his reaction to this.  “The idea that using a legal middle name is hate speech is absurd,” he replied.

Blunt gave his assessment of the presidential race in Missouri, which has tightened to a small lead for McCain.  The past two weeks have been “brutal,” Blunt acknowledged, but thinks the polls will swing back shortly when people digest the financial crisis better.  He expects McCain to carry Missouri in November without too much trouble.

With the crisis, many states have found themselves in trouble.  California, for instance, needs a $7 billion loan to make payroll, and its estimated $15 billion deficit will undoubtedly skyrocket as revenues decline.  Missouri, though, doesn’t have those problems.  I asked Blunt why, and he said, “By and large, states are in trouble because they spent too much money.”  During his term, Blunt cut spending, lowered taxes and promoted economic growth, reformed workers-comp laws, and built an environment for business so attractive that Missouri now leads the nation in manufacturing.  Had other states shown the same discipline and put money aside as Missouri did, they wouldn’t need short-term credit at all and would be able to ride out the storm.  Common-sense governing put Missouri in a position of strength.

Blunt, though, will not return for a second term.  He decided not to run for re-election this year, despite all of his success.  I asked him if he would return to the governor’s office at some time, and Blunt didn’t rule it out.  He told me that government benefits when the people who run it cycle back into the private sector on a regular basis to experience the effects of their decisions.  At 38, Blunt has many years to make that cycle on an ongoing basis, and perhaps make himself into a gold-plated prospect for the White House in the future.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Bernadine Dorn

Just posted by Lowry on NRO/Corner.

Spamming this thread so someone will see it.

gh on October 9, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Blunt and other state officials did NOT ‘overreact’ to a blatant attempt at intimidation by Obaba-thugs. The Dems have been going at this full-bore since the Clinton era, and using these methods to steal and almost-steal elections

Hear me now and believe me later, these people almost stole Florida and the Presidency in 2000, and then had the stones to make a movie misrepresenting what they did and tried to do

Janos Hunyadi on October 9, 2008 at 12:32 PM

The feds have no problem investigating this guy before he even finished his sentence.

The Missouri Goon Squad are not only trying to intimidate voters but they are also campaigning for Obama by repeating his messages to the press as fact.

Blake on October 9, 2008 at 12:33 PM

gh on October 9, 2008 at 12:26 PM

unfortunately it’s been five years since this was written and dorhn is still free.

Brass Pair on October 9, 2008 at 12:34 PM

October Surprise?

The Dorhn/Michelle “Angela Davis” Obama connection is what I think we were waiting for.

Does Sidley/Austin throw Barack X and Angela under the bus?

PimFortuynsGhost on October 9, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Blunt’s biggest problem, unfortunately, is that he’s not a dynamic public speaker. My mom is very happy with what he’s done in Missouri, but, when he spoke at the Palin rally she went to, she said, “I wish they had left Blunt of the program. He puts me to sleep.”

In the era of style over substance, he might not ever be able to break into the national spotlight.

JadeNYU on October 9, 2008 at 12:40 PM

Matt Blunt
Bobby Jindal
Sarah Palin
Mark Sanford
Jeb Hensarling
Eric Cantor
Lynn Swann
Michael Steele

I think the seeds of the GOP revival have already been sown.

rockmom on October 9, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Hear me now and believe me later, these people almost stole Florida and the Presidency in 2000, and then had the stones to make a movie misrepresenting what they did and tried to do

Janos Hunyadi on October 9, 2008 at 12:32 PM

I don’t put anything past them at this point. I fully expect lying, cheating, stealing, and even killing to get the power they so desperately crave. They’re addicted.

*eats*

Grue in the Attic on October 9, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Brass Pair on October 9, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Yep. I didn’t look at the date on the article until after I posted … I should have known not to trust Lowry.

unfortunately it’s been five years since this was written and dorhn is still free.

Insufficient evidence, I suppose.

gh on October 9, 2008 at 12:42 PM

Bernadine Dorn
Just posted by Lowry on NRO/Corner.
Spamming this thread so someone will see it.
gh on October 9, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Unfortunately, the article is 5 years old. Doesn’t appear the investigation got anywhere. Looking at that photo, I have to say the sex pot of the revolution has not aged well. lol!

Blake on October 9, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Matt Blunt
Bobby Jindal
Sarah Palin
Mark Sanford
Jeb Hensarling
Eric Cantor
Lynn Swann
Michael Steele

I think the seeds of the GOP revival have already been sown.

rockmom on October 9, 2008 at 12:41 PM

That right there is a mighty purdy list, I tell you what.

Amusing accent aside, these people here are exactly what this country needs at this point. The question is which one of them is going to be Ronaldus Magnus Mk.II – my current bet is on Palin, but who knows for sure?

:D

*eats*

Grue in the Attic on October 9, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Insufficient evidence, I suppose.
gh on October 9, 2008 at 12:42 PM

But, the case is still open. You know one of them did it.

Blake on October 9, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Blake on October 9, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Better:
Senate Internal Security Subcommittee

Grathwohl added that Ayers “said that the bomb was placed on the window ledge and he described the kind of bomb that was used to the extent of saying what kind of shrapnel was used in it.”

He was asked, “Did he say who placed the bomb on the window ledge?” He replied, “Bernardine Dohrn.”

Asked if Ayers said that he had personally witnessed Dohrn placing the bomb, Grathwohl responded, “Well, if he wasn’t there to see it, somebody who was there told him about it, because he stated it very emphatically.”

According to:

The testimony was given by Grathwohl to the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee on October 18, 1974.

gh on October 9, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Does anyone know what Political Elections are coming up in Missouri? Senate? Congress?

upinak on October 9, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Rockmom,

you forgot Ken Blackwell of Ohio.

either orr on October 9, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Nevermind, I think I answered my own question.

How many wanna bet, Blunt will probably run for U.S. Senate in a couple year?

upinak on October 9, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Congress?

upinak on October 9, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Shadegg is up for reelection here in AZ.

*eats*

Grue in the Attic on October 9, 2008 at 12:54 PM

You know, this is one of the many reasons not to vote for Obamajebus. The same people who put an “Impeach Bush” bumper sticker on their cars in December of 2000–They b*tched and b*tched that the evil ZOMGWTFLOLCh1mpyMcHitlerburtoncorpinc was going to throw them into Gitmo Any Minute Now. Unlike those jokers, people who disagree with Obamajebus might face real legal consequences. And be denounced as a racist to boot. Screw that—crawl over whatever broken glass you have to, but vote McCain!

Sekhmet on October 9, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Ah, ignore that, misread and missed the restriction to Missouri….

*headdesk*

Grue in the Attic on October 9, 2008 at 12:54 PM

The future of the GOP is like the episode of Star Trek where they bring in that destroyed US flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in broken English. Along with the culture of this country being wiped out, illegals running wild, Black Liberation theology becoming the national religion along with Islam, Hollywood running the ministry of culture and Obama running a military junta, we are so totally screwed if this guy wins the election that all of us on Hot Air will have our IP addresses branded on our foreheads and sent to a camp.

All of the gains against Islam during the last eight years, paid for by American blood, will also be lost.

Vote!!!!!!!

Hening on October 9, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Blake on October 9, 2008 at 12:44 PM
gh on October 9, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Ok,
Someone throw me a bone. I’m familiar with the Hatch act, at least as it applies to federal employees. However as a sheriff is an elected official, how is it any different for a sheriff to stump for a candidate than a congressman or senator?

Marine_Bio on October 9, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Dohrn Cleared

Either “Grathwol” lied or someone else took one for the cause [ someone emailed the link to Lowry … I didn’t actually read it ;-) ]

gh on October 9, 2008 at 1:01 PM

I thought David Brooks now determines the fiture of the Republican Party.

pseudonominus on October 9, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Or not …

The 2003 article refers to two cases and the link that Lowry followed up with is the John Young case. The Grathwol testimony is the Brian McDonnell case.

If that one is still open, is there a link to some evidence ?

gh on October 9, 2008 at 1:06 PM

OOPS, that should have been this

Blake on October 9, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Same question though.

Marine_Bio on October 9, 2008 at 1:07 PM

I asked Blunt about the accusations of hate speech in Florida from a McCain speaker referring to “Barack Hussein Obama”. Blunt was, well, blunt in his reaction to this. “The idea that using a legal middle name is hate speech is absurd,” he replied.

I’m sure that AllahPundit will elaborate on this in his own posting in 5…4..3..2..1..

Mcguyver on October 9, 2008 at 1:08 PM

“Barack Hussein Obama”

How about “Barack Earl Obama”, since he’s likely to be Carter II foreign policy-wise?

The Monster on October 9, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Marine_Bio on October 9, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Sure when you explain to me how what the prosecutors did in Missouri any different than what the sheriff did? Were they not contacting the media and giving interviews and repeating obama’s campaign messages as fact? And they did this under the color of authority of their offices. Did they not use their position as elected county and city attorneys to influence an election? Why are the feds immediately investigating the sheriff’s case and not the Missouri case?

Blake on October 9, 2008 at 1:18 PM

How many wanna bet, Blunt will probably run for U.S. Senate in a couple year?

upinak on October 9, 2008 at 12:53 PM

It’s nice to have a fellow Missourian this great to vote for. Now if he’ll just run.

NellE on October 9, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Blake on October 9, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Sure it is a complete case of double standard at face value, but the sheriff is elected and the prosecutors are frequently appointed.

However, what I’m tryin to get at is that there are two ways of lookin at this.

1. If you apply the same standard afforded other elected officials in permitting them to stump for candidates, then the investigation of the sheriff is an even more egregious double standard.

2. If the standard applied to the sheriff is the correct application of the Hatch act, then there is a whole crap load of people needing to be brought up on charges.

Which is why I was asking about the Hatch act. (And my suspicion is that #1 is the truth)

Marine_Bio on October 9, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Permitted Activities

Covered state and local employees may-

*actively campaign for candidates for public office in partisan and nonpartisan elections

*contribute money to political organizations and attend political fundraising functions

Prohibited Activities

Covered state and local employees may not-

*use official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination

http://www.osc.gov/ha_state.htm

The Missouri attys are guilty and the Florida sheriff is not.

Blake on October 9, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Kalifornia’s economic woes are the direct result of a Democratic legislature and a RINO governor. Since Arnie came into office, state revenues went UP 30%! Did the cost of living go up 30% in the last several years? Did the cost of government go up 30%? No! The bastards got the money and went on a spending spree (read entitlement programs). Now faced a BILLIONS defecit, the jackasses in Sacramento are screaming that they need to raise taxes. No! They need to sit down and start CUTTING PROGRAMS.

GarandFan on October 9, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Blake on October 9, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Thanks for the link, all I had was the text of the act, which is much less concise.

I never thought the sheriff was guilty, just completely unfamiliar with state level application of the act and trying to understand if this was a one alarm fire or a five alarm fire on our rights as citizens.

Just one more example of how things will change as we slide into socialism or worse. I have the sinking feeling that we will all be comarades soon if this kind of crap keeps up.

Marine_Bio on October 9, 2008 at 1:45 PM

And where do we go when that happens?

Marine_Bio on October 9, 2008 at 1:46 PM

I think the seeds of the GOP revival have already been sown.

rockmom on October 9, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Don’t forget my man Allen West running for rep in Florida:

http://www.allenwestforcongress.com/blog.php

“If it’s about the lives of my men and their safety, I’d go through hell with a gasoline can,” he said.”

ex-Democrat on October 9, 2008 at 1:51 PM

upinak

Blunt is not running for re-election for governor. That battle is being contested by Congressman Kenny Hulsof and democrat Atty. Genl. Jay Nixon and it is a doozy.

Unfortunately, Nixon could bring out the vote in Missouri and cause problems for McCain. Nixon is in the pocket of various state special interests like trial lawyers and unions, especially state employee unions.

Claire McCaskel does not have to run for a while and she has turned into a nasty partisan. Republican Senator Bond is also safe and my congressman, dem. Carnahan is also safe dammit.

Matt Blunt is Roy Blunt’s son and I don’t believe that he is the future of the Republican party. He’s not partisan enough.

Vince on October 9, 2008 at 2:03 PM

I’m from St. Louis, Missouri. Gov. Blunt has been vilified by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Democrats in general (sorry, that’s redundant), for being the kind of leader that fixed most of Missouri’s financial troubles. He wasn’t afraid to take the heat for being “mean” and not handing out freebies to everybody who asked for it.

Missourians, just like all Americans, want it both ways. They want everything given to them, but want a balanced budget. In the end, they can’t achieve that goal at home, or from their government.

Star20 on October 9, 2008 at 2:11 PM

I like the governor, but being Roy Blunt’s boy will always be something I’m not a fan of.

Can’t we find the next generation from some folks who are not related to the this, or the last, generation?

God help us, if we can’t. Might as well say hang it all and call the Senate the House of Lords.

Sorry, I’m a bit in the dumps today on this.

Oh, and things don’t look hot for Hulshof, I’m afraid. Nixon’s been running for the last ten years or so for Governor.

dean_acheson on October 9, 2008 at 2:48 PM

GarandFan on October 9, 2008 at 1:38 PM

As a resident of california for 18 years I want to thank you for you plain-speak assessment of the situation!

RedLizard64 on October 9, 2008 at 3:44 PM

did you ask him why he’s stepping down as Gov. of Missouri after only one term?

Kaptain Amerika on October 9, 2008 at 4:21 PM

In my opinion, just making the threat was a violation of the Consitutional rights of everyone who should enjoy the right of free speech in Missouri. As far as I’m concerned, they should at least lose their jobs. Why doesn’t it amount to official persection?

urbancenturion on October 9, 2008 at 5:07 PM

and perhaps make himself into a gold-plated prospect for the White House in the future.

Well I guess it’s nice that you were impressed with him. Me, I wondered why he didn’t ask the justice department to step in and investigate the use of missouri law enforcement for intimidation and political purposes. But who am I? I’ve never even been in a green room.

peacenprosperity on October 9, 2008 at 5:16 PM

and perhaps make himself into a gold-plated prospect for the White House in the future.

Nice position to consider for the son of one of the leaders of the republican party in congress that helped lead our country down the present course. daddy was in a position of influence during the do nothing but try to buy votes period of the republican dominated congress.

peacenprosperity on October 9, 2008 at 5:19 PM

Star20 on October 9, 2008 at 2:11 PM

I’m in Ballwin, and couldn’t have said it better myself..
Blunt has been effective, and speaks his mind…

The St. Louis Post Disgrace is one of the most rediculous publications in the country..

Anyone remember the St. Louis Globe Democrat?

stlpatriot on October 9, 2008 at 9:00 PM