Taking Sides

This is an election year and in Missouri, the political season started this past Monday when candidates were allowed to file for state and local offices. This week is also the start of the ‘official’ campaign season although many candidates started campaigning some time ago. For democrats, the season started the day after the last election.

The local pols assembled early Monday morning when the County Clerk’s office opened. All of them, ‘Pub and Dem, were lined up to file. All were well-dressed, prepared for the expected media photos and it was probably the last time candidates of both parties were together in a feigned friendly atmosphere.

Even the factions within the parties were present. On the ‘Pub side, the TIF proponents, those who want to spend the taxpayer’s money in the form of TIFs, were present with their list of candidates opposing the other ‘Pubs who were working to pay off the debts created by those TIF supporters in the past.

TIF financing is a gamble. The supporters of TIF are betting that reducing or forgiving revenue now…and for a number of future years, will produce huge amounts of revenue in the future. The problem with most TIF arrangements is that the local governments must put up front money, funds to expand local infrastructure, roads, water and sewage, with the expectation of pay-back at some point in the future.

What often happens, and has happened in the past, is that when the TIF expires, the businesses enticed to come to our cities and counties, move or threaten to move thus creating a new cycle of negotiations.  The city of Belton nearly bankrupted itself by allowing a large number of TIFs and when the city needed the revenue, it wasn’t there.  Belton had other problems—spending money on a rec center and water park like a drunken sailor (with apologies to members and former members of the US Navy.)

I’m trying to find an accurate label for the TIF spenders. They may claim to be republicans but they don’t follow any of the tenets of conservatism, small government, low taxes, stable budgets and spending only on those items that rightly belong to the county government, not big money-wasting projects like the failed broadband initiative where millions disappeared into the gloom of crony politics.

I note some former county commissioners are now employed by those same companies that defrauded the county. Those companies and individuals are still under investigation by federal agencies but that hasn’t stopped their plans to waste, and maybe skim, a few million of the county’s meager funds.

But the political battles aren’t just at the county level. The GOP is disintegrating. In neighboring Kansas, Dr. Milton Wolf is running against the incumbent Pat Roberts for the US Senate.

Wolf exposed Roberts lack of residency in Kansas. Robert’s residence is, and has been for decades, in Virginia. When he comes back to Kansas, he stays with friends and supporters.

Roberts is a good-old-boy of the GOP Washington establishment. Locally, he is known as the ‘absent’ Senator. The NRSC, supposedly neutral for internal GOP politics, provided opposition research for Roberts against Wolf by disclosing private comments supposedly by Wolf concerning some X-rays. The NRSC then paid a local ‘ethic’s expert’ to moan over the disclosure and berate Milton Wolf. I note it was the NRSC who did the disclosure, not Dr. Wolf. Wolf posted the X-ray to a private group. It begs the question how the NRSC acquired those private comments?

Wolf terminated his social media sites when he decided to run for the Senate. The NRSC had to really dig to find those postings. I wonder who and how much the NRSC paid for the information.

Why has the NRSC become involved in a state race? Because Milton Wolf is a Tea Partier and has the support of various local Tea Party organizations as well as the national Tea Party Express. The Washington GOP establishment, the NRSC, Karl Rove and others, has declared war against their conservative core members, the Tea Party and other grassroots organizations.

GOP_v_TeaPartyThe schism has even extended to the Young Republicans, consisting of strong conservatives. John Weaver, a Young Republican from Texas, and a campaign consultant for John McCain and Jon Huntsman, said in a Tweet, “Tea Party is full of drooling, senile angry bullies who are ‘mad at everything.’” The tweet was subsequently deleted by Weaver. Local Young Republican leaders quickly distanced themselves from Weaver. One described Weaver as ‘arrogant.’

I have been an associate member of the Young Republicans. (Memo to self: renew membership.) I can state that Weaver’s views are not common throughout the organization. However, his remarks do reflect the views of the Washington establishment who are scared to death they will lose their seats of power. In their frenzy, the GOP establishment have allowed themselves to be co-opted by the democrats into being the first line of liberal resistance to conservative opposition against liberalism, socialism and the democrats. Now, conservatives across the country must add another group to fight—the ruling class, the Washington establishment.

When we should be fighting democrats, liberals and socialists, we are spending time and treasure in an internal civil war within the GOP—just what the democrats want most. A party divided cannot win. Karl Rove, the NRSC, the Washington establishment and their tools across the country are willing agents of socialism and tyranny. Unless the conservative unite against them, we are lost.