Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mudslinging Benefits Jay Nixon

I admit it . . . I was naive to think that a campaign between two good candidates for governor in the Republican primary would be good for the party and the state.  Instead, the race between Kenny Hulshof and Sarah Steelman is devolving into a Clinton-Obama style brawl.  But unlike the brawl between the to Democrats vying for the presidency, Rush Limbaugh isn't on the air creating this turmoil.  I don't think Jay Nixon is running his own "Operation Chaos" but he's certainly reaping the benefits of Steelman bashing Hulshof and Hulshof responding in kind.

The latest example showed up in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Candidate Steelman is criticizing Hulshof for voting for increased spending on international AIDS programs.  AIDS is a world crisis and needs to be addressed.  The United States should be lauded for its efforts to combat the disease and Hulshof should not be scorned for his compassionate vote to spend a very small percentage of the federal budget in the global effort.

Hulshof's defense, however, was not to stand up for his vote and defend his position.  Instead, his spokesman criticized Steelman for criticizing him.  The Hulshof campaign described their candidate's vote as "pro-life."  That term is typically reserved for the debate over abortion.  I hope that this was an unfortunate choice of words and not a backhanded effort to imply that Steelman is not pro-life.

In any event, what is getting lost in the shuffle of this intra-party bickering is Jay Nixon . . . who is sitting back and letting his potential rivals tear one another down.

If Hulshof and Steelman keep bashing one another, Jay Nixon will coast into the governor's mansion.

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