Monday, March 8, 2010

"First family of Missouri Politics" . . . My Eye!

Okay.  It's official.  I'm sick and tired of "the Carnahans are the first family of Missouri politics" stuff!  Check out this puff piece from today's Post-Dispatch.  

Here's the reality . . . Robin Carnahan's grandfather served in Congress and was an ambassador.  In 2000, her father was governor and ran for U.S. Senate.  Sadly, he died in a plane crash during his campaign against John Ashcroft.  (May he rest in peace.)  But here's the oft-forgotten truth . . . Ashcroft was running slightly ahead of Mel Carnahan before the crash.  (Link here.)  And, under a month later when the general election rolled around, George Bush beat Al Gore 50% to 47%.  (Link here.)  That adds up to this . . . if Mel Carnahan had survived, it is very likely that he would have lost his U.S. Senate race and the Carnahan dynasty would have come to an abrupt end.

Instead, riding a wave sympathy, Mel Carnahan's name on the ballot got 50% of the senate vote in 2000 to Ashcroft's 48%.  (Link here.)  Mel's widow and Robin's mother, Jean Carnahan, was appointed to the Senate to serve in her husband's place.  She did, for two years, until Jim Talent defeated her in a 2002 special election.  (Link here.)  Jean was never elected and never held another elected office.

Robin Carnahan and her older brother Russ, both ran for office in 2004.  Neither of them served in any elected office before then and Robin had never run.  Robin was elected Secretary of State and Russ to the U.S. Congress.

So, here's a reality check, the Carnahans aren't Missouri's Kennedys.  Russ and Robin are third-generation politicians, whose political fortunes but for family tragedy would likely have turned out very differently.

Missourians are independent folks.  We don't have a "first family" so lets stop all this fluff about the Carnahan name.

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