The political forces dominating our country are building and colliding here in the way that two of this state’s great rivers, the Missouri and the Mississippi, do around the Confluence. Both parties are eyeing Missouri for their political conventions. The Democrats are looking at St. Louis while the Republicans are considering Kansas City. How beautiful would it be if we had both? And what a remarkable opportunity it would give Missouri to show a new face and new brand of politics to the rest of the country? That of a true Moderate. Maybe we could get together in Plano? Which is technically the middle of the country?
I just finished reading about the “cataclysmic showdown” tomorrow’s veto session in the State Capitol is expected to bring. And read with mild amusement a sidebar about the “characters” who would be deciding the fate of many important bills. The top Republican is gunning for a record breaking override of the Democratic Governor’s vetoes. You can almost here them shout, “Four!” as they huddle, eager to fight. With all due respect, it is political theatre at its finest in this state right now. If you’re me, and you want to reach out to people who don’t necessarily follow political minitua day in and day out, it’s a great time to ask them to lean in and learn more about the goings on here.
One of the most contentious issues is whether massive corporate tax cuts lead to economic growth. I believe they do. But the issue is complicated (opponents would say corrupted) by the fact that those tax cuts have been tied to school funding and the State is holding back hundreds of millions in education funds in case the tax cuts pass. The reasonable Republican, Sen. Eric Schmitt of Glendale, is so reasonable, I’m worried no one is hearing about his bill, House Bill 253. It would cut corporate and personal taxes but stagger the cuts over time.
Another key issue is whether Missouri should pass a gun nullification law. Missouri’s ducking of federal laws is a reflection of Missouri’s political personality that fascinates me. Generally, I do believe in states’ rights and that so many of the issues weighing us down on the national stage are best left up to the states. But is there a point, where we need to compromise to forge ahead?
The nullification law is especially timely because of the cataclysmic failure to pass a Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Nullification would basically allow Missouri to opt out of following all federal gun laws. Curiously, not even the NRA is fighting for it. A reasonable Democrat (who used to be a Republican), Attorney General Chris Koster, is distancing his office, saying it could hurt law enforcement efforts and even put Missouri out of the loop on federal anti-terrorism efforts. And even worse, create gun loopholes that criminals could exploit.
Stay tuned for lots of tweets from the State Capitol Wednesday. National politics is playing out on our doorstep. And a front row seat is as close as your cell phone or laptop!