Thursday, April 12, 2007

Has Kit Bond Lost his Mojo?

A couple years ago, I would have thought that Kit Bond was as safe as anyone in the Senate (a pretty safe place for incumbents) could be. Except for when he ran against Jay Nixon, he hasn't faced a truly strong democrat in any of his four races. I even voted for him when he ran against Geri Rothman-Serot (one of those annoying St. Louis Democrats who think the world ends outside of the I-270 loop).

Bond has always been a tolerable Republican. Where many Missouri Republicans fit better into the John Ashcroft mold of crazy religious zealots, Kit Bond is a classic country club Republican. Raised at an east-coast prep school, he has dulled his once-sharp intellect with lobbyists' booze and high-living of the type most of us associate with Hugh Hefner and Ted Kennedy. When you meet most Missouri Republicans, you sense that they want to lecture you about how you should go to church and save your soul. When you meet Kit Bond, you sense that he wants to tell you about the strip clubs in DC.

His tolerability goes beyond the fact that he is not a sanctimonious pain in the ass - he has also brought home the bacon like a champ. The political elite of both parties like Kit Bond because he delivers more pork than McGonigles in the week before the American Royal BBQ contest. Politicians of all stripes like spending tax dollars, and Kit Bond has been the secret Santa of Missouri for over 20 years.

But I'm announcing here that Kit Bond will not win another term.

He's up for a race in 2010, and he's lost his mojo. It's been fun, but it's over.

As a member of the minority party, his bacon won't come in slabs anymore. He's going to have to fight for every strip. The Dems who have liked him as Candy Man are going to walk away when he can't deliver. And without the money, why should they tolerate one of only 9 Senators who voted to support torture and one of only two senators who voted to support the conversion of the US Attorney's office into a political attack dog?

On top of that, his own party's going to savage him, because he's not really a Missouri Republican. He's a Deerfield Academy, Princeton, University of Virginia east coast elite who came back to Mexico, Missouri only to launch a political career. He hasn't done the real work of attending all the confederate rallies, cross-burnings and church socials where grassroots work is done in certain Missouri Republican circles. Most of his party suspects that the last time he saw a Bible was when he stumbled across a Gideon's Bible while trying to call the front desk for more ice. He's not really one of them.

Bond may wind up not even trying. He'll be 71, and he's not going to be having much fun as a non-influential minority member of the Senate for the next 3 years. When the lobbyists dial down their level of attention, Kit Bond is likely to figure out that he can have more fun elsewhere, without the occasional scrutiny of the press. It might even be worth paying for his own Alaskan junkets.

Gonemild says that Kit Bond is finished in 2010.

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Anonymous mainstream said...

You show amazing insight, Dan. The guy has a 95% chance of retiring, and you're kicking him in the ass as he's walking out the door.

Tell me what wisdom and insight it takes to do that, while towing the usual progressive democratic party line.

I hate to brake it to you, but most successful democratic senators behave pretty much like Bond, or if they don't they wish they could.

I'll never defend Bond for many of the reasons you stated, because I am a progressive Democrat. But I will say that if you talk with Congressman Cleaver, and many other democrats that were in the minority, they'll tell you he generally behaved like a gentleman, with respect for the minority democrats and with poise and civility.

Which is more than I can say for you in your post.

4/12/2007 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Aimee Gromowsky said...

Who is going to run against him? Is he going to face a primary?

Who is sitting on the Dems bench that is ready to run a state-wide? Robin Carnahan or Russ?


4/12/2007 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

I remember Mr. "Poise and Civility" pounding the podium and screaming about Democratic voter fraud in St. Louis (there was none)in 2000. Sometimes he lets that affable, genteel mask slip, and we all get to see the real Kit Bond: a rabidly partisan, right-wing Republican who votes with his president and party more than 90 percent of the time. The nicest thing you can say about him is at least he smiles as he sticks the knife in your back.

I'd love to see Bond be sent packing, but I don't think it'll happen before he decides to retire. Despite Bond being a consistently vulnerable seat, Missouri Democrats never fail to pick the weakest candidate imaginable, with maybe the exception of Jay Nixon. I predict 2010 is no exception.

4/12/2007 1:51 PM  
Blogger les said...

Mainstream, you call yourself "progressive;" I don't think the word means what you seem to think it means. Kit Bond is a willing member of the Republican Revolution; he has aided and abetted a disastrous administration, and is complicit in demolishing rule of law and Constitutional protections in this country. He well deserves a kick in the ass. Continue to prize civility over decency, and manners over morals. Personally, I've had enough of the reek of hypocrisy. And just because I'm a jerk I'll point out you don't tow lines, you tow barges.

4/12/2007 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Dan. I hope you're right. In addition to Robin Carnahan, I think Roger Wilson or Joe Maxwell have a shot. All three have statewide history and name ID and all three would appeal to rural voters, which is crucial.

4/12/2007 4:30 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Les - perhaps I'm guilty of having my standards lowered so much by the Bush administration that I'll give give anybody with a +40 IQ the benefit of the doubt.

I just don't operate under the illusion that, at a very fundamental level, there's a whole lot of difference between powerful democrats and powerful republicans.

4/12/2007 6:35 PM  
Blogger les said...

Mainstream, I agree and disagree. Regarding individual politicos, we probably don't think too differently--they are motivated by power and wealth, responsive to donors, etc. But I do think there's an institutional difference right now; starting with the Gingrich/Delay class, the Repubs have made a conscious and organized effort to pervert the system to obtain permanent majority; have created the most corrupt institution in U.S. political history, which is no mean feat; have intentionally employed divisive and negative tactics; and have blatantly ignored the law and the Constitution for partisan goals and enrichment of an elite. I really think it's a qualitative difference, not just biz as usual. The Dems are just not able to achieve such a monolithic front, which may be our only hope as citizens.

4/13/2007 9:48 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Excellent points, Les.

I also think you introduce a very interesting perspective that I haven't really considered before - the fractured nature of Dems is a problem for us, but in many ways it's a blessing for us, and the country.

I would add to your points by saying the republicans have also destroyed what I would consider to be classical conservatism (the Kassenbaum, Todd-Whitman variety).

The only good thing I can rationalize out of the last 8 years is that power doesn't really corrupt, it reveals.

Everybody now can see what happens when you let the lethal combination of Tom Delay-type greed and evangelical social conservatism run things for a while.

It has come very close to destroying our nation.

4/13/2007 4:53 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

No fraud in St. Louis in 2000? Then you mean that a dead guy didn't sue to keep the polls open because he had not had the opportunity to vote yet?

4/17/2007 6:53 PM  

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