Wednesday, December 19, 2007

AG Candidate Donnelly Loses Case & Presumption of Legal Skill?

I was surprised when AG Candidate Margaret Donnelly filed a lawsuit challenging the secrecy of the Missouri Ethics Commission hearings. Even though I share the politically voyeuristic urge to see who is seeking to argue hardship and hold onto their large campaign donations, the statute creating the Missouri Ethics Commission seems awfully clear that it is an exempted from the Sunshine Law.

If the case had merit, I figured that Jeff Harris, who has actually served as an Assistant Missouri Attorney General working with Attorney General Jay Nixon, would have gotten involved. He knows the law a lot better than Donnelly does, so when he opted not to get on board, I figured that he knew the ship was going to sink.

It did.

Sadly, Donnelly is going to keep banging her head on the wall. “This is the first step in a long process,” she said. “I’m going forward because I think people are fed up with government operating behind closed doors." I agree with her that people would like to know more about the hearings.

But curiosity is not a cause of action, and wishing the law were written differently is not a winning argument.

Margaret Donnelly decided to demonstrate her legal acumen during her campaign, and now we all get to see what the courts think of her arguments.

As I wrote before, I met Margaret Donnelly and was unimpressed with her political judgment. Now that I've seen her legal judgment, I'm equally unimpressed.

Thank God we have Jeff Harris in the race.

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60 Comments:

Anonymous SSideDem said...

I agree with you completely Dan. Donnelly is blinded by her liberalism and cannot think clearly.

12/19/2007 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan - I am wee bit confused here. Why are you posting about Donnelly and Harris? Koster is the front-runner and, frankly, will win the primary by a very healthy margin.

Did you hear the good news? Koster received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, presumably because of his 13-year prosecutorial record (2 years in AG's office; 11 years as Cass Cty. prosecutor). He also received a huge endorsement from U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay (D-STL).

Dan, you wouldn't suggest that the state's largest police union and Rep. Clay are wrong, would you?

12/19/2007 7:59 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Yes, you are confused, anonymous.

You keep on flogging an endorsement by a 5,000 member union like it's something major. It's not. No big deal. It's not even a very political union - according to their own website, their main legislative issues are "Due Process, CCW for retired officers, residency, etc." They even seek to ban political commentary on their message board.

You also seem insistent that Koster is the frontrunner, though I've seen no evidence to suggest that's true. Frankly, that "inevitability argument" smacks of desperation. I've seen it used often by eventual losers.

How did Koster do as a prosecutor? Isn't he the one that failed to get the death penalty for Robinson, and got played for a fool by the mass-murderer?

Whose AG's office did he work in? Did he happen to "learn the ropes" from someone who went to prison?

Yes, allow me to state clearly that the FOP and Lacy Clay are deeply, deeply mistaken in their estimation of Koster. I wonder if they've met him. I have. Even though Donnelly isn't looking like a very skilled attorney today, I'd still vote for her over the guy who got played by Robinson.

12/19/2007 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

And you were/are an attorney? Defendants don't "play" prosecutors. Robinson was represented by counsel (Dan - "counsel" means attorney). The Cass County police gathered the evidence within consitutional bounds, and Koster presented that evidence to a jury. There is no "playing." A criminal prosecutions is not a game of monopoly, and you should not trivialize it as such.

You seem to imply that Koster was not a good prosecutor. Right. That argument is slightly undercut by the fact that he was reelected by wide margins in '98 and '02.

Getting back to the point here. Koster wants to be AG - the state's chief law enforcement official. Koster has 13 years of prosecutorial experience. Remind me how many years Harris and Donnelly have served as prosecutors? No, really, answer that one.

12/19/2007 8:54 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

You don't really know the language, do you? "Getting played" means when someone outsmarts you. Ask Chris - he's had it done to him lots of times. Like when he got convinced that he was going to have to face Hanaway.

I'll freely agree that Koster served as prosecutor for 11 years in Cass County, where he ran away from a trial against Robinson. Shameful. And he didn't get the information about the missing bodies that he was seeking. Utter failure. Funny how he never ran for prosecutor again after that debacle.

Frankly, I'm not sure why we're talking about Koster's failures as a prosecutor, though. If I were you, I'd want to avoid the topic, and I wouldn't bring it up. You do realize, don't you, that the AG doesn't do criminal trials?

But, since I was so forthright in answering your question, perhaps you'd return the favor, and answer the questions you ignored.

Whose AG's office did he work in? Did he happen to "learn the ropes" from someone who went to prison?

Did he try a capital murder case against the grisly murderer, John Robinson?

12/19/2007 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan - your axe is grinding dull

Donnely is a far superior candidate to Harris

I worry about the amount of money Koster has stockpiled for a statewide race, but my bet is still on the woman winning the three way

Harris finishes a distant third and he has been acting like it every since Koster switched

Sad but true because Harris is a good person and a fine attorney, he still finishes last

12/19/2007 11:17 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Maybe my axe is dull, but not my intellect.

Predictions are easy. I've done my own, and it's kind of fun to do. I say Harris 47%, Donnelly 29%, Koster 24%. We can bluster about them all we like, on the theory that the weakminded will want to be on the winning side.

Truth is, Harris is the smartest attorney of the group, and the most respected politician. I don't think anyone can honestly say I'm wrong on either point.

Maybe he'll lose - it's certainly possible in a 3 way race. I don't believe he will. But, win or lose, I'm backing the smartest attorney and the most respected politician.

I'd rather be me than an anonymous gasbag.

12/19/2007 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harris at 47% Are you kidding me? Harris won't even be in the race by the primary date. The dude has no money.

12/20/2007 6:27 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Yada yada yada.

Tell you what, anonymous. Email me, identify yourself, and let's put a bet on that. Seriously. You've just said that Harris will not be in the race by the date of the primary, and I say he will. I'll back up my position with money. Will you?

12/20/2007 6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

Your Robinson argument is a real gem. Robinson was tried in Kansas first, where he received the death penalty. He then entered a guilty plea in Cass County, where Koster was prosecutor. As a result of the guilty plea, Robinson received a life sentence. How is it exactly that Robinson "played" Koster?

Robinson can't be killed twice. He received the death penalty in KS; he got life in MO. It is not as if he is out there walking the streets. Sounds like justice was done to me.

Besides, since when is the Democratic party the death penalty party? You apparently are a staunch supporter of the death penalty. I disagree with you, but you are entitled to your opinion. Most Democrats, however, are not pro-death.

12/20/2007 6:44 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

How's that death penalty thing working out in Kansas? Everyone knows Missouri would have flipped the switch much quicker.

You raise a fair point, though. I DO oppose the death penalty. But it's the law of the land, and I expect my AG to use the law of the land effectively.

Are you claiming that Koster saved Robinson's life because he's an anti-death penalty Republican?? Now that is truly shocking.

You're wrong, though. Koster isn't really against the death penalty. He's just incompetent. Robinson is alive today because Koster was incompetent, not principled.

12/20/2007 6:51 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

By the way, you've never answered my questions: Whose AG's office did he work in? Did he happen to "learn the ropes" from someone who went to prison?

Did he try a capital murder case against the grisly murderer, John Robinson?

And how about that bet?

12/20/2007 6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

I have no idea who was the AG when Koster was an employee of the office. But I suspect your grand scheme is to somehow tie Koster to his employer's misdeeds. Heck of an argument. By that logic, Robert Kennedy is tarnished by Joseph McCarthy, who Kennedy once worked for.

As for Robinson, I again have to inform you that the man cannot be killed twice. And please understand there are many factors that a prosecutor must consider when deciding whether to pursue the death penalty - such as, the evidence, the wishes of the victim's family members. For a prosecutor, the politically popular thing to do is to seek the death penalty - but it isn't always the right thing to do. (Again, I am struck by your zest for the death penalty, in spite of your "opposition" to the death penalty.)

And you still haven't answered my question: How many years of prosecutorial experience do Harris and Donnelly have?

12/20/2007 7:05 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Jeff Harris has not served as a prosecutor. That might be an interesting point if he were running for prosecutor. He has served as an assistant AG, and he is running for AG.

How many criminal prosecutions has Jay Nixon handled as AG?

And how about that bet?

12/20/2007 7:13 AM  
Anonymous Remember Robinson's Victims said...

Anonymous, you helpfully point out that a man can only be killed once. That's correct. But he hasn't been killed, has he?

And you are a despicable, vile, Koster-loving pig if you are trying to blame the families of Robinson's victims for Koster's failure. I have never seen anyone go lower for a political point. Shame on you.

12/20/2007 7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

The AG handles criminal trials. Check out the AG's website. http://ago.mo.gov/prosecutors.htm

Man, get your facts straight.

12/20/2007 7:31 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Get your facts straight. Read the question.

Though thanks for pointing out that Nixon's office (not the AG, though) obtained 2 death sentences. How many did Koster get?

And I agree with my anonymous commenter - you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to blame Koster's failure on the victims' families. Absolutely despicable.

12/20/2007 7:41 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

And how about that bet?

12/20/2007 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPF6k6KyhDE

12/20/2007 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Video fan said...

That video is hilarious, but not as good as the squirrel catapult. It's funny how Pretty Boy Koster the Imposter tried to cover up that he completely failed to get the death penalty because he was too chicken to try a case.

Maybe they ought to get a catapult for Koster when he's being that squirrely! I'd pay money to watch that!

12/20/2007 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow I doubt this election will turn on the Robinson case. Again, you can't kill a man twice, and life imprisonment is not exactly a light sentence. Besides, most Democrats (Dan excluded) are not pro-death penalty.

And I would hardly say a 13-year veteran prosecutor who has tried countless cases is too "chicken to try a case." (But it is telling that you have resorted to name-calling.) Remind me, Dan, how many cases have Harris and Donnelly tried?

This blogsite is boring.

12/20/2007 11:28 AM  
Anonymous whodathunkit said...

Didn't a life sentence avoid an automatic appeal to the SC, therefore saving the taxpayers of Missouri from additional expense?

How much money should be spent on that dirtbag?

12/20/2007 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whodathunkit -

Great point - but don't tell Dan the Executioner.

12/20/2007 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Kansas death penalty got struck down as unconstitutional. 2out of 3 death penalty cases get reversed. So, if Koster really wanted to see Robinson get the death penalty, he should have gone for it. Instead, because of laziness, Robinson is still alive.

Did someone really make an argument that Koster saved Missourians money by not seeking the death penalty? Kinda like he saved us money by kicking 100,000 off medicaid? He's a champ.

12/20/2007 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The New Republic has a great aticle about our next AG. Check it out at the CCP's blog:
http://www.blogccp.blogspot.com/

When the national press begins to notice you, it's called momentum.

12/20/2007 3:40 PM  
Anonymous ssidedem said...

Really? The national press also wrote about John Robinson, a/k/a the Slavemaster, but that wasn't momentum, was it?

Speaking of the Slavemaster, he owes his life to Koster's unwillingness to try a capital case.

12/20/2007 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow I doubt the voters will choose one of the other lesser known (and qualified) candidates merely because Robinson got life in prison. I wasn't aware there were so many rabid, pro-death penalty Democrats out there. Dan, you have company it appears.

12/20/2007 4:09 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Frankly, I think it's more than a little twisted to see Koster trying to get mileage off of this case. He's got it in his bio, his press releases, his campaign put out the video.

It's sickening to hear him in that video talking about women's bodies being found in barrels in a storage locker and then to think that he's using that footage to further his political career.

It's not just crass. It's disgusting.

12/20/2007 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Harris have a law license?

12/20/2007 5:56 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Yes.

12/20/2007 6:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has Harris ever tried a case - civil or criminal - in court?

12/21/2007 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes.

12/21/2007 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has Harris ever tried a case -- civil or criminal -- in court by himself? If so, what is the name of the case. Westlaw and other sources do not show any record of his participation in a trial.

12/21/2007 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, he has. Westlaw is mostly for appeals. Dumbshit.

12/21/2007 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mostly for appeals, huh? Give Westlaw a call and tell it take off all the F. Supp. cases.

What is name of one case that Harris tried by his lonesome? Actually, I will be more generous: What is one case that Harris tried with or without co-counsel?

12/21/2007 2:42 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

The anonymous 11:45 was right - Westlaw is mostly for appeals, and entirely so for Missouri state cases.

12/21/2007 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

Actually, not true. For 2 years now Westlaw has published Missouri circuit court opinions, though it has been selective in doing so. Also, let's not forget F. Supp. cases.

But this isn't the issue. Can anyone anywhere cite for me one case (civil or criminal) that Harris tried either by himself or with co-counsel? Or, how about an appeal that Harris argued or at least briefed?

Here's the deal: I don't believe Harris has ever stepped foot in any court.

12/21/2007 8:39 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

What percentage of Missouri civil and criminal state court trials get reported in Westlaw? The fact that Harris's trials don't have slip opinions reported in Westlaw is simply not surprising nor concerning to anyone who understands the system.

Ironically, the fact is that Harris has by far the best experience for this job, having spent years as an Assistant Attorney General. The fact that Koster supporters are trying so hard to create an artificial issue based on deception is something that Koster, if he has truly changed, would condemn. Let's see if he does.

12/22/2007 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could be making a mistake here by blogging but I thought I would at least try to add some of my experience to this discussion. In the interest of full disclosure of my bias let me state a few things

1) I am a long time
lobbyist who lives most of the year in mid-Missouri. I worked for the office for a number of years more than 15 years ago. I know many, many people that have worked for the office.

2) I was initially sent this link by a very good friend of mine who I would guess but am not certain is a Harris supporter. He asked me what I thought. He did not ask me to post anything.

3) I am Republican leaning and would likely vote for Gibbons in the general. I do like Harris a lot. My bias is against Koster based on his reputation in the Capitol but I want to strongly empasize that I have had two conversations with the man in my life. I do not personally know him at all and many, many times I have found the conventional wisdom about people in the Capitol to be wrong.

With that disclosed I think there is a pretty good misconception on this blog about what the attorney general does. The attorney general rarely ever argues cases and when he does it is only for show. Webster did the webster case before the supremes for obvious political reasons. It would be a problem for the "head" of a law firm of 200 attorneys to spend much time with any specific case. Anyone that disagrees with this simply has no idea how the office works. I worked for Ashcroft and Webster. I know people that worked for Danforth and Nixon. Heck I even know people that worked for John Anderson. None of them spent much time in court including my favorite of the bunch Jack Danforth. This is just common sense. It is true in Missouri and I would guess almost every state in the country.

The attorney general's office has a criminal division. They mostly do criminal appeals and also have two or maybe three special prosecutors. Kenny Hulshof, for instance, was a special prosecutor under Webster and Nixon. The office also has among others environmental, governmental affairs and consumer protection divisions.
Koster being a prosecutor I would think would help somewhat in understanding what the criminal division does. He wouldn't want to actually appear in court but to be able to talk to people like the late great Jack Morris (former head of the criminal division) would be a good thing. as long as he doesn't get wrapped up in individual cases. But it wouldn't be a gigantic benefit. Most criminal law in this state is done at the county prosecutor level.

I am not clear about Harris' experience in the office. I believe he managed a division under Nixon but I don't know which one. I think he agrued Holden's silly collective bargaining order before the Missouri supremes but am not certain of that. Some of this management may be helpful to Harris if he would be the AG but I can't really believe it would matter that much. Most of our AG's have had no prior experience with the office.

I feel pretty comfortable with most of what I said so far but let me add a point that I am less certain of. My belief is that an AG that can do the job is one who hired good managers and can handle the politics to being a statewide elected official. On this score, Harris may know some of the managers in the office have worked there fairly recently. Finally, it is a somewhat quaint notion that a person elected AG will only ever be an AG. Danforth and Ashcroft moved on. Webster would have but for. Nixon is trying. When you elect an AG you may be electing a future governor or future Senator. Again, without trying to prejudge Koster, I think this is what I hear from my D friends around here pretty consistently is the idea that we have to stop Koster now before he has a chance to move to a higher office because he basically voted R on most things.

12/22/2007 10:52 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thanks for the comment, anonymous. Good information.

12/22/2007 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think will happen? Use logic. Let's say Koster does want to be Gov, he will be running as a Dem. Why are people upset or worried? Because he voted with the R's and took some pretty awful positions and once he wins AG he will pull the cloak off and go ah ha, fooled you I really AM a Republican, now deal with four years of my best Phill Kline impersonation!

If that's true then he can't possibly run for Governor because then everyone will bow down to Dan and say boy we really should have listened to you, don't we feel stupid.

The previous logic holds, he cannot and is not aiming to run for governor.

Lets say he does desire to be governor, he has currently taken more punishment from the Democratic operatives than any politician not going to jail in recent memory, do you really think he would act out of the interests of the parties agenda? The converts are sometimes more committed than the faithful. And if he does want to be Gov then every worry and concern Dan & the others have are completely illogical and unfounded because he will bend over backwards to carry the standard.

The previous logic holds, he will not pull some covert Republican manuever, therefore Dan has lost his cause for opposition in the AG race.

If he doesn't want to be governor and AG is the end of his rise then anon 10:52am no longer needs to lose sleep about Koster's ambition (besides he admits to probably voting for Gibbons and hell hath no furry like a party faithful scorned).

Dan, you like to challenge people to numerous things, bets, evidence discovery, arguments ect... I have a challenge for you.

Why don't you run for public office? Put your name on the ballot and invite all of the speculation for your motives, integrity, character, intentions, stamina, intelligence, favorite color, car you drive, where you send your kids to school, on and on and on... mostly by critics who have "watched" you work, perhaps even for 15 years, never taking the time to do primary research and utterly fearful of being the candidate themselves.

How many times have you had an intimate (one on one) conversation of longer than 20 minutes with Harris, Donnely or Koster?

You can say it doesn't matter, but what else is there when assuming the mantle of truth?

Thomas

12/22/2007 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thomas

I may be doing exactly what I was trying to avoid which is to engage in a tit for tat argument on the blogs.

You really focused on the last part of my post. This is the part of my post as I stated that I was less certain about. The part about experience in the office and the role of the attorney general in actually handling cases except for political reasons it would be hard to disagree with.

You also correctly pointed that I am likely to vote for Mike Gibbons but I don't agree with you when you say hell has no fury like a party faithful scorned. I am Republican leaning but believe me no one that knows me would say I was a party faithful. I have supported more republicans over the years but this year for instance I will not in any way shape or form be voting for Matt Blunt. I feel very strongly about that. I also don't feel scorned by Koster. I think I stated that his reputation is not great but only minor direct experience with him. I also stated that "many times I have found the conventional wisdom about people in the Capitol to be wrong".

I did state that "what I hear from my D friends around here pretty consistently is the idea that we have to stop Koster now before he has a chance to move to a higher office because he basically voted R on most things." I think you make some good points here. But I also think I was imprecise in my language and you are short changing some of the people in the trenches so to speak. I was imprecise in the sense that I should have stated that I think many D's just don't trust the conversion, they see it as politically motivated. I may be naive but most people of these people want to vote for someone that shares their values. It may not be fair but I don't think they feel like Koster shares their values. If he was just going to be attorney general it maybe would be different. To be honest some of the same people had similiar problems with Jay in the 90's just not nearly to the extent they do with Koster.

I think also if you take your argument to your logical extreme you end up always voting for party switchers over the other candidates. I disagree with that. I could easily vote for someone like Bob Johnson if he switched parties. He is middle of the road like me. But I don't think switchers should automatically get a prference over the other candidates. If you are a D I could understand why you would want to reward someone that has been with you on the issues for a number of years instead of someone who just got their and that you think is not geniune.

Sorry about the length of this response.

12/22/2007 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I was imprecise in the sense that I should have stated that I think many D's just don't trust the conversion, they see it as politically motivated. I may be naive but most people of these people want to vote for someone that shares their values."

I suggest values has little to do with it, most of the people mentioned in this statement have a vested interest for either Harris or Donnely. Why aren't they talking about their candidate's resume. What is it about Koster that they feel the need to attack him at every turn? Even when the post isn't about him, they focus on the past. Perhaps this is why the Dems control exactly 0 branches of Missouri Govt.

12/22/2007 5:03 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Funny twists of logic coming out of the Koster Kamp here, Before I address them, though, I want to thank the anonymous Jeff City R-leaning comenter who has brought some calm logic and dispassionate analysis.

Now, Thomas. I've never claimed that Koster the Imposter is going to rip off his cloak and show us a Republican underneath. I would never accuse him of holding any principle deeper than political expediency, so I don't believe he's any more "republican" than he is "democrat".

You seem disturbed that I question Koster's candidacy, and ask me to expose myself to the same questions he is facing. Do you really think that it is improper for voters to wonder about the motivations and moral integrity of candidates? Do you (an anonymous commenter, mind you, unwilling to be identified with his comments) think that you must be willing to have your background questioned in order to inquire into the background of someone asking for your vote for one of the most powerful offices in the state?

Are you really claiming that you are unable to form an opinion of a candidate without intimate conversations? You impose a staggering burden on candidates, if you expect all voters to demand intimacy with them before casting a vote.

As for anonymous 5:03, it's touching that you are so tender for Koster's feelings. Did he feel so tender for the children he deprived of health care? I wonder. You also might want to check who brought Koster into this discussion. I was content to ignore him until one of the Koster Kamp sought to claim that he's the frontrunner.

12/22/2007 6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

You are correct that you did not bring Koster into this thread. I did. And I argued, and still do, that Koster is the frontrunner in the race. Some reasons why: He is getting the big endorsements, he is receiving the most media attention (national, state, and local), and has the most money by a large measure.

You don't seem to dispute any of this. Rather, you argue, and argue, and argue that Koster's past policies should preclude him from being the Democratic AG. You are entitled to your opinion, as wrong as it is. But your argument does not address my point that Koster is the frontrunner.

Let's end this thread here. You think Harris should win, but I say that Koster will win.

12/22/2007 6:42 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Tommy boy -

Let me get this straight - you complained that we are talking about Koster in a thread that shouldn't be about him, and you're the person who dragged his flip-flopping name into the fray??? No wonder you like Koster the Imposter - you also apparently believe that people should not be held accountable for something that happened more than 24 hours ago. So what if Koster voted to harm children - why be so obsessed with the past??

Ridiculous.

But let's go ahead and take you far more seriously than you deserve. You claim he is the frontrunner, more than half a year before the primary. You don't cite a poll, you just rely on your opinion. Well, I say that Harris is the frontrunner, and Joe over there says that Donnelly is. I guess that makes it all even.

I'm not ignoring your claims about media attention, endorsements and money. Sure, the media attention is interesting, but it's not votes. In fact, most of the media is focused on his inconstancy. It amy be true that there's no such thing as bad publicity (in which case my Mayor is ruling the world!), but I don't think that's quite true.

As for endorsements, Harris is doing great. They don't mean that much, so Donnelly's poor showing doesn't really mean that I'm inclined to count her out. You shouldn't count Koster in on the strength of a few unions, either.

Now, for the money issue. Money's important, which is why Koster participated in Right Wing Rex's shell game with the sham PACs. It remains to be seen whether the trade was worth the bad PR that's coming. (I would mention the blow to Koster's credibility, but, let's face it, there's none there to undercut.) We'll see if right wing money can buy a Democratic primary. I don't know. Perhaps it can - though I hope not.

You seem obsessed with realpolitik - making the argument that Koster WILL win, instead of that he should. Once again, you really might be correct. The state that elected Matt Blunt might see similar virtues in Chris Koster. I don't know.

Let's see what happens at the primary, okay? Your constant crowing of "victory" seems a little strained at this stage.

12/22/2007 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I've never claimed that Koster the Imposter is going to rip off his cloak and show us a Republican underneath."

If this is true then every argument you have made harping on past decisions to predict future ones have now been rendered moot.

Koster is an "imposter" because of what? He's really a Republican that you now admit won't act like one if elected? You try to offer a dig and cite political expediency, but who really cares why he behaves like a Dem, only that in the end he does.

If you believe he is not cloaking his agenda then you have no reason to suggest that because he made bad votes yesterday he will make them tomorrow. If there is no cloak, then how is he an imposter?

Or was "imposter" a clever tag the Harris operatives dreamed up to create a website to engage in negative politics? Since Koster announced Harris has been slinging mud and frankly tarnishing his previously mint reputation.

Has the Koster camp (which you prematurely attribute my comments - I may in the end vote for Koster - but I like Donnely as well & I am undecided) ever attacked Harris or Donnely?

If the answer is no, then THAT is why he is the front runner. I don't need a poll to use my own eyes.

Thomas

12/23/2007 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this interesting...

"Do you really think that it is improper for voters to wonder about the motivations and moral integrity of candidates? Do you (an anonymous commenter, mind you, unwilling to be identified with his comments) think that you must be willing to have your background questioned in order to inquire into the background of someone asking for your vote for one of the most powerful offices in the state?"

To wonder? No problem.
To ask questions? No problem.
To inquire within or from without the campaign to form your opinion? No problem.

You can do all of those things from a distance, it is appropriate civic behavior to engage your politicians, even burdening them with requests for intimacy.

That is not what you are doing.

You are utilizing a public platform to promulgate your insight in the form of intentional propaganda attacking a State Senator's integrity and sincerity by calling him a fraud.

A previous blogger asked if you have had conversations with the candidates? You said it didn't matter, I agree for the civic reasons listed above it does not matter. But when you start to attempt influence over other's discovery then I would suggest primary experience is the only standard which justifies your positions.

Otherwise you are nothing more than a catalyst for someone elses agenda. Don't surrender your own integrity to attack anothers.

12/23/2007 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this is why Democrats lose. They find a reason - any reason - to eat their best and brightest.

There once was a rising Democratic star from California who one day unexpectedly announced that he was a Republican. The Republicans did not shun him, they did not refuse to include him. No, instead, they embraced him and elected him Governor of California, and later, President of the United States. That man, as you know, was Ronald Reagan, who went on to define the modern conservative movement.

If only the Republicans of California had been as petty as a few of the establishment (and unfortunately vocal) Democrats of KC. (See Dan as example of latter category.)

12/23/2007 1:56 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous 1:56 -

Your example of Reagan is more appropriate than you intend. Reagan converted to the Republican Party in 1962, and began working on behalf of other Republicans. In 1964, he helped Goldwater immensely. He was drafted by other Republican to run for Governor in 1966. He had never held office as a Democrat.

So, let's put Koster on the Reagan plan, okay? Let him put four years of hard work in on campaigns for good Democrats, and then let's see if we want to ask him to run for office.

12/23/2007 5:20 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

That man, as you know, was Ronald Reagan, who went on to define the modern conservative movement.

Yes. And the modern conservative movement is a force of evil in our society. A frank assessment of Reagan's terms in office would conclude that he didn't do a particularly good job of achieving his stated aims. But he's got quite the hagiography built up around him and many revolutionary "conservatives" have used the reflected good will to accomplish their own aims.

If only the Republicans of California had been as petty as a few of the establishment (and unfortunately vocal) Democrats of KC.

Again, yes. If only they had, the world would be a better place.

I would also like to place my bet that Koster's higher office aspirations are directed at Kit Bond's seat, not the Governor's office. And if I thought Koster aspired to equal Bond's partisan hatchet man ways as much as his pork delivery ways, I'd be more amenable to him as a potential "rising star" in the Democratic Party. But I don't think that. I think his gamble is that the Democrats will allow him to do whatever he wants in ways that the Republicans will not. To the extent that I think we already have enough conservative dems with essentially free rein, I don't see Koster as bringing anything new to the party.

12/23/2007 5:28 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thomas, you have a strong tendency toward over-simplification. The fact that I think that Koster holds no principle deeper than self-interest and self-promotion does not, in fact, make his past misdeeds "moot". He is an imposter because he is acting as though he has some allegiance to the Democrats, when, in fact, he will become a Republican again if he thinks it will help his political career. Seriously, read his handling of the "pro-life" issue, and you simply cannot argue the he will not change position for convenience sake.

You ask if members of the Koster Kamp have been negative, and the simple answer is yes. From your own insistence that the others cannot win the race to the claim that Harris, the only one with significant experience, does not have enough experience.

I heard about the Koster the Imposter website from a friendly Donnelly proponent, by the way, but I doubt sincerely that either candidate has any connection whatsoever with it.

Anonymous 12:05 - Are you sincerely complaining that I am using my own blog, which you chose to visit and comment upon, to voice my opinions of Koster? Am I allowed to speak in my living room? Can I discuss my opinions with friends? Should I submit my writings to you for approval before posting them? Who the F do you think you are?

I have never called Koster a fraud, though I do think he's utterly insincere. Likewise, I haven't said intimate conversations don't matter - I think they do. I've had brief conversations with each of the candidates, and I've known Koster since he was a young lawyer. I've seen the positions he's taken and abandoned over the years. I've seen him try to milk the Robinson case like a publicity cow for years, even though he failed to secure the maximum penalty, and never tried the case.

As for the rest of your comment, I really have no idea what thought you are trying to convey with your odd choices of words. Am I not supposed to express my opinions of candidates, or attempt to influence others?

12/23/2007 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harris has "significant experience"? Dan, surely you wrote that with a smirk. Harris graduated from law school in 1991. Since law school, he has been a self-proclaimed "litigator" (excluding a 1-year clerkship) in private or public practice. And yet, there is a grand total of 2 - count 'em, 2 - reported cases that reference his name. How in the name of Oliver Wendell Holmes can this be?

Harris is a "litigator" who doesn't litigate. Sure, the AG's office calls for organizational/managerial experience (of which Harris has zip), but it also calls for litigation experience. Harris has nil - or darn close next to nil.

In the private litigation world (which Dan is not qualified to speak of), Harris' absent record is reason not to hire him. Seriously, what client would entrust an important matter to a "litigator" with no experience? Why should the State of Missouri entrust him?

12/23/2007 11:49 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

I know a bit more about litigation than you suspect and was recognized by my peers for it, but I won't rise to your bait and make this personal. I'm not running.

How many trials did Nixon try during his tenure as AG? Precisely how many trials has Harris participated in? Precisely how many civil trials has Koster tried?

On second thought, don't answer those questions, because SMART VOTERS DON'T CARE. We're not electing Matlock, we're electing an AG. Unless someone conclusively demonstrates (I'm thinking of Donnelly here) that s/he doesn't have adequate legal knowledge to recognize a losing argument not worth pursuing, I presume most any lawyer has adequate legal skill to head the office.

To make your analogy accurate, how many clients hiring Bryan Cave, Blackwell Husch, Lathrop & Gage, Stinson MoHeck or any other large firm even ask about the trial experience of the managing partner?

12/24/2007 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan,

I appreciate my anonymity because I do not want to be in the public light anymore than you do. Political discourse has become a bit of a hobby for me as I reach retirement. The internet has given us the ability to participate from a comfortable distance. So, ultimately I appreciate you being here even if on the issue of Koster & Donnely we disagree. Have a very Merry Christmas and honestly, keep stirring the pot.

Thomas

P.S. Even though I am anonymous, this particular writer always signs his work. I am not responsible for all the comments you attribute.

12/24/2007 9:21 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

I would vote for Matlock if he promised to bring on Clarence Gilyard as his lead investigator. Then we'd be kicking some ass in the AG's office. Although, I'm concerned that a quick Westlaw search did not produce any record of Matlock's trial experience.

12/24/2007 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

My point is that I find it very odd that Harris has been a "litigator" for 16 years and there are only 2 cases that reference him. I would expect such a low number from a low level associate (read researcher) but not from an attorney with 16 years under his belt. Not trying to be cute here, I just don't understand the lack of a record.

And to answer your question: Yes, clients routinely examine an attorney's past litigation experience before deciding to hire him or her, as they should. Clients want a smart, seasoned veteran, not a greenhorn. The State of Missouri (a very big client) is no different - voters should select an AG who has the experience, not someone who has spent very little, if any, time inside a courtroom.

You believe that the AG does need litigation experience, which allows you to support Harris. Fine. But I strongly disagree.

12/24/2007 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, there should have been a "not" in my last post.

My point is that I find it very odd that Harris has been a "litigator" for 16 years and there are only 2 cases that reference him. I would expect such a low number from a low level associate (read researcher) but not from an attorney with 16 years under his belt. Not trying to be cute here, I just don't understand the lack of a record.

And to answer your question: Yes, clients routinely examine an attorney's past litigation experience before deciding to hire him or her, as they should. Clients want a smart, seasoned veteran, not a greenhorn. The State of Missouri (a very big client) is no different - voters should select an AG who has the experience, not someone who has spent very little, if any, time inside a courtroom.

You believe that the AG does not need litigation experience, which allows you to support Harris. Fine. But I strongly disagree.

12/24/2007 4:09 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

Not trying to be cute here, I just don't understand the lack of a record.

If you're not trying to be cute, you're certainly succeeding at being myopic. Westlaw is not an infallible indicator of litigation experience. I suppose if I were a big tobacco or pharma company looking for a defense firm it would be disturbing that the partner trying to get my business doesn't show up with his name attached as defense counsel to an F. Supp. opinion denying class certification. Alas, there is a whole world of litigation outside of the concerns of big companies and federal courts. In that world, trial court opinions weren't published for a long time and are only selectively published now.

You could be correct that Harris has only taken two cases to verdict in 16 years, but I think you're foolish to base that solely on Westlaw.

You believe that the AG does not need litigation experience

And it's even more foolish to pretend that "litigation" is all about trials. I'm not sure how the big firms could afford to keep around all those glorified researchers if that were the case.

12/24/2007 5:12 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Noncute Anonymous:

Read more carefully, please. Note that I said that the person hiring a law firm would not care about the managing partner's trials. The managing partner role in a large firm is far more analogous to the role of the AG than is the person who tries cases.

12/24/2007 5:24 PM  

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