Thursday, April 17, 2008

Candidates, Slander, and the 44th

My humorous extended metaphor on baseball box scores and quarterly campaign finance reports ignited a surprisingly bitter round of accusations and attacks. The simple facts I pointed out from Coffman's campaign finance report (fewer dollars, non-union t-shirts, and donations from pro-voucher lobbyists) triggered accusations that Kander's wife does my writing, though I do Stephen Bough's writing, and hints that Kander's military service to our nation in Afghanistan means that he is some kind of war criminal.

Once again, the partisans are turning out to be worse than the principals.

The three candidates in this race, Jason Kander, Amy Coffman, and Mary Spence are fine people. And I don't say that as a simple nod to polite political conversation - I've talked to each of them, and I like each of them. I know their supporters, and their supporters are good people supporting a candidate that they think would served the district well. I hope all three find their way into public office in some role.

My rosy view seems to be shared by the candidates themselves. I've talked a fair amount with the Kanders, and I've never heard them say a negative word about any of the others. I've chatted a little with Amy Coffman, including a conversation about the tone of the race, and she is 100% in favor of a clean race. While I haven't discussed the topic with Mary Spence, those supporters of her I know would react with disgust at the sort of slander spread in the comments of my Tuesday piece.

And by no means do I want to single out the attacks on Jason as being the only ones worthy of condemnation. Some anonymous creep over at the BlogCCP posted a horrible comment attacking a candidate's physical appearance.

There is a huge distinction between fair and unfair partisanship. For me the test is whether it is relevant and whether it is supported by specific facts. If I say that Candidate X is corrupt, that's an unfair attack. If I say that Candidate Y is corrupt because he has taken bribes, and I can back up that claim with specific facts, then that's a fair attack.

As I look back over my own political involvement, I can see where I've used both, so don't misunderstand my commitment to fair partisanship as a "holier than thou" pretense. For example, I think my approach toward Chris Koster provides examples of unfair name-calling, but also examples of well-supported and well-deserved criticism. Looking forward, though, I am going to condemn what's unfair, and invite anyone to call me out on any unfair attacks I might make in the future.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

Good post.

/s/ Amy Coffman supporter

4/17/2008 9:00 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

All you have to say about Koster is that Koster is a Republican. Sure it's a pretty nasty name to call someone, but if the shoe fits.

4/17/2008 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you have to say about Koster is that he just raised twice as much money from Democratic donors (primarily labor unions) than his opponents.

Nitwit - Your name fits. You need to show more respect to Missouri's next Attorney General.

4/17/2008 10:41 AM  
Blogger whistleblower said...


Are there any races in which you support a Democrat non-lawyer over a Democrat lawyer?

4/17/2008 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whistleblower -

I can answer your question. Yes, Dan supports Jeff Harris (Democratic non-lawyer) over Chris Koster (Democratic lawyer). Harris is not a real lawyer - he has never tried a case. Instead, Harris has spent his 10+ years as a "lawyer" writing legal memos that no one reads. Harris would make a great intern, but is not ready to be AG.

Chris Koster, on the other hand, prosecuted multiple cases as the Cass County prosecutor. This is why he has been endorsed by law enforcement groups, including the largest of such groups, the Fraternal Order of Police.

Dan - I have asked before and not received an answer. But what the hell, I will do it again. Can you (or any other Harris supporter) name one - just one - case that Harris has ever tried in court?

4/17/2008 6:38 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Don't know the name, but I know that he has.

Why do you spread lies, anonymous? Really, I get the fact that you like Koster, but you are making up simple lies. Why not stick to the facts? Why, in a post about fairness, do you go ahead and expose yourself as a completely unfair, untrustworthy, slanderous, anonymous coward? Why?

How dare you claim that Harris is not a lawyer, when the provable fact is that he is a lawyer? What's the point?

4/17/2008 7:37 PM  
Blogger Dan said...


That's a surprisingly tough question! I had to think about it for a second. Are any of the candidates running against Sam Page lawyers? If so, then yes, because I am certainly backing Sam Page.

I supported Funkhouser, a nonlawyer, over several lawyers in the primary.

I haven't decided who I'll support in the Treasurer race, but I wouldn't necessarily back whoever is a lawyer.

I would have been thrilled to back anyone but Jay Nixon for Governor.

4/17/2008 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan you are an idiot. Kander Yes. Coffman NO. Spence if we have too.

4/17/2008 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funkhouser is not from this solar system so I think he his forbidden to practice law.

4/17/2008 7:50 PM  
Anonymous Without Fault said...

JFK said what boat he drove in front of a Japanese ship. Why can't Jason say what unit he served with in Afghanistan? Seems like a simple question to answer, unless you have reason to keep it secret.

Why wouldn't Kander just post the record? He stresses his service in ever stump speech he gives. I am not questioning his service. I am asking him to tell us greater detail about an issue he raises in very stump speech.

Why did the KC Blue Blog take down it's most recent post about Kander? Who funds the KC Blue Blog and is it true that Diana Kander is one of the KC Blue Bloggers?

4/17/2008 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without Fault, I don't know this Kander guy and don't care about this Kander guy because I can't even vote for him but I am shocked at the pathetic attempt at a smear campaign that you and other opponents of that guy are spreading. There are so many other ways to attack a candidate why would you take the dumbest route that will only lead to a net loss for your candidate?

ohh I just looked at that KC Blue Blog you mentioned and it seems that the Kander post which you claim was erased is clearly on the page:

I hope you aren't a campaign advisor because I would want my money back.

4/17/2008 10:33 PM  
Anonymous WTF? said...

Without Fault, I don't know this Kander guy and don't care about this Kander guy because I can't even vote for him but I am shocked at the pathetic attempt at a smear campaign that you and other opponents of that guy are spreading. There are so many other ways to attack a candidate why would you take the dumbest route that will only lead to a net loss for your candidate?

ohh I just looked at that KC Blue Blog you mentioned and it seems that the Kander post which you claim was erased is clearly on the page:

I hope you aren't a campaign advisor because I would want my money back.

4/17/2008 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like Kander has a stalker. The Blue Blog still has the story of Kander up.

These Coffman supporters are getting desperate.

4/17/2008 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diana, do not accuse other people of being desperate. First of all, you and your hubby have earned enemies in this town outside of the race in the 44th, not based on politics. Second of all, there is another candidate in this race and unless you know something you are not telling supporters of that candidate might not want your husband to win.

4/17/2008 10:53 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Accusing a candidate's wife of posting anonymously, when she does not?

Junior High School insults to our mayor?

Hints that there is something dishonorable about military service?

Accusing a candidate's wife of secretly participating in a famously illogical and poorly written blog?

Making the hilariously foolish and ill-informed assumption that a local political blog is "funded"?

Posting an undecipherably vague accusation toward a candidate's wife?

All under a post about fairness?!

4/18/2008 6:29 AM  
Anonymous WTF? said...

Amen Dan. I don't care who wins in this race but the Coffman crowd on here is really swinging at the wind and have made a lot of strong accusations with zero substance. If this is any sign of the Coffman team I think she needs hire a new staff or at the very least sit down and talk with them to get their message in line.

4/18/2008 7:19 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

"I love the smell of innuendo in the morning."

4/18/2008 8:12 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

WTF - To be fair, as always, I should point out that the people I know working on Amy Coffman's campaign would never participate in nor approve of the BS being spread here. This is the work of anonymous jerks. I wouldn't blame Amy or her staff.

4/18/2008 9:09 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I think everybody here can share in some of the blame, Dan.

Including me, and including you.

You're the one who touched off the firestorm by insinuating Coffman was anti-Union because she obtained non-Union tshirts, which isn't really true, I think you would agree.

4/18/2008 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't take it as saying that Amy was anti-Union. I thought Dan was saying that she's doing a bunch of stupid stuff. Like having a voucher lobbyist support her campaign.

And I think Dan has a good point there.

She just doesn't seem to be serious about the campaign.

4/18/2008 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other than the serious about the campaign part, I agree with the previous post. With all respect to the candidates, I think Dan was just pointing out that buying t-shirts from a non-union printer was a mistake that most Democrats running for office normally wouldn't or shouldn't make.

True it's part of being new to the campaign thing, but common sense during the campaign and after helps. The vocher lobbyist is another example of that. candidates on a local level must really focus on what they are doing or what people are doing on their behalf. Be it buying non-union, lobbyist friends or even people acting as an agent of the campaign dragging your candidacy through the mud by spreading whispers that aren't in line with your message.

4/18/2008 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about we spend more of this energy on turning more districts blue, so that there are more seats for Democrats?

With so many Dems concentrated in the southwest corridor, there are too many candidates for too few seats. That leads to these nasty intra-party fights as up and coming candidates scramble to get one of few seats available.

We have so many talented progressives in Kansas City, it's a shame to see them fighting over the same Midtown/Brookside/Waldo races every four years.

4/18/2008 10:45 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Listen, all of you Kander supporters on here. I've never met Amy, and I'm not in her camp.

However, why don't you just own up to the fact that you're trumping up petty things for the sake of pure partisanship? To say anything else is dishonest.

Jason Kander did not use a union print shop to print a flier on a significant, material fundraising event. Which is a greater afront to the Unions, in your world? tshirts or a material fundraising mailing?

I don't think either is a big deal, but y'all brought it up.

I don't think it's a big deal, but if you all want to play petty games like bringing up a few non-Union tshirts, expect others to bring up a non-Union printed fundraising mailing.

You guys are the ones framing this conversation, not me.

And if your response is, "we're just stating a fact from the fundraising report", spare us all your false partisan logic, no one beleives it, everyone knows the game beingpklayed here - so and own up to what you're really trying to do.

4/18/2008 11:34 AM  
Anonymous JennyFromTheBlock said...

On to a new conversation being that the current one stinks.

Dan, what do you make of the local reports regarding the earthquake? Have you ever been in one before? Did you feel it today?

I have to say, although earthquakes in these parts can be felt far away, having experienced many stronger than 5.2 a lot closer than we are to the epicenter, I think some of the reports are really exaggerated. Do you?

4/18/2008 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I experienced a few earthquakes when I lived in California.

The worst one came around 2 AM. It really shook the bed, and water came rolling out of the pool in 6-10" waves. We got up and watched the news for a while. Once finding out that the world wasn't coming to an end, we went back to bed.

An aftershock came around 4 AM.

I think the aftershock had the most traumatic effect. For about two years, any rumble, that could be felt throughout the house, brought back memories.

I don't think I have ever experienced anything as scary as waking up to my bed shaking all over the place. (At least not since I stopped the combination of drinking heavily and meeting women in bars.)

4/18/2008 5:58 PM  
Anonymous JennyFromTheBlock said...

But Anon my point is that you weren't 10 hours and almost 400 miles away from the epicenter. This earthquake's epicenter was in SE Illinois and people in Kansas City and Iowa are reporting stories as if it happened down the street.

I've been in some close and some far. The far ones were around the same, 5.3 and 5.6, and were like 4 hours away from the epicenter and I only got dizzy and my ceiling fan moved a little bit, but nothing dramatic as those reporting are saying.

4/18/2008 7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The geology in California is different than in the Midwest. A Midwest earthquake can be felt at a greater distance from the epicenter. (At least that is what I have heard. I'm not a geologist, a volcanologist, or whoever else may be an expert on earthquakes.)

There is a big difference in the psychological effects of an earthquake that occurs when you are awake vs. one that wakes you from a deep sleep.

In your room, asleep, you feel safe, your environment is not supposed to change. then..rattle, rattle, thunder, clatter...ooops..that's Car-X, but you know what I mean.

During the day, you expect things to change. The phone rings, the TV is on. You expect your environment to be active.

I think it may be one of those things you have to experience before it can be fully understood.

I've been thru 5 hurricanes, and none of them traumatized me like that earthquake.

4/18/2008 9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of earthquakes, how about this ground shaker: Beth Gottstein just endorsed Amy Coffman.

So, let's review some of Coffman's endorsers:
Beth Gottstein (city councilwoman)
Jolie Justus (state senator)
Beth Low (state rep.)
Teresa Garza Ruiz (Jackson Cty. legislator)
Meg Harding (former state rep)
Marsha Campbell (former state rep)

Now, let's review Kander's endorsers:
Diana Kander (candidate's wife)
Dan Ryan (blogger)

Ummm, it appears a bit one-sided.

4/18/2008 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Anon 11:09 what you are admitting is that Kander has more endorsements from inside his district than Coffman?

4/19/2008 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Yolanda said...

Beth endorses Amy...well that seals it for me. Kander gets my vote.

4/19/2008 12:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has Beth endorsed Amy? Or just "supports" her? In any case, if that is so, shouldn't then support Amy?

4/19/2008 2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain why Coffman has received all (or at least the bulk) of political endorsements?

4/19/2008 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:29 -

Dumb question. She has received the majority of endorsements because she is the superior candidate.

Anon 12:16am -

I am pretty sure Justus and Gottstein would consider the 44th within their districts. Nice try though. Oh, and if you are really counting Diana Kander as a legitimate endorsement for Jason Kander, then I guess I should inform you that Amy Coffman's husband (who lives in the 44th) has endorsed Amy.

4/19/2008 8:39 AM  
Anonymous To know them is to hate them said...

Anon 8:29

Because the Kander's used Jason's uncle's money for political purposes at a young age. Politicians met both Jason and Diana and sized up their "win at all costs" nature. Politicians and political activists know Jason Kander and his wife Diana and they do not like them. I gave him 100 bucks last fall just to get him to quit calling me and asking for money.

The opposition to the Kander's is solely based on knowing them.

4/19/2008 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Diana and Jason ...

Please move.

4/19/2008 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:45-

A prediction: After Coffman wins, the Kanders will quietly move to D.C. for some government gig. (Remember Metzl.) But their stay outside KC won't be for long. They will be back.

4/19/2008 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kander lets it be known that he feels it is "destiny" for him to be the Congressman from the 5th District. When he volunteered for Metzl they used to joke about Metzl handing off the seat to Kander after he was through with it.

4/19/2008 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are these Coffman campaigners doing anything to win besides eating cheese and sipping wine with politicos outside of her district?

Just curious becuase I noticed Jason Kander received the endorsement and support of well over 100 neighborhood voters of the 44th district this quarter alone.

4/19/2008 10:45 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Oh, come on, you people! I get it that you aren't interested in legitimate political discussion, but please try to remain within the realm of the plausible.

Does anyone here really believe that Metzl and Kander sat around yukking it up about Kander taking over Metzl's seat? I mean, seriously, in what kind of world does that even have a shred of plausibility? How does one imagine such a conversation took place? It makes me wonder if you have ever talked to anyone in your life, or even observed actual human being interacting.

Also, please don't be dumb about the endorsements. Beth is a fine person and a great city Councilwoman, but her endorsement (and yes, it is an endorsement - I had a fine conversation about it with her) means precisely one more vote for Jason. Endorsements don't win races, and, anyhow, do you honestly think that Jason does not have a strong list of endorsements? Do you honestly think that it would be wise for him to list them now, more than a quarter of a year from the election, rather than employing them more strategically later in the campaign? Think about it, people - endorsements are tools of limited effectiveness. The fact that someone is making a big deal of them now, after failing to raise much money and failing to pay attention to important campaign details, is more a sign of weakness than of strategic thinking. But, again, we are discussing trifles - the campaign is being won and lost on the porches and in the living rooms of the district.

4/19/2008 10:49 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Ok, Dan, I'm going to have a little fun here, so I beg your pardon in advance.



Lol. I'm serioulsy chuckling here, because you were hitting Amy a while ago for not having a website up over a year (18 months in fact) prior to the election.

And now, you're actually claiming that Jason has some pretty key endorsements already in the bag AND HE'S STRATEGICALLY HIDING THEM???

(and because we're a "full quarter of a year" away from the election? You didn't say three months, you said A QUARTER YEAR. You could have also turned that into seconds to make it sound longer...)

ALRIGHTY THEN!!! We really should get the word out to Hillary and Obama, they're way, way ahead themselveson endorsements!!


This reminds me of the scene on The Holy Grail where the black night, reduced to four stumps, screams at his opponent to "come over here, I'll bite you!".


Ok, I'm glad we've got that issue solved.


4/19/2008 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Brother Fred, Confessor to Politicians said...

Dan, bless you for you have sinned in a most impure manner.

Since he is one of your candidates I think this needs to be said: When Jason gets around to listing his endorsements will you please make sure that they are real endorsements because Bullard still lists Cleaver and Cleaver did not endorse him.

The crowd of outlaws you run with Dan!


4/19/2008 12:03 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mainstream -

You know you don't need my pardon to give me a hard time, and I wouldn't be foolish enough to offer you a blank check of pardon in advance, either, ;-)

You'll recall that the real heat in the website debate came not from the initial absence of a website, but from the fact that the clock ran for more than a month after her campaign promised a website. Remember that? And then she had a bunch of typos that I helped her correct, because I'm a nice guy. Remember that?

If Jason promises to have a website up by a certain time, and comes in a month late, and then publishes it with Jan Marcason's name spelled wrong, or Sylvester James' name spelled wrong, or any of the other luminaries on his side misspelled, then you should feel free to politely point that out in the comments.

4/19/2008 4:25 PM  
Anonymous The PRC Junta said...

Jan Marcason, she is chattel, the property which we purchased and can move at will. She belongs to us.

4/19/2008 4:40 PM  
Anonymous joke said...

Dan, you are such a hypocrite...bringing up the website crap again. Your darling Gottstein was chastized for having the worst website of any legitimate council candidate and you never once posted about it yet you again continue to blast another candidates site, a candidate who you conveintently dont support.

Its obvious to this poster that you suffer from dillusional episodes where people you spopport can do no wrong and the rest can do no right and parameters used to evaluate these candidates can change per the like/dislike position.

See your doc. There may be meds that can help you.

4/19/2008 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So are you saying she is a better Councilwoman than she is a person?

4/19/2008 10:26 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Beth is turning out to be a very effective council representative.

Quite frankly I am pleasantly surprised and proud of her performance thus far.

4/19/2008 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that a yes?

4/20/2008 4:46 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Joke -

I agree that Beth's website was nothing to brag about, but I'm afraid you're working off of two flawed assumptions.

Your first mistake is in thinking that Amy's problem was that she has a bad website. She doesn't. It is that she was so terribly delayed in getting it posted - more than a month after her lobbyist-sponsored kick-off, and more than a month after her treasurer assured us she would have it up. She got dinged for failing to deliver - a habit which would be sad to see in a legislator, don't you agree?

The second mistake you make is in assuming that I am going to be a dependable source for negative commentary on candidates I support. That's not a role I choose to assume, and I can't think of any local political blog that even attempts to be all things to all people.

4/20/2008 8:35 AM  
Anonymous porchpundit said...

Amy's mistake was promising a web site based on the whims of a blogger who wished her ill from the start. She should have just taken you to lunch or for a beer first and bought you mindless loyalty until time comes to an end.

That said, Dan do you realize how badly you treat all candidates with your uncritical rah rah posts? I mean all candidates -- including your own.

You are so sickening sweet in your endorsements, which promise an end to plague, famine and leprosy if only THIS candidate was elected, that you bring out the worst elements -- the serpent handlers and Kool Aide drinkers-- from both sides. Your posts make it tougher on the candidates you seek to help.

The very first one for Kander serves as case and point, "the soldier boy from Brookside" or some such maudlin rot. You played up his military record in such an over the top way, that you begged the rabid element on the other side to attack what we should be able to assume was honorable. With your rhetoric Dan you created an issue out of a non-issue.

I doubt you mean to do it Dan but your posts in favor of candidates (or a Mayor who invites debate) are so snarky that it is like calling in a rhetorical air strike without regard for collateral damage or friendly fire.

Without regard to personal philosophy, you are the Fox News/Fixed Noise of Kansas City political blogging -- unfair and unbalanced and the prime argument for Keith Olbermann's existence outside a ballpark.

And, yes, I tend to agree with Olbermann.

4/20/2008 9:02 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

PP -

You amuse me.

You caught on to the fact that my endorsements are disastrous for the candidates I favor. Indeed they are - you've caught on to my secret - I'm really a secret supporter of other candidates. My inbox is jammed with candidates' pleas to not endorse them.

My secret plan doesn't work all that well, though. It seems that almost all the people I endorse win. Isn't that strange?

You also are quite clever to realize my power over the internet. It is quite impressive that it is me, Gone Mild, who "brings out the worst elements -- the serpent handlers and Kool Aide drinkers-- from both sides". Indeed, if not for Gone Mild, the internet would be filled with rational people pursuing calm, high-evel, polite debate. When I say something nice about something, it is a secret way of forcing all those otherwise peaceful people to lose their minds and launch into bitter vituperative attacks.

If only I had kept silent about Jason Kander's volunteering to serve our country in Afghanistan! If only I had choked back my admiration for someone who is willing to risk his life for my benefit! What a crappy thing that was of me to do - respecting a veteran! I should have been silent and acted as though the highest service would have been to lobby for a special interest group.

It's my fault, all of it. But it's all part of my pro-Amy, pro-McCain, anti-Funk campaign that is working so brilliantly.

4/20/2008 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan -

Why do you think so many people dislike Jason and Diana Kander? I mean this as a serious question to someone who, I think, truly enjoys the Kanders personally. Why do you believe so many others, including most local politicos, vehemently dislike the Kanders?

4/20/2008 11:36 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Since you asked your question seriously, I'll answer it seriously.

First off, you're simply wrong. Few politicoes vehemently dislike the Kanders. Very few. Even Beth Gottstein, who has endorsed Amy Coffman and faced off against one of Ms. Kander's clients, has very little bad to say about the Kanders.

A couple people may dislike the Kanders because of the history with Michelle Lahr. I wasn't involved with all that.

Finally, there are political cliques, and Jason does not fit in with the WPC as well as Amy, which is fine and understandable.

If you look at the people signing letters and hosting parties for Jason Kander, you'll see that he has plenty of support among politicos.

Truly, Amy has had to focus on endorsements because she has little else to talk about. Her personal history pales in comparison to Jason's service. Not as many people have put their money where their mouths are for her, so she can't really point to fundraising. So, she's talking up her endorsements instead of her accomplishments. I would too, if I were her. She has some good people on board for her, and she has every right to be proud of her endorsements.

But you're mistaken if you think that Jason is scorned by the political insiders. Justus gave him a donation, as have lots of others. He's respected and most insiders acknowledge that he is likely to win because he has worked harder and longer than his opponents.

Again, we're blessed to have three such worthy candidates. Amy's career of lobbying (and her husband's current lobbying) has given her lots of contact with insiders and elected officials. Jason has chosen to take a different path, and I respect him for it, as do most of Amy's endorsers.

4/20/2008 1:44 PM  
Anonymous porchpundit said...

Go forward and do no more harm Dan.

Seriously, if Jason decided to make his (laudable) military service a foundation of his campaign, and you certainly trumpeted it in your introductory love letters about him, didn't anyone think: Hey, someone might ask questions like - What unit did he serve in and what did that specifically do?

It is not like this issue is a line item on his resume. He had an audio video extravaganza on the web last year. You introduced your readers to him as a returning hero, which he may be. I do not think his campaign has issued a printed piece of material that does not feature a picture of him in full combat gear - not a dress uniform or standard fatigues.

I just do not understand making something the center piece of your campaign but then saying that anyone who asks about that issue is being unfair or unpatriotic, which I have read on here and on the Blue Blog. I would be just as incredulous if I read posts attacking him joining the military. I have no time for that either.

It sounds too much like Cheney/Rove and the other guy for me to accept with out gagging just a little bit. It is classic Rove -- "Vote for the Black Box" but do not dare to ask what is inside unless you are a commie, pinko who hates this country.

We have had enough of that since they stole the election in '00.

4/20/2008 1:55 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I don't need you to tell me where to go, PP - I've got lots of volunteers for that duty.

The funny thing about your recollection is that I was writing about Jason as a soldier before I had a glimmer he was going to be a candidate, and the people who read his blog got a good idea of what he was doing.

Have you called him to ask him about his military service. I encourage you to do so - I haven't asked for specifics because I read along with the service, and I'm satisfied that he served our country well.

4/20/2008 2:21 PM  
Blogger whistleblower said...


I'm not a Kander supporter, but I did serve my country.

Please permit me to share a bit of wisdom.

Those little tidbits of information, that you would like Jason to publish, may cause harm to others. You might think where he was, and what he did, a few years ago is insignificant to the security of our troops. However, that information, as insignificant as it may appear, may permit those that wish us harm to put one more piece in their puzzle.

I still don’t tell people where I was, or exactly what I did.(and my time in the military ended twenty years ago.) A veteran doesn’t receive an e-mail telling them that what was once classified is no longer. What was a secret will always be a secret, until such time that an officer of higher rank officially tells me that it is not.

Suggestion: Honor all of those that sacrificed the liberties and rights that most take for granted. It doesn't matter what job they did, or where they did it.

When you volunteer, you don't get to pick where you will be stationed or what job you will do. You may end up at a desk in D.C. or in the midst of crossfire in Afghanistan. Every job, at every duty station, is important to the security of this country.

A Veteran doesn't bestow a different level of honor on his or her fellow servicemen based on where they served or what they did. Why should those that did not make the same sacrifice do it for them?

Even if you don’t like Jason; respect his silence, be thankful for his sacrifice, and honor his service.

4/20/2008 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Jason still in the military? If so, isn't there a good chance that he will be called back up for duty?

I guess it is conceivable that he could miss the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions because he is in Iraq or Afghanistan. Is this right?

4/20/2008 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon. 4:20 -

Apparently unlike some, I believe Kander's past military service is one of the reasons to vote for him, rather than not vote for him. But you raise a legitimate issue. For those of us obsessed with taking back the Missouri House and advancing progressive legislation, we need every Democratic vote we can get. An absent vote is essentially a Republican vote.

4/20/2008 4:31 PM  
Anonymous porchpundit said...

Whistleblower, first thank you for your service to the county. I agree with the tenor of your comments but please help me with this.

If I honor someone does that mean that they can hide behind a cloak of secrecy? I was in uniform 25 years ago and I was called a "baby killer" when I sat down in class wearing an ROTC uniform, so I do not grant free passes to those who attack the troops in order to oppose the Military.

At the same time I realize that people can use there association with the military to shine in the light of glory OR tarnish someones' service.

I do understand others having different opinions about war and service and I do not want to make anyone into a demon, outside of Cheney, who has earned his status as a fake.

The problem seems to me relates to an active duty officer who wants to claim the gravitas of being a military leader, but is not willing to submit themselves to civilian review. One can either resign their commission to run for office OR they can open their service records to the public.

I would oppose someone like Coffman or Spence saying that some or all of their professional experience was off base. I really thin that Kander should adopt that approach, even if that means resigning his commission. People know that Bills that AARP lobbied for last session but we really do not know that Jason or his unit DID or DID NOT do.

Yes, I know I am being philosophical, but so were the Framers to the Constitution.

4/20/2008 7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So did Kander resign his commission to run for office, or will he be redeployed? If he is still in the military, isn't it highly likely he will miss one or more legislative sessions in his first term (if he wins)?

4/20/2008 7:32 PM  
Anonymous I will go to Korea said...

quit with the sorry assed shameless shit. My guess is that this guy is faking his war record. He sat back at the camp and drank beer while poor guys went out into harm's way. I lost jobs to people like that over the years.

4/20/2008 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is that you blew your officers, loser.

4/20/2008 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Joe Darby said...

When a candidate makes military service a central issue in their campaign, as Jason has done, their military service then becomes a central issue.

Is that point too esoteric? I don't think so.

People who questioned the military at Abu Ghraib were labeled traitors and unpatriotic - and still are by many - when they questioned what military personnel did. I can parade dozens of other examples of this.

And I'll have none of it.

I'm not suggesting that Jason has done anything other than exemplary military service, but when he makes it a central theme in the campaign, and then doesn't tell anybody what he actually did, I think reasonable people have every right to ask a few more questions- and not be labeled as unpatriotic and traitorous.

The truth is, we don’t know what Jason did in the military. He won’t tell us, and we are only shown pictures of Jason in combat gear. Was Jason in combat? No one is telling us. Jason wants us to believe he was in combat, but was he?

Since it is Jason, and not I, making that claim, I think we all deserve an honest, verifiable answer. Answers actually.

I’d like answers, not Cheney-talk.

Dan says we need someone battle-hardened like Jason to fight the good fight in Jeff City. Is Jason really battle-hardened? Has Jason seen combat? He wants us to think so.

Jason's a trained lawyer, and was an ROTC student at Georgetown, and subsequently volunteered for service in Afghanistan. So, what did he do over there? What do they assign ROTC novice ivy-league lawyers to do in Afghanistan?

Was Jason a pencil pusher, and perhaps he’s stretching the truth? He and his wife are known for their “ambitious”campaign tactics.

I've heard him describe his service as being a Military Intelligence Officer. "Finding the bad guys." "He questioned people", correct? Did he interrogate them? Did he recommend that people undergo interrogation techniques?

Did he have formal command of enlisted men?

In an article in the Georgetown Voice he described a stressful situation where he was commanding a group of men, and he himself came close to shooting a young child, and pulled his gun up at the last minute. He was on a truck driving in a town. Was that Jason serving in a combat role?

All we need, and are asking for are straight, common sense answers.

Did Jason make judgments and recommendations that resulted in Afghanis, and others, being interrogated? Well, if his job was to “find the bad guys” then he probably did recommend interrogation or do some of that himself, correct? What were the interrogation techniques he and others downstream used?

Did Jason’s actions results in Afghanis and other being waterboarded? Did he recommend people to be detained? Were these people in turn sent to other countries to be interrogated?

We know for a fact that human rights abuses have been perpetrated on Afghanis and Iraqis for the sake of U.S. National Security. Was Jason a part of that machine?

And who can independently corroborate his claims, especially as to what he did day in and day out? I think that we have a history of politicians who have served honorably and honestly represented their military experience. And there are others who have not been so honest.

Military service has been made, by Jason, a central theme. If we think Jason is battle-hardened ready to represent us in Jeff City, prove it. Why are the facts being hidden?

Answer without the Cheney-talk. We’re not the ones talking tough, you are. So prove it.

Prove that Jason Kander has seen combat.

4/20/2008 9:20 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Where have I ever said we need somebody battle-hardened in Jefferson City?

Answer that before asking any more foolish and insulting questions.

4/20/2008 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason wore a helmet; therefore, he fought Bin Laden hand-to-hand. I know it because he puts the combat look on his fliers!

4/20/2008 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Ms. Rockhill said...

Personally I would be more worried if Jason had been involved in combat operattions as a military intellegence officer based on what they have been doing under Bush/Cheney. I hope he really is over playing his activity. Just lay off of him if that is the case!

4/20/2008 10:12 PM  
Anonymous porchpundit said...

Dan did you advise Jason to play up or possibly overstate his war record? You seem to be an adviser to him.

If you did you did not do him any favors.

4/20/2008 10:16 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I'll be going through the comments here and elsewhere. I just have this feeling that Jason is hiding something.

This is just the beginning, because I haven't started to inventory Jason's campaign literature and public statements. Although I do have his statements to the Georgetown Voice.

Although the phrase that comes immediately to mind is:

“Jason Kander has the Right Stuff to represent me and my district in Jefferson City.”
-gonemild 7/10/07

“Right Stuff” capitalized just might be an allusion to combat fighter pilots. Or maybe that's just me, I don't know.

Why do all of Jason's pictures depict him in full combat regalia? When it's pretty clear, he didn't serve anything near a combat role, as he wants us to believe.

This is interesting, as well:

“...job evaluation by the U.S. Director of Intelligence in Afghanistan - 'Second Lieutenant (2LT) Kander is an outstanding leader and a superb intelligence officer … his hard work directly resulted in arresting enemies and saving lives … leading by example’. Sounds like he exceeds expectations.”
-gonemild 10/4/07

Was gonemild's quote meant to conjure up combat? Maybe not, but one commenter thought it meant kickin terrorist ass:

"sophia said...
The DOI job evaluation is a bit over the top. How about sticking to apples to apples comparisons? It doesn't take kickin terrorist ass to get up a website."
- commenter 10/4/2007

Look at the Kander quote. This is the money line:

"his hard work directly resulted in arresting enemies and saving lives … leading by example".

The three dots are gonemild's or Kanders, I'm not sure which. But isn't that so interesting, "saving lives...leading by example".

But if you read the whole quote, Jason didn't arrest anybody or save any lives.

The two lines clearly aren't linked, but they are when gonemild or Jason links them by typing three dots.

This is a clear example of dishonesty - trying to tell us Jason is himself saving lives over there.

And I think this is the tip of the iceberg, and Jason Kander has been, for quite some time, misleading the public on his military role.

Was he expected to use that gun and equipment we see him in, in his campaign literature?

It will be very interesting to see what Jason "Kombat Kander" has to say about this.

Does Jason have something to hide?

4/20/2008 10:27 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Geez, PP, you are on a roll! Stop with the hilarity!

Yes, because a couple anonymous wankers want to assume that all our soldiers are war criminals unless proven otherwise, Jason should have kept his service to our country a secret! Great analysis, PP! You're a genius!!

Do you think either of the other candidates associate herself with that kind of nonsense? Really? They won't - not only because it's politically stupid, but because they are both decent human beings, and good Americans.

Let me offer you a hint, pal. Military service is honorable. It is viewed as honorable by all but a few sick cowards who post anonymous comments demanding that soldiers be presumed war criminals until proven otherwise.


4/20/2008 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The quote "he improved intelligence support to information operations by joining a psyop special operations team on a four day mission," is off Kander's own web site.

Do the people of the 44th have any idea what the "psyop special operations" teams do in Afghanistan? Mr. Kander should provide documentation as to what he did and did not do.

This is the area where people were grabbed and held without trial and some were deported against international law. It is the special ops teams that turned people over to contract CIA personnel for torture.

I am damn well sure that young Mr. Kander has some explaining to do. If he was associated with any of the wrong doing by "company" contractors he should not even practice law let alone write law.

4/20/2008 10:37 PM  
Anonymous the mainstream said...

Dan, from time to time some of your overzealous readers (not necessarily fans) have posted under my name. That wasn't me above.

I'm sitting out of this particular argument.


4/20/2008 10:38 PM  
Anonymous porchpundit said...

Dan I was very careful to state in several comments that I believe the Jason's service is "honorable" and "laudable." Your last comment is way out of line.

It is late and we are all tired. Let's just cool it.

4/20/2008 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One blogger asked a great question about Beth Gottstein and Amy Coffman which showed the difference between "support" and "endorsing".

I have to ask the same question with Theresa Garza. She almost never endorses in primaries. Are you sure she endorses this Coffman lady? or has she just shown her support for another Democrat running like she does with all Democrats?

4/20/2008 11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like these three (four at most) idiots that are trying to portray a chorus of questions are really reaching now.

It takes quite a tough person to sit anonymously behind a keyboard and trash the honorable service of someone because they think it helps their candidate.

There's a word for that...
Oh yeah, swift boating.

Kander's website has his home phone #, his address, and his email. If you want the answers to your questions, ask him. If you want to continue posing the question in hopes that the campaign will lower itself to your level, then just keep up the charade.

Jason, don't give in and answer questions from people who won't disclose their identity. It's the same old trap.

4/21/2008 1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the reference to swift boating I guess the Kander aligned commenter is comparing Jason's War Record to John Kerry's.

That seems to be a pretty ballsy thing to do, which only begs the question: Can the campaign back it up?

In addition the comparison breaks down when people ask Jason's campaign for more information rather than deny information distributed by the campaign.

4/21/2008 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Patriotic Spence Supporter said...

Porchpundit - Even in the morning light, you look like a despicable scumbag. You disgust me.

4/21/2008 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone answer my question? Is Kander still in the military, and, if so, isn't it highly likely that he will be redeployed and miss one or more legislative sessions (if he wins)?

We need all the Democratic votes we can muster in the Missouri House.

4/21/2008 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the one who referenced swift boating and no, I wasn't in any way trying to compare Jason's record to John Kerry's.

I was, however, making an apt comparison between the tactics of the Coffman campaign and those of Karl Rove.

If the folks on here are proxies for Coffman, then I'd say I'm right on point.

As for the fool trying to push the "don't vote for Kander because he might be called to serve his country" line, good luck with that!

4/21/2008 9:47 AM  
Blogger whistleblower said...


“I was in uniform 25 years ago and I was called a "baby killer" when I sat down in class wearing an ROTC uniform”.

It was wrong for anyone to do that 25 years ago, and it would be wrong today.

If the leadership in this country heads down the wrong path; blame the leadership.

Those in the military don’t get to play the same game that bloggers play. They don’t have the luxury of second guessing lawful orders. In the military, you do what you are told to do, or you can find yourself in prison.

You have suggested that Jason could resign his commission. Every officer who joins the U.S. Military for the first time incurs a total 8 year service commitment. Now, any commissioned officer can *request* to resign their commission.- That doesn't mean the request will be granted. If it is granted, that doesn't eliminate your total initial service obligation of 8 years. In other words, if it is granted, you can still be recalled to active duty, at any time, as an enlisted member. I doubt that Jason would request to resign his commission, only to be recalled to active duty as an enlisted member.

As Jason was involved with Military Intelligence, I doubt that the information you would like to know would be available in his service record.

Curiosity is a good thing. I applaud you for wanting to know. (Too many people just don’t care) However, when it comes to the security of this country, some things must be kept secret.

Even items that are not “classified” i.e. Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret, can be withheld from the public arena. Some items are designated as NOFORN –Not for release to foreign nationals. Something tells me that Jason’s service record may fall under that heading. –It’s not Jason that wants to hide it. I’m sure he is proud of his service.

4/21/2008 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Brandon Boulware said...

As a voter in the 44th, it is my hope that the supporters of the campaigns will end this petty back-and-forth here and now. No more posts about waterboarding or the candidates' appearances. The voters of the 44th would be better served if the candidates and their supporters kept things positive – or at least tried – and focused on the serious issues facing Missouri.

4/21/2008 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you are saying Beth is a fan of Kander, but prefers Coffman?

4/21/2008 5:43 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Who said that?

4/21/2008 8:05 PM  
Anonymous joe darby said...

The big political lie. And where the dishonor truly lies.

Jason Kander, a desk jockey serving in Afghanistan bills himself as a fearless war hero. None of his most dedicated defenders will even say he saw any combat – any combat whatsoever. Yet he’s photographed as if he is. Every photograph of Jason in Afghanistan has him fully armed and in full combat gear. And in saying everything he did was “top secret” he avoids having to explain or defend anything he says. Jason refuses to defend or provide any concrete evidence of his war record.

This leaves us wondering whether the story he told to the Georgetown Voice was true. Maybe it was partially true. We’ll never know, because all of the talk around Jason’s war record is steeped in secrecy, generality and allusion.

Jason would like us to believe that he could emerge from college so quickly and amazingly as a strong leader to hunt down terrorists. And, amazingly enough, when we peel back the onion layers of this tale we find he didn’t have to endure any combat to defeat the terrorists and do these amazing things.

The dishonor lies not in what Jason did in Afghanistan, my friends. The dishonor lies in what he is doing here, in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.

4/21/2008 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Worried in Waldo said...

Why doesn't Jason serve humbly in the military, and focus on issues of the public that can have a positive impact on our lives in KC? He talks about his military service all the time on his campaign, and I really do not understand that.

4/21/2008 9:26 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Joe Darby - you should be ashamed of yourself. Making up lies about a veteran. Go away.

Worried - I assume you're sincerely interested. Please go read Jason's site. He truly does have the most complete policy statements of any of the candidates. Go read it, and you'll see he's got a lot more to talk about than just Afghanistan.

4/21/2008 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make it sound like she's a fan when you say that she ... "has very little bad to say about the Kanders."

What exactly does that mean?

4/21/2008 10:21 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

It means she didn't say bad stuff about the Kanders. Which is a long way from saying she's a fan, isn't it?

4/21/2008 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But she did have a little bit of bad stuff to say? Or none at all? Or a lot but refrained from saying it?

4/22/2008 1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that this has now come to a point where an apology is owed to Kander.

In the early comments on this thread, Coffman supporters are calling Kander a war criminal and a torturer. When that didn't wash, they switch gears completely and say that he didn't do anything at all.

They are so desperate to follow the Rovian "attack your opponent where they're strong" philosophy, that they are floundering.

So with so much dedication to this tactic, I have to ask. Which of Coffman's endorsers is this coming from? Which of her staffers?

Because this is really truly disgusting stuff.

If they have any honor at all, they'll end it now.

The stupid stuff said about Amy doesn't even compare to the level of character assassination you're attempting on Kander.

4/22/2008 8:07 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I only partially agree with you. This thread has degenerated into exactly the kind of slander I sought to decry, but I would NOT blame Coffman for the misbehavior of those who purport to support her. I can promise you she had nothing to do with the scurrilous, vile attacks, and I sincerely doubt that anyone officially connected to her campaign did.

Again, we are blessed with 3 excellent candidates - now I wonder whether we're worthy of any of them.

4/22/2008 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed Dan. Like most Kander supporters, I don't assign terrible motives to Amy. I wasn't calling for an apology from her.

I think it is worth asking just how close to her these "partisans" are, just as that question has been asked (they didn't really ask questions, they just unfairly tossed out names) about Jason.

I simply think that if the people doing this have even a shred of decency, they'll apologize for it, no matter who they are.

4/22/2008 8:25 AM  
Anonymous At the Edge of 44th & Truth said...

Unfortunately Mr. Kander has chosen to exploit his military service for personal, political gain. As everyone knows, the KanderS are definitely not short on ambition.

Riding a desk, telephone and a PC fall well short of the aura of a combat-hardened soldier he would like us to believe he is.

Are there any pictures circulating of Jason in uniform, with a computer mouse in his hand? I think not and we all know why. Are the tales he tells true?

Jason is hiding something. And we wonder what it is. We'll see if he's got the Right Stuff.

4/22/2008 10:12 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thank you for the continued demonstration of baseless accusations and slander.

You aren't a bad person - you're a fine example of a phenomenon.

4/22/2008 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Dan has a secret life said...

Dan provide proof of your statements about Mr. Kander's military service, which you talked about in your first several postings about him. I understand that he TOLD you all this stuff but do we have any independent record of what the young man actually did? And no Daddy Kander, you do not count as an independent source.

4/22/2008 10:45 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Thank you for the continued demonstration of baseless accusations and slander.

4/22/2008 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Curious And Patriotic said...

Where has Jason Kander offered proof of his service? His claims are baseless, not those of the critics I have read on this blog.

I think it is up to Mr. Kander to offer to us his war record.

Bob Dole and John Kerry did it.

Why can't Mr. Kander?

Is he hiding something?

4/22/2008 11:16 PM  
Anonymous Viet vet said...

Let's see Amy's lobbying records, too! Because when Amy was lobbying, Jason was serving his country.

Who are you, you anonymous coward, to question a soldier?

4/22/2008 11:19 PM  
Anonymous curious and patriotic said...

Who am I to question a soldier?

Are you really serious in asking that?

Have another beer, and keep on watching Fox News.

4/22/2008 11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is young Mr. Kander afraid of? Release the records. Either shut them up or shut it down.

4/23/2008 6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymice questioning a soldier's honor. Too damned funny.

4/23/2008 7:09 AM  
Anonymous Richard Cheney, near Washington DC said...

We are at war and that demands a new more guarded form of democracy. Keep your secrets. Tell 'em to fuck off Jason. That's what I would do. You are my kind of guy.

4/23/2008 7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many other posts have reached 100 comments?

4/23/2008 12:56 PM  
Anonymous gage said...

Dan: "I only partially agree with you. This thread has degenerated into exactly the kind of slander I sought to decry, but I would NOT blame Coffman for the misbehavior of those who purport to support her. I can promise you she had nothing to do with the scurrilous, vile attacks, and I sincerely doubt that anyone officially connected to her campaign did."

But, unfortunately, it does somewhat reflect on them. Have the candidates themselves denounced these sorts of attacks? Maybe they should.

5/14/2008 12:00 PM  

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