Many grassroots conservatives ask us why the supposed conservative party is not conservative at all. Well, look no farther than MO-8 for the answer.
It’s not just in swing districts where we are represented by moderate and unprincipled Republicans. Most of the red district Republicans are not conservative either. That’s why we instituted the Madison Performance Index in 2011 to expose the number of liberal Republicans in very conservative districts (2012 scores to come soon).
One such district is MO-8 in southern Missouri.
MO-8 is conservative heartland territory and the home of Rush Limbaugh, yet it has been represented by Jo Ann Emerson, one of the most liberal Republicans, for a number of years. As egregious as her tenure has been, what’s even more disquieting is the fact that we might not fill her seat with a conservative in this age of the Tea Party.
Jo Ann Emerson shocked everyone by announcing her sudden retirement just after standing for reelection a few weeks ago. So why did she run for reelection when she knew that she’d be taking a new job a few weeks later? Well, behind every moderate congressman is an aspiring moderate congressman as chief of staff. Lloyd Smith was Emerson’s chief before ascending to a leadership position in the Missouri state GOP – one which he performed miserably. Shortly before Emerson’s surprise announcement, Smith resigned as Executive Director of the Missouri GOP. Now the media is touting him as one of the front-runners to fill Emerson’s seat.
It’s unlikely Smith would have a good shot in a fair primary, but this decision will be made by the members of the 8th District GOP Committee, not the voters. By 2014, he will be an incumbent. Sounds like a nice plan.
So who’s the alternative to Smith? The other name most frequently mentioned is Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder. This is a man who was attending strip clubs when he was at least 40 years old. Is this the best we could do? There are also legitimate concerns that the Democrat governor would appoint a fellow Democrat to fill the vacancy in the Lt. Gov. office.
There are several conservative alternatives who we would like to see chosen by the committee. Many people often resent national organizations getting involved in local elections, but we have no choice but to fight for conservatism all over the country. Washington is so darn consequential that there is no such thing as a local race, especially for Congress. All politics is now national. A member from Missouri has just as much an effect on taxation, regulation, and subsidization as one in any of our home districts.
This is why we must contact the 90 or so members of the committee and urge then to replace Emerson with someone who is more conservative and in line with the values of the district.
The MO 8th District Committee will meet some time in February to choose the Republicans nominee, who will be the defacto winner of the general election. Let’s start contacting the committee men and women from the counties in southeast Missouri and let them know that they will be making a decision that not only affects their region, but the country at large.