Saturday, September 27, 2008

There's A Time And A Place For Partisanship, But This Wasn't The Time And It Certainly Wasn't The Place

I watched last night's debate at the bus barn with my son-in-law, who is the only Republican in our immediate family. Now, if you don't think dinner table discussions are lively around here you got another thought coming. I enjoy a good political discussion with my son-in-law.

But last night we promised our wives that we would not comment on the debate while the debate was in progress but would save our impressions for after the debate.

How'd it go? Pretty good. No one's opinion changed. He is still a McCain supporter; I am still an Obama supporter. What we did agree on is this: McCain didn't make any mistakes and was tightly controlled, and Obama held his ground on foreign policy. McCain scored points on earmarks and spending and Obama did best when he tied McCain to Bush. McCain fumbled in his remarks on Pakistan.

Neither of us thought independents were moved by last night's debate. We think the big event will be the vice-presidential debate next week in St. Louis between Palin and Biden. Both of these candidates will be a heartbeat away from the presidency...their performance -and both are gaffe prone- may very well tip the scales of the election.

McCain seemed tense in last night's debate. Pundits commented on his body language and rigidity. I thought it was just classic McCain.

Obama appeared more relaxed and where he agreed with McCain, he said so. It is too bad that the partisanship of McCain's staff produced this ad:
In my world when you tell a candidate from a different political party that he is right or words to that effect, you are stating that you are willing to look beyond partisanship and recognize a good idea, or good plan, or good work for what it is: a good idea, a good plan, good work. To imply it is an endorsement or a sign of weakness is disingenuous, misleading and not fair to voters. It also indicates the sneakiness that most of us don't like to see in our political campaigns.

Why do I bring this up? Last Wednesday, I was at a candidate forum here in Springfield. The Greene County candidates for county commission, sheriff, public administrator and circuit clerk spoke. The county commission candidates and sheriff candidates, during their speaking time, touched on the jail overcrowding.

When it came my turn to speak, I also spoke about the jail overcrowding: on Tuesday there were about 589 prisoners in the jail which is staffed for 450 prisoners. Even though there is significant understaffing, I said, the jailers are still doing a good job keeping the jail running efficiently.

Now, of those 589 prisoners, twenty-four have already been sentenced to prison and are awaiting transfer to Department of Correction facilities, but because the Circuit Clerk has not processed the final disposition of their case files, they (the prisoners) remain in the Greene County Jail. The cost to the county to keep these 24 prisoners in the Greene County Jail while they wait for the Circuit Clerk to process their paperwork is over $1,000 a day.

The current circuit clerk,who was appointed by Governor Matt Blunt, when it came his turn to speak, said he was glad to see that his opponent (me) endorse the Republican candidate for Greene County Sheriff. I guess in his world saying someone is doing their job is taken as an endorsement- even though I wasn't speaking of the candidate but of the jailers. Hey, in my world, anyone who continues to perform and maintains public confidence in their ability to perform their assigned duties while understaffed --be it a policeman, a fireman, a school teacher, nurse, a 911 operator or a jailer-- is doing a good job and I am not afraid to say it.

He further went on to say that his office is understaffed and that is why the paperwork hasn't been processed yet.

The circuit clerk's office is about as non-partisan as you can get here in Greene County. To inject partisan politics into this race is extremely inappropriate. I have said all along that the issues in the Circuit Clerk's race are accuracy, efficiency, competency, the ability to read and follow directions, and who has the capability to judiciously lead and manage the office.

Jim Lee

PS--this blog is a public service of Anyone can get a free blog from

PPS - This post by Michael Seitzman speaks of the return of grace to American politics.

1 comment:

Jack said...

That's why I am voting for you, Jim. We don't need politics involved in offices like the circuit clerk. We need hard work.