Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is Blunt's Willingness To Interact With And To Inform Constituents Dependent On The Actions Of His Prospective Senate Campaign Opponent? Appears So.

From Fired Up Missouri:

The editorial board at the Springfield News-Leader teased a new feature this morning, in which they hope to clear up some of the confusion about Congressional health care reform proposals. It certainly sounds like a good idea – Sens. Bond and McCaskill are both expected to participate – and I look forward to reading the different perspectives in their "Voices" section.

However, the response from Rep. Blunt's office raises some questions.

Here's was the editorial board wrote: dependent

U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, who has helped the GOP shape responses to the Democrats' proposals for reform, might also participate.

His office was leaning toward helping out when we asked Tuesday, but staffers shared some concerns.

They suggested that we appeal to Democrat Robin Carnahan -- she is expected to face off against Blunt in a bid next year for Bond's seat -- to answer questions if Blunt agrees to do so.

First, Blunt represents Springfield, and most of the News-Leader's readership are Blunt's constituents. Even though Blunt's statements about health care aren't always accurate, interesting or relevant, he's the leader of the House GOP's entire health care reform team. Why wouldn't he participate?

Second, why is Blunt's "office" – which I assume is his official office – suggesting that their willingness to interact with and inform their constituents may hinge on the actions of the Congressman's prospective Senate campaign opponent?

Third, if the Blunt official office/campaign and News-Leader feel that balance between candidates is needed, why isn't Sen. Chuck Purgason's name mentioned ? Purgason may not be as well financed as Blunt, but he presents himself as an expert on health care issues and is actively engaged in a primary campaign against the Congressman. Purgason's work in 2005 to cut Medicaid gives us a good indication of what he's about, but his perspective on how the federal policy changes could impact the state could be valuable. If participation in this new feature is framed in a campaign context, it seems only fair to invite all of the relevant candidates to participate.

All that said, it's great to see the News-Leader initiating this project, and I look forward to reading the questions and responses.