Thursday, August 02, 2007

Political Opportunism or Sincere Belief?

As most of you already know, MO state senator and former Cass County Prosecutor Chris Koster has announced his switch over to the Democratic Party. This news is disappointing and devastating to the Missouri GOP as Kris was a rising star within the party, and now he will be pursuing the nomination for attorney general as a Democrat. This situation is different from Morrison's party switch in Kansas to run as AG. First, Morrison knew he couldn't win a GOP primary, so he made the switch early on and ran as a Democrat from the beginning. Koster entered his race as a Republican, and so far, he has outraised all other Republicans in the AG primary. There was no doubt that Koster would emerge as the winner of the primary. And furthermore, Koster could be described as a "moderate conservative." Yes, he supported embryonic stem cell research, and he received backing from many unions for his economic votes, but he is mostly pro-life, tough on crime, supports the death penalty, and has fought to fight illegal immigration and pass tougher penalties on employers who hire illegals.

Despite the the nasty rhetoric and charges of "extremism" and "toxic" that he levels at the state GOP, Koster was never treated as an outsider, or even challenged on any of his views by anyone in the state party. And in the Kansas City Star, the only concrete reasons he can give is his anger over the opposition by conservative Republicans to collective bargaining, an economic stimulus package, and stem cell research. So he's going to change parties over just 3 issues, despite the fact he hasn't so much as hinted at any deep ideological rift before this sudden announcement? There's something we don't know here. Koster is highly ambitious, and this has more to do with career advancment than ideological disagreement. Don't be surprised if Koster's AG run is just a step on the ladder to a future gubernatorial run.

Paul Morrison, Mark Parkinson, and now Kris Koster. Maureen Murphy, a former GOP state rep from Illinois and the first Republican elected to the Cook County Board of Review (that's the liberal bastion of Chicago for all you midwesterners down south) described opportunistic politicians best when she was asked why she was the first and only woman elected to the commission:
"The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces"

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