Sunday, August 01, 2010

The desperation of Billy Long

"This is a voter alert," the breathless female on the other end of the line told me, and from the sound of her voice I figured it must be nothing less than a return to communism or fascism or one of those other things Steve Hunter has been warning us about at  the Seventh District Congressional forums.

It did not take long for me to realize it was just another robocall, one that was even more disturbing than the seemingly never ending series I have received from Allen Icet the past couple of weeks.

"Please listen for important information concerning Jack Goodman."

I had a feeling that the call was not from the Jack Goodman campaign. This earnest woman proceeded to read ofc a list of nearly every casino that operates in Missouri and how all of these casinos were donors to Jack Goodman's campaign.

Not only that, but "their lobbyists even treated him to fancy meals and drinks."

She added, "What else would you expect from a career politician?

Her answer to the problem, of course, was to vote for Billy Long.

Though I will give credit to the Long campaign for actually putting its name on an attack instead of hiding behind some innocent-sounding front group like Americans for Job Security, I have a few major problems with this last minute slam against Goodman.

- First, the Long campaign slammed both Goodman and Gary Nodler for the Americans for Job Security ad without any proof at all, though it was careful not to blame either of the two personally. It was "supporters" of Goodman and Nodler.

-Second, these paid attacks come nowhere close to providing an accurate picture of Jack Goodman's relationship with casino interests. Long's handlers were careful enough to have the woman say "their lobbyists even treated him to fancy meals and drinks" without mentioning that at the time they did so they were representing other interests and not casinos, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records.

The last time Goodman accepted gifts from lobbyists representing casinos was in May 2005, when he accepted three meals in the space of nine days. Though I have written extensively that we need to completely eliminate the practice of lobbyists buying any kind of gifts for our elected offcials, those three meals combined cost a total of $41.19, with one of them only being five dollars. That is a far cry from "fancy meals and drinks."

As for campaign contributions from casinos, as far as I can tell Goodman has not accepted any since his first run for state representative in July 2002, when he accepted two, one from Missouri Gaming Company for $150 and the other from Isle of Capri Casino for $300.

What the woman failed to tell us was that Goodman has been a steadfast opponent to some of the power grabs by Missouri casino interests.

In April, Goodman wrote the following about the idea of expanding gambling interests in Missouri:

Last week, I also amended a bill to include a provision that would help limit the expansion of gambling in Missouri. Essentially, my amendment to HB 1893 would make it more difficult for the Missouri Gaming Commission to quickly issue a license for a new gambling boat in our state. Prior to any new gaming license being considered, the commission would be required to conduct a comprehensive study to determine the economic and financial impact of issuing an additional gaming license. The commission should consider these findings before determining whether an additional license should be issued.

Missouri must strongly regulate and restrict the growth of the gambling industry, particularly in these uncertain economic times. Gambling can have potentially destabilizing effects on local economies, as well as disastrous consequences for individuals and families, so I hope that my colleagues in the Legislature will seriously consider this bill when it comes to the Senate floor.
In April 2007, I noted Goodman's vote against removing the loss limits from Missouri casinos. In that same post, I noted a senator, Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, who was raking in casino cash right and left and was pushing for the removal.

There were probably many areas in which Goodman could have been criticized legitimately, but nothing could pack as much impact in the waning few days of this campaign than to label him as a tool of shady gambling interests.

This, Billy Long, is exactly what I would expect of a career politician. How in the world is anyone going to believe you are different from Jack Goodman, Gary Nodler, or anyone else, when you show a knack and even a perverse joy at distributing the kind of misleading garbage that makes people want to just leave their phones on the hook, turn their televisions off and hibernate until Wednesday.

If you want a clear look at what's wrong with politics, Billy Long, take a look in the mirror.


Anonymous said...

Amen, Randy. Thanks for setting out the facts. And I suppose this is why Jack finally felt compelled to put out the radio ad I heard moments ago busting Billy for his hupocrysy on all things gambling. Here's hoping he didn't allow himself to be smeared for too long.

Anonymous said...

And yes, I do know how to spell "hypocrisy." Oops.

Long is Wrong said...

Jack Goodman returned all money received from casinos as documented in campaign finance reports during his 2002 run.

Krissy Gooch said...

Billy Long is a politician through and through. The only "career politicians" he doesn't have a problem with are the ones that endorse him....interesting.