(The following is my column for this week's Newton County News and for the KY3 website.)
Two words characterized the primary battle for the Seventh District Congressional seat currently held by Roy Blunt.
The minute Springfield auctioneer and former radio personality Billy Long said he was “fed up” with government as usual, “fed up” with the big spending ways of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, and “fed up” with career politicians who had never signed the front of a check, he had latched onto his ticket to the general election.
In a year when Tea Party enthusiasts are ripping anything that smacks of incumbency or experience, veteran state senators Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, and Jack Goodman, R-Mt. Vernon, didn’t stand a chance.
Once the primary passed, and Nodler, Goodman, and the rest of the cast of characters from the Republican primary were in Billy Long’s rear view mirror, the Fed Up Express became a thing of history.
Perhaps it’s the difference in opponents. Instead of two veteran state senators, Long’s chief opponent, Scott Eckersley, is someone who is just as inexperienced in elective politics as Long is.
Or perhaps now that Gary Nodler and Jack Goodman are no longer siphoning money from traditional sources, Billy Long can start raking in the cash from the special interests just like all of the “career politicians” he has spent months criticizing.
No better evidence can be found than in Long’s quarterly disclosure report, filed October 15 with the Federal Election Commission.
Long's contributor list for the past quarter reads like a who's who of big business, including a couple that are reminiscent of recent excesses.
FEC documents show Halliburton and Exxon Mobil each dropped $1,000 into Long's campaign chest.
Halliburton, long associated with former vice president Dick Cheney, was the recipient of billions of dollars, much of that in the form of no-bid contracts, from the federal government. While the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to drain the U. S. economy, Halliburton has been swimming in greenbacks for the past decade.
It would seem that kind of special interest excess would be something that would have the earlier incarnation of Billy Long, the one that apparently vanished after the primary, fed up.
And why wouldn’t Exxon Mobil fit into that same category? After all, it is a company that recorded record profits during a time when average American citizens were paying more than double and sometimes triple what they used to pay for gas.
Surely the old Billy Long would be fed up with that kind of excess.
That’s just the beginning of the traditional interests that began lining up behind “Fed Up” Billy after he no longer needed to be fed up.
The American Bankers' Association gave the maximum $5,000, credit industry law firm Hunter & Williams chipped in with $1,000, and the R. J. Reynolds PAC gave $2,500.
Long also received big bucks from many of the so-called leadership PACs, including $5,000 from the Rely on Your Beliefs PAC of Roy Blunt, the man Long hopes to succeed, plus thousands from the leadership PACS of such Republican luminaries as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Congressman John Boehner, Eric Kantor, and Paul Ryan.
All of these men would seem to fit into that “career politician’ mode that Billy Long considered to be poison before he safely had the Republican nomination in his hands.
It appears likely that in two weeks, Billy Long will be Congressman-elect for the Seventh District. If that is the case, one question remains- Which Billy Long will be on his way to Washington? Will it be the one who is fed up or will it be just another politician feeding from the public trough.