Archive for the ‘Jason Kander’ Category

Welcome Veterans for Kander!

Friday, June 27th, 2008

In looking over the hit counts for this blog recently, I noticed a lot coming from a site called Upon further research, I learned that VetVoice is a blog run by, which is an organization supporting candidates they feel will support veterans.

Impressively, they have identified Jason Kander as one of their “emerging leaders” – a group of twelve state and local candidates who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and who are seeking to serve in elected office. It’s a great tribute to Jason’s service to our country to see him on that list.

The hits to Gone Mild, however, came from a post in the VetVoice blog about the nastiness which has shown up in the comments attacking Jason for his service. In “Afghanistan Vet Running for Office Smeared for His Service“, the author quoted some of the baseless attacks and responded to them.

Fortunately, early in the comments section of the post, the author clarified that the attacks were not done by Gone Mild, but by commenters. Even so, I wanted to put a post up welcoming the veterans who are visiting this site, and thanking them for their service. I apologize for the swift-boat-style anonymous attacks you’ll find on this site, but I know you fought for the freedom of people to speak freely.

UAW: "Jason Kander is a man of honesty and integrity . . ."

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

It’s not at all surprising that the UAW of Missouri has endorsed Jason Kander in his run for the 44th district – Jason is the kind of leader our district and our party needs in Jefferson City.

Lacking Kander

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Under the cover of dark on Tuesday night, anti-Kander activists lurked through my neighborhood and stole Kander yard signs from each of 6 houses on my block. It was the first time in all my years of managing the famed “Yard of Power” that anybody has sunk so low as to steal a yard sign from my lawn.

Meanwhile, Jason continues to run a great campaign and is even having a little fun with it.

Kander Shows Leadership on Campaign Finance Reform

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Campaign Finance Reform lies at the heart of good government. It is also, unfortunately, one of the most difficult areas for even the best-hearted legislators to accomplish meaningful change. Money is kind of like toothpaste in a tube – if you press down on it in one spot, it rises in another.

Jason Kander understands the issue well.

He knows that even where campaign limits are in place (as they are through the primaries in Missouri), they can be easily circumvented through third party committees (look at Koster’s scheme to fatten his coffers with Republican donations). Jason has pledged not to resort to such tactics, and has called on his opponents to do the same. “I will not take contributions above the $325 limit from committees or use third party committees to criticize my opponents. I hope that my opponents will also follow the letter and spirit of the law,” Kander said in a press release.

As alert insiders know, this is not one of those meaningless gestures that typify campaign reform discussions. Jason received some very large donations early in the campaign, and he returned them. I’m confident he could get them again, and funnel them through committees just like Koster did.

By refusing to play such games and calling on his opponents to do the same, Jason Kander is demonstrating the same kind of leadership by example that will make him a powerhouse for the 44th District in Jefferson City.

As soon as I receive word that Amy Coffman and Mary Spence join in the pledge, I will happily post their press releases.

An Alternative Space . . .

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Over at this posting, the comments had evolved into a wide-ranging examination of whatever crept into the minds of a few anonymous commenters. A few who purport to be Amy Coffman supporters had gone pretty far astray discussing a car she drives, and, finally, Amy Coffman herself visited to address some of the nonsense.

She wrote a rational and calm comment, never disagreeing with any facts that I laid out. I responded with a couple clarifying questions, and decided to keep the comments there free of further commentary so that her dialog could progress without being buried or distracted. She indicated she wanted a higher level of debate on blogs, so I asked her a giant, substantive softball of a question, and I (and a bunch of pro-Amy, pro-Jason, neutral and one pro-Spence person who have emailed me) are eager to see the dialog progress.

Apparently, though, my attempt to create a space for a respectful dialog has upset some who prefer to make anonymous allegations. So, here is a space for whatever comments you wanted to post under that thread, where I will continue to delete comments that aren’t Amy’s. She deserves a space of her own, and I’m willing to foster intelligent debate. Apparently, there are those who feel I’m required to host their nasty ranting, too, so here’s the space for that. Enjoy yourselves . . .

Should I Be Feeling Guilty? Because I’m Not Feeling it . . .

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

This morning, I did a post about an email that my friend Beth Gottstein sent to the Executive Committee of the CCP to urge that committee to reject the findings of its own selection committee, and endorse Amy Coffman for the 44th District instead of Jason Kander.

It appears that my post may have upset Ms. Gottstein.

I just read over the post again, and I’m kind of at a loss. Nothing in my post is inaccurate. Nothing in my post is slanderous. Nothing in my post criticizes Amy Coffman (whom I genuinely like) or Beth. I did say she was trying to hijack the process, but it’s obviously accurate that she was trying to change the result at the last minute. Maybe hijack was a strong word, but not as strong as the words I’ve had directed at me this evening . . .

Now, that said, I do feel a little sheepish that I asked whether the Executive Committee would “follow Beth’s endorsement, or support the work of its own screening committee”. I should have mentioned that the third possibility is that they could vote their own opinions, which was the flamingly obvious course they in fact chose. It turns out that Amy Coffman won the support of a majority of the Executive Committee. (I did not arrive at the meeting in time to vote.)

The real CCP endorsements come after the entire membership votes in June. The CCP has a solid process – I look forward to seeing how this all works out.

Will the CCP Executive Committee Do Beth’s Bidding?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Here’s an interesting little micro-drama that will run its course today.

In the wee hours of this morning, Beth Gottstein wrote an email to the Executive Committee of the CCP, expressing her opinion that it should ignore the work of its own candidate screening committee. That committee, composed of volunteers without ties to any candidate, chose to endorse Jason Kander for the 44th District. As readers here know, Jason is a great Democrat with a long history of Democratic involvement in the Kansas City community, and I support him enthusiastically.

Beth offers no real reason to ignore the work of the screening committee, other than noting that she met Amy Coffman when Amy moved to Kansas City from Alaska. Beth alludes to the fact that Amy is a woman, but fails to explain why those who prefer to avoid Y chromosomes should not support Mary Spence.

It’s a confusing little note, and the fact that it got sent out in the wee hours of this morning suggests it is a sort of last-minute hail-mary attempt to hijack the process without allowing adequate time for a response. Beth’s fellow councilwoman, Jan Marcason, is supporting Jason Kander, but apparently isn’t choosing to campaign for him at 3 in the morning.

The CCP Executive Committee gets to decide this evening if it will follow Beth’s endorsement, or support the work of its own screening committee.

Which will it be?

Candidates, Slander, and the 44th

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

My humorous extended metaphor on baseball box scores and quarterly campaign finance reports ignited a surprisingly bitter round of accusations and attacks. The simple facts I pointed out from Coffman’s campaign finance report (fewer dollars, non-union t-shirts, and donations from pro-voucher lobbyists) triggered accusations that Kander’s wife does my writing, though I do Stephen Bough’s writing, and hints that Kander’s military service to our nation in Afghanistan means that he is some kind of war criminal.

Once again, the partisans are turning out to be worse than the principals.

The three candidates in this race, Jason Kander, Amy Coffman, and Mary Spence are fine people. And I don’t say that as a simple nod to polite political conversation – I’ve talked to each of them, and I like each of them. I know their supporters, and their supporters are good people supporting a candidate that they think would served the district well. I hope all three find their way into public office in some role.

My rosy view seems to be shared by the candidates themselves. I’ve talked a fair amount with the Kanders, and I’ve never heard them say a negative word about any of the others. I’ve chatted a little with Amy Coffman, including a conversation about the tone of the race, and she is 100% in favor of a clean race. While I haven’t discussed the topic with Mary Spence, those supporters of her I know would react with disgust at the sort of slander spread in the comments of my Tuesday piece.

And by no means do I want to single out the attacks on Jason as being the only ones worthy of condemnation. Some anonymous creep over at the BlogCCP posted a horrible comment attacking a candidate’s physical appearance.

There is a huge distinction between fair and unfair partisanship. For me the test is whether it is relevant and whether it is supported by specific facts. If I say that Candidate X is corrupt, that’s an unfair attack. If I say that Candidate Y is corrupt because he has taken bribes, and I can back up that claim with specific facts, then that’s a fair attack.

As I look back over my own political involvement, I can see where I’ve used both, so don’t misunderstand my commitment to fair partisanship as a “holier than thou” pretense. For example, I think my approach toward Chris Koster provides examples of unfair name-calling, but also examples of well-supported and well-deserved criticism. Looking forward, though, I am going to condemn what’s unfair, and invite anyone to call me out on any unfair attacks I might make in the future.

Play Ball!! Quarterly Campaign Finance Reports Time!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Political geeks like me love campaign finance reports. A baseball box score reveals secrets of strategy, individual performances, and key statistics, but only a tiny portion of the success of the season. Similarly, quarterly campaign finance reports provide enough hard facts to fuel gossip and speculation, but only a tiny part of what it takes to have a successful election season.

In the 44th District, for example, Jason Kander once again defeated Amy Coffman in an extremely close contest, continuing his sweep of the series. (Both defeated Mary Cosgrove Spence, who appears to be a shoo-in for Rookie of the year, but thus far has not shown much potential for the play-offs.) It was a tight battle, though, with Jason Kander edging Coffman out $16,110.15 to $15,075.00.

One troubling sign for the Coffman team is that they had to resort to their bullpen awfully early. As a lobbyist, Coffman was obviously going to resort to her lobbyist friends and their easy cash sooner or later, but I, for one, didn’t expect her to call up the farm team in Jefferson City as early as March. But there it is – including campaign funds from the lobbyist dream team of school voucher flamethrowers, Flotron & McIntosh, LLC. Honestly, that is like throwing spit balls in a Democratic primary, but maybe she felt like she had to pull out a late-inning miracle.

Another curve ball from the Coffman side was a purchase of T-shirts from non-union, in Burlingame, California. Her website (which is a very nice one, by the way, now that it’s up), claims that

I think we can agree that personal security begins with stable, well paying jobs for Kansas City’s working people. A healthy economy, strong labor unions and a vibrant business environment help families reach their economic and professional goals.

I know I agree, but it appears that some may be a little shaky on that one.

All told, it’s only one box score, and this week’s stats don’t tell us what’s going to happen in the World Series. The rookie could catch fire. Any of the teams could commit a crucial balk. The umpire could toss someone out for throwing bean balls, though all sides seem to be pitching strikes at this stage. Amy Coffman has attracted an impressive group of fans, including the current officeholder, and my favorite City Councilwoman.

To carry the analogy one final step, in this local race with three fine candidates, the ultimate winner may be decided by which one takes the most walks – door to door.

Campaign Reports: Kander Cruising

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Back when Coffman had a disappointing October report, her supporters assured us that it was only because she hadn’t gotten around to launching her campaign until after the quarter started. It sounded like a kind of lame excuse at the time, since she had a nice kick-off party co-hosted by a fellow lobbyist in that quarter, but I’m a generous guy and always willing to cut someone some slack.

Yesterday, the new quarterly reports were filed, and Coffman is reporting a surprisingly modest $10,015.00, which is actually a reduction from her shortened first quarter. By way of comparison, Jason Kander added another $14,235.50 to the $81,430.00 he had already raised. The result of all this is that Coffman now has $13,174.51 cash on hand, while Kander has $44,991.07, more than three times Coffman’s amount.

Money isn’t everything, but it certainly is something. For Jason Kander, it’s a sign of strength and support.