Having ripped my former state of residence, New Jersey, I sorrowfully must turn to my state of origin, Missouri. I read that the new majority leader in the Missouri statehouse is an “unapologetic birther.” The creepy Roy Blount won the U.S. Senate seat easily over Robin Carnahan. Although some Dems won in their congressional districts, the state really does seem a lot “redder” than it used to be.
The state wasn’t always crazy; it gave us Harry Truman, after all. One of Missouri’s most distinguished senators was Stuart Symington, a Democrat who served in the U.S. Senate from 1953 to 1976. Symington was a vocal opponent of Joe McCarthy and also refused to speak to racially segregated audiences in the South when he ran for the presidential nomination in 1960. That was one reason he lost the nomination, I believe.
Now, Missouri sends Roy Blount to the Senate. Like I said, creepy.
Of course, the statehouse has long had its share of whackjobs. I remember that while I was a student at the U. of Missouri journalism school, class of 1973, the state legislature seemed to spend most of its time debating a ban on large Woodstock-type rock concerts in the state (as if). But even in the 1970s it was not at all impossible for a New Deal-style Democrat to win elections. Apparently this year the state legislature spent most of its time denouncing health care reform and thinking up new ways to restrict access to abortion.
In a particularly brilliant move, this year the legislature passed an abortion restriction bill that, among other things, “requires abortion clinics to post signs that promise state-backed assistance should a woman carry a child to term and assistance in caring for that child once born.” Then in separate legislation they cut funding for the programs that provide those services.
But then there’s New York. I have lived in New York state for ten years now, and I still haven’t figured out how Albany functions. However, I’ve come to realize no one else understands it, either.