Jay Nixon, the man without a party
The Kansas City Star
Things aren’t getting any cozier with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the rest of the state’s Democratic ranks.
As noted here, a nonprofit that is funded by the Democratic Governors Association has paid for mailings targeting lawmakers who might be inclined to vote to override the governor’s veto on a car tax bill. One of the lawmakers targeted is a Democrat who faces Republican opposition in November to keep his seat. What is that all about?
Also, some Democrats approached the governor’s campaign team recently to suggest that, since Nixon isn’t facing much of a re-election threat, perhaps he could cough up some spare change from his outlandish campaign fund to help a few of his party’s legislative candidates. Nixon’s folks said they would take the matter under advisement, and haven’t been heard from since.
Although it would seem that Nixon would prefer working with a Democratic legislature — or at least one that would have more trouble overriding his vetoes — that’s not necessarily the case. Right now, Nixon can use the fact that he’s a Democratic governor working with a Republican legislature to explain anything that goes wrong and brag about whatever goes right. And frankly, he hasn’t presented much of an agenda for the legislature, so he doesn’t have to worry about lawmakers not heeding it.
Then there’s those campaign ads Nixon’s been running, in which he scrupulously avoids mentioning that he’s running on the Democratic ticket. And his careful avoidance of fellow party member Claire McCaskill, who is engaged in a tough re-election bid for her U.S. Senate seat. The governor did attend the Democratic National Convention last week. Other delegates said he was quite friendly, in his folksy kind of way, but seemed more interested in kibitzing with delegates from places like Iowa than with fellow Missourians.
If Nixon really is entertaining thoughts of making a bid for a national ticket, this thumb-in-the-eye to his own party will catch up with him. But obviously he thinks it’s working for the moment.