Archive for the ‘Carnahan’ Category

The Carnahans’ conniving CREW

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

Both of the third-generation political Carnahans, Princess Robin and Prince Russ, are fighting for their political lives by trafficking in lies. Both entitled darlings of the family dynasty are promulagating smears by a web site called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

CREW listed what it called the ten most “crooked” candidates, which included Princess Robin’s opponent, Rep. Roy Blunt. Then when Prince Russ got desperate in his own contest, the site added his opponent, Ed Martin, to accommodate the family, and Prince Russ has been airing television ads and filling mailboxes with brochures that call Martin one of the “11 most corrupt.” The CREW site makes that number a bit dated, now that it has accommodated other desperate pols and added several others to the list.

Both Carnahan campaigns brazenly refer to CREW as a non-partisan watchdog group, but that’s totally false. CREW was set up by Democrats specifically to pose as a non-partisan group to provide cover for baseless attacks. It is staffed by Democrat operatives and is financed by a conduit group that is financed by left-wing billionaire George Soros. And surprise! The list is almost all Republicans! Two of the token Democrats are in the same Florida senate contest in which CREW comicly listed every major candidate (including one already eliminated in the primary). The only Democrat on the November ballot who is on the list not accompanied by others in the same contest is Alvin Greene, the surprise winner of the South Carolina Democratic primary that the party establishment didn’t want.

But what about Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA), who are up on ethics charges? Wouldn’t a real nonpartisan group include them on their list? Sure, but CREW isn’t a nonpartisan group, and its list is just a partisan enemies list. And independent? The Carnahan family fingerprints are all over it. Their use of this phony site is the real scandal.

Carnahans, Harry Reid linked to indicted St. Louis developer

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

John Steffen, who was indicted this week for bank fraud for a tax credit scheme during the collapse of his Pyramid Construction empire, has a long history as a national Democratic Party power broker. (Note: As they say on Cops, all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.) Major recipients of Steffen’s largesse include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), four members of Missouri’s Carnahan political dynasty, committees funding the Democratic takeover of both houses of Congress in 2006, and President Barack Obama.

Steffen was particularly generous to Reid, whose state is over 1,500 miles away from Steffen’s St. Louis home. In addition to $4,000 in 2004 to the then minority leader’s 2004 reelection campaign, Steffen also donated $17,500 to Searchlight Leadership Fund (Reid’s Leadership PAC) and $15,000 to the Nevada State Democratic Party.

Steffen was a major financier of Democrats’ successful effort to reclaim control of Congress in 2006. In addition to his contributions to the Reid campaign and associated committees, Steffen donated over $83,000 to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee between 2005 and 2008, another $16,000 in 2005-2007 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and generous direct contributions to the successful 2006 campaigns of Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ben Nelson (D-FL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) (plus over $2,000 to Missouri Victory 2006, which was linked to McCaskill) that were key to the party’s success in winning control.

Steffen was an early and generous supporter of President Barack Obama. In addition to donating the maximum legal $4,600 to Obama’s presidential campaign in 2007 (when the “smart money” was still behind then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)), Steffen donated $4,323 to Hopefund, Inc., which Politico reported in 2007 worked in concert with the Obama presidential campaign by contributing to key officials in early primary states, giving money in hopes of winning their support.

Other notable recipients of Steffen money include the 2004 presidential campaigns of both former Rep. Dick Gephardt and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and the Iowa Democratic Party in advance of Gephardt’s unsuccessful campaign in that state’s presidential primary.

In Missouri, Steffen was especially generous to the Carnahan Dynasty. He contributed a thousand dollars to the late Mel Carnahan’s 2000 senate campaign, $2,000 to the unsuccessful 2002 re-election campaign of former Sen. Jean Carnahan, $2,000 in 2003 to the successful 2004 congressional campaign of Rep. Russ Carnahan, and a like amount in 2005 to his 2006 re-election campaign. Robin Carnahan received $1,175 in 2003 for her 2004 campaign for Missouri Secretary of State, with like amounts from at least two corporate members of The Pyramid Group. All of those contributions represented the maximum legal amounts at the time they were made. Corporate contributions are legal for campaigns for state office, but not federal office.

Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) received over $7,000 from Steffen in the form of maximum legal contributions for campaigns in 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008. Steffen played both sides in the contentious 2004 Democratic gubernatorial primary, making maximum legal donations to incumbent Bob Holden in 2002 and to his conqueress, State Auditor Claire McCaskill, in 2004. Other notable Missouri recipients include Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), former State Treasurer Nancy Farmer’s unsuccessful 2004 senate campaign against Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), and former Secretary of State Bekki Cook’s unsuccessful campaign for Lieutenant Governor (against current Lieut. Gov. Peter Kinder). On the local level, key Steffen recipients included St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, St. Louis Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, and License Collector Mike McMillan.

Steffen made occasional Republican contributions, but even those usually displayed a Democrat twist. Steffen made a courtesy $1,000 contribution in 2005 to Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), who is married to Democrat power broker Ron Gladney. Steffen donated $2,000 to the late Sherman Parker’s 2006 Republican primary challenge to Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), fueling Democrat hopes of wounding the popular Akin. Not yet explained is Steffen’s surprising $10,000 donation to the Missouri Republican State Committee in 2005. I’m sure there’s a story there; I just don’t know what it is. Yet.

Steffen’s latest political donations ($28,500 to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and $2,300 to Rep. Lacy Clay in 2008) were made when he was already in financial distress. Respected (and expensive) St. Louis bankruptcy attorney Steven Goldstein, whom Steffen engaged to negotiate settlements with Pyramid’s creditors, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Steffen has earned no income since 2008 and “likely can’t afford a criminal attorney for his fraud case.” Perhaps if the politicians would return the over $200,000 (conservatively speaking) he has given them in political contributions in the past decade, he could afford a lawyer. Otherwise, taxpayers left picking up the tab to defend this Democratic Party financier.

Predictably, reports on Steffen’s indictment by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Riverfront Times, and the St. Louis Business Journal made no mention of his important Democratic Party ties. Two of them, though, went out of their way to note that Steffen had received an award from President Bush.

Why charge Waters, but not Prince Russ?

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

I think people are missing a large, important point when they dismiss Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Charlie Rangel (D-NY) playing the race card over the ethics charges leveled against them by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s super-duper “drain the swamp” ethics committee.

Their arguments are perceived to be (and may actually be) that the committee is singling out African-American members of Congress, and is therefore racist. No one is entitled to a “free pass” from having to be accountable for their misdeeds just because there aren’t X number of similar prosecutions against folks who aren’t members of his or her politically protected minority group. It is possible (though in Congress, not likely) that the only offenders are members of minority groups. A minority is not entitled to immunity for his or her misdeeds just because all of those who are caught committing the misdeeds are minorities. Authorities can only charge those who have committed misdeeds of which they have evidence. I totally get that.

But there’s more to this story. African Americans are not the only offenders. Case in point: Rep. Waters is charged with steering stimulus funds to a business (in this case a bank) in which a family member (specifically Waters’ husband) has a financial interest. But Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) steered stimuls funds to a business (in this case a wind farm) in which a family member (specifically Carnahan’s brother) has a financial interest. Queen Nancy’s “drain the swamp” crowd clamped down on Waters, but is giving Prince Russ a free pass.

Waters is black, while Prince Russ is white. Also, while both Waters and Carnahan are Democrats, Waters is elected by an overwhelmingly Democrat district (Cook Partisan Voting Index D+31) that Pelosi’s party has no realistic chance of losing, regardless of scandal, but Prince Russ’ district, though Democrat (D+7), is not so Democrat that scandal couldn’t shove it over the edge in a Republican wave election like 2010. Pelosi’s minions are protecting a potentially vulnerable incumbent who is facing a credible, well financed Republican opponent, Ed Martin.

Charging African Americans with misconduct for which there is evidence that they committed is not racism. But doing so while refraining from charging whites engaged in the same misconduct is. Since all but one African-American representative is elected by districts that are more safely Democrat than Carnahan’s district, even the brazenly political act of protecting vulnerable party members has a “disparate impact” on African Americans, which Democrats accept as evidence of racism when applied to the private sector.

The solution is not to dismiss the charges against the minorities, but to bring charges against everyone who appears guilty of the same misconduct, regardless of race or how “safe” or “marginal” their district is for any political party. The Democrats’ selective swamp draining does in fact reek of racism.

Classic Carnahan: More hypocrisy from Prince Russ

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

Ed Martin, the leading contender for the Republican nomination to oppose Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO-3), has come up with a largely unreported gem about Prince Russ.

Carnahan was first elected to Congress in 2004 after a razor-thin win in the Democratic primary over Jeff Smith, a political scientist and future state senator. Smith, now a former senator, is serving time in federal prison for his role in covering up an FEC violation involving his campaign’s improper involvement with a purported independent expenditure on an anti-Carnahan mailer. The investigation that snared Smith was initiated by a complaint filed by the Carnahan campaign.

On the day Smith was sentenced, Carnahan issued a statement about the case, noting, “There is a reason for, uh, proper disclosures and accounting in campaigns…” (Hat tip: Jake Wagman of the St. Louis Post Dispatch). But Martin’s campaign web site notes that, at that very moment, Carnahan’s own ownership stake in Castle Ballroom LLC had been omitted from his latest financial disclosures.

Martin notes that in the same 2004 election in which the Smith infractions had occurred, the Carnahan campaign paid $10,400 in rent to Castle, which it turns out was partially owned by Prince Russ and his wife. But the property contained only a derelict building on which no improvements had been made, so there was no office space to rent. Federal election law strictly prohibits the payment of campaign funds for the personal benefit of the candidate. But at the time, the public didn’t know that Castle was a Carnahan-owned property, because Prince Russ’ ownership interest in that company had not been disclosed.

As Prince Russ ironically noted while reveling in the demise of his one-time rival, “There is a reason for, uh, proper disclosures and accounting in campaigns…” “Uh” indeed!

New Carnahan tax evasion exposed

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

Last year when President Obama was busy staffing his cabinet with tax cheats, it became apparent why Democrats are so insensitive to high taxes: They don’t pay them!

Now a new disclosure has surfaced demonstrating how my congressman, Russ Carnahan (D-MO), is evading property tax on his 42-foot yacht. Both The Missouri Record and Carnahan’s leading Republican opponent, Ed Martin, have pointed out that Prince Russ parks his boat across the river in Illinois, where there is no property tax on boats.

Martin reported too that Carnahan’s vessel is also without current registration. According to Martin’s press release, as of Monday April 12, 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Information Exchange showed that the boat’s registration expired back on September 30, 2008.

If this sounds familiar, it should. When Prince Russ first ran for Congress in 2004, the Missouri Water Patrol cited him for driving an unregistered boat. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported at the time that Carnahan claimed he hadn’t registered it with the state Department of Revenue, because the Coast Guard was still processing title documents. After the Post-Dispatch inquired, Carnahan said he had just found out that he could get temporary state registration. But now, it’s unregistered again, for over seven months.

Martin notes wryly, “Funny, he knew nothing about registering his boat but knew exactly where he should dock it to avoid taxes.”

Maybe Carnahan is feeling the heat from the current campaign and is preparing for a new career. Prince Russ appears to auditioning for an appointment in the Obama Administration, which has a demonstrated appreciation for tax cheats.

You paid for it: Campaign literature for congressmen

I recently got an expensively produced full-color glossy 6-panel brochure from my congressman, Russ Carnahan (D-MO), touting his supposed efforts to end excessive Wall Street bonuses and other financial practices. It featured a lovely photo of Russ at a lectern with an American flag in the background. It made the congressman look really good, just as good campaign literature should.

But one thing really bugged me about this campaign literature. It noted (as required by law) that this expensively produced literature “was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.” Sure enough, instead of postage, there was merely the reproduced signature of Congressman Carnahan. It was sent via a congressman’s “franking privilege.”

“Franking” allows a representative in Congress to respond to his constituents’ letters to him (or her, as the case may be). Such an exchange of ideas is fully appropriate. With the volume of mail and other communications that a congressman receives, it would be unduly burdensome to require the congressman to pay out of his own pocket for responding to his constituents. I have no problem with the franking privilege when used in that manner, as originally intended.

But that’s not what this was. This was a mass-produced puff piece about the congressman, even if it did center on one particular issue.

Apologists for Carnahan will undoubtedly respond that all congressmen do this, regardless of party. While I haven’t polled the other 434 representatives (and the critics who would make that claim haven’t either), I fully expect that all incumbent congressmen seeking reelection probably do so. But that doesn’t make it right. None of Carnahan’s (or any other congressman’s) opponents, either in his own party primary or potential general election opponents from other parties, can send you campaign literature about themselves at your expense. This is an abuse of power, and the pervasiveness of the practice makes it worse, not better.

If I may borrow the title of Fox 2’s Elliot Davis’ fine investigative series,  “You Paid for It.”

Carnahan-Martin race hitting national radar

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

The re-election contest involving Missouri Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) continues to receive national attention. Completing his third term in a safely Democratic urban-based district (Cook Partisan Index D+7) where President Obama beat Republican John McCain by 21 points, Carnahan’s re-election shouldn’t be on anybody’s radar. Except it is.

Late last week, the influential Cook Political Report recognized the contest as having enough upset potential to bear watching, one of 25 contests nationally to get a pro-Republican rating change. House analyst David Wasserman called this contest Carnahan’s “first tough reelection,” noting that Republican challenger Ed Martin started the year with nearly as much campaign cash as the incumbent. The contest’s rating is still “likely Democrat,” but this is the first step in the evolution of ratings changes. Note that several Republican seats that Democrats won in 2006 and 2008 were still rated “safe Republican” at this time in those years.

Martin released a web video on Super Bowl Sunday that also attracted national attention. NBC’s Political Director Chuck Todd’s ‘All the Right Moves’ blog reported the following day:

MISSOURI: Ed Martin, a Republican challenging Rep. Russ Carnahan for his seat, releases a dramatic-sounding Web ad branding Carnahan “Rubber Stamp Russ” and linking his image with those of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

The video presents a compelling contrast of Martin’s conservative values and history of fighting for Missouri jobs with Carnahan’s lock-step support for the leftist agenda of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama. As I blogged last July, Congressional Quarterly listed Carnahan as the congressman who supported Obama’s agenda the most, with a 100% rating, earning him the title “Rubber Stamp Russ.” Highlighted in the ad is Carnahan’s vote for cap and trade and a stimulus bill which awarded his own brother taxpayer money for a wind farm. It also points out his unwillingness to listen to the people of his district even at his own town hall.

The same day that NBC’s Todd took note, the Republican National Congressional Committee announced its recognition of Martin’s campaign as a Contender, the second stage of its Young Guns program. Martin had been recognized by the NRCC as “On the Radar” since October. He earned the promotion by exceeding NRCC benchmark goals for a successful campaign. These efforts included his Town Halls on healthcare and jobs, his meet and greets with voters of the district, and successful fundraising. Being a Young Guns “contender” may attract attention from national contributors.

Carnahan received negative national attention last summer when national cable news broadcast video of his gaffes in a health care town hall, as well as McArthur Bakery’s electronic sign protest of Carnahan’s vote for the job-killing cap and trade bill. Cable news also broadcast video of the mele outside another Carnahan town hall when Carnahan supporters from SEIU assaulted an independent vendor and a woman photographing the assault.

Jean Carnahan jumps into mudpuddle

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

Frankly, I would have expected better from the former interim senator and two-term first lady. Until now, though I disagreed with her political stands, I had great respect for the dignity that Jean Carnahan projected.

But the key words are in past tense. I respected her for the dignity she projected.

On Tuesday, the same day as the notorious USA Today op-ed piece by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer,   Mrs. Carnahan took off the white gloves, jumped into the mudpuddle with the worst of them, and started spewing toxic, venomous invectives at citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to oppose the ruling party’s ill-advised health care plan. She wrote a blog piece entitled “The Pitchforks of August” on Fired Up! Missouri, the Democrat bomb-throwing blog with which Mrs. Carnahan has questionably associated herself.

The explosive title was just the start. Look how many vile, loaded words and phrases she squeezed into just the lead paragraph:

In recent weeks we have seen disruptions at town halls, mob hysteria, arrests, death threats, and remarks that border on treason. Those who should be in control of the GOP remain mute or, even worse, they bless the hordes that take up pitchforks to puncture the idea of health care reform.

Beyond equating questioning one’s own representative in Congress with “disruptions,” she went on to describe “mob hysteria,” “arrests (without mentioning that it was primarily Obamacare supporters who were arrested), “death threats” (isolated incidents that, again, eminated primarily from supporters of Obamacare), and finally “hordes that take up pitchforks.”

Really? Did anyone see a single pitchfork? The term was meant to allude back to post-civil war intimidation of African Americans (by Democrats, BTW) which has nothing whatsoever to do with the current debate. (To drive the point home, she made six separate references to pitchforks in the piece.) It’s just part of the current conscious Democrat strategy to obfuscate the debate by distracting from discussion of the indefensible substance of the proposals by demonizing the citizens who oppose them.

She also taps into the government’s conscious effort to intimidate opponents, by rolling out the T-word: Treason.

Then, in the very next sentence, the former first lady followed the party playbook by utilizing a sexually derogatory term “tea baggers” (popularized by an episode of the cult classic popular among Democrats, Sex in the City) to describe the protesters. Dignified matrons don’t use that term.

Mrs. Carnahan went on to describe talk-show host Rush Limbaugh with the pagan term “High Priest” and played the race card by alluding to protesters as “the angry white man . . . upset at having a black man in the White House” (using as authority a post from the left-wing Huffington Post).

If mothers have influence over their daughters (and they do), this carefully planned written outburst means we can look forward to a dirty, smear campaign from Robin Carnahan in her quest to take Republican Sen. Kit Bond’s seat to insure the Democrats’ a filibuster-proof majority.

Perhaps, Mrs. Carnahan is being done in by her young, in-your-face ghostwriters at Fired Up!, but she nevertheless bears responsibility for what is written under her name. It’s the ghostwriter’s fault until she approves it (or approves a process allowing publication under her name without her approval), but it’s her own fault once it hits the web. Shame on you, Mrs. Carnahan!

‘Big Brother’ barges into health care fray

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

Public reaction to the President’s plan to spread existing health care resources around to everyone (at the expense of those who have it now, including seniors on Medicare) has not been as planned. But even scarier than the plan itself is the government’s heavy handed suppression of public dissent over the plan. Here’s a brief outline of what Big Brother has done so far, just for starters:

1. Snitch on your neighbor (the notorious

Last week, Macon Phillips, White House Director of New Media who is in charge of the official government web site for the Obama Administration, posted an official blog entry inviting citizens to report emails or anything on the web about health insurance reform that “seems fishy” to a special email address at the White House ( ) created for the specific purpose of collecting such information. The Administration is seeking information about “rumors” in chain emails or even (in the blog post’s own words) “casual conversation,” because (again in the blog post’s own words) “we can’t keep track of all of them.” In other words, with your help, they will keep track of all of them. Press secretary Robert Gibbs specifically denied that the White House was compiling an “enemies list” reminiscent of President Nixon during Watergate, which only means one thing: the White House is damned sure compiling an “enemies list.” But even Tricky Dick wouldn’t have openly solicited snitches.

2. Demonize citizen participation.

Instead of defending the substance of their health care proposals, Democrats are responding by attacking and demonizing the citizens who have questioned them. The Democratic National Committee fired the first major salvo, airing a television ad depicting town hall audiences as “angry mobs” duped into hostile actions by special interest groups.

Then, according to the Associated Press, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused the protesters of trying to sabotage the democratic process. And then this morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer published an op-ed piece in USA Today, the nation’s highest circulation newspaper, calling the protests “un-American.” They accused protesters of misrepresenting the proposed legislation, disrupting public meetings and preventing members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue, and being “afraid” of the facts.

These aren’t just the words and actions of bloggers or commentators, but of the ruling party and high-level members of the government. The implied threat couldn’t be more real.

Democrats’ actions are backfiring. The totally unmoblike participants are enjoying their ludicrous characterization as an angry mob, and are using that absurd, over-the-top description as a rallying cry.

3. Intimidate the enemy.

The government and its ruling party, having come late to the party, are now trying to make up lost ground. One strategy is to discredit protesters by inciting violence and trying to blame it on the protesters. Ads for paid “progressive activists” have surfaced on craigslist and the web, only to be pulled when conservatives got wind of them. The organized hit on black conservative Kenneth Gladney outside Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO)’s town hall was by thugs uniformly dressed in purple SEIU t-shirts who were seen getting out of the same bus. An audience member supporting the government plan admitted having come there from Kentucky. Mike Sola, the independent voter who confronted Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) about the impact of the proposed plan on his handicapped son, reports that he is now getting late night threats against his life and the life of his son.

Instigators do so with the confidence that their criminal acts will go unpunished. The Obama Administration set the tone shortly after the inauguration, when the Justice Department dismissed its “default judgment” case against Black Panthers charged with armed voter intimidation. The Justice Department had brought the charges and won the case during the Bush Administration, but Obama’s DOJ ordered the charges dismissed. The message was clear: Obama has their back.

Nevertheless, the intimidation strategy hasn’t worked out as planned. While the Democrats naturally assumed that the mainstream media would spin the events their way, the video of what actually happened has been too compelling for even the leftist press to ignore.

4. Orchestrate the meetings.

Another strategy is to offset spontaneous participation by protesters by stacking future meetings with their own supporters. Coordinating with the Democratic congressmen and their staffs, they seek to maximize the effectiveness of their presence with preferred seating for those agreeing with them. I am personally aware of a self-identified member of the St. Louis Young Democrats calling a liberal blogger I know to recruit him to help “stack our supporters at the front of the room” at Tuesday’s McCaskill town hall in Hillsboro. That precisely follows the playbook of Health Care for American Now (HCAN), whose national field director is former SEIU organizing director Margarida Jorge, which calls for “stack[ing] our folks in the front to create a wall around [a liberal congressman].” (hat tip: Lowell Ponte) My blogger friend noted that since he had no connection with the Young Democrats, their calling lists must have been really extensive to include a guy in his 60s like him.

Also part of HCAN’s playbook:  “make a blanket rule that no one can bring signs or leaflets” and “confiscate signs or leaflets that [opponents] may bring. . . .” Update: Signs were in fact prohibited at the McCaskill town hall in Hillsboro.

The audience orchestration strategy works hand-in-glove with the intimidation strategy. The government’s hope is that fear of violence will reduce future attendance, creating a false impression of a momentum change and that the public is now more comfortable with the government’s plans.

But we will not be deterred. Worst case scenario, we will have a wonderful party together in Obama’s re-education camps after he rounds us up and concentrates us there!

Carnahan is Obama’s top House rubberstamp

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

According to a new study by the non-partisan Congressional Quarterly, the congressman who supported President Obama’s position most in the nation in the first half of this year was metro-south Democrat Russ Carnahan, with a 100% presidential support rating.

House Democrats as a whole were pretty much in lock step in their support for Obama, with a 98% rating, but Carnahan still topped them. All other Missouri representatives were below the median, including the state’s two African-American congressmen. Metro-north Democrat Lacy Clay and Kansas City Democrat Emanuel Cleaver both had 96% presidential support ratings. Metro-east Democrat Jerry Costello, a product of the metro-east Democratic machine, was relatively independent, with a presidential support ratio of “only” 84%.

In the senate, self-proclaimed “maverick” Democrat Claire McCaskill had a 96% presidential support rating, the same as Clay and Cleaver in the House. When she defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Talent in 2006, she had criticized his lack of independence as demonstrated by a presidential support index of just 93%.

The median for senate Democrats the first half of this year was 94% presidential support.

In a separate CQ measurement of party unity (voting with one’s own party in 255 roll call votes that pitted most House Democrats against most Republicans), Carnahan topped Missouri Democrats with 99%. St. Louis County Republican Todd Akin was equally as partisan the other way, with his own 99% party unity rating. Costello and all Missouri representatives scored 94% or higher on party unity with one exception. The maverick was Cape Girardeau Republican JoAnn Emerson, whose unity rating was just 79%. While she supported Obama 54% of the time, she did come through to vote against Obama’s job-killing cap-and-trade bill.

These ratings could have an impact on the 2010 contest for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat. Announced Republican candidate, Rep. Roy Blunt, has a predictably low 36% presidential support rating and a relatively low 94% party unity rating. Announced Democratic candidate Robin Carnahan has no legislative record to defend, but voters may attribute brother Russ’ “rubberstamp” numbers to her. If Robin Carnahan wishes to appear more independent, she will have to dissassociate herself from her own brother’s voting record.

Update: For all of 2009, Prince Russ finished with 99% presidential support, tying him for 5th (out of 435) with Jesse Jackson, Jr. and 8 others (and tied for 1st among congressmen not representing the Peoples Republic of California). He toed Obama’s line even more than both the majority leader and majority whip, and as much or more than every member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Carnahan’s party unity rating held firm at 99% for the whole year, highest in the Missouri delegation (either party). Speaker Pelosi noted this last October when in St. Louis for a Carnahan fundraiser, observing that Prince Russ was “not high maintenance.” He does what he’s told, without any pesky questions.