Tuesday, June 21, 2022


Eric Greitens, who's running for the GOP Senate nomination in Missouri, posted this ad yesterday:

"Today, we're going RINO hunting," Greitens, a Republican, said with a smile as he slid the action on his shotgun in the 38-second ad. RINO stands for "Republican in name only."

Greitens and a team of men outfitted in military gear are then shown bursting into a home, guns raised.

"The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice," said Greitens. "Get a RINO hunting permit. There's no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn't expire until we save our country."
Right-wingers have always reveled in fantasies of violently eliminating their enemies -- I've been complaining about those "Liberal Hunting Permit" stickers you see on pickup trucks for nearly twenty years -- but now the eliminationism is aimed at fellow Republicans as well.

You remember Eric Greitens:
Greitens was elected governor of Missouri in 2016, but he resigned less than two years later amid allegations of sexually assaulting and blackmailing a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair.

He acknowledged the affair but denied any wrongdoing. Greitens was also accused of misusing a charity donor list to raise campaign funds. Criminal charges against him were ultimately dropped.

He and his then-wife, Sheena, have since divorced. In a sworn affidavit earlier this year, she accused him of abusing her and their children.
Naturally, he's leading in Republican primary polls for the Senate seat, and given the fact that Donald Trump won the state by 15 points in 2020, the Republican nominee is almost certain to be Missouri's next senator.

A number of us quote-tweeted the Greitens ad yesterday, with our own commentary. We were subsequently informed that we're the real problem.

Wait -- we're "helping this person enter the news cycle"? Greitens is leading in the polls. He has Donald Trump's endorsement. He used to be the governor of his state. I'm pretty sure he's already in the news cycle.

The way democracy works -- or ought to work -- is that decent people should see this ad and be disgusted. They should vote against Greitens if they're in his state, and vote against his party if they aren't. (Those of us who've drawn attention to the ad are doing the job the Democratic Party won't do: saying "This is who Republicans are.") If widespread viewing of this ad makes more people likely to vote for Greitens and his party than against them, then American democracy's biggest problem is its electorate.

Meanwhile, a gray eminence in the Missouri Republican Party is trying to keep Greitens out of the Senate:
On Monday, a committee headed by former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth launched a website to encourage St. Louis native John F. Wood to run as an alternative choice for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt....

“Respected leaders across the state of Missouri have made it clear that Missouri voters deserve an alternative option to the leading contenders for the Republican and Democratic nominations for U.S. Senate,” a news release notes about the committee’s formation. “We are encouraging John to answer that call, as he has done countless times over the course of his career in government.”

In February, Danforth, 85, predicted a center-right independent candidate would file to run for U.S. Senate in Missouri.
Danforth's preferred candidate has what used to be regarded as impeccable Republican credentials:
... Wood ... was U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri from 2007 to 2009 under former President George W. Bush....

Wood previously served as chief of staff to George W. Bush-era Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, deputy associate general counsel to Attorney General John Ashcroft and in the White House under Bush at the Office of Management and Budget.

... After graduating from Harvard Law School, Wood clerked for federal Judge J. Michael Luttig.

... Wood ... recently worked as general counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
But now he's the senior investigative counsel for the January 6 committee. It doesn't get more RINO than that.

Danforth thinks Wood could win. I think he'd take a tiny sliver of the Republican vote and a larger chunk of the Democratic vote. I think he might increase Greitens's margin of victory.

Danforth seems dismayed by the direction of his party. January 6 upset him, as one Missouri newspaperman has reported:
The violent attack against the U.S. Capitol, in an attempt to change the results of the election of Joe Biden as president, has become deeply personal for Danforth. In the days after the attack, he condemned his former protégé, Sen. Josh Hawley, the Missouri Republican who infamously raised his fist in support of the insurrectionists, before challenging the presidential vote on the Senate floor.

“Supporting Josh and trying so hard to get him elected to the Senate was the worst mistake I ever made in my life,” Danforth told me the day after the attack.
Was that really Danforth's worst mistake? Remember, he shepherded Clarence Thomas through the Supreme Court confirmation process.

If it upsets Danforth so much that Eric Greitens might become a senator, there's a simple solution: He could endorse the Democratic nominee, whoever that might be. But we all know that's a bridge too far for most self-styled Republican moderates. Much better to split the vote, I guess.

And yes, as a number of people have pointed out, if we had properly functioning red flag laws, Greitens wouldn't even be able to own a gun.

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