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Right. And the Democrats have been outsmarting the Republicans on the gay issue ever since. Pppfff.
I figure there's only one person whose analysis of Missouri Dems' brilliant political strategy really counts.
Former Rep. Tim Van Zandt is the only openly gay person to have served in the Missouri House and was in office at the time. "They weren't trying to fix it for us," Van Zandt told me last week. "They were basically trying to beat the Republicans to the punch of screwing us."
Instead of his ridiculous "We outsmarted 'em" rhetoric, Klumb and Democrats all over the country might try out a new talking point: "We were wrong. We've learned a lot in the last 10 years, and we'll never again forsake our gay brothers and sisters in favor of cheap politics."
Now for the Star's part in all this.
On July 25, the Star endorsed Klumb. Among the Justus supporters infuriated by this was Scott Hartley, who is Justus' ex-husband but still a close friend. The day before, Hartley had written a letter to the editor, filled with glowing biographical information about his ex-wife's efforts on behalf of social-justice causes. Lajean Keene, who edits the Star's letters page, wrote back and told him he'd have to cut it to no more than 200 words. Hartley sent another version clocking in at 199.
Hartley's letter began by arguing that Justus was the only "true progressive Democrat" in the race.
"Compared to her opponents, Jason Klumb, who as a State Representative from Bates County, co-sponsored the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act and voted for handgun conceal and carry legislation; and Mike Flaherty, who is Anti-Reproductive Choice and Anti-Stem Cell Research, Jolie stands alone as the only candidate whose platform best represents the values of the 10th District."
Keene wrote back again, saying, "I need to verify the info about Klumb and Flaherty. Where did you read it?"
He'd read it in her own damn paper! Hartley referred Keene to the Star's July 25 Klumb endorsement, which noted that Flaherty "has positions that threaten stem-cell research and abortion rights." He also sent her a link to a June 20 Star story about the candidates' positions. And to verify Klumb's voting records and his history on the gay-marriage issue, Hartley attached links to official House records from 1995 and 1996.
"I've got problems with your information about Klumb," Keene replied. "We looked more carefully at the votes and spoke to Klumb himself. The long and short of it is he doesn't favor either conceal carry or banning gay marriage and has said so."
What? The Star let its endorsed candidate weigh in against an unfriendly letter before it went to print?
Keene grew defensive. "I have received numerous letters in recent days distorting the voting records of candidates for office and have spent considerable time trying to fact check them," she wrote to Hartley. "Some make it in the paper. Some don't. It was the decision of Miriam Pepper, editorial page editor, to go directly to the candidate because of the confusion about some of these charges. I have spoken to our Statehouse reporters, and they agree that it would require considerable reporting to clear this up. The long and short of it is, I'm not going to be able to publish your letter. I'm sorry."