NIXA, Mo. — Editor’s note: Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, acknowledged last week that he visited an Illinois strip club about 10 times when he was a state senator about 17 years ago. Kinder said he now considers that a poor decision. He has not announced his candidacy, but has been gearing up to challenge Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in the 2012 elections.
It is time for Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder to step away from his campaign to be elected as Missouri’s governor in 2012. His irresponsible decisions in his personal life have impugned his ability to lead publicly from a principled position.
Some Republicans will chastise me for my stance on this issue. They may quote Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment to “never speak ill of another Republican.” However, I challenge any such proposition, because ill speech has a requisite of malicious intent. That is not the case in these words you read.
Just as in any libel or slander claim, truth is an absolute defense. Truth here is derived from principles that take precedent over party. It is birthed from principles that demonstrate integrity because a person lives by them in their public as well as personal life.
The truth in this case is Lt. Gov. Kinder has failed to demonstrate consistent principled behavior in his life. An attempt to excuse his poor decisions because it happened when he was 40 fails to pass muster. I am a 40-year-old state representative, and I can tell you sitting in a dark club sipping wine while watching women take off their clothes for money is impermissible behavior for someone elected to be a leader in the community.
At my age, I have some understanding of what moral shortcomings it takes for the adult entertainment business to exist. One of the main components is a man willing to objectify women in a manner that is degrading and demeaning. In this setting the debate over whether or not physical aggression has occurred is misplaced, because I submit to you that it already has been perpetrated mentally. If I enter a strip club once or 10 times, I go in knowing that I am willing to submit to thoughts and fantasies of unhealthy relationships.
It is inconsistent for Peter Kinder as the party’s highest-ranking state official to speak about ensuring our rights to pursue life, liberty and property while he is willing in his behavior to devalue certain members of our society. I believe it is disqualification from being the Republican Party’s nominee for governor.
I ask that campaign donors and party leadership stand tall in the light of truth. At a time when our citizens’ hopes are deflated, it is critical we remain vigilant in deriving courage from our convictions. During these days of trials, the Republican Party must be the voice resounding that all is not lost. We do believe in something better.
Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa, represents the 141st District.