Kansas City Star. June 20, 2022.

Editorial: Hunting humans: Ludicrous Eric Greitens hits a new low targeting fellow Republicans

Missourians have long been accustomed to boorish behavior from Eric Greitens, the disgraced former governor credibly accused of tying up and forcing a woman to perform oral sex on him, in addition to charges of major campaign finance violations. He resigned in dishonor after those allegations surfaced. Later, his ex-wife alleged he had also abused her and their children, even knocking one of their sons’ tooth loose.

But the state will still be outraged by Greitens’ latest stupidity: a commercial produced to support his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

In the video, Greitens introduces himself as a Navy SEAL, which is misleading enough. He’s a civilian whose service in the Navy remains highly controversial.

He’s carrying a weapon, which is terrifying too. “Today, we’re going RINO hunting,” Greitens says.

What follows is deeply appalling in any context, let alone in the days following gun massacres in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. The candidate is surrounded by anonymous figures dressed in what appear to be military camouflage uniforms.

The squad bashes down a door. Someone tosses a flash-bang grenade. Greitens walks through the door, into the smoke.

“Join the MAGA crew,” he says. “Getting a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, and no tagging limit.” RINO, of course, refers to Republicans in name only.

Is Eric Greitens seriously suggesting his political critics should be shot dead? Murdered without consequence? It sure seems that way.

“It’s fanatically un-American to call for assassinating your political enemies, and doing so is dangerous in today’s political climate and disqualifying for any candidate seeking elected office,” Missouri state Sen. Lauren Arthur said in a tweet.

“If he gets through the primary, Eric Greitens will be the most embarrassing major party candidate in a statewide race since David Duke,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.

That sounds right to us. That Greitens would consider such a video during the Jan. 6 congressional hearings on actual political violence is grotesque.

The Republican primary for the Senate seat now occupied by Roy Blunt has been an unqualified disaster. Eric Schmitt, the state’s attorney general, beclowns himself on an hourly basis, filing frivolous and costly lawsuits for political motives. He’s a disgrace.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler has based her campaign on gender bigotry and scare tactics. She criticized any effort to restrict guns before the blood had been cleaned from the floor in Uvalde.

Other Republican candidates have been harder to hear, or see. Naturally, they have no chance.

Now, Greitens hints at homicide.

Missourians have not been well-served by this ridiculousness. The nation faces serious problems, and needs a reasonable debate among candidates for the Senate. A Republican who approaches the race with the seriousness it deserves should get a hearing from voters, and would deserve it.

With the primary now just weeks away, the lack of a real discussion of issues is stunning, and depressing. It’s beyond comprehension that Missouri voters would consider a man who resigned his office in disgrace under so many clouds. He shouldn’t get near any elected office, or any position of responsibility.

He’s also a coward. He’s a tough guy with a gun on TV, but ducks every debate and every legitimate press interview. He’s accused of beating his wife and children. He stole veterans’ honor by falsely suggesting to Stephen Colbert that he helped kill Osama bin Laden. Missouri voters should send him to the ash heap of history, where he belongs.


St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 21, 2022.

Editorial: Blunt must stand firm in backing bipartisan gun-safety plan

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt has long been among the most reliable political supporters and biggest beneficiaries of a corrosive gun lobby that has turned America into a shooting gallery. That makes Blunt’s support of the Senate’s tentative bipartisan gun-safety agreement all the more important. He’s already coming under enormous pressure from extremists in his own party to abandon the agreement, as a letter from dozens of Republican Missouri legislators last week made clear. For the sake of the country and his own legacy, it’s urgent that Blunt resist that pressure and finish his career with this important step toward sanity.

In the wake of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, some Republicans in Congress have finally started to come around to the realization that offering thoughts and prayers, and nothing else, is an intolerable political response to what has become an ongoing national crisis. Blunt is among 20 senators (10 of each party) who have hammered out a tentative agreement to enhance background checks for gun buyers under 21, offer financial incentives for states to pass “red flag” laws to keep guns from unstable people, and increase funding for mental health and school safety.

As we’ve noted before, the tentative agreement falls far short of what should be done, and what most Americans want, including universal background checks for all gun sales, bans on military-style semiautomatic firearms and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and raising the purchasing age for all guns to 21. But the measures in the tentative agreement will make the public at least incrementally safer. And, crucially, they are the first acknowledgement from top GOP officials in years that the federal government does, in fact, have an obligation to proactively address gun safety.

But the party is by no means united on that point. Push-back is coming at all levels, from hard-right members of Congress to rank-and-file Republican voters. Another member of the bipartisan group, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, for example, was booed over the weekend at a state GOP convention.

Blunt hasn’t faced anything like that — yet — but his support for the agreement has already drawn the ire of fellow Missouri Republicans back in Jefferson City. A letter signed by 47 Missouri House Republicans urges Blunt to back out of the agreement. The letter specifically takes issue with a plan to offer states financial incentives to create red-flag laws. It’s not even a requirement, just an option, yet even that mild proposition has tripped the alarms among the gun-culture extremists.

Blunt’s coming retirement puts him out of reach of those extremists electorally, but even at that, no politician likes to be the focal point of anger from his own party. Blunt should stand by the agreement anyway. History will stand with him.

END

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