Having it both ways

David Lieb, the AP Bureau Chief at the Missouri Capitol, writes outstanding “think pieces” that often are published in the weekend newspapers. We like David here at the Missourinet although we are not Associated Press clients. His piece this weekend is a clear illustration of how hard it is to sort out what major candidates stand for or have stood for and illustrates how hard it is for those of us who are veterans of many political wars to keep track of what is being said and when—and how confusing it must be to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Missouri to figure out who is most believable.

David starts his article, “Before he was against it, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt was for a 2008 bill authorizing up to $700 billion to shore up banks and other troubled financial institutions.”

David reports Blunt’s opponent, Robin Carnahan, has not exactly been rock solid on the issue either, noting a Sedalia Democrat interview last month in which she said the bailout money might have been needed to stabilize the economy. Later she said she isn’t convinced banks were in crisis.

We suggest you find the story in your local newspaper or on the internet—but beware of sites that only make partisan comments on one part of it or another.
By the time the 2010 election arrives, two years will have passed since the package was approved by Congress. The short attention span of voters and the realities of today’s campaigns can obscure the situation that existed late in 2008. Actions taken then might have seemed to have been good ideas at the time by those who took them and not worthy of pointed critique by those who were not in the arena. But now comes a campaign and now comes political hindsight and with them comes a different climate.

David has given his readers a clear view of what the two candidates now are saying about decisions made two years ago that are occupying so much of the early campaign chatter now. Perhaps David and the reporters at the Missourinet as well as our other colleagues in the Capitol Press Corps and the reporters who cover these candidates when they visit the local folks can find get some definite answers on where we go from here.

Campaign commercials and partisan websites often are fueled by the past. But all of us live for the future. One of the jobs of reporters is to get some clear ideas from the candidates about what kind of future they think we should have and how they think we should get there.

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