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A Republican Problem

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- Nick ReedThere has been a noteworthy endorsement in the race for the 134th assembly district. Republican John Sellars has endorsed Democrat James Owen instead of fellow Republican Elijah Haahr. While Haahr beat Sellars for the nomination in August, one still wouldn't expect a Republican to endorse a Democrat. So what gives?

Sellars isn't really a Republican. He may be registered that way, but his action sure don't convey it. He supported and campaigned for Obama for President, for crying out loud. Many Republican apologists claimed it was a momentary lapse in John's judgment. Others tried to blame it on his wife, saying she was the real Obama supporter and there wasn't much John could do about it. Right.

Sellars claims in a letter to voters that the reason he is so bravely crossing the aisle is because he is "sick of extremists from both parties tearing our communities apart just to score political points." Problem is, he doesn't say how Haahr is doing this. In fact, I can't find where anyone is making such claims. By all accounts, Elijah Haahr is a young family man that is involved in community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Springfield Adopt a Street Program. Pretty radical stuff. Maybe a sordid past? He is a local boy who got an academic scholarship to Ozarks Technical Community College and worked his way to the University of Missouri School of Law. He managed to stay active in many other activities, which included becoming Editor-in-Chief of the Missouri Environmental Law and Policy Review.

Gee, I see why John Sellars was so worried.

The Republican Party needs to start being more particular about whom it allows to claim its label. Contrary to popular myth, Republicans are nice. In fact, they are often too nice. Not necessarily to each other, but certainly to Democrats. So nice, in fact, they will allow a Democrat to speak at Republican events just because they say they are a Republican.

Republicans claim they want young, energetic people like Elijah Haahr to be active in the party. Well, when the party accepts someone like John Sellars as a Republican, it runs the good ones off. Haahr now has to contend with voters thinking that James Owen is a reasonable guy who reaches across the aisle while he(Haahr) is "tearing our communities apart." After all, it is a Republican making the claim, so it must be true!

There is only one reason John Sellars’ plea to voters to support the Democrat has any credibility. It is because Republicans refused to acknowledge what was going on and kick the guy to the curb before things got this far.

It is too late for Republicans to undo what credibility they created for Sellars. But it is not too late to prevent this sort of self-destruction from occurring again. But it begins with Republicans looking around the room and acknowledging that there are Democrats in the local Republican Party.

Stop being nice and start being smart.



Springfield, MO

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