So which one is it going to be, Speaker Tim Jones: Standing up for your fellow Republicans or campaigning for your next office? Leading or your personal ambition?
By STEVE KRASKE
The Kansas City Star
Jones, who heads the Missouri House, was on St. Louis radio Thursday openly talking about what insiders have known for months he is in the race for attorney general.
It is my intention to seek that office, he said on KMOX.
Its hardly a coincidence that the speaker was talking about 2016 just hours after the close of the 2013 veto session. Jones spent the last few weeks more concerned about positioning himself for that race than looking out for his fellow House Republicans.
Talk about a sellout. Talk about abandoning your own. In another St. Louis interview Thursday, this one on FM Newstalk 97.1, Jones ripped the 15 House members who refused to go along with the big tax cut the GOP was pushing. The 15 refused to override Gov. Jay Nixons veto of that bill.
We found out how many true, hard-core fiscal conservatives that want to grow Missouris economy we really have, Jones said.
Later, he said this: Theyre going to have to answer to the constituents.
He suggested he might strip some of chairmanships.
Were going to have to do a better job of recruiting and funding candidates in the future, Jones said.
What a guy. Jones openly threatened members of his own caucus for casting votes in what everybody under the dome knew was a losing cause. On this bill the pivotal piece of legislation of the 2013 session by far Nixon built a coalition and wound up defeating the GOP supermajority on a foundational party issue.
Then on the radio, Jones sold himself as a rock-ribbed conservative, which will help him in whats shaping up as a tough GOP primary. Thats how you win GOP primaries. You tack as far to the right as you can.
The speaker opted to do so on the backs of his fellow Republicans.
If you believe the hallway yak in the Missouri Capitol, Jones sought a vote on the tax bill only because the Missouri GOPs leading benefactor, Rex Sinquefield, demanded it. Jones wanted to keep the rich guy happy more than he did his own colleagues, even though the speaker knew the vote was a loser.
Yes, the speaker managed 10 overrides of Nixon bills, making the governor the most overridden chief executive in state history. But that was really about countering the loss of the tax bill with an alternative storyline.
Heres another storyline for you: Jones bails on his own caucus.
To reach Steve Kraske, call 816-234-4312 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.