What’s on the minds of Missouri Republicans these days?
One clue came by walking the gauntlet of the two dozen or so display tables Saturday afternoon at the Reagan Lincoln Days gala at the Kansas City Muehlebach.
Lincoln Days is the annual celebration of the Missouri GOP that rotates each year between St. Louis, KC and Springfield. Display tables featuring the wares of interest groups are a staple at these things.
We start at the display of the Concerned Women for America, the group that strives to “bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.”
That may explain the pile of bumper stickers on the table reading, “Real Men Don’t Use Porn.”
Next door was the table of the Missouri Precinct Project where table-minders were handing out brochures with the group’s mission statement on the cover: “Restore Constitutional principles and conservatives values by engaging conservatives in grasss-roots politics.”
Nearby was the Show-Me Cannabis table with the slogan, “Legalize Freedom!” Although that slogan appeared to fit GOP values, the idea that this group of General Assembly Republicans will want to legalize pot seems pretty far-fetched.
No wonder nobody was at the table.
Across the aisle was the Fair Tax display emphasizing elimination of income taxes in favor of an emphasis on consumption, or sales, taxes. Bill “Full Time” Phelps was manning the table. He’s a former two-term Missouri lieutenant governor from back in the ‘70s who campaigned for his office on a platform of making the office full time.
He even gave up his law practice to assume the state’s second-banana post.
Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt had a table, and so did Ben Carson, the tea partier who’s getting ready to run for president.
The conservative Missouri Republican Assembly (the “heart and soul of the Republican Party”) occupied turf in the same neighborhood. Its table featured a painting of a smiling President Obama on a soapbox talking to a small crowd with members holding signs aloft with sayings such as “I Want My Country Back” and “Stop the Spending.”
Randy Asbury, a long-shot candidate for governor (slogan: “Making a Difference Together”) had a table. So did Bev Randles, a Kansas City-area candidate for lieutenant governor. A group called Heritage Action for America had a table and a big poster-sized sign listing Missouri members of Congress with scores that portrayed how conservative they are, at least based on the group’s thinking.
Springfield congressman Billy Long topped the list with a 70 score. Blunt was on the bottom at 52 percent.
A group spokesman said HAA wasn’t exactly thrilled with Blunt, who’s launching a re-election campaign.
A nearby table offered a chance to win a signed Billy Long cowboy hat with red, white and blue feathers. Other tables touted right-to-work laws and opposed Common Core educational standards. The Missouri Alliance for Freedom touted limited government and individual responsibility.
The Center for Marriage Policy was there and, of course, Missouri Right to Life.
The Freedom of Road Riders had a table. They push freedom for motorcyclists, which these days means opposing helmet laws.
An aside: My late mother was an emergency room nurse, and she said not wearing a helmet on a bike was one of the dumbest things she’d ever seen.
She knew what she was talking about: She spent many an hour caring for victims of motorcycle accidents and sometimes scraping off dead skin that had fallen victim to a fast ride down unforgiving pavement.
It hurt, mom used to say of those motorcycle victims. A lot.