Sunday, March 2, 2008

Donnelly: will she break rank for special needs children?

Gone Mild has an unusually tough attack on Margaret Donnelly. Most of the reports I’ve seen have given her a downy dusting of approval, but it could just be the residual effect of constantly standing so close to Jeff Harris.

“When asked how she intends to appeal to outstate voters, Donnelly had no real answer. She claimed that her legislative record regarding Medicaid would somehow help her win voters, but was unable to articulate why she thought that would be a major issue for the Attorney General's race, against a candidate who will undoubtedly be smart enough to voice support for health care.

Margaret Donnelly seems like a fantastically dedicated and fine Democrat. She is not, however, a particularly good candidate for Attorney General. She has no relevant experience, and she does not project the toughness and solidity Missourians want to see in their chief law enforcement officer. She seems to think that Clayton is mid-Missouri.”

In my playbook, she hasn’t made a distinctive play at all. She seems quite nice, but unwilling to rock the boat in any way. She hides in Jeff Harris’ shadow without making any distinctive statement, and it looks like her motto is “what would the democrats do?” That kind of single-mindedness is not a good quality for an attorney general, and I’d like to see her break out of that shell.

She’s been echoing Harris’ attack on Chris Koster and towing the line on school choice, but in this cycle, that position would have her voting against a tuition tax credit bill in the House, 1886, that would provide much-needed assistance to families with developmentally disabled children. While this mirrors Harris to a T, it seem like something she could have made a statement by voting for it and distinguishing herself as the candidate who puts kids first.

She may be historically the first woman to run for Attorney General, but she’s not bringing anything new to the table that appeals to me.

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