Ol' Roy Blunt, Missouri's junior senator, is a man of many contradictions. He is an ardent supporter of America's men and women in uniform and military veterans, yet Roy actively avoided serving in Vietnam and, in fact, never got around to serving in the military at all. And while Ol' Roy likes to yammer on about Missouri values, he has a great affection for lobbyists and the campaign cash that they line up to slather on him.
I commented in this space a few weeks ago about Blunt's refusal to return an $11,000 donation to the PAC of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Hastert, a Washington, D.C. area lobbyist who understands how Congress really works, is also an acknowledged child molester - a fact that, when made public, should have caused honorable individuals to return cash gifted to them by Hastert - and, in fact, some did. Another option would have been for recipients of Hastert's sticky money to give it to a charity. But Ol' Roy wanted to keep his.
Roy Blunt has also been criticized in the past for slipping provisions into legislation that benefited companies represented by his lobbyist son, Andrew - companies which ponied up nice contributions to the senator.
In 2003 Ol' Roy Blunt divorced Roseann, his wife of thirty-six years and the mother of his four grown children. That same year he married Philip Morris (Altria) lobbyist Abigail Perlman, a younger woman described by some as Blunt's "trophy wife." He had been criticized while they were dating for slipping an amendment into a major bill that would have benefited Ms. Perlman's employer, a company which had provided Blunt with large campaign contributions.
So Ol' Roy likes lobbyists (to the point of even marrying one) and he likes their cash (to the point of refusing to part with it - even when it was provided by a pedophile). With that background, it shouldn't come as a surprise to many that when The Nation magazine yesterday released a list of the top twenty congressional recipients of cash from the National Rifle Association, Ol' Roy was at the very top of the list. Between 1998 and the present, Roy Blunt received more cash donations from the National Rifle Association than any other current member of Congress - a whopping $60,550! During those same years the National Rifle Association has doled out over $3.8 million in "donations" to members of Congress, money some wags might look upon as bribes.
(Those Missouri Values just keep piling up, don't they Roy?)
And, during those same years, mass killings in the United States have increased in scope and frequency to the point that American's have become numbed to the horror. Forty-nine dead people in a blood-drenched nightclub is just another day in America. Congress steadfastly refuses to pass any commonsense gun legislation for fear of offending their benefactors at the NRA - and the blood keeps flowing - even the blood of little children, like those gunned down in their classrooms in Newtown, Connecticut. Very few in Congress want to risk offending the National Rifle Association and its checkbook.
Full-scale automatic weapons like the AR-15 are not used for sport, thirty-round clips aren't necessary to hunt deer, guns do not belong in public places like schools, churches, stores, and bars, and certain groups of individuals like domestic abusers, felons, the mentally disabled, and people on terrorist watch lists, should be banned from buying or owning firearms - and gun owners, like car owners, should be insured and registered. Members of Congress could write laws to bring commonsense changes to our gun laws - if they were of a mind to - and if they were not so heavily beholden to the largess of National Rifle Association.
Elected officials who have NRA cash stuffed in their pockets have the blood of innocents on their hands - and like the blood that Lady Macbeth dealt with, it is a permanent stain and will not wash off.
I am ashamed for them.