Sunday, January 17, 2021

Deviation From Establishment "Standards and Norms" Threatens "National Security"

thepitchkc |   Flush with ambition and cash, a newcomer arrives like a bolt from the blue. Or, in Missouri’s case, red.

He jumps a line of aspirational politicians, lands in a statewide elected office and immediately sets his sights on a higher target, heedless of the wreck just up the road.

Missouri has seen this movie twice in four years. 

The original performance starred Eric Greitens, who was largely unknown before he began his improbable but successful 2016 run for governor, only to be forced out of office after two years, enveloped in scandal.

The sequel features Josh Hawley. His first elected office, also gained in 2016, was state attorney general — a job that traditionally has gone to politicians who have spent years in the trenches of the state legislature. Two years later, Hawley vaulted to the U.S. Senate. He is now facing nationwide wrath for prolonging baseless doubts about Democrat Joe Biden’s election, and for encouraging insurrectionists with a fist pump before they stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Outside of President Trump’s deep red base—whose votes and affections Greitens and Hawley both covet—the actions of the two wunderkinds have left many Missourians embarrassed and wondering how their state has become the cradle for ambition gone so wildly awry.

The explanation begins with the two men themselves, who both grew up in Missouri, went elsewhere and returned with the intention of using the state as a launching pad for their presidential ambitions. 

Greitens settled in the St. Louis area and founded a non-profit to help military veterans. Hawley landed a job as assistant professor at the University of Missouri School of Law in Columbia.

While Hawley was conscientious about teaching his classes and meeting with students, he showed no interest in the life of the university or the usual faculty activities, said Frank Bowman, a professor at the law school. 

“It became clear that personal advancement was the priority behind which everything else had to fall,” said Bowman.