Political Potpourri Year In Review: Dreams in Digital
A look back at some memorable Web videos from the world of Missouri politics.
It’s hard to believe, but 2011 is only a few short hours away from ending, and the natural human inclination is to engage in retrospection.
As is the case at the end of December, it’s hard to pick a particular issue or event that defined an entire year. In particular, 2011 featured fierce fights over redistricting, a devastating tornado in Joplin, delicate political maneuvering and a large dose of presidential politics heading into 2012. And even though 2011 was a nonelection year for most folks, there were still some notable contests that caught some interest.
While the written word is a tremendous way to capture these moments, the Internet produced alternatives to informing the populace. Since 2007, I’ve been using the magical medium of video to capture some serious and not-so-serious moments in the world of Missouri politics.
So without further delay, here are some videos I feel deserve special designations. Some showcase politicians facing sharp questions about their policy decisions and outlooks. Others are strange moments that lighten up otherwise dour situations. And then there are ones that simply take on a life of their own.
Just hours after finishing his service in the U.S. Senate, Republican Kit Bond joined Thompson Coburn. Right before a press conference began announcing Bond's addition to St. Louis law firm, serene music started playing over the loudspeakers. It was a moment, as you can see, that perplexed even the well-traveled lawmaker.
Gov. Jay Nixon typically makes St. Louis a regular stop when he travels the state. And often, he uses a local business or institution as a backdrop for an announcement. In early March, for instance, Nixon came to Volpi Foods on The Hill to make announcement about the state’s exports. And while he answered some questions about the minimum wage and constructing a new nuclear power plant, his quick tour around the south St. Louis city eatery was pretty memorable.
It may seem like ancient history, but the Missouri General Assembly spent quite a bit of time in the spring wrangling over a voter-approved initiative slapping restrictions on dog breeding. It was an issue that split the legislature by region—as opposed to political party. Sen. John Lamping (R-Ladue), was one of the few Republicans who voted against changes. Ultimately, Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation enacting significant alterations to the intiative.
Even though a bunch of Huskies ran away with the 2011 NCAA Tournament, politicos closer to home became entangled with Fired Up! Missouri’s Tiger Blood Tournament. Instead of shooting baskets, the tournament encouraged people to vote (multiple times) in a series of online polls. This writer managed to defeat St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial writer Tony Messenger using a derisive social media campaign. After that task was accomplished, I stopped trying.
A mid-Missouri television reporter was interviewing House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City). Right after he finished his question, Silvey pointed out that a passerby had knocked over the reporter’s camera. Oops.
There was actually some competition for this category, as a back-and-forth between Missourinet’s Bob Priddy and a group of filibustering senators got pretty heated. But it was perhaps bested by the above exchange between Columbia Daily Tribune reporter Rudi Keller and Nixon on the Mamtek controversy.
In nearly four years of making Web videos, rarely have I seen one gather as much traction as the above clip. It features House Speaker Steve Tilley, (R-Perryville), making comments on a plan to blow up a levee in southeast Missouri.The comments brought about widespread condemnation and prompted Tilley to apologize for his remarks. As of Wednesday night, the video has 34,673 views, which makes it the second highest-viewed video I've shot.