Actions Speak Louder than Words: Josh Hawley’s Political Climb

Actions Speak Louder than Words: Josh Hawley’s Political Climb

In 2016, then-candidate for Missouri attorney general, Josh Hawley told St. Louis Public Radio that “Missourians deserve an attorney general who wants to be attorney general. And this isn’t just the next thing to run for.”

His words connected well with Missourians, considering that he would later win the general election. In the statement we can see how Hawley really was trying to beef up his “outsider” appearance, as he was merely a University of Missouri law professor at the time. But the “outsider” persona which Hawley used for his campaign wasn’t just something he occasionally spoke about in interviews.

No, he fully embraced it with all aspects and made it the center of his bid for attorney general. Hawley’s campaign produced an entire television ad centered around how he wasn’t just another “ladder climbing politician,” complete with him walking through a maze of ladders in the commercial. Since he had no political background at that time, Hawley’s claim couldn’t be disputed.

But here we are two years later and Hawley has somehow found himself again on our state election ballot. That’s strange, you might think. And it would be normal for you to think that, since you speak English and have read the paragraph abovesomeone in the back just yelled “hypocrite!”

How could Josh Hawley be running for the U.S. Senate in 2018 when he’s only halfway through his term as attorney general? That’s a really sensible question, since the answer seems to directly contradict what he told Missourians in 2016.

When looking at Hawley’s campaign website, we are not offered any insight into why he’s running for Senate, just some pretty beige headings about being a “Constitutional Conservative” and how he plans on “Taking on the Big & Powerful.” Similar stances can be found on the websites of Mike Braun and Leah Vukmir (Republican Senate Candidates in Indiana and Wisconsin, respectively). Other than pretty much copying what the rest of the national Republicans are saying, Hawley has given us no statement, no personal calling or real reason for his Senatorial bid. But, after watching Hawley’s original Senate bid announcement video from last year, we learn that the reason he’s running for Senate has something to do with his concern about “the future of our country.” It’s a pretty bland statement, coming from a pretty run-of-the-mill Republican.

Or so we would think. Opposed to Republican Senators like South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham or even Missouri’s own Roy Blunt, who are generally thought of as hard workers, Hawley is regarded by both sides of the aisle as lazy. According to Politico, for instance, Hawley was photographed last fall at a gym in Columbia, Missouri in the middle of the day during the work week. Some have defended him, but the gym was half an hour away from his attorney general office in Jefferson City, Missouri. Keep in mind this was a Wednesday afternoon when he should have been attorney general-ing.

And this isn’t the first time he’s been accused of laziness. During an interview Hawley held in Columbia, Missouri this past spring, he bragged to reporters about how he had held 10 campaign events over the course of six weeks, all while keeping up with his attorney general duties. He claimed that his motivation came from the fact that beating Democrat Claire McCaskill in the general election would not be an easy task. But compared to McCaskill’s schedule, Hawley’s “uphill battle” looks like a cakewalk.

McCaskill, around the same time, responded in tweet: “This week @HawleyMO was interviewed and said he’d done 10 events in 6 weeks. I did 5 yesterday, will do 3 today and 5 tomorrow. 13 in 3 days. Just sayin… #HardWorkMattersinMo”. McCaskill also held over 50 town halls across Missouri since the beginning of 2017all of this on top of her duties in Washington. She even came to my conservative hometown of California, Missouri.

McCaskill has come under fire recently for catering to the rural vote, and while that has distanced some progressives in the Democratic Party, she’s still the one that liberals need to rely on in this election. Hawley seems to have complicated relationships with his personal beliefs. In August when Prop A, or “Right to Work,” was on the primary ballot, Hawley restrained himself from speaking on the issue, as a large majority of Missouri was against the ballot measure. Hawley wanted it to pass, just as his Republican colleagues around the state had wanted. Reporters around the time kept asking for his opinion, but he kept dodging the questions, not wanting to upset the large population of Missouri that voted no on Prop A (specifically 67.5%, a lot of that vote coming from rural Missouri).

And of course there’s also the issue of his belief that the sexual liberation of the 1960s and ’70s has somehow led to the rise of human trafficking. While human-trafficking experts have come out saying that Hawley’s claims are completely false, it’s just another example of how Hawley tries to pander to rural populations.

It goes to show that while he claims to be an outsider, someone who’s “just like us,” he can’t hide the fact that he’s really trying to please the Republicans higher up the ladder. He can’t hide the fact that his actions speak louder than his words.