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Corley: Where are the Conservatives in Missouri? Not on the ballot, that’s for sure.

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Snake oil

I’m a pro-choice Republican woman. Spiritually, everyone has the right to believe what they want about when a cell becomes sentient. Politically, however, a woman has sovereignty over her body.

But I’m not writing as a pro-choice advocate. I’m writing as a Republican who can no longer recognize her party.

We were really sold the States’ Rights Snake Oil, were’t we? Send the abortion issue back to the voters where it belongs, they cried. So I was shocked when I saw Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Gov. Mike Parson celebrating the near-total abortion ban they signed in Missouri mere minutes after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Where’s the debate, the discussion we were promised? Was this the plan all along, to sneak in a law that means a 14-year-old has to carry a baby to term and treatment for a miscarriage may require legal counsel and then go on a press tour? So much for giving power back to the people.

And what about weighing the economic consequences of rules and regulations like smart conservatives used to do?

Ivanka Trump said at the 2016 convention that “gender is no longer the factor creating the greatest wage discrepancy in this country — motherhood is.” It’s true. Lack of access to childcare options, outrageously high maternal health medical bills and zero guarantee of paid family leave all but make motherhood a debt sentence.

Millions of women have already left the workforce during the pandemic due to inadequate access to childcare. Millions more — many of them young women and teenagers impregnated because of rape — are now stripped of the right to make a personal choice about the most consequential economic decision of their lives: the decision to have a child.

Systematically sidelining women from the workforce and the economy is bad for Missouri and bad for America. With inflation raging and 401-Ks dwindling, it makes no rational sense to hold back the economy by keeping women out of it and the Republicans — the party that could once be counted on for championing policies to harness not hinder economic growth — are to blame.

And then there’s Sen. Josh Hawley. He certainly showed he only represents a certain select class. In a post-Roe interview, he predicted that folks will relocate based on access to reproductive rights, which he claims will give the GOP an advantage in the Electoral College.

If you’re a Democrat in Missouri, you’ve probably already packed your bags. In what world is it good for a state’s economy when people move away? Wouldn’t you think a statewide office holder would do everything in his power to attract industry, jobs and talent, regardless of political ideology? We’re witnessing an egregious political power grab at the expense of the people Hawley represents. Apparently, we’re simply political pawns he can move around to make it easier for him to waltz into the White House.

They just don’t get it.

It’s the secret agendas, the personal ambition-above-all-else, voters only getting half the story that has eroded public trust in government. The policy positions that divide us pale in comparison to voters’ unity in the belief that politicians are in it for themselves and nowhere was that more on display than in Missouri post-Roe.

I believe most Missourians want what Republicans used to offer: leaders who lead with passion but also with empathy and integrity toward a platform that empowers small government and individual freedom. Unfortunately, the party has squandered an opportunity for true leadership by flaming political divides with blow torches and weapons. They have insulted us by assuming we’ll succumb to emotional appeal rather than treating us as equals who want, need and deserve to know their actual plans to get America back on track.

I am far more Republican than I am Democrat, but unfortunately in the Missouri primary, I couldn’t spot a true conservative on the ballot if I tried.

Jamie Corley is a former Republican press secretary in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. She currently resides in University City.

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