Imagine if Steve Stenger had run an honest campaign for re-election as St. Louis County executive.
What would he have said? We’ll use Stenger’s own words — but certainly not the ones he trumpeted in his campaign literature. He always proclaimed that he was an “attorney and CPA,” but he’s neither anymore.
The campaign’s slogan could be this gem he offered to his executive staff Nov. 7 after his re-election, not realizing that federal agents were listening in: “How ‘bout that motherf– -ers? I don’t show up to the council meetings. I don’t do f—ing s—.”
Let’s post that lovely sentiment on a nice oversized sign at Bartolino’s.
Stenger made the novel argument in the runup to the August primary last year that he actually got more done with a hostile County Council.
But apparently not, because one of the reasons the idea of the city-county merger appealed to him is that the County Council would no longer exist to get in his way.
“Who wants to do another term with these people? I’d rather wipe them out,” Stenger said in secret.
Anyone who paid much attention to Stenger during his 2018 campaign heard him say that St. Louis County had never been more prosperous or more successful. It was an inspiring message that won him a hard-fought victory against Mark Mantovani.
But instead of that outwardly positive message about St. Louis County, how about his true feelings?
“The world’s a f—ed up place.”
The bleak outlook of that diatribe foreshadowed what Stenger wanted for St. Louis County: At the same time that he said it had never been better situated or better perched for success, he was secretly rooting for its demise through the Better Together city-county merger, which would anoint him king/“metro mayor.”
Although those plans have been abandoned largely on the back of Stenger’s corruption, check out this winning argument for it: “I’m in the amendment. People are going to have me whether they like me or not….”
And how about this for an honest inauguration speech?
“And in my second term I really don’t want to do anything, I just don’t… I don’t know if I want to do another four years,” Stenger told his staff Oct. 9.
Voters gave him another four years, whether he wanted it or not. And ironically, Stenger may get four years in prison when he’s sentenced this week.
Whether he wants it or not.