A political consultant paid by State Senate Republicans has drafted a strategy for the opening session of the Legislature that is designed to get the jump on Governor Bob Holden. A copy of it has been e-mailed to the wrong place – the Missourinet newsroom. The strategy comes from a long time friend and political advisor to Senate Leader Peter Kinder, David Barklage. Barklage suggests Republicans set their priorities and push them through the Senate before Holden’s State of the State message on January 20th – even if it means meeting on at least one weekend and on the evening of Martin Luther King Day, the 19th. Barklage says the Senate could probably “get away with” meeting on that day. Barklage lays out the talking points for Republicans to use to criticize Governor Holden’s State of the State message, even though – of course – the Governor has not written it yet. He also says, “We need to use committee hearings as another press opportunity.” Kinder denies the strategy is intended to manipulate what the public gets from the news media. That’s despite Barklage’s suggestion that pressure be put on committee chairmen to have hearings that will generate positive publicity for the Republican package. The recommendations were intended to be secret but when we called him, he dismissed the plan as the overheated language of a consultant who probably is thinking too much and putting too much down on paper.