Friday, August 12, 2011

Weak Link In Missouri

Don't be disappointed in Democrat Claire McCaskill. As in that loathsome saying, she is what she is. And that's really bad.

It shouldn't have been surprising that the freshman Senator, on a tour Monday of three companies in Missouri, stated that a jobs bill is unlikely because

I think it's very doubtful we will do anything that spends money, but there's other things we can do. We can look at patent reform, we can look at trade agreements as long as they're fair and don't hurt American middle-class workers even more than they've already been hurt. We can look at regulations -- what regulations are absolutely necessary and what regulations are getting in the way of businesses.

So that's the problem with the economy! Corporations are making near-record profits but are suffering because of regulations and lack of trade agreements. McCaskill, unsurprisingly, did not identify any specific regulations, nor did she explain how the nation's economy ever survived before job-killing trade agreements became de rigeur 20-25 years ago (probably with a thriving middle class, now shrinking).

Cool to the idea of an aggressive effort to reduce the 9.1% unemployment rate, McCaskill must be in favor of increasing the federal guarantee of unemployment compensation from 99 weeks (26 weeks of state benefits- 20 in Missouri- followed by 73 weeks of federal benefits) to the proposed 113 weeks. Nonetheless, McCaskill, facing a re-election challenge in 2012, asserted"I'm not for extending the unemployment benefits any further."

But little ever should have been expected from the former State Auditor. Well before the state's 2012 presidential primary- won narrowly on Super Tuesday by Barack Obama- McCaskill endorsed the Illinois Senator for the Democratic nomination. That was unexceptional and reasonable, though with the course of the Obama presidency and the country, it now ought to make her a little embarrassed.

No, the endorsement was understandable- but the thought process was, well, idiotic. In an article lauding the influence of youth in politics, Time soon after the endorsement explained

The Senator's daughter Maddie Esposito had seen the way her mother teared up whenever she heard Obama speak. And now it was happening again as mother and daughter sat side by side on the family-room sofa in a suburb of St. Louis, watching the results of the Iowa caucuses on TV. "You know you believe in him," Maddie admonished her damp-eyed mother. "It's time to step up." The next morning, Maddie, a college freshman home for the holidays, added a threat: "You have to do it, or I'm never talking to you again."

McCaskill endorsed Obama- a big boost in an important Super Tuesday primary state.

It's hard to determine which is a worse reason for a U.S. Senator to endorse an indiviudal for President of the United States of America- because her daughter told her to do so or because she cried upon hearing his speeches. The nation already was in recession and involved in two wars- and Claire McCaskill, probably the leading figure in her state party whose primary would prove pivotal in the nominating process- allowed her 18-year-old to tell her what to do (what, there was no coin to flip?).

This is where the sarcastic would suggest that there was no better reason to endorse Barack Obama. But there really was, especially for someone who had worked with him in the Senate, as had the Missourian. Claire McCaskill, fortunately, does contribute something besides (usually) a Democratic vote in the Senate. When we search for explanations- and there are a few, including the rightward lurch of the GOP- for the dysfunction of the U.S. Congress, one may be found in the likes of Missouri's junior U.S. Senator.

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