"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Sen. McCaskill: Moderate?

May 6th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

Freshman Senator Claire McCaskill is taking a different operating tack in the Senate than her predecessor Jim Talent. Talent, elected with a shortened four year term, decided to use his skills as a policy wonk and consensus builder to forge his way through the “world’s most deliberative body.” As campaign commercials pointed out last fall, Sen. Talent did sponsor important bi-partisan legislation with liberals like Sen. Wyden of Oregon and Sen. Feinstein of California. Unfortunately for him, the voting public only learned of his work at the end of the campaign. With a shortened term, Talent needed to prove that he deserved his seat for a full term in “06 by making his case before the public on as many visual outlets as possible during his four years in office.

Like other “moderate” Democrats elected in the Senate in “06, McCaskill understands that if her votes and views start mirroring Moveon.org and the Hollywood left, her Senate career will be a short one like her predecessor. During her nearly six months in office, McCaskill has appeared on C-Span’s Washington Journal, a couple of the Sunday morning talk shows, and yes, the dreaded Fox News Channel. She is now gaining new attention – and irking fellow Democrats – by co-sponsoring a Republican measure for new disclosure rules on earmarks. Below is an excerpt from the McClatchy Newspapers story.

The Commerce Committee was hearing about the future of satellite radio when an aide handed McCaskill a note. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina wanted the Senate to pass tighter disclosure rules on congressional earmarks. Would she agree to co-sponsor the move?

DeMint is a conservative Republican. McCaskill is a moderate Democrat and a former Missouri state auditor who brought her green eyeshade with her to Washington.

His invitation was tempting. Lawmakers can earmark money for pet spending projects into legislation without any review, often anonymously. The auditor in her recoiled at their potential for wasteful spending.

Though both parties are equal offenders, earmarks were part of the “culture of corruption” that Democrats cited when hammering Republicans last fall.

McCaskill read the note, looked at her aide and saw “a flashing red light.” The aide’s expression, she recalled, was a warning: “You’re going into uncharted waters here in terms of being out there by yourself.” Read more…

Closer examination of Sen. McCaskill’s voting record hardly demonstrates moderation. From the Missouri Pulse:

Twenty-four weeks after being elected with the promise that she would be an independent vote for Missouri, Sen. McCaskill continues to vote with some of the most liberal members of her party—Boxer, Durbin, Kennedy, Kerry, and Clinton—more than 90% of the time.

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