My ardor toward Missouri's senior senator, Claire McCaskill, is beginning to cool. Ms. McCaskill, who served several terms as Missouri's state auditor and even defeated a sitting governor of the state in a Democratic primary (though later losing to Roy Blunt's curious son in the general election), was elected to represent Missouri in the United States Senate in 2006. She is currently in a dog fight to win re-eleection to her senate seat.
While only having run for one civic office (a city council seat where I tied my incumbent opponent and won the office with a coin toss), I do have a lifelong interest in politics and am not unfamiliar with how Missourians think and vote. In fact, for a couple of years in the early 1980's I served as the Democratic Party Chairman in McDonald County, Missouri. I have helped to plan Democratic activities, hosted candidates in my home, knocked on doors, handed out flyers, and donated to a host of poliitcal beggars. In fact, I have sent money to Claire in the past.
When I give money or other support, I do so with no strings attached. Unlike the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson, when I donate my few dollars I do so without an expectation of any quid pro quo - I am simply trying to help good people get elected.
Only one time in my sixty-four years have I tried to contact a member of Congress seeking assistance in navigating the federal bureaucracy, and that was a request to Senator McCaskill's office to assist me in dealing with the Treasury Department over its colossal boondoggle in trying to sell savings bonds electronically. I felt like I had identified a major consumer issue that was costing the government money. McCaskill's people sent an irrelevant response to my email communication - and ignored my letter altogether. It's not how I would run a public office, but, hey, I'm just a small-time donor living out on the world's elbow.
That was a disappointing experience that put me in my place quite nicely. But I could live with it because keeping McCaskill in the Senate is important if for no other reason that it would deny the seat to a Republican troglodyte like Sarah Steelman or Todd Akin.
But McCasskill has been busy over the past few years trying to distance herself from the left edge of the Democratic Party. She likes to fashion herself as a "centerist" or a "blue dog." She seems to feel that moderation will win her enough support from the few dozen moderates who inhabit Missouri's Republican Party to provide her with one more victory. It won't work, of course. Those people wouldn't support her if she had an endorsement from Sam Brownback or his favorite cousin, Jesus Christ.
This week Claire McCaskill pushed all of her "blue dog" chips onto the table when she announced that she would not go to the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, NC, this summer. McCaskill said that she would be too busy campaigning. "Too busy campaigning" is code for keeping her distance from President Obama. That is sad and it is shameful. Obama needs to win Missouri - and McCaskill needs to stand up for real Democratic values and our President.
I will return from overseas in a couple of weeks, and at that time I will be able to choose between keeping my voter registration in Missouri where I could grudgingly help Claire with my single vote - or transferring it to my new state of residence, Arizona, where I could vote against Joe Arpaio and work more effectively against the onslaught of racist laws and policies that are eating the state like cancer. Sadly, it's not a hard decision to make.