Wednesday, August 27, 2014

McCaskill, One Tough Cookie

by Pa Rock
Missouri Democrat

Claire McCaskill is Missouri's senior senator and a Democrat.    McCaskill is also one sharp cookie who should never be underestimated - just ask bumbling Todd Akin.  McCaskill, through deft political maneuvering helped to select Akin to be her challenger in her last race by making Republicans think that she feared him the most.  Then, when he got the GOP nomination, the religiously intolerant Aiken quickly imploded.

McCaskill, a former prosecutor (and high school cheerleader) would be every bit as tough in a national campaign as Mrs. Bill Clinton - and probably tougher.

Claire McCaskill has not been afraid to speak out on the tragedy and turmoil that has consumed Ferguson, Missouri - while her fellow senator and NRA puppet, Republican 'Ol Roy Blunt, has been deadly silent on Ferguson.   (Blunt expects to be running for re-election in two years against Missouri's popular democratic governor, Jay Nixon - and he seems to be hoping that Nixon's mandatory involvement in Ferguson will cost him dearly at the polls.  'Ol Roy knows that the smartest course of action on Ferguson is to just keep his mouth shut, thank you very much!)

McCaskill has been in the news today with her support of a proposed bill that would deny federal funding to police departments that won't employ body cameras.  The cameras, like those already on the dashboards of many police vehicles, would be invaluable in court as they showed judges and juries exactly what happened during the confrontation between the cop and the suspect.

Police departments like the one in Ferguson will be highly resistant to this type of intimate oversight.  Police in Ferguson, who like to work behind a smokescreen, have reportedly even quit wearing name tags.  McCaskill's bill would shine the bright light of public scrutiny right into an incident as it was unfolding.  It would be reality television taken to a whole new level.

All of that said, I am not a big fan of Claire McCaskill.  (I have only sought assistance from a Member of Congress one time in my entire life.  That was an email to her  followed up by a letter - neither one of which generated a coherent response.  The senator obviously needs to put more effort into screening the interns who read her emails and letters - and who write to constituents in her name.)  But while I wouldn't drive two miles into town to attend a McCaskill rally, I think that her bill encouraging the use of police body cameras is damn good legislation - something that will benefit us all, even the men and women wearing the cameras.

Police body cameras are something good that can come from Ferguson.  The other extremely positive outcome would be the elimination of programs that transfer military equipment to police.  If the National Guard is needed to quell a situation, by all means call them in - but we don't need the cops on the local beat thinking of themselves as storm troopers.  This is America, not Iraq.

Good luck with your bill, Claire.

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