McCaskill clearly the best choice for U.S. Senate
Missouri voters will decide Nov. 6 whether they wish to be represented in the U.S. Senate by incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill or six-term Congressman Todd Akin.
Sen. McCaskill is clearly the best choice.
McCaskill is well known to voters. She served in the Missouri House in the 1980s and was Jackson County prosecutor for five years in the 1990s. She was twice elected Missouri auditor before defeating U.S. Sen. Jim Talent when he ran for re-election in 2006.
She has proven herself to be a centrist in the U.S. Senate, with one of the most conservative legislative records of any Senate Democrat.
During the past six years, McCaskill has been a tireless opponent of waste and fraud. As chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, she has fought no-bid contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as domestically.
Carrying that fiscally responsible philosophy forward, McCaskill has co-sponsored bills with Republicans in the Senate to cap federal spending. She also has declined to seek earmarks, which has won her grudging and often silent respect from conservatives even as it has frustrated constituents seeking funds for vital projects.
She supported construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. She wants to end the Senate practice of secret holds that have halted presidential nominations to courts and agencies.
Her votes for the Affordable Care Act and for pro-choice issues have put her at odds with many Missourians and led opponents to label her as a liberal. A complete review of her voting record, however, proves her to be more of a moderate. She placed 50th among the 100 Senate members when ranked from conservative to liberal by the National Journal. GovTrack, an organization that tracks legislative activity, characterizes McCaskill as a Senate centrist, citing a voting record that is among the most conservative of Senate Democrats.
That record is more complete than for many of her colleagues. McCaskill missed only 44 of 1,788 roll-call votes in the Senate between January 2007 and September 2012 -- a 98 percent participation record.
Of particular importance to rural Missourians, and as an indication of the sharp differences between the two candidates, McCaskill has supported passage of several farm bills. Akin has never voted for a farm bill during 12 years in the U.S. House.
His opposition to the Farm Bill is beyond troubling, even when Akin justifies his position as a vote against the food stamp program. His lack of any significant understanding of farm programs was evident when he met with the Missouri Farm Bureau in August.
Akin also opposes the National School Lunch Program. "I think the federal government should be out of the education business," Akin told reporters at the Missouri State Fair during August.
Akin also does not believe the government should set a minimum wage or assure that men and women receive equal pay for doing the same work. It is a matter of freedom, Akin has said repeatedly. It also reflects his fear and mistrust of the U.S. government.
It is not surprising that GovTrack describes Akin as a far-right Republican, with one of the most conservative legislative records in the House. He has missed 431, or 5 percent, of 8,512 roll-call votes.
Akin's comments about victims of "legitimate rape" being able to avoid becoming pregnant were only the first of many comments that show him to be either uninformed or espousing views far outside the mainstream.
From a distance, Akin's conservative philosophy may seem to be a good fit for Missouri. Upon closer inspection, however, his views are revealed as far too extreme.
Akin's lack of accomplishments in Congress leaves him with no positive record upon which to run.
McCaskill has represented Missouri for six years, battling wasteful government spending and saving tax dollars. She has been a champion for military veterans. She is knowledgeable on national and international issues and has a keen grasp of policy detail.
Sen. Claire McCaskill is preferred over Todd Akin and endorsed for re-election.