For many Missourians, choosing a candidate for U.S. Senate was likely to be among the most difficult decisions of the Nov. 6 election.
Then, along came Todd Akin — making what might have been a tough call into one of the easiest on Election Day.
The News-Leader Editorial Board strongly urges a vote for the re-election of Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, not just because her Republican opponent has disqualified himself, but because she is a tough, no-nonsense moderate whose views best reflect the independent reputation of her home state.
- She is a tireless advocate for Missouri’s veterans, fighting for education and health care benefits, plus using her subcommittee chairmanship to lead the investigation into mismanagement of burial plots and records at Arlington National Cemetery.
- She broke with most members of her own party on energy policy, opposing “cap and trade” legislation and advocating expanded use of domestic energy resources, as well as backing the Keystone pipeline project.
- She has consistently worked to control government spending, leading the effort to ban earmarks and never requesting an earmark in six years as a senator. She is working with leading Republican senators on a proposal to cap federal spending at a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product.
Time and again, McCaskill has demonstrated an ability to work across the aisle. She has a good relationship with Missouri’s junior U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Springfield Republican. And, as her campaign ad famously points out, she’s right in the middle of 100 senators, sitting at No. 50 in the ideology ranking of the National Journal.
McCaskill has drawn the ire of many in southwest Missouri for her votes in support of two critical pieces of legislation during the first term of President Barack Obama — the 2009 economic stimulus package and the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Characteristically, McCaskill defends both votes. She told the Editorial Board that people have been “misinformed” about the health care bill, and ran through a litany of key benefits. Meanwhile, she said the nearly $800 billion stimulus bill “stopped the bleeding” in the economy and was roughly divided into one-third tax cuts, one-third in direct spending on infrastructure and one-third for “a lifeline” to state governments, including critical aid for K-12 education.
McCaskill was born in Rolla and received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Missouri. She served in the Missouri House, was elected Jackson County prosecutor and then became state auditor. After narrowly losing a 2004 bid for governor, she unseated an incumbent to win her Senate seat in 2006.
While McCaskill has been a role model and advocate for women’s rights, Congressman Akin would be a throwback to attitudes that prevailed decades ago. And it’s not just for his ignorant remarks on women being able to avoid pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.” The Republican candidate’s views on a host of other issues — Social Security, student loans, school lunches and even the Federal Reserve — put him well outside the mainstream.
For the good of Missouri, the choice is clear: Re-elect Claire McCaskill to the U.S. Senate.