“If you want to pick somebody to work in a bipartisan manner and get something done … you ask Claire McCaskill because she does get the job done,” Kansas Sen. Roberts said at an August 2017 event in Kansas City.

At the time, Roberts and Sen. McCaskill were working on the not terribly partisan issue of protecting the nation’s food supply. McCaskill has used that quote in one of her TV ads to show her alleged moderation.

Sen. McCaskill, hard pressed to sell “moderate” smoke

Roberts is not pleased. He has demanded that she pull the quote, a demand with which she has failed to comply. Roberts told the Kansas City Star, “Claire has always been fairly partisan, to say the least. Working with her on specific projects involving Kansas and Missouri, that’s a different matter. But on the big bills and the direction we’d like to go, she’s been following the party line.”

Roberts is quoted in a surprisingly fair article by the Kansas City Star’s Jason Hancock. Even its headline suggests a certain balance: “Is Claire McCaskill as moderate as she says she is? Depends who you ask.”

Former Missouri GOP chairman John Hancock offers one answer to that question: “She’s a ‘moderate’ when her vote doesn’t matter. In all other situations, she is a doctrinaire liberal.”

The most revealing of those situations of late involves the appointment of justices to the Supreme Court. As the Star concedes, McCaskill voted for Obama picks Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor and voted against Trump picks Neil Gorsuch and, most spectacularly, Brett Kavanaugh. Three Democrats voted for Gorsuch, one for Kavanaugh.

For the record, McCaskill has voted with her party 83 percent of the time. Only nine senators have voted less predictably with their party. For most of these senators, perhaps all, this is less a tribute to their “moderation” than their need to deceive enough uninformed voters to win an election.

“Claire McCaskill can try to hide her record, but voters know the truth: She’s nothing but a party-line liberal,” Chris Nuelle, spokesperson for the Missouri Republican Party, told the Star.

“Claire McCaskill is a Democrat,” said Alison Dreith, executive director of NARAL Pro Choice Missouri. “But she’s certainly not the progressive or liberal Josh Hawley has tried to paint her as.”

NARAL supports McCaskill. Given that support, it really doesn’t matter whether McCaskill works with Republicans on lowering prescription drug prices.

 

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