Readers may be pondering whether Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign had to fork over cash for a Washington Post story entitled, “Claire McCaskill’s balancing act: How to be a moderate in immoderate times.”
Calling McCaskill a “moderate” surely helps her campaign. One of the Senate’s most endangered Senators, McCaskill faces an uphill climb in her 2018 re-election bid. President Trump won the Show-Me-State by 19 points in 2016, and McCaskill likely will require the perception that she’s “moderate” in order to win over some of those voters.
She snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in 2012, thanks to a Republican nominee, Todd Akin, who never recovered from explosive comments about “legitimate rape” leading up to the election. McCaskill later admitted helping Akin win the Republican primary, believing he would easy to beat. She was right. She won by 16 points in 2012.
Gregg Keller, a GOP strategist, told Roll Call, a publication that covers Congress, the McCaskill will need three things to occur in order to return to the Senate in 2019: “a nasty GOP primary, a candidate like Akin who makes unforced errors, and a sharp drop in Trump’s approval ratings in Missouri.” According to Gallup, Trump’s Missouri approval rating hovers near 50 percent.
McCaskill is a Democratic official in a deep red state, so her campaign was likely thrilled with the (free) advertising from the Post.
The news story says she is “the most endangered Democrat in the Senate…who, she’ll have you know, has been ranked as the least ideologically pure.” The paper also regurgitates McCaskill’s campaign materials.
“My job is not to fight the president. My job is to fight for Missourians,” she says and the Post reports from a town hall in Warrensburg.
The lengthy tome waxes nostalgic about McCaskill’s mother, who while dying inquired whether the Senator was visiting Missouri often enough. (If your mother was dying, wouldn’t she have a good handle on how often you’d swung through the state? The Post doesn’t ask.) The story describes how McCaskill’s father taught her to drive on the rural roads between town hall meetings, and her tough stance on crime as a former Missouri prosecutor.
“McCaskill knows the importance of finding balance on terrain that’s liable to shift, and shift again,” the news item reads. “…”Her job was to fight for Missourians, but she reserved the right to criticize the president whenever she saw fit. She also reserved the right not to. And so, she didn’t.”
If it reads like a campaign ad in the nation’s premier paper dressed up as news, that’s because it is.