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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

McCaskill Quits Campaigning, but What Does That Change?

This morning, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill announced her intention to cancel all remaining campaign stops so that she could spend time with her mother, who is critically ill. Just six months ago I lost my grandmother, and I know how difficult the illness and potential loss of someone so close can be. My heart and prayers go out to her entire family, as this would certainly be a stressful time for all of them even if Claire's campaign for reelection was not a part of the equation.

That said, it is difficult to take any statement from the McCaskill campaign without a rather large helping of salt.

Her decision to remove herself from active campaigning happened with suspicious proximity to two things.

First, a story broken by the Daily Caller and Dana Loesch revealed that the Senator was aware of an investigation into her husband's business practices at least six months ago. Those "business practices" included him allegedly closing deals in the Senate dining room (ostensibly with his wife's full knowledge) for special awards of stimulus money for businesses he controlled. It was also revealed that when several outlets got ahold of the story, the McCaskill campaign reached out to them and persuaded them (though no one was clear how) them to bury it.

And second, when asked how she intended to finish out her Senate Campaign, she claimed that her strategy for the final two weeks was simply to "keep Todd Akin talking," as what he says "continues to offend women, anyone with a sense of decency."

The obvious convenience in the timing is difficult to overlook, regardless of her mother's condition. While again I pray for the family and especially for the ailing Betty Ann McCaskill, I cannot allow the sadness of the situation or compassion for the family obscure the truth of the situation:

Senator Claire McCaskill was likely well aware of it if her husband was in fact making backroom deals for taxpayer money. She certainly knew that the story was about to surface six months ago and her campaign was instrumental in having it scuttled. When the story broke two days ago about the sexual harassment lawsuit pending against one of her husband's companies, she had the opportunity to release a statement. Instead, she remained silent and waited until the Missouri media outlets (predictably) ran cover for her.

The end result of all of this is that no one but an insensitive jackass would press her with difficult questions while she deals with such a stressful time in her personal life. Like magic, the press (any outlets that weren't already coddling her) gives the Senator and her suffering family a pass. Suddenly she is no longer expected to explain her utter betrayal of the Missouri voters. The best part is, despite her resolution to stop campaigning to be with her mother, it won't compromise her campaign strategy: to keep Congressman Akin talking. Much like the surge she enjoyed after the "legitimate rape" comments, Senator McCaskill only has to sit back, say nothing, and hope that Congressman Akin will say something else that the waiting public finds offensive (or something the media tells the public to find offensive). And this time she gets to ride the bump of sympathy for her personal struggles as well..

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