It was August 7, 2012, and I was standing in my hotel room in Kansas City about to shotgun a beer for the first time in my life. I had just made the biggest gamble of my political career—a $1.7 million gamble—and it had paid off. Running for reelection to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from Missouri, I had successfully manipulated the Republican primary so that in the general election I would face the candidate I was most likely to beat. And this is how I had promised my daughters we would celebrate.
If you ever wanted a demonstration of the philosophical differences on governing and federalism between Missouri's two U.S. senators, it came last week after Attorney General Eric Holder announced he had ordered a broader probe of the practices of the Ferguson Police Department beyond its separate investigation of the shooting death of Michael Brown. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., have each welcomed, to a degree, the Justice Department's involvement after the death of Brown, 18, who was shot Aug. 9 by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. But while McCaskill views federal intervention as essential to a positive outcome, Blunt has been cautionary in his rhetoric about Holder's involvement. It is a subtle, yet telling, difference.
A month after protesters and heavily armed police first began to clash in Ferguson, Mo., the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing Tuesday morning on the use of military equipment by police departments, and the federal programs that make it possible. From any ideological angle, the trend — led by the now-infamous Department of Defense 1033 Program — has become problematic. To Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.), police militarization is a grave matter of government overreach. To Claire McCaskill (D.-Mo.), it's a worrisome sign that peaceful protesters can now quickly become "enemy combatants."
Special interest groups have been attacking McCaskill for her policies that help the middle class more than the special interest groups. McCaskill has released her first ad defending her policies. McCaskill is gearing up the 2012 election.