By Don C. Reed

By the time you read this, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill may have made the second-most important decision of her career: whether or not to support  Judge Brett Kavanaugh to a  lifetime position on the Supreme Court.

Second-most important decision?  We’ll get to that in a moment. But first, a question:

Why is Senator McCaskill considered the “most endangered Democrat” in America today?

President Trump, who has  visited Missouri five times to fundraise against her.

McCaskill’s opponent, Josh Hawley, has hired Trump’s former Deputy Committee Chair Katie Walsh, whose fundraising skills were “considered responsible for Trump’s presidential victory, an unprecedented $175 million effort to///motivate voters in swing states.”

–St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chuck Raasch, Nov. 14, 2016

The Super PAC Senate Leadership Fund has “plans to spend $24.5 million”  to defeat the woman whom many call “our Claire”.  Club for Growth, the Koch Brothers’ super PAC,  has set aside an additional $10 million for that purpose.

The Russians reportedly attempted  to hack into her computer system.

–“…First documented case of Russian hacking in the 2018 election”, Zach Beauchamp, Vox, July 26, 2018

She has even been attacked by “friendly fire”, from a wing of her own party!

Why all the fuss? Republicans want her vote  for the conservative  Kavanaugh, after which they want her gone. Liberal Democrats want McCaskill to come out fierce and immediate against the conservative Kavanaugh—even if it costs her job.

How will Claire vote?  I don’t know. But I do know how she will decide.

She will listen to all sides, brood about it for a while, and then make up her mind.

As Davy Crockett once  said, “Be sure you’re right—then go ahead.”

That’s Claire.

I have seen her in a battle once before, in 2006, when her state was deciding on a citizen’s initiative:  Amendment 2, new guidelines on stem cell research, to be entered into the Missouri Constitution.

Right to life groups mistakenly defined the potentially life-saving research as “killing babies”—even though there are no babies involved. As the name implies, embryonic stem cell research is microscopic cells, dots in a dish of salt water: living tissue, yes, like a blood sample: but not a life.

I know embryonic stem cell research works, because I know people who have benefited from it: newly-paralyzed individuals who were injected with precursors (the stage between embryonic stem cells and the final cell you wanted, in this case oligodendrocytes) to re-insulate damaged nerves—and restore function to arms and hands which  had been limp and useless  before.

Politically, it would have been safer for Claire to oppose Amendment 2.

But she brooded on the matter, listened to both sides—and came out strong in support of  stem cell research.

As the father of a paralyzed young man, Roman Reed, that meant a lot to me.

She will do the same with the Cavanaugh decision. Already, she has made both  positive comments on his qualifications, as well as noting  “critical issues” on which she will base her decision.

Not an easy choice.

If she votes “no”, her intensely conservative state may vote her out. If she votes “yes” her base may not turn out in sufficient numbers.

But to lose Claire?  That  would cost our country a person who fights for workers’ rights against the giant corporations.

It would lessen our chances to have decent medical care for all, with no disqualifications for people with pre-existing conditions.

And her opponent, Josh Hawley?

He follows Trumps’ lead in trying to remove Missourians from eligibility for Affordable Care—a huge blow to middle-class Missourians. He is even part of a lawsuit to declare Obamacare unconstitutional. He also opposes embryonic stem cell research.

An upcoming Hawley/Trump fundraiser costs $25,000 per couple to attend…

Oddly, Mr. Hawley criticizes McCaskill for being “wealthy” because her husband is successful in business—but flatters  billionaire Trump, born so rich his father once casually loaned him $14 million dollars.

Senator  Claire sewed her own clothes growing up, worked as a waitress to put herself through college.  She knows what it is to worry about meeting the bills—which may be why she fights so hard for an increased minimum wage—about which Hawley is “not so sure it is a good idea…”

When President Trump called upon Hawley to speak at a recent fundraiser,  Hawley had nothing to say except to fawn on the President, praising him effusively, after which Trump patted him on the back, said he had done a good job.

Claire McCaskill:  an independent mind, in an independent  state: which may be why she has been called “a true daughter of Missouri”.

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