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I’ve been taken aback by some of the harsh rhetoric in comments aimed at State Senator Chris Koster, with the epithets “Flopster” and “not a real Democrat” being the most commonly applied. The first thing I think when I read these comments is, “Are these people out of their freakin’ minds?”

Anytime you pick up a seat by a member of the opposing party switching sides, that’s good news. It means you have one more vote in the legislature for the issues that your party cares about, it means you didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars to pick up the seat, it means you have a credible voice arguing that the other side is just too extreme. I’ll applaud Chris Koster for helping us out like that, just as I’ll applaud any Republican who changes their mind about the direction their party has been taking the last decade.

The charge of opportunism strikes me in particular as a bit hollow. Yeah, Koster’s term-limited in 2012, but surely Koster could expect an easier opportunity to come along in the next six years than facing the House Minority Leader and a respected female attorney from St. Louis in a 3-way fight as a newcomer to the Democratic Party.

Now about that Attorney General’s race… more below the fold.

Obviously, the Attorney General’s race is the source of the anger. If Koster had no interest in the office, I doubt that he would have drawn criticism here, or I certainly hope that would be the case. And Koster does have some ‘splainin’ to do, as a Missouri Provote analysis of Koster’s voting record reveals. To even have a chance at my vote, much less my vocal support, in the AG race, Koster has got to explain why he voted against the way he truly believes and, if he changed his mind, how his thinking has evolved on some of these votes. All of this in addition to the baseline questions: “Why are you qualified to be Missouri’s Attorney General, and why should we choose you over the others running for the same office?” After all, he’s running in the primary against two candidates without that baggage.

In any event, I hope that Democrats around the state will welcome Chris Koster into the party AND give him proper scrutiny if and when he enters the AG race.