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Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones, writing abut the diminishing chances for meaningful climate legislation, has this to say about Claire McCaskill’s leadership or lack thereof on the issue:

Other senators are just getting testy about the issue. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of the few Democrats still considered “on the fence” when it comes to including climate provisions, flatly refused to discuss the issue with reporters. “I’m not going to talk about energy. I got burned twice last week,” said McCaskill, indicating that some unnamed reporter had misquoted. McCaskill is one of the Democrats folks are watching most closely on this issue, since she has yet to weigh in publicly one way or another. I have no idea what quote she is referring to as having been wrong.

She claims she was misquoted so now she’ll say nothing?  Typical McCaskill. I wonder if this Politico article might be what’s got McCaskill clamming up?  The author makes the argument that McCaskill’s allies, the so-called “brown dogs,” are the reason we’ll get a safely neutered climate bill if we get anything at all:

… despite months of legwork by the president’s Senate allies, few of these so-called Brown Dogs are biting.

He continues, quoting McCaskill:

I think it’s still a work in progress,” said Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who worries that a cap would be a loser for Democrats in November. “You know, it took 50 years on health care.”

The party that has moderates is the party that governs,” McCaskill said. “If we don’t have moderates, we’re the minority.

This quote is These quotes are certainly outrageous enough to leave McCaskill feeling burned if she was misquoted. But if she was truly misquoted, why doesn’t she just put the record straight instead of equivocating? All I can say is that if she is not trying to play both sides against the middle, she had better get hustling to do just that – because if this quote is not a misrepresentation of her beliefs, she deserves whatever grief she gets.  

And if this putative statement is an accurate representation of what McCaskill said, she may have inadvertently put her finger on exactly what is wrong with Washington D.C – anyone who thinks that we’ve got fifty years to “fix” the climate problem, or that a party of impotent “moderates” gets points for governing without doing anything of substance in the face of a genuine crisis is right there at the heart of the problem. There is no reason that I can think of  to send folks to Washington to sit on their hands and make mealy-mouth sounds while the crap piles up – or even, as is closer to McCaskill’s case, to make a few prissy gestures about cleaning up around the edges of the mess while shuddering with genteel horror at the thought of tackling the biggest piles.