Sen. McCaskill addresses Democrats at Hannibal Days

Sen. McCaskill addresses Democrats at Hannibal Days

Senator McCaskill told Democrats gathered for Hannibal Days that Congress and the White House is doing the hard stuff as Republicans resort to obstruction as a political strategy for 2010.

McCaskill, speaking at the brunch, said some people go to Washington simply to try to win elections. She said Democrats are using their majorities in Congress and occupation of the White House to help the country move forward.

“Doing the hard stuff, like reforming health care, is not something that’s easy or simple or that’s going to be popular with every single person,” McCaskill said. “It’s not the easiest way to win an election. In this environment, saying ‘No’ they (Republican) think is the easiest way to win an election. The Republicans have decided the only way to gain power is to block us.”

McCaskill ticked off a number of Republican stances that she called a Hall of Fame of Hypocrisy. According to McCaskill, Republican fiscal concerns that have held up extension of unemployment are hypocritical in light of Republican approval of wide-ranging tax cuts under President Bush. She claimed that Republicans loudly complain about the $787 billion economic stimulus package, but never fail to show up for the ribbon-cuttings of projects paid with federal dollars. McCaskill said Republicans complained about the special deals used to secure the votes of senators from Nebraska, Louisiana and Vermont for health care legislation, yet often use earmarks to fund pork barrel projects for their states.

Health care legislation received extended comment by McCaskill during the speech. McCaskill repeated a contention she has made before, that the federal deficit cannot be brought under control unless the country’s health care system is reformed. Though Republicans often have cast President Obama’s push for an overhaul of the nation’s health care system as a federal government takeover of health care, McCaskill said it was a “moderate bill”. She claimed that if separated by segments, the bill would win broad support among the public though public opinion polls indicate otherwise.

“Stay in there with us. Don’t give up on this. It may not be the most popular thing in the world in this election or the next, but some day people will look back and say, ‘You know there were some people in Washington in 2010 that had some courage,” McCaskill stated in acknowledgement that health care might be a troublesome issue for Democrats in November.

AUDIO: Sen. McCaskill speech at Hannibal Days [25 min]