The Buzz

TheChat: Claire McCaskill says Missourians should demand healthier politics


Let’s do it again.

▪ “If their deaths are going to stand for anything, they should stand for the notion that we can do better and that people ought to demand better.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, reflecting on the recent deaths of state Auditor Tom Schweich and his spokesman, Spence Jackson. (link via

McCaskill was talking about the take-no-prisoners style of campaigning that Missouri politics has become. She noted that her own family has been hit with “tough and unfair” advertising. “It doesn’t have to be,” she said, “and people need to react with their votes.”

▪ “That would be a huge win for Missouri's kids.” — Erin Brower, a spokeswoman for Raise Your Hand for Kids, a group seeking to raise Missouri cigarette taxes with the proceeds going to early childhood programs.

Other groups have ideas for higher cigarette taxes, but this is one that will get some attention. At 17 cents a pack, Missouri’s smokes tax is the lowest in the nation. Brower wants to see the tax jump to 50 cents a pack and is trying to get the tax hike on the ballot.

▪ “I hope policymakers have the courage to acknowledge the great experiment hasn’t produced the desired results.” — Shannon Cotsoradis, director of Kansas Action for Children, on Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts.

Tax-cut opponents rallied at the Statehouse this week just outside the governor’s office. But Brownback isn’t backing down, noting that individual income tax receipts were nearly $9 million above expectations last month, even though overall tax receipts were $11 million under. “The one’s they’re asking to repeal are the ones that are stable and up,” Brownback said.

▪ “This is certainly not a topic Republicans want to have to talk about.” — a former aide to Republican Mitt Romney on the new religious freedom law in Indiana, which has resulted in reporters asking GOP presidential candidates to weigh in on the issue.

To say this is awkward for many of the candidates is putting it lightly. The fear is that anything they say will quickly offend the GOP base and undermine their support.