Given the apparent closeness of the upcoming general elections, the eyes of the nation have focused this week on the Senate race in Missouri between State Auditor Claire McCaskill and incumbent Republican Tim Talent. It was one television commercial and the response it generated that brought the attention to Missouri. And in a classic case of irony, the commercial was actually on a proposed amendment to the state constitution and not necessarily an ad in the Senate race. Regardless, it ignited a fire storm of national attention. The real question however is just how will all of this play at the polls in 10 days?
Here's what I believe. I believe that Missouri voters will largely ignore the celebrity endorsements and the national influences. I believe, in the end, Missourians will vote for the candidate they feel they can trust. I believe Missourians will want a senator who more closely represents their views and opinions, though it's virtually impossible to agree on all issues. That compromise is part of the political process.
I believe when the majority of Missourians weigh all of the issues, they will return Jim Talent to his seat in the Senate. And there's ample evidence why we should.
Let me be candid. I don't agree with Talent on a handful of issues. Nor do I agree with the Bush administration on a host of issues from the question of illegal immigration to the botched efforts in Iraq. But the compromise in politics is that you agree to disagree and find those common grounds on which you can build change.
Jim Talent, much more than Claire McCaskill, knows the stakes in this country. He knows where change is possible and he works tirelessly to have his voice heard toward those changes. Though his quiet demeanor may seem otherwise, Jim Talent has a passion for his state and his nation. He may seem quiet but he can roar like a lion. And he is respected for his intellect, his integrity and his dedication.
I have said before but it's worth repeating. Claire McCaskill has my respect and admiration. She is a talented public servant. But I fear that McCaskill - if elected - would listen to voices that don't hold the same values and interests of most Missourians. I fear that if elected she would follow the party line without reservation. And despite what she or others might think, the Democratic party in this nation does a poor job of spending our tax dollars. In fact, the Democratic party wants more of your tax dollars to often help those who are on the fringes of society. That may be a noble goal but it creates a price for hard-working, middle class Missourians that is unfair and tilted way too far to the left of the political spectrum. Even my close Democratic friends privately agree that the tax burden should not be shifted toward those who provide the labor and the personal responsibility that makes this nation strong.
Jim Talent is an honest man who will look you in the eye and tell you what he believes. He does not today nor has he ever moved a position because of the prevailing political winds. Instead, he makes his case and listens intently as you make yours. That is all you can ask from an elected official. But Jim Talent actually gives you even more.
The nation and our state are divided on so many issues. Stem cell research, the war in Iraq, a minimum wage increase proposal for Missouri . . . the list is virtually endless.
It is up to those we elect to listen to our views and take those views to Washington and fight for OUR interests. Jim Talent has proven that is exactly what he will do. And he deserves our vote.