I kept waiting for someone to say it.
Claire McCaskill was more than halfway through her speech at the opening of the Jasper County Democratic Headquarters in Joplin Monday night and no one had spoken the words.
“Let it be someone besides the loudmouth standing behind me,” I thought. The guy was driving me to distraction, attempting to show how much of an expert he was by anticipating everything the speaker was going to say. There is always someone like that in every audience.
More than 200 Democrats were gathered outside. They came expecting to hear the senator speak in the new headquarters, but the building was too small and the air conditioning was not working, so the speech was moved to the parking lot.
Who knew there were so many Democrats in Jasper County? In Joplin, there are three types of people who are reviled by the general populace- tornado scam artists, telephone marketers, and Democrats.
Now with 200 shoehorned into the parking lot, one well-placed missile strike might have eliminated Democrats from Jasper County forever.
And I was still waiting for someone to say the words.
“I don’t care what Citizens United said, corporations aren’t people. They have only one purpose,” McCaskill said.
“Making money,” the loudmouth behind me shouted.
“Can’t you just let her say it?” I thought. It was bad enough that I wasn’t able to get inside and grab a handful of those little packaged cheesecakes and now I have the sage of Jasper County belaboring the obvious right in my ear.
Sen. McCaskill ripped into her three opponents, Congressman Todd Akin, businessman John Brunner, and former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman. “My three opponents are three of a kind, one and the same,” she said, noting that one had been endorsed by the Tea Party Express and another by Freedom Works.
“Dick Armey,” the guy behind me says loudly, showing off his vast knowledge of American politics. A few seconds later, the senator noted that Dick Armey was the founder of Freedom Works. I could picture the smug smile on the guy behind me, but I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of looking.
Her third potential opponent, McCaskill said, had been endorsed by Michele Bachmann.
The senator never mentioned the three by name. To her and her enthusiastic audience, they were just Moe, Sarah, and Curly.
She ripped them for their hatred of the federal government, then added, “I don’t think I need to tell the people of Joplin why the federal government is important.”
I waited for the man to say something, but no words emerged. Even know-it-alls have to take a break.
“The federal government spent close to $3 million in Joplin.”
My tormenter sprang back into action. “That’s a lot of money!”
“That’s a lot of money,” I thought. “That’s the best you can do? Moe, Sarah, and Curly could have come up with something better than that.”
McCaskill lambasted her opponents for their plans to privatize Social Security, Medicare, and student loans. As her speech neared its conclusion, she raised the name of Missouri’s most revered Democrat- President Harry S Truman.
She noted that he was willing to take stances that were unpopular. “Do you think it was easy when he integrated the armed services?” she asked.
“No,” the guy behind me yelled.
It was a rhetorical question.
And why hadn’t anybody said the words yet?
McCaskill continued. “This is Harry Truman’s seat. I’m awfully honored to sit in it. Harry Truman would not want his seat filled by someone who thinks compromise is a dirty word and who doesn’t think common sense is something we should value in this job.”
The guy behind me did not wait for McCaskill to finish that sentence. He topped her last word with the phrase I had been anticipating.
“Give ‘em hell, Claire!”
You’ve got that right, buddy.