Claire McCaskill in the U.S. Senate has shown the same traits she demonstrated as Jackson County prosecutor and Missouri state auditor: hard work and, refreshingly, not a lot of patience for nonsense.

 Claire McCaskill in the U.S. Senate has shown the same traits she demonstrated as Jackson County prosecutor and Missouri state auditor: hard work and, refreshingly, not a lot of patience for nonsense.

That said, her Republican opponent, Congressman Todd Akin, isn’t giving voters a lot of choice. His comments over the years – only the most offensive of which is the one two months ago about “legitimate rape” – have finally caught up to him now that he’s running in a key race with national implications and national attention. He just isn’t someone who should be a prominent face of Missouri for the next six years.

Give McCaskill her due. Even if it’s not always how they vote, many citizens say they want moderation and they want Democrats and Republicans to work together, reason things out and compromise as needed. McCaskill has always stressed that. She also was among the few in her party to come out forcefully against earmarks – as a matter of good government – before they became a political hot button. We’re not sure such a black-and-white approach always makes sense, but at least she has stood by her convictions.

McCaskill also deserves credit for looking into the shoddy treatment some of the nation’s veterans have gotten at Arlington National Cemetery. That’s the auditor mentality: Ask the questions and make sure things add up. Don’t accept superficial answers. Keep pressing. We could use a few more senators with that attitude.

Will Washington’s gridlock endure as Democrats and Republicans become more entrenched and appeal to the most extreme of their bases? It’s looking that way. That’s only going to change when enough officeholders risk their careers – risk going home, as McCaskill has put it – to sit down and listen – listen – to the other side. The country faces major issues. We need less politics and more reason and compromise.