Step One: Destroy your "independent" cred by voting with your party's extreme wing on virtually every significant vote. Check.
Step Two: Become embroiled in an ethics scandal that opens you up to devastating charges of hypocrisy. If at all possible, also fail to pay taxes on something like a yacht or private jet. Check.
Step Three: Blithely joke about a bruising recession by cooing about its "silver lining" benefits -- preferably to a Left-wing college audience. Check:
"Well, the good news is, our [carbon] emissions are way down because of the recession. I mean, really, if you want to find a silver lining in the cloud, the number that we were looking for [with cap and trade legislation] ... we are well, well [ahead of our goal]...because we have had such a real drop in manufacturing output."
Notice how McCaskill turns toward the camera, immediately recognizes that she's gone too far, and starts walking back her comment within seconds of uttering it. "I was being sarcastic," she says, glancing nervously back at the camera.
Missouri's unemployment rate stands at 9.4 percent, several notches above the already distressingly high national average. I wonder how many unemployed Missourians will be amused by Air Claire's "sarcasm."
UPDATE - A GOP source emails me with another important point:
[McCaskill] essentially appears to be equating the effects of cap-and-trade with the recession. In other words, she is saying that even though cap-and-trade hadn’t yet been passed, the same goal has been accomplished on emissions because the manufacturing sector has been depleted. That seems to be a remarkable admission. This strikes me as particularly timely though given the debate this week in the Senate between the McConnell and Baucus EPA amendments.
The amendment to which my correspondent refers is described in an excellent editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal:
The Environmental Protection Agency debate lands in the Senate this week, amid the makings of a left-right coalition to mitigate the agency's abuses. Few other votes this year could do more to help the private economy—but only if enough Democrats are willing to buck the White House.
This moment arrived unexpectedly, with Majority Leader Harry Reid opening a small business bill to amendments. Republican leader Mitch McConnell promptly introduced a rider to strip the EPA of the carbon regulation authority that the Obama Administration has given itself. Two weeks ago, Mr. Reid pulled the bill from the floor once it became clear Mr. McConnell might have the 13 Democrats he needs to clear 60.
McCaskill's is among the Democratic votes in play.