Outgoing red state Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO) lamented the “period of polarization” in the Senate during her farewell speech Thursday. She also said the Senate had “too many embarrassing uncles.”
“I'd be lying if I didn’t say I was worried about this place," Sen. McCaskill said.
"Peter Morgan, an author, wrote that no family is complete without an embarrassing uncle," she continued. "We have too many embarrassing uncles in the United States Senate. Lots of embarrassing stuff."
“I'd be lying if I didn’t say I was worried about this place," outgoing Sen. Claire McCaskill said in her farewell address, adding the Senate is "no longer the world's greatest deliberative body." pic.twitter.com/jzJtGBvfkl— POLITICO (@politico) December 13, 2018
She went on to argue that the chamber was too polarized and had lost its standing.
"The United States Senate is no longer the world's greatest deliberative body," she said. "And everybody needs to quit saying it, until we recover from this period of polarization and the fear of the political consequences of tough votes."
McCaskill outlined some of the Senate’s dysfunction. She argued that the new norms for the Senate are “writing legislation behind closed doors, giant omnibus bills that most don’t know what’s in them, K Street lobbyists knowing about the tax bill managers’ package before even senators.”
Sen. McCaskill went so far as to argue that the Senate’s dysfunction contributed to President Trump’s election.
“The American people are going to grow more cynical and they might do something crazy like elect a reality TV star president,” she said. “I’m not kidding, that’s one of the reasons this has happened.”
McCaskill lost her re-election bid to Sen-Elect Josh Hawley (R) in November.
During a MSNBC appearance earlier Thursday, McCaskill doubted the success of far-left candidates like Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
"I do think that what as a party we need to do is make sure that we are nominating someone who is inspirational, and who can convince the American people that they can make things change," she said.
"It's very hard to make things change if you're hanging out at the ends of the spectrum,” she emphasized. “If you're on opposite sides of the room and saying things that you know will never get 60 votes in the Senate.”