Missouri's favorite political son, Harry S Truman, gave us the timeless quote about the art of the deal:
"It's amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit," the Democrat from Independence said.
The reality of today's political compromise, however, turns that sentiment on its head. To succeed in today's hyper-partisan world requires crafting a compromise for which everybody can take credit.
Such is the case with the economic development bill that will be the centerpiece of a September special session of the Missouri Legislature. The bill is an amalgamation of several proposals that aim to bring jobs to Missouri, highlighted by a proposal to offer $360 million in incentives over 10 years to turn Lambert-St. Louis International Airport into a hub for foreign air cargo, particularly from China.
The bill, which died on the session's final day in May, has been jump-started, and it seems destined to pass because the political engines of the major players are revving in sync.
There's Gov. Jay Nixon, who still can't bring himself to say the word "Aerotropolis," as most refer to the bill. He renamed it the "Made in Missouri Jobs Package." That bit of linguistic gymnastics allows the governor, a Democrat who is running for reelection, to put his own stamp on a bill that, for most of the summer, he avoided talking about.
It was no accident that Mr. Nixon announced that he would call a special session just an hour after House Speaker Steve Tilley of Perryville and Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer of Dexter announced they had reached consensus on the bill.
Mr. Tilley and Mr. Mayer, both Republicans, had stolen the spotlight. Mr. Nixon wanted it back.
Otherwise, his likely opponent in the governor's race, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, would be in a position to steal his jobs thunder. Mr. Kinder is in the process of dog-paddling across the Rubicon, waiting for the right time to announce his candidacy for governor to a mass audience.
He was a vocal supporter of the Aerotropolis concept long before Mr. Nixon, but he's been awfully quiet on the subject lately, in part because his fellow Republicans know if they want to get the bill through they need the support of Mr. Nixon.
Winning, it seems, is in everybody's interest.
That's why Mr. Tilley, who is running for Mr. Kinder's seat, now is a champion. He needs the statewide support of the business community. But he also needs Mr. Kinder to keep swimming past the point of no return, lest he decide to run for another term as lieutenant governor.
Let's not forget two St. Louis County Republicans, Sen. Eric Schmitt of Glendale and Rep. John Diehl of Town and Country, each looking for the party's "up-and-comer" title.
And there's Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah. He lost his race for state treasurer in 2008 but still has aspirations for statewide office. He needs the legacy of success in his long effort to rein in the state's tax credit programs.
The result is a political situation that stands in clear contrast to the highway pileup that has been the congressional debt-ceiling debate. That entire fiasco has been about assigning blame.
Missouri's jobs future hinges on there being enough credit to go around.