Refusing to debate, refusing to hold town hall meetings, and refusing the answer questions from the voters on his atrocious 42-year record in Congress, Cochran has, instead, conducted a “slash and burn” campaign in the hope that smearing Senator McDaniel enough will enable him to squeak into a seventh term.
Rather than discuss the issues that will affect Mississippians far into the future, Thad Cochran’s campaign of desperation has dredged up Senator Chris McDaniel’s personal voting records from Jones County and his voting attendance in the state senate in Jackson, dubbing both “horrible.”
“Chris McDaniel has a habit of missing important votes – in critical elections and in his job as a State Senator,” according to the official Cochran campaign press release, and the ad set to hit statewide television.
In a statement from Cochran spokesman Jordan Russell, the campaign alleges that McDaniel “has inexplicably missed voting in some of the most important Republican elections in Mississippi over the past ten years, and his own voting record in the State Senate is just as bad.”
Let’s take a quick look at the lie about his voting record in the state senate first. This session there have been 722 recorded votes. Senator McDaniel has missed only 31, totaling just 4 percent. That’s a pretty good record of attendance given that the job of a state senator is part time and he is a full time dad and has a full time job as an attorney. Missing just 4 percent of the votes given that lifestyle is not a bad record of attendance, as the Cochran camp alleges. By contrast, Senator Cochran has missed about 3 percent of his votes. So what are we really arguing about here? Just more desperation.
As for McDaniel’s personal voting history, those records came the state of Mississippi’s Statewide Election Management System (SEMS), says the campaign, but more likely they obtained them from Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who used his official position to conduct opposition research on McDaniel back in November, when Hosemann himself was ambitiously eyeing the Senate seat.
But, like so much from the Cochran camp, these allegations are also false. So, let us deal with each of these latest smears in succession:
The Smear: “In 2003, Mississippi Republicans were working hard to nominate Haley Barbour in the Republican primary to defeat Democrat Governor Ronnie Musgrove. But Chris McDaniel voted in the Democrat primary instead.”
The Truth: This is charge is not true, but no matter if it was. Haley Barbour was in no risk of losing the nomination whatsoever, but at this time, almost all of Jones County’s elected officials were Democrats, still beholden to “Daddy’s Party.” In local elections in 2003 there were some hotly contested races, especially for sheriff. Most everyone in the county voted on the Democratic side that year.
But what is more interesting is the political change in Jones County in subsequent elections. Chris McDaniel was one of the leaders who convinced many county elected officials to drop their history of allegiance to the Democratic Party and switch to the GOP. More than half of Jones County’s elected officials are now Republicans. This is true Republican leadership.
The Smear: “In 2004, President George W. Bush was being challenged in the general election by liberal Democrat U.S. Senator John Kerry. Chris McDaniel did not vote in that election.”
The Truth: George W Bush was unopposed in the 2004 primaries, neither US Senator was up for re-election, and there was no primary in the 4th Congressional District. A lot of folks didn’t vote.
The Smear: “In 2008, Republicans in Mississippi were nominating a candidate in the primary to take on Barack Obama in the Presidential election. Chris McDaniel did not vote in that election, either.”
The Truth: Jones County’s Circuit Clerk, Bart Gavin, has signed an official document that Senator McDaniel did vote in the 2008 primary election. (McDaniel’s official voting record)
If it’s voting history they want to discuss, let us examine a few votes from Senator Cochran’s past.
Even though he erroneously smears Senator McDaniel for voting in the Democratic primary in 2003, in the hope that voters will distrust him, neither Thad Cochran nor his campaign will admit the fact that Cochran himself was once a Democrat.
In fact, he voted for John Kennedy for President in 1960 and for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. It was LBJ who gave us the Great Society welfare state that has cost us $20 trillion in anti-poverty programs in the last 50 years, the greatest wealth transfer in human history. Today Washington spends nearly $1 trillion a year on LBJ’s dream.
How do we know that Cochran voted for JFK and LBJ? Cochran admitted in an interview in 2006 that he first voted for a Republican for President in 1968 when he cast his vote for Richard Nixon.
Yet he still did not switch parties until he ran for Congress in 1972. In that same interview he said, “We had a congressman unexpectedly decide to retire and a couple of Republicans came to see me to ask me to run for congress. I told them I wasn’t a Republican…”
In this election, we should come to the realization that those who lie and cheat to obtain power will lie and cheat to keep it. Instead of digging out old voting records, wouldn’t the people be better served with a debate on the issues? It is Thad Cochran, though, and not Chris McDaniel who is preventing that from ever taking place. So who’s really on the side of the people?