Mississippi’s newest US Senator, Cindy Hyde-Smith, represents everything wrong with the state of American politics today. Due to take the oath of office as a gubernatorial appointee on Monday, April 9, her reputation as typical self-interested politician proceeds her.
Experience in life teaches us valuable lessons. And one of those lessons is that people are not always who they appear to be. Actions, it is said, often speak louder than words. This is especially true of politicians. Forgot what foolishness might come out of their mouths but consider their actions. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s words might be those of the conservative reformer we need in Washington, but her actions tell another story.
The present conservative insurgency within the Republican Party has, as its ultimate objective, to “drain the swamp,” to rid ourselves of the vileness that is inhabiting our national capital. And two of the biggest issues concerning our legion of swamp-infested politicians would be their lack of responsibility and their own personal enrichment.
No one in Washington wants to take responsibility for our most pressing national problems, only to cast blame on the other side for all the ills of society. Yet, at the same time, they somehow manage to make themselves wealthy in the process, taking advantage of their positions of power and influence, all to the detriment of the average citizen. Fixing these two issues would go a long way to accomplishing our goal.
Cindy Hyde-Smith has shown that she can’t be trusted on either of these important issues. Why? Because she is refusing to take responsibility for a car wreck that she caused and also for using campaign funds to purchase, for her own personal use, a sports car valued at more than $24,000.
Various news outlets are reporting that Hyde-Smith is being sued by State Farm insurance for a car wreck that was caused by one of her horses, which got loose and roamed out onto a state highway. The accident happened on March 27, 2015. Hyde-Smith has denied any responsibility for her horse causing the accident and blamed the wreck on the driver, contrary to the written legal statute.
According to Mississippi law, the owner of livestock is at fault and shall be subject to any damages as a result of automobile accidents, including the loss of life or bodily injury, caused by livestock being on a state highway. The burden is on the owner of the livestock to prove a lack of negligence, not the driver.
Hyde-Smith is no stranger to agricultural laws. She not only owns a cattle farm and stockyard in Brookhaven but, as the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce since 2012, she is responsible for the laws and regulations pertaining to Mississippi agriculture, including livestock. She should know those laws better than anyone in the state of Mississippi but is refusing to do the right thing in this case.
The total damages for the wrecked vehicle is less than $4,000. But Hyde-Smith is refusing to pay and has chosen to fight the claim for damages in court, which will be held in December.
A year after the horse-caused car wreck, on March 6, 2016, the Clarion-Ledger reported that Commissioner Hyde-Smith purchased a new Dodge Charger in 2014 for $24,255 from a dealer in Jackson using money collected from donors to her political campaign. This is personal enrichment at its finest and is a key piece of evidence disproving any notion of public service.
Is this what we can expect from Cindy Hyde-Smith as a US Senator representing the people of Mississippi? She served as the state’s Agriculture Commissioner and should know the law, yet she won’t take responsibility and pay for the damages caused by her horse to someone else’s car. But she is perfectly willing to take someone else’s money and buy an expensive car for herself. That might be Washington swamp logic, but those are not the values of Mississippi.
Hyde-Smith’s refusal to take responsibility for her own actions, while using her political position and the funds of others to enrich herself, tells us all we need to know about what kind of US Senator she is likely to be. And that is another life lesson we should pay heed: Sending the same baggage-laden politicians to Washington, then expecting a different result, will never drain the DC Swamp.