The 2018 Neshoba County Fair is now in the history books and the most dynamic aspect of this year’s event was, arguably at least, the race for Thad Cochran’s Senate seat, the special election that will take place on November 6. All four candidates made an appearance, but it was the epic battle between Cindy Hyde-Smith and Chris McDaniel, which really amounts to a Republican primary, that showcased the excitement of the first day.
It was obvious, or should have been to those with any semblance of honesty, for both those who were there and those who were not but watched via video, that Chris McDaniel and his army of grassroots conservatives dominated the gathering. Although establishments reports claimed that McDaniel had only around 75 followers, the truth is there were hundreds from “Team McDaniel” supporting their candidate. And he did not fail to deliver, giving a rousing speech that fired up his supporters and convinced a few undecided to join his crusade.
For Cindy Hyde-Smith, her speech was dull, drab, and dreary, eliciting no enthusiasm from the few supporters she had under the famous pavilion. But more than her paltry support, feebly weak for a sitting US Senator, was what she said to the assembled crowd, a speech full of political spin.
Let’s look at four key takeaways from her brief address:
“I have been a conservative my entire life.”
This is a line Cindy Hyde-Smith has been pushing since Governor Phil Bryant appointed her to the Senate. But, as we have reported, she is not a lifelong conservative but a lifelong Democrat. She switched parties only for the opportunity for political advancement. Why Bryant chose her, and praised her as his “most reliable conservative vote in the state senate” (while she was in the Democratic Party no less), is beyond many Mississippi Republicans. She also worked five years as a Washington lobbyist, including time with the group National Coalition on Health Care, which pushed for Obamacare. She also supported Hillary Clinton for President in 2008, which, by itself, demolishes any claim on lifetime conservative values. But, by all means, check it out for yourself, because we have pointed out these facts again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again.
“I had the opportunity to vote for the $15 billion-dollar spending cuts of President Trump’s, because we know spending is so out of control.”
This ruse is to make the voters believe she supports cutting spending and getting the budget under control. But it is a laughable assertion. Earlier this year, Hyde-Smith had the opportunity to vote for Rand Paul’s “Penny Plan,” a proposal to cut just one penny, or one percent, from the federal budget for seven consecutive years, thereby balancing the budget with minimal spending reductions. Yet she voted against the “Penny Plan” and even ridiculed it in the press. It’s hard to call yourself a fiscal conservative when you can’t even cut one percent of the budget. Yet she wants the voters to believe that a paltry cut of $15 billion, out of a budget of $4.4 trillion, is something to be praised.
“Nothing is more important to me than our gun rights.”
Hyde-Smith knows that any deviation from a strong pro-Second Amendment stance is the death knell of electoral success in Mississippi, so she wants to portray herself as pro-gun rights. This should be an obvious position to take, and one that is unnecessary for a Mississippi Republican to tout, but Hyde-Smith has a big problem in her past: As the state’s agricultural commissioner, she petitioned the state’s attorney general for a legal opinion on establishing gun control measures at the state fairgrounds in Jackson and all agricultural department properties, including unconstitutional random searches to check citizens for weapons. So, her rhetoric about the importance of gun rights rings hollow when juxtaposed with her past positions as a state official.
“You know the thing they say about me is she is half southern belle, half street fighter.”
Interesting choice of words from Hyde-Smith, to put herself out there as a conservative “street fighter.” This was obviously done to counter McDaniel’s image as an aggressive fighter against the establishment and for the conservative movement. Yet she refuses to debate McDaniel. When asked about a possible debate, she has said that she won’t participate because “McDaniel will not be civil.” But in his Neshoba speech, McDaniel NEVER mentioned her name, not even once. So much for being uncivil. And while we are on the subject, it was Cindy Hyde-Smith who dismissed McDaniel’s supporters as “these people,” her own Hillary-like “deplorables” moment.
So, now that she has declared herself a “street fighter,” why would she not want to face her opponents, even if they are uncivil? If she won’t fight McDaniel on the debate stage, how will she fight on behalf of the people of Mississippi? Does she believe Chuck Schumer will be civil towards her? What if he’s not (and he won’t be), will she hide from him too? Will she stand up to her own leadership in the Senate, or kowtow to them at every turn, as she has done thus far in her Senate career? Now, if she doesn’t debate, she will look pathetically weak, a liar, or both.
These are important indications in Cindy Hyde-Smith’s primetime speech that she is not a true conservative and is spinning like a top in order to fool Mississippi voters into believing she is something that the evidence clearly tells us she is not.