In his column today in the Clarion Ledger, Charlie Mitchell discussed the issue of the Mississippi state flag, now much more prominent in the news in light of recent events, and how that explosive subject might factor into a potential US Senate battle between Roger Wicker and Chris McDaniel.
For Mitchell, it will be political red meat, a likely public referendum on the flag itself. That’s because Wicker and McDaniel have lined up on opposite sides of the flag debate – Wicker sides with liberals who want to take it down and McDaniel stands with conservatives who want to leave it right where it is.
But in his piece, rather than simply lay out the positions with a simple political analysis, Mitchell simply can’t help but attack McDaniel, as most of the state’s media figures are inclined to do on occasion.
Let’s breakdown Mitchell’s charges against Senator McDaniel:
Mitchell accuses McDaniel of exaggerating and mischaracterizing Wicker’s position on the state flag. After the disaster that was the Charlottesville rally, Senator Wicker, who has been calling for a flag change since 2015 and the aftermath of the Dylann Roof mass shooting in Charleston, reiterated his position: “It would be more unifying if we put this Mississippi flag in a museum and replace it with something that was more unifying.”
Senator McDaniel wrote a response on his Facebook page: “Roger Wicker is using the tragedy in Charlottesville to AGAIN stand with liberals and call for the removal of our state flag. Unbelievable.” To this Mitchell writes, “Wicker’s observation was tepid, yet McDaniel depicted him as toting water for the banshees of the left.”
But nothing McDaniel said was untrue. Not one bit. Wicker’s opinion was not tepid, since he’s used it for two years and even appeared on CNN with Cory Booker of New Jersey to call for a change in the state flag. Mitchell, as a Wicker toady, knows Roger is very vulnerable on this issue because the Senator’s position won’t sit well with most Mississippians, so he’s simply jabbing at McDaniel to make Wicker look better.
Mitchell also notes that McDaniel’s attacks on Wicker thus far are having an effect. “McDaniel has already influenced Wicker. Any observer will tell you the incumbent has moved cautiously to the right, offering mild but reliable support to President Trump on a variety of matters, including the repeal of Obamacare.” But why does McDaniel have to pull Wicker to the right? He’s a Republican and a self-described conservative! He should already be there and this admission tells us that Wicker is not reliable. His voting record proves that.
Mitchell also attacked McDaniel for a lack of civility, essentially blaming McDaniel for today’s toxic political atmosphere. For the last 100 years, Mitchell reminds us, the state has always sent gentlemen to the US Senate, men who where civil in their discourse, courtly, and soft-spoken with true and loyal friends across the state. The implication here is that McDaniel is nothing more than a peddler of bombast. McDaniel’s emails to supporters, pandering for money in Mitchell’s eyes, make use of emotion and hot-button topics to rake in campaign cash. Yet, Mitchell reminds us, that McDaniel offers no solutions to the major issues facing the nation.
Chris McDaniel is the most articulate spokesman for true conservatism in the entire state of Mississippi, the only leader pushing the principles of Jefferson, Coolidge, Goldwater, and Reagan. He has the fire, passion, and determination to fight for the people of Mississippi. By contrast, the record of the drab and dreary Wicker is atrocious, which is what Mitchell is attempting to cover for by running down McDaniel.
And in all these years that we have sent these so-called “gentlemanly senators” to Washington what has it gotten us? The state of Mississippi is still last in virtually everything!
In his swipe at McDaniel, Mitchell has confused surrender for civility. In reality, what is uncivil is someone, in this case Wicker, who adopts a public policy position by reacting to trending news, and succumbing to emotion, in the hopes of making headlines and gaining voters. Senator Chris McDaniel, though, is standing up for what is right, taking a position on principle, as every great leader should.
In short, Wicker is falling prey to the sin of political correctness; McDaniel is taking a bold stand for truth.
But the real issue in next year’s Senate race, if there is one, is simple: If the people of Mississippi really want to fix the multitude of problems facing the country, then it’s going to take new leadership. Nothing will ever change by sending the same people to do the same job they’ve been promising to do for decades yet continue to fail. It’s time for something new.