By Richard Conrad, Laurel Leader Call, November 1, 2014
The Mississippi U.S. Senate Republican primary, hopefully, will go down in Mississippi politics as one of a kind and will never be seen again. During the highly energized primary election process, the Republican elites displayed incredible unethical behavior, which has created a huge conundrum for conservatives and has split the Mississippi Republican Party. Regarding the later, the Republican elites want to blame the split on McDaniel, TEA Partiers and other conservatives; however, the divide is the result of unbelievable behavior by the Mississippi Conservative PAC, the Cochran campaign, and the Republican elites. A conscious choice was made by them to abandon conservative principles, attack and demonize true conservatives, and cater to liberals and Democrats because of a huge amount of avarice for power and wealth. Along with that huge avarice is a disgusting expectation of Divine Right to elected office and campaign positions because of one’s last name and/or their tenure within the Republican Party. Such attitudes are contrary and dangerous to liberty and embolden a de-facto political aristocracy.
For principled conservative Republicans who are disgusted with the actions of Republican elitists, the conundrum is what to do about the November general election. Do you vote for Cochran regardless of despicable actions, vote for Democrat Travis Childers, or not vote? Making this decision requires discernment for liberty and a large dose of courage.
Conservatives and supporters of Senator McDaniel may consider not voting or writing in Senator McDaniel’s name at the ballot box. Keep in mind that writing-in Senator McDaniel’s name is equivalent to not voting because Mississippi election law does not count write-in votes in this situation. Not voting or writing in a candidate does not dilute or reduce the number of Cochran voters; it only takes away from the challengers on the ballot and ensures a Cochran victory. If one desires for a Cochran defeat, not voting is not a viable option.
Voting for Cochran is an option for anyone that has bought into the Republican elitist mantra, “We must elect Cochran because we would not want a Cochran defeat to be the election that prevented a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.” In response to the mantra, we must ask the question, “What difference would a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate mean?” The truth, nothing. Cochran’s voting record is not one for a conservative to stand upon, and his leadership in a charge against the liberal agenda is nothing but a vapor. And, the last time the Republicans held a majority in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republicans spent taxpayer money worse than drunken sailors and expanded the size and influence of government. Also, when the Republicans did hold majorities in both Houses of Congress and the White House, did they advance or promote principles of liberty and conservatism or try to reverse the liberal government agenda of the past 40 years? Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” So the expectation that a Cochran win will promote conservative principles in the federal government, well, it’s just a fairy tale.
Also, a Cochran victory raises at least two philosophical issues that most are not considering. First, if Cochran wins, the Republican elites learn nothing and the status quo will continue. Disenfranchised conservative voters of Mississippi must understand that the Republican elites believe they can manipulate you and use you for their own advancement and personal interests. Case in point, the Mississippi Republican Executive Committee Chairman recently stated the U.S. Senate general election is about defending the U.S. Constitution and conservative principles. Really? He and the Republican elites were not so interested in Constitutional and conservative principles during the recent Republican primary. So, which is it? Support an incumbent candidate who is known as the King of Pork (spending away the economic future of our children and grandchildren) and has the opportunity to become the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee (providing goodies to special interests); OR support a candidate that has a proven conservative record in the Mississippi Legislature and actively fought against the liberal policies of Obama. Calling for defense of the U.S. Constitution and conservative principles, now, by those who vehemently demonized conservatives and supporters of liberty in the primary election is a repulsive display of arrogance.
Secondly, the Governor of Mississippi will determine the next U.S. Senator for Mississippi, and it is not too far of a stretch to conclude the fix is already in. Some may be saying, “What do you mean?” In my opinion, Cochran did not desire to run again for the U.S. Senate, but the elites in the name of power and riches needed to ensure an elitist U.S. Senator held office. The elites probably decided Cochran was the only one who could defeat McDaniel. So the deal is made: Cochran would run and win at any cost, and after serving two years as Chairman of the powerful U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, he would resign. Upon his resignation, the Mississippi Governor will appoint Cochran’s replacement. Eventually, a special election will be held, but the appointed replacement would be considered the incumbent, and we have seen what happens when a Republican elitist is challenged by a Constitutional conservative opponent. Therefore, the Mississippi Governor and the Republican elites will determine the next Mississippi U.S. Senator and continue business as usual.
The third option for conservative Mississippians is voting for Democrat Travis Childers. Many conservatives make a valid point that they cannot ever vote for a Democrat because of the liberal/socialist policies of the Democrat Party. But let us take a deeper look at a vote for Childers. Childers is pro-life and pro-gun, while Cochran made unusual votes concerning pro-life and pro-gun issues. Childers signed the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s anti-amnesty pledge, while Cochran received huge donations from amnesty leaning supporters. Also, Childers agreed with conservatives at the Neshoba County fair that we cannot sustain a $17 trillion debt, while Cochran’s U.S. Senate tenure reflects spending our children’s future into oblivion. Childers voted against Obamacare while serving as the Congressman for the First Congressional District of Mississippi. Are we so sure Cochran would vote for repeal? Before McDaniel announced his U.S. Senate candidacy, Cochran voted to fund Obamacare, and when he had the chance to stand with Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and others in September 2013 to defund Obamacare, Cochran was nowhere to be found. If Cochran is unwilling to engage in the battle over Obamacare when it counts, what conservative issue will he fight for?
One must also consider two important factors if Childers wins the U.S. Senate race. First, Childers will have to move more towards the right if he desires re-election, which helps in the cause of liberty. Please understand that if Childers does win, his re-election in six years is not assured, which brings up the second factor. Secondly, the Republican elites will realize they must move towards conservative principles to win elections. Of course, they will do it begrudgingly, but it will help in a political shift of the Mississippi Republican Party towards conservatism.
Conservative Republicans should consider a couple of other issues as well. The Republican elites hope and desire for Mississippi Republican voters to forget about the hotly contested primary election, and if one does not forget, to negatively focus on the court challenge of Senator McDaniel. The purpose is to distract voters from Cochran’s unethical campaign that involved the Barbours, Republican office holders who endorsed Cochran prior to the primary, and the Mississippi Conservative PAC (MCP). Just because voters are tired of this political silly season, blindly voting for the candidate who represents the party he/she affiliates is not an excuse to absolve civic responsibility.
In June 2014 when asked about why he, Cochran, was courting Democrats, Cochran responded, “I used to be a Democrat.” He didn’t say that Republican principles, conservative principles, or principles of liberty are in the best interest of Democrat leaning voters. In Cochran’s defense, his supporters quip that they are “enlarging the Republican tent.” Enlarging the Republican tent must be the result of conservative principles and virtues won in the battle field of ideas. We should never bring Democrats and liberals into the fold by pandering to their liberal agenda or adopting their actions. Are Republicans champions of liberty or are we order takers? A Cochran win may ensure that Republicans gain a majority in the U.S. Senate, but it does not ensure conservative ideals or the advancement of liberty.
In order to absolve their culpability of dishonorable behavior conducted by MCP, the Cochran campaign and supporters declare innocence because of legalities involving campaigns and PACs. Let us not put on rose colored shades; there is no line separating the two, except an imaginary line drawn up by elected lawmakers to provide plausible deniability for actions taken by their attack dogs to win at any cost. The incestuous relationship between the Cochran campaign and MCP are evidenced by two politically active brothers; one representing the Cochran campaign and the other representing MCP. Also, fifteen of Cochran campaign contributors donated more than half ($1,105,000) of the MCP total individual contributions ($2,163,950). A combined total for two of those fifteen contributors reached almost 1/3 of the individual contributions ($600,000). In addition, the MCP accepted $250,000 from liberal ex-mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. Why would Bloomberg be interested in a Mississippi U.S. Senate race? Maybe he expects something in return. We could continue looking at all the ties, but we truly know that it leads to the same destination.
The Republican elites and the Republican statewide elected officials (Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, and Congressmen) sold out conservative principles, and have not even distanced themselves from the actions of MCP, the Cochran campaign, or the Barbours. We deserve leaders that are conservative all the time, not just opportunists or career politicians desiring to remain in office or move to the next level. This is an unusual Mississippi U.S. Senate general election. If Cochran wins, nothing changes. If Childers wins, a shift will occur in the Mississippi Republican Party and lead to a more conservative and principled leadership. The direction of Mississippi is in the hands of conservative Republicans on November 4, and as for me, I will vote for conservatism and principles of liberty.