Thornton: Why I can’t pull the lever for Cochran

By Mark Thornton, Laurel Leader Call, October 31, 2014

It’s no secret that I supported Chris McDaniel for Senate. And it’s also no secret that I thought he should concede after the run-off, with his credibility intact, and live to fight another day.

He had exposed the despicable tactics of the state’s Republican Establishment, and conservatives were ticked off. They were ready to follow him wherever he wanted to take them. He could’ve won any office he wanted.

One day, he’ll still be able to, but it will take a little image-repair work. The same machine that took a win-at-all-costs approach to beat back his bid to unseat six-term U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran have successfully sullied his reputation.

They’ve painted his principled fight against the system as a fool’s errand by a selfish, egomaniacal brat. That’s a shame. But it’s part of the plan, too. By putting the focus on him and the election challenge, they’ve taken the spotlight off the real bad guys in this debacle — the power brokers of the Republican Party, who propped up Cochran, a la “Weekend at Bernie’s,” for their own bought-and-paid-for reasons.

Privately, a few of them have said, unapologetically, that no rules were broken and, hey, this is the way it is in big-boy politics. That’s understandable. I’m not some hand-wringing namby-pamby who is naive about the ways of the world.

Courting the Democratic vote to win a primary is one thing … But to sacrifice one of your own promising young leaders, with race-baiting and promising God-knows-what to your lifelong opponents … well, that’s un- acceptable.

Even worse than their tactics, though, has been their reaction to them. They’ve been unapologetic and unwilling to explain why they did what they did. I could at least start to respect someone who was willing to step up and admit something like: “Getting a Republican majority was so important that we were willing to win at all costs for the betterment of the state and the country. I’m ashamed that we had to take down a really good man to do that. It’s one of the unpleasant things about politics. I’m not proud of the way we did it, but we’re going to work every day to make you proud and to make up for the unsavory way that we stayed in power.”

That’s a speech you won’t hear, though, because it sounds too honest. Truth is, it wouldn’t be honest at all. The Cochran camp isn’t going to do a damned thing for you and me. They won’t answer our questions about the election because they know what happened is indefensible.

They’re all just circling the wagons so they can keep their little ring of power. That’s why they got Cochran to run one more time, against his will (several sources close to him have said) and that’s why they’re all being so complimentary of him, his service and what he can do for the state while the country continues to go trillions of dollars in debt. It’s not so they can do something for you. It’s so they can do something for themselves. Each of them is hoping to be appointed to replace him in a couple of years. And if they can’t be the man, they at least want to stay on the gravy train.

That’s why they keep avoiding the questions and demonizing Chris. It’s easier than explaining what they did.

Just a few weeks ago, Gov. Phil Bryant was here for the local economic development banquet. His handlers sent word to local media representatives that he would be available for a few questions before the event, but “politics is off limits.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. If you were a party to doing something you can’t defend, maybe you shouldn’t have done it. After all, this is big-boy politics, right? Scrutiny is part of it. I ignored the request and worked in a question about his friendship with Chris and endorsement of Cochran, which he graciously answered before being whisked away to the event.

I believe that Thad Cochran is a Southern gentleman. But like so many others who have been in power too long, he’s become a political prostitute. And considering that he allowed himself to be controlled to even run again tells me that someone else will be pulling the strings when he gets back in office. That’s why I feel better voting for Childers than I would pulling the lever for Cochran. At least the Democratic nominee is his own man.

A vote for Cochran is a vote for everything I deplore about politics.

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Comments

  1. According to Jim’s logic, The Anointed One was wrong for seeking out the votes of people from the Reform Party, Constitution Party, and Independents during the primary/run-off.

  2. My main question about this article is this: Why does the writer assume in the last sentences that Travis Childers is his own man? Granted, he was more conservative than national Democrats when he was in the U.S. House, but was he an outspoken rebel against the liberal Democratic leadership? Is he a Tea Party die-hard? Might not he have been pressured to run by the Democratic Party this year merely to have someone on the ballot instead of Bill Marcy? Mr. Childers may be a great guy (I really don’t know), but Tea Party conservatives need to be cautious about supporting him. I know most of those reading this blog aren’t going to vote for Cochran today, but be careful endorsing Childers. You don’t want to give the opportunity for the Republican establishment to run to the right of the Tea Party next year. The establishment, for all of their many and very real faults, didn’t endorse a Democratic candidate this year. It’s increasingly becoming clear that many in the Tea Party have. That’s going to make accusing the establishment of being RINOs next year sound a little empty. Vote according to your principles today, but just be careful to not to put blind faith in Travis Childers unless you know him well.

    • Sorry, I don’t put blind faith in Republicans or Democrats as both are to blame for the situation that we are now in, 18 trillion dollar debt, unsecured borders, run away welfare, weakened military, and on and on. But at least I can sleep at night by not supporting or condoning what happened in the Mississippi Senate Primary by supporting their actions with my vote.

  3. IMissNixon says:

    Good post Mark. Expresses they way many Mississippi conservatives feel this morning.

  4. William Smith says:

    1. lived through the 60’s and this stuff about “the system” and “part on the plan” and “the power brokers” and “bought and paid for reasons” sounds so 60’s to me. Far out!

    “They’ve painted his principled fight against the system as a fool’s errand by a selfish, egomaniacal brat. That’s a shame. But it’s part of the plan, too. By putting the focus on him and the election challenge, they’ve taken the spotlight off the real bad guys in this debacle — the power brokers of the Republican Party, who propped up Cochran, a la “Weekend at Bernie’s,” for their own bought-and-paid-for reasons.”

    2. I really don’t get this about sacrificing one of your own promising young leaders. Nobody made McDaniel run against Cochran. Nobody make him keep dishonestly referring to Cochran as a liberal. Nobody made him attack one of Missiissippi’s distinguished sons. Nobody made him continue his attacks on Thad Cochran’s character on McDaniel’s two faebook pages. Nobody made him keep working his most dedicated followers into a frenzy and encourage their crazy posts. He chose to do all that. I just don’t buy that he was a rising star. I think he hit his MS high water mark with this race. He burned his bridges, showed a lack of discernment, and failed to lead effectively those who continued to follow him. And re race-baiting, I think anyone who knows MS poliitcs knows that race is always just below if not at the surface. I am suspicious, frankly of the racial views, of those who have kept throwing around “race baiting” re the Cochran. There was the McDaniel radio program. The undercurrents of his campaign speeches. But most important there was too much of paternalism of the “our black brothers were fooled and misguided” sort.

    “Courting the Democratic vote to win a primary is one thing … But to sacrifice one of your own promising young leaders, with race-baiting and promising God-knows-what to your lifelong opponents … well, that’s un- acceptable.”

    3. I think the Cochran camp is going to do a lot for Mississippi, though not for me. And why should they subject themselves to accusatory “gotcha” quesions by people who in their own minds already “know what happened.”

    “The Cochran camp isn’t going to do a damned thing for you and me. They won’t answer our questions about the election because they know what happened is indefensible.”

    4. If you really think this, and what you say about big boy politics is true in virtually every election in every state, and has been true since the founders ran against each other, then quite complainng and accusing.

    “Privately, a few of them have said, unapologetically, that no rules were broken and, hey, this is the way it is in big-boy politics. That’s understandable. I’m not some hand-wringing namby-pamby who is naive about the ways of the world.”

    5. I’d like to know what gravy train they are on that Sen Cochran can keep them on. Are they getting bribes, kick-backs, under the table money, dishonestly awarded contracts….what? Let’s have specifics. Evidence. Charges. And show me an ambitious politician who would not try to position himself for appointment to a Senate seat. That is hardly a corrupt thing.

    “It’s not so they can do something for you. It’s so they can do something for themselves. Each of them is hoping to be appointed to replace him in a couple of years. And if they can’t be the man, they at least want to stay on the gravy train.”

    6. Inasmuch as one cannot at the same time be a lady and prostitute, I am doubtful one can be a gengeleman and a prostitute. Beyond that impossibility, the rest ofwhat you say is nothing but speculation without fact. Who is the “someone else”? How to they pull the strings? What do they tell him to do. To return to your comments about McDaniel as a good man whose repuatation has been sullied, is that not what he, you, and so many other supporters done to a Southern gentleman who has served MS long and well? I think “somebody” (you know who and others) owes Sen. Cochran an apology.

    “I believe that Thad Cochran is a Southern gentleman. But like so many others who have been in power too long, he’s become a political prostitute. And considering that he allowed himself to be controlled to even run again tells me that someone else will be pulling the strings when he gets back in office.”

    7. Here’s the really incomprehensible things. A person who has conservative principles voting for a man who would caucus with the Democrats, vote to elect Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer as either majority or minority leader. Who would have to support the Democrat party and agenda or else change parties. A man whose ACU rating in the last year he was a U..S. Congressman was about 30%. A man who will hold the office and causus with the Democrats for a minimum of 6 yrrs. A man who is “his own man” who will be beholden to labor unions and other liberal interest groups. A conservative voting for Democrat control of the Senate. For very liberal judicial appointments. Makes great sense.

    “That’s why I feel better voting for Childers than I would pulling the lever for Cochran. At least the Democratic nominee is his own man.”

    It’s all groovy bro’. Peace out.

  5. William Smith says:

    Only nerve touched is one that responds negatively to disengenuous reasoning.

  6. William Smith says:

    There you go again.

  7. William Smith says:

    Relief here.

  8. William Smith says:

    “WASHINGTON — It was late spring, and Republican leaders knew that if they wanted to win the Senate, they needed to crush the enemy: not Democrats, but the rebels within their own party.

    And Chris McDaniel, a Senate candidate from Mississippi who had a history of making sexist and racially insensitive remarks, was a problem.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/us/politics/-republicans-first-had-to-wrestle-with-their-own-poor-discipline-.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A15%22%7D&_r=0

    • Hey William: Very enlightening, and re-affirming of what could have been our worst-case fear scenario come true. I hope that upon reading the article, our McGOPer friends and all MS Tea Party Patriots will take note for the future so that they will not repeat the mistakes of the past by getting behind The Anointed One for statewide office. Thanks,
      Pappy

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