With less than four months until the primary election for US Senate in Mississippi, the political season is now in full swing. And like clockwork, the long-anticipated attacks against Senator Chris McDaniel by allies of the Thad Cochran camp have begun in earnest, and sadly, in dishonestly, if not downright hilarity.
Finding themselves in what must be an increasingly desperate situation, Senator Cochran and his well-funded surrogates and friends have initiated a campaign of low blows. This operation of deceit is nothing more than the establishment of the Republican Party, both on the national and state level, rallying around a weakened leader in a desperate attempt to make him look good by tearing down his opponent.
To carry out their campaign of trickery, they have formed a new Super PAC, which has the backing of Haley Barbour, and is deceptively named Mississippi Conservatives. But don’t be fooled, there’s nothing conservative about it. In a recently released negative television ad, Senator McDaniel’s record in the state senate, as well as his reputation, is falsified, twisted, and distorted, to use the most family-oriented language possible, for to truly evaluate its worth would require much harsher, un-Christian words.
The ad itself, entitled “Who is Chris McDaniel? Whoever he needs to be,” attempts to paint Senator McDaniel as a flip-flopper and is based on three issues: tort reform, federal involvement in public education, and deficit spending. Three issues, mind you, in which Senator Cochran has zero credibility for any reform efforts, unlike Senator McDaniel.
On the issue of tort reform, Senator McDaniel, derisively labeled a “personal injury lawyer” in the ad, has shown throughout his legislative career that although he is an attorney he is not beholden to that profession’s heavy lobby. He has consistently voted in favor of bills to reform the system by punishing those who repeatedly file frivolous lawsuits and to limit attorney fees. Senator Cochran, on the other hand, has sided with Democrats and trial lawyers throughout his time in Washington, voting numerous times to kill attempts to limit attorney fees or to institute any kind of tort reform legislation.
Cochran’s friends also want you to believe that Senator McDaniel is a supporter of Common Core and federal involvement in education. Yet in the state senate he has voted to stop the implementation of the Common Core standards and sponsored a bill to allow parents of public school children to opt out of mandatory electronic data tracking systems, something becoming more popular across the nation.
Senator Cochran, though, has been a huge friend to the continued federal takeover of public education. He voted to create the Department of Education that was brainchild of Jimmy Carter and the teachers unions, supported George W. Bush’s disastrous “No Child Left Behind” law that was written by Ted Kennedy, and has voiced his support for the Common Core standards and President Obama’s “Race to the Top” education plan.
The ad also shamefully accuses Senator McDaniel of supporting deficit spending, essentially a charge that he is not a fiscal conservative. And this coming from the campaign of the biggest spender in Washington. Such humor is better suited for the Comedy Channel than a serious campaign for US Senate, for Senator McDaniel’s fiscal record is clear. He has been rock-solid in the state senate, working hard to bring the state budget under control and routinely voting against wasteful spending. In his pledge to the people of Mississippi, he has vowed to continue advocating conservative fiscal policies in the US Senate by sponsoring and supporting serious spending cuts.
The same cannot be said of Thad Cochran. His supporters, though, are trying their best to convince us that the aged Senator “has worked to reduce the national debt … and to get federal spending under control,” in the words of Governor Phil Bryant, in his op-ed in the Clarion Ledger on Super Bowl Sunday endorsing Cochran.
Well, Governor, if that’s the case, he has not been very effective. In January 1973, when Thad Cochran first entered Congress as a member of the House of Representatives, the national debt stood at less than $400 billion; today it is over $17 trillion. He has voted to raise the debt ceiling numerous times, totaling trillions of dollars, supported an incalculable number of major appropriations bills loaded with ridiculous pork, and opposed any major attempt to cut spending. In fact, last year he couldn’t even bring himself to support an amendment that asked for a miniscule, across-the-board cut of less than one half of one percent. He has authored no plans to balance the budget, cut the national debt, or to reform entitlements in over 40 years in Congress.
And nothing has changed this year either. Last month Senator Cochran voted for the Murray-Ryan budget plan that increased federal spending, a major cave to Obama. And because of that wonderful agreement, we got important appropriations like these: The State Department announced plans to spend $95,000 to teach inmates in Haitian prisons how to make their own uniforms, while the National Institutes of Health has crafted a program to spend nearly half a million dollars to study why gay men in Peru get syphilis. Isn’t Cochran’s Washington wonderful with our money?
There is one thing we can say about Cochran’s long career that is beyond dispute: he is one of the few in Congress who can claim credit for all the fiscal mess we find ourselves in because he has been there each and every day for over 40 years. That he cannot hide from.
So, can any reasonable thinking person believe that there is any credibility in such deceitful campaign ads, that Senator Cochran’s liberal record in Washington can be touted over a proven, lifelong conservative in Chris McDaniel? The proof is in the record, and for Thad Cochran, it ain’t good.