BILL CRAWFORD: Primary intensifies GOP/Tea Party division



Let’s embalm Wednesday, June 4, as O Day. Because it will be Over, it being the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

The back to back to back TV ads will be Over. The incessant emails, social media messages, and robo-calls will be Over. The persistent, pernicious blogs will be Over.

At least for most of us, it will be Over.

For the battle-scarred activists of the Mississippi Republican/Tea Party, it will continue. The scars are real. The division is intense. The consequences will be significant.

I am reminded of the contentious Republican gubernatorial primary between Gil Carmichael and Leon Bramlett in 1979, itself an outgrowth of the Ford/Reagan convention split in 1976. Lasting bitterness among key activists is what I remember most.

In both contests what is known as Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment was trashed, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

In his autobiography “An American Life,” Reagan clarified that he did not coin the commandment, but did adopt it:

“The personal attacks against me during the (California gubernatorial) primary finally became so heavy that the state Republican chairman, Gaylord Parkinson, postulated what he called the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It’s a rule I followed during that campaign and have ever since.”

Speaking ill of fellow party members in attack ads has become quite common in modern GOP primaries, the Georgia Senate primary being another good, I mean, bad example.

Violating the commandment has spread much further though. Speaking ill of fellow Republican elected officials has become a tactic used to gain notoriety, a tactic particularly favored by Tea Party flavored leader Ted Cruz.

There are other platitudes besides Reagan’s commandment that Republican/Tea Party activists violate at their peril:

No house divided against itself will stand (Matt. 2:25)

Union is strength (Aesop Fable – Bundle of Sticks).

Do nothing without a regard to the consequences (Aeson Fable – The Two Frogs).

Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31).

Of course, these moral guides apply to more than just political parties. They apply to families, organizations, religions, and nations.

If we could get up on a mountain and look out over the world…. Oops, wrong century. If we just lie back in our recliners and watch CNN or tune in to Twitter, we can observe the many whose chosen mission is to divide, not unite…to deceive, not illuminate…to destroy, not save.

At the same time, we can observe numerous acts of heroism, generosity, and great sacrifice in the face of disaster. That can only come from resilient American good will.

Guess that means no O Day. The fight between good and evil – yes, evil – is never over.

Bill Crawford ( is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.

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  • Barryjohn7714

    Instead of all this diversionary nonsense, how about we talk about real issues for a change.

    Issue 1. $17,000,000,000,000 US debt. Cochran has voted to raise the
    debt limit more than 20 time and votes for any spending bill that comes along. Remember that any money directed to MS is matched times 10 in the tit for tat game of Washington tax, borrow, and bribe politics.
    McDaniel has voted against more borrowing bills in MS than any other active Senator.

    Issue 2. Amnesty
    for all illegal invaders. Cochran has voted twice against the boarder fence. Cochran is backed by the US Chamber of Commerce and by Washington Lobbyist Haley Barbour. Both badly want Amnesty for all illegal invaders. Remember, terrorists are coming across the boarder too. McDaniel has signed the Fair Immigration Reform Pledge and will work to complete the boarder fence.

    3. Cochran has not spoken out against any of the Obama and Democrat Regime’s evil and criminal activities. Where has Thad been hiding on the Benghazi murders, IRS Targeting, NSA spying and Fast & Furious gun running? Absolutely Silent! Actually it is becoming evident that the 42 year incumbent is not physically capable of fighting back.

    McDaniel is energetic and fearless and will speak out for us and MS values at every opportunity.

    Issue 4. ObamaCare. Cochran’s ad says he has voted 100 times against ObamaCare. There haven’t been 100 votes in the Senate regarding ObamaCare. There haven’t even been 10. Harry Reid has seen to that. Cochran told visitors in his office that we have lost that battle and the fight is over. Cochran cannot fight. He cannot even do a radio or tv interview.
    McDaniel WILL stand tall, speak out and fight to repeal ObamaCare, every sentence, comma and period.

    Issue 5. Support for Obama Appointees. Cochran voted for Chuck Hagel who is now reducing our military to pre-WWII levels and John Kerry who is a joke.

    Issue 6. Why vote for a guy who won’t even serve out his term. It’s well known that Cochran, if reelected, will retire in two years or less. I have seen reports of Cochran at campaign stops being led around by his handlers and US Rep. Gregg Harper like an episode of “Weekend at Bernie’s.” If someone asks Cochran a question, Harper steps in and the 42 year incumbent is not allowed to speak but is led away like a senile grandpa. This is not an attack it’s an issue. The candidate must be able to do the job.

    US Senator is not an honorary position and we really need a man with energy and courage and Chris McDaniel is that man. Wouldn’t you like to see a man from MS on the news at night speaking out against the horrors of the Obama Regime and the terrible destruction of America they are perpetrating? Can we get a fighter in our Senate seat instead of a respected but tired, old, guy who is being totally manipulated by a powerful Washington Lobbyist?

    • Thile

      Issue 1. You and your candidate fail to explain how he’d solve any of the issues you listed in your wall-o-text. Other than some sound bites, what would “speaking out” achieve?
      Interesting that you bring up your candidate’s stance on spending bills in Mississippi. Why didn’t he speak out when the state gave taxpayer funds to a mall contractor? What about the days the legislature voted to give businesses like Twin Creeks Technologies, Handy Hardware, and Automated Data Processing? Those companies promised hundreds of jobs, took millions in “loans,” packed up and left the state during the last 2 years. Not a peep from energetic and fearless McDaniel. Guess he was absent those days.

      Issue 2. What’s with the random capitalization?

      Issue 3. Campaigning in comments sections is a shared trait among McDaniel supporters. Maybe he can get you guys a job as pages in the state senate this fall.

  • 1941641

    Barry john 7714: “US Senator is not an honorary position and we really need a man with energy and courage and Chris McDaniel is that man. Wouldn’t you like to see a man from MS on the news at night speaking out against the horrors of the Obama Regime and the terrible destruction of America they are perpetrating? Can we get a fighter in our Senate seat instead of a respected but tired, old, guy who is being totally manipulated by a powerful Washington Lobbyist?”

    “… the Horrors of the ‘Obama Regime’ and the ‘terrible destruction of America’ lies they are perpetrating?” are no match for the shameful, despicable actions of some Mississippi TP Hoodlum’s unlawful entry into the nursing home area where Thad Cochran’s ailing elderly wife was residing and perpetrated one of the most despicable, gut wrenching acts in modern Mississippi Political History. You, Barryjohn, are really dumb if you think the voters of this state are going to buy the TP political nonsense you are trying to force-feed them through the media.
    And, to top it all off, using “Obama Care” as a wedge issue in your failing efforts. This upcoming June 3rd political victory belongs to Thad Cochran. The TP, in my opinion, can, for the good of America, migrate to outer space, beyond that I don’t know about future Mississippi Politics.

    • Barryjohn7714

      The Madison DA and everyone in the Madison DA’s office and law enforcement agrees that McDaniel had nothing to do with the dastardly photo. The kid that did that is not in any Tea Party group in MS. You can hardly compare taking an illegal photo to the Obama horrors of four murdered in Benghazi as the CIA was smuggling guns to Al Qaeda, the ATF smuggling guns to Mexican drug cartels, and the weaponizing of the IRS against the Regime’s political opponents.
      Senator Cochran, bless his heart, is just too far past his prime to be
      able to represent MS in the US Senate. There are just too many reports
      of his inability to speak to people. He can’t debate or even hold a TV
      or Radio interview.

      McDaniel is honest, energetic and fearless. He will fight for MS values
      day and night. MS cannot afford another 6 years of silence with the
      Obama Regime destroying the American way of life.