Politics can be like football. In the heat of battle when passions run high, fans/voters can look at the very same event and see entirely different outcomes. The same kind of thing has happened in the weeks since the contentious primary runoff election for U.S. Senate, and it seems to me that the Daily Journal editorial page is run by Cochran fans.
The prevailing narrative seems to be that the GOP did a good and noble thing to reach out across the aisle to attract new voters to our “big tent.” Which is all well and good since the Tea Party is extreme right-wingers who exploit sickly women in nursing facilities to make political hay, and are, according to Charlie Mitchell, “mean.” A close review of some facts casts some serious doubt on this point of view. Here are just two of many examples of the “positive outreach” paid for by the Barbour machine, that took place on election day:
• The radio ads, attributed to an unregistered PAC called “Citizens for Progress” ran 48 times in a 12-hour period on WMGO in Canton. This is a partial transcript: “If someone tells you that by voting today, you cannot vote in November – it’s just a Tea Party, bald-faced lie.” Are you going to let the clock run out on today? By not voting, you are saying ‘take away all of my government programs, such as food stamps, early breakfast and lunch programs, millions of dollars to our black universities.’ Everything we and our families depend on that comes from Washington will be cut. Mississippi will never be the same. The question is, will you spend $5 on gas to vote, or allow the Tea Party to send us back to the good ol’ bad days? Vote against the Tea Party. Vote Thad Cochran.”
• Phone lines were saturated with robocalls that urged, “It’s time to take a stand and say no to the Tea Party. No to their obstruction, no to their disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president.”
Nowhere in these vile, exploitative and false messages is there anything that encourages voters to consider the higher ideas of the Republican Party and foster unity. The columns published in these pages that put a positive spin on this behavior are misinformed at best. Additionally, to imply that one side (the Tea Party) in this often nasty campaign cycle had a monopoly on being “mean” is disingenuous, and undermines the author’s credibility.
There is no regret being expressed by Thad Cochran or his supporters – to them this is just politics and they assume that come Nov. 4, we’ll all move on and send Thad back to Washington. They may be surprised to find that a big chunk of their voter base will conclude, upon further review, that Cochran definitely crossed the line and decide to throw the penalty flag.
Michael Daniels is a Chris McDaniel supporter from Tupelo. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.