Shameless race-baiting, betrayal in Mississippi: GOP establishment wins, but at a high cost to party unity

Haley Barbour                       Associated Press photo 

Haley Barbour Associated Press

Preserving Thad Cochran in the U.S. Senate, like a specimen in the Museum of Natural History, was important to the Republican establishment and its network of lobbyists, string-pullers and special pleaders who pose as citizens of rectitude and nobility, not like the unwashed in the grass roots who are forever embarrassing the party elites. But the price of victory over an upstart with the backing of the despised Tea Party is likely to be long-lasting and expensive, and not just in Mississippi.

Chris McDaniel, the upstart, put his finger on that price on election night. "There is nothing strange at all about standing as people of faith for our country that we built, that we believe in," he said. "But there is something a bit strange, there is something strange about a Republican primary that is decided by liberal Democrats."

Mr. McDaniel holds no distinction as the perfect candidate, or even as necessarily the best candidate, but what makes him distinctive is that he is the candidate who won the most Republican votes in a Republican primary, and was counted out by those in his party who think they're entitled to cancel the result. He's entitled to regard himself as the Republican nominee, if not the candidate on the Republican line on the November ballot. Mr. Cochran and his lobbyist heroes deprived Republicans of their rightful choice in a perfectly legal way, unless it turns out that how they did it was not legal. But legal or not, it was a breathtaking act of betrayal of the people who thought Thad Cochran was an honorable man.

The three-week runoff campaign, required after Mr. McDaniel led the ticket but fell just short of a majority, descended into a nasty mud fight with mud balls, some laced with sharp stones, thrown by both sides. Dark hints attributed to the McDaniel campaign suggested that the senator had an "inappropriate" relationship with a female staffer while his wife lay ill in a Jackson nursing home. A blogger that the senator's campaign said was working for the McDaniel camp was arrested for trying to break into a nursing home to take a photograph of the ailing wife. Neither the senator nor Mr. McDaniel was accused of keeping a Sunday school.

After the senator ran a close second in the preferential primary, he was widely regarded as a dead duck. The men with the most to lose if the senator lost, led by Haley Barbour, the former governor and a big-time Washington lobbyist, went to work. They revived a strategy that worked in the past, organizing black preachers and white unionists who ordinarily couldn't find a clothespin big enough to keep the stink out of their nostrils when forced into close quarters with a Republican. Soon they were employing all the old tactics the segregationists once used, the "walking-around money" distributed to preachers in storefront churches to get out the vote, rumor, innuendo and finally to the not-so-subtle race-baiting that once worked so well.

The reminder of the bad old days, which have no legitimate echo today, worked. In Jackson and surrounding Hinds County, where 16,649 voters cast ballots for the candidates three weeks ago, 24,889 voters cast ballots this time — in a county with only 20,567 Republicans registered to vote. Thousands of those voters were in black neighborhoods, where "Republican" is a reviled word. The pattern was repeated even more emphatically in the Delta counties along the Mississippi River.

The black preachers and politicians, Democrats all, now rightly claim credit for saving Mr. Cochran from the evil Tea Party Republicans, and they're entitled to their reward, such as it may be. They should bear in mind that the senator is not likely to show any more loyalty to them than he has shown to his own party. He will likely disappoint everyone but the lobbyists who used race and resentment to aid his escape from oblivion. If he wants to do the really honorable thing, he would consider switching parties.

Betrayal is a dangerous game. The gains are nearly always for a shorter term than expected. The establishment Republicans have a lot to say about big tents and party loyalty, but when someone without "the smell of the hive" unexpectedly upsets their candidate, there's the urge to squash and pout.

The Tea Party is a blunt instrument, a reaction to establishment arrogance. Their candidates are new to the game, always bold, usually brash and sometimes unsophisticated, and learning. But they're not going away. "The duel between the Hatfields and the McCoys is far from settled," says one Republican strategist. In fact, it has barely begun.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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commented 2014-07-01 14:54:59 -0400 · Flag
Ben writes:

It appears that the National Republican Party succeeded in defeating the Tea Party challenger for a Senate seat from Mississippi in the Republican Primary by buying Democrat votes. Here is the story as told by one of many vote buyers, a black pastor.

For the 2012 election, I donated to the National Republican Party, what I now realize are RINOs, Republicans in Name Only. No more. I will continue to donate to Tea Party candidates as they seem to be the only ones who are honorable, principled, and willing to stop the destruction of America, a country I hardly recognize any more.
commented 2014-06-29 15:34:05 -0400 · Flag
C.R. writes:

Except you see no chance of a post-cliff exceptionalism found. I’m not convinced. (The US), statistically, should never have existed and should have died at least 3 times if dispassionately observed. Some kind of divine providence was found repeatedly. I’m not convinced it won’t be located again, post-disaster.
commented 2014-06-29 15:32:46 -0400 · Flag
J.C. writes:

this thought came directly from me LONG, LONG ago. this is ground zero of my cynical. realistic view on things.
commented 2014-06-29 15:31:52 -0400 · Flag
Delroi writes:

Which is why the wall is hit full-on at high speed before any of these necessary reforms can be implemented.

Things will have to be taken away via crisis, this country is too indolent and bloated to ELECT the adult course or restraint. The ‘stop’ button will be the brick wall. Or the cliff. (Choose your metaphor).
commented 2014-06-29 15:29:40 -0400 · Flag
C.R. writes:

Marvelous sophistry. Actually the most persuasive kind: apologia enveloped in the shroud of ‘balance’.

I’ve learned that strong political beliefs in either direction limit your ability to make rational decisions more than almost anything else..

C.R.: I wonder if the founders and framers thought that way? I think not. They were open-minded men who seemed (most of them) open to reasonable compromise, except for the absolute truths necessary to be guarded as inviolate for a constitutional republic. Having studied deeply, they were not relativists (as the tenet above espouses) when it came to absolute moral truths and comprehension of human nature.

I’ve learned that self-interest is the most powerful force in the world. People in unethical, predatory, and nonsense jobs will do mental gymnastics to convince themselves they’re doing the right thing. Those who criticize the behavior of “greedy Wall Street bankers” underestimate their tendency to do the same thing if offered an eight-figure salary.

C.R.: ergo, the profound brilliance of the founders’ checks and balances, which foresaw the greed and tyranny of human nature and harnessed it to make it the mill of slowly consolidated, pareto-optimal solutions.

I’ve learned that people are twice as biased as they think they are, which is precisely why biases are dangerous.

C.R.: an unfalsifiable observation searching for quantification. You mean biases are deeply-held and typically serlf-serving? Until experience forces a re-think? Thanks for the tautology. If people weren’t 2x as biased, would they just be replete of preferences, and half as dangerous?

I’ve learned that unsustainable things can last years, even decades, much longer than people think.

C.R.: because of a vast majority need to be wrong in a crowd, not correct in a minority. Because of a majority default toward cowardice and compliance. Until the deities of math are good and truly phucking pissed, as they are today, and then unsustainable communal pretending arrives at unsustainable. The math of entitlements can be tortured no further, and nearly everyone is losing. And then 5hit changes. Hard. I posit the 5hit will change hard in our investable lifetime. That is my ultimate point.
commented 2014-06-29 15:21:00 -0400 · Flag
J.C. writes:

a few things I’ve learned:

I’ve learned that strong political beliefs in either direction limit your ability to make rational decisions more than almost anything else..

I’ve learned that self-interest is the most powerful force in the world. People in unethical, predatory, and nonsense jobs will do mental gymnastics to convince themselves they’re doing the right thing. Those who criticize the behavior of “greedy Wall Street bankers” underestimate their tendency to do the same thing if offered an eight-figure salary.

I’ve learned that people are twice as biased as they think they are, which is precisely why biases are dangerous.

I’ve learned that unsustainable things can last years, even decades, much longer than people think.
commented 2014-06-29 10:46:39 -0400 · Flag
A.A. writes:

JC, have you become so cynical and consenting of the putrid corruption of the system by the One-World Socialists, the entrenched Leftist Political Class, and their barnacle-encrusted country-club RINO lackey Elites that you cannot see anything but decay, decline, and defeat? It is precisely this defeatist attitude that the entrenched Political Class counts on to keep their claws on the levers of power – you play right into their strategy – forgetting that the U.S. was never meant to have an invulnerable elite class, political or otherwise. This tenet was at the core of their wisdom.
commented 2014-06-29 10:36:03 -0400 · Flag
Jim writes:

Although I will never lose hope that we can get there again, I no longer believe what we (the government and the people) can be reformed to his description.

I liken it to a house that over time has been worn out by pests and mold and rot.

As the owner sees these things intrude, he tries to battle them back and repair, which works for a while, but eventually, it becomes too much and the house succumbs to the rot. The only two things that can happen at that point are the house collapses on its own, or it is torn down. Either way it gets replaced. What we need to ensure is that we are around to put up the replacement.
commented 2014-06-29 10:13:18 -0400 · Flag
J.C. writes:

great. the “plan” revolves around “IF”. ok, I’ll play along. Go & spread your message nationally & execute look forward to your funding sources or where you planning on using the NPR & other “free” media outlets provided by Big Gov?
I look forward to the novel concept you will use to appeal to >70% of the populace that live off or use a big govt service or writeoff I will attend your speech. please remember
to choose someone w real national appeal, not some fringe character. telling seniors that their SS payments exceed contributions usually by year 8 of collecting & due to this you will need to limit or eliminate payments. Also looking forward to same message to same audience on prescription drugs. Look forward to the ever growing number of single parent families that child credits & the like are being reduced/eliminated , that healthcare is going to be privatized. I could go on & on, if nothing else, it will provide amusement. This is not a plan, it is pipedream, but I suspect you know this & that is what is breaking your heart..
commented 2014-06-29 10:10:00 -0400 · Flag
Spartacus writes:

This is the Most Cogent, well thought out, Outline for what action Needs to be taken to Re-vitalize this country that I have Read.

It is broad, based on essential Branch Structure and Objectives, provides a real pathway for this country. It made me feel good reading it, it was like re-connecting with a long lost friend (the country we all knew & Loved), it is essentially the same Clarity that Brat used to Defeat Cantor.

As for JC, he has become so accepting of the entrenched corruption (what can I do about it ? except work/profit from what is there) that he has lost his ability to dream of a better America, reading your synopsis was a chance to experience a powerful dream of what can be again with Leadership ! and that is something that Must Never Be Relinquished !
commented 2014-06-29 10:07:47 -0400 · Flag
A.A. writes:

If we return government to its proper role, making it smaller and smarter. If we restructure government’s most important domestic programs to avoid their fiscal collapse. If we keep taxation, litigation, and regulation to a minimum. If we celebrate success, entrepreneurship, and innovation. If we lift up the middle class. If we hand over to the next generation a legacy of growth and prosperity, rather than entitlements and indebtedness. IF WE UNSHACKLE THE ENERGY AND AMBITION OF THE CITIZEN FROM THE CHAINS OF OPPRESSIVE, INTRUSIVE GOVERNMENT. If we actually practice CAPITALISM and eliminate the Crony Welfare State for the top 1% and the Plantation Welfare State for the bottom 20%. If we respect borders and ask others to respect ours. If we return government to the people by eliminating the entrenched and parasitic Political Class by imposing reasonable Term Limits – 2 Terms consecutively – and banning Lobbying by former Public Servants, full stop, thus returning government to Citizen Legislators, as the Founders intended. And if we understand that the failed policies of the Left are not to be “managed” rather to be “dismantled”…these quite simple (yet profound) concepts could form the nascent basis for true husbandry of a magnificent legacy as well as a politically attractive platform…and a path to victory.
commented 2014-06-29 09:52:44 -0400 · Flag
J.C. writes:

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan

so, as Mickey Rourke’s as Henry Chinaski in Barfly would say, “to all my friends” in this e-chamber what’s your plan to WIN?! list the steps you think will bring the crown, b/c whining & detestation will not bring victory & your Gen Sherman political tactics will FAIL
I don’t disagree about the political parties both being corrupt & useless. Eventually I foresee pitchforks for most of the anglo, middle class & higher of America but as Agustine of Hippo once said, “Lord make me chaste, but not yet” This revolution is still years away, just like the end of USD hegemony.
commented 2014-06-29 09:38:32 -0400 · Flag
Delroi writes:

Haley barbour, mitch mcconnell, (sadly, the once honorable) john mccain, eric cantor, etc… I call these stalactites the (karl) rovean praetorian guard of the GOP. No new ideas, no honor, no impulse other than the one to protect incumbency. What is there new approach to the immigration debacle? New idea for market-based healthcare? The repeal of obamacare? The rationalizing of foreign policy whilst re-establishing a muscular stance against mushrooming adversaries? Auditing the fed? Repealing and re-doing dodd-frank? Exposing wall street? Entitlement means-testing and reform?


The establishment gop is simply a slifhtly slower boat to oblivion. NO FUCKING THANKS. I DETEST THEM WITH EQUAL FERVOR TO MY LOATHING OF THE SOCIALIST-LEFT. Both are slight variants on the death of USA via statism.

Tea party or bust. Anybody voting for ‘gradualist’ statist-apologist gop candidates are pretending.
commented 2014-06-29 09:36:13 -0400 · Flag
T.N. writes:

We have become a Nation of Low-lifes, anything goes, it is a country Devoid of Standards,
expectations and style, But hey I got buck’s and that is the only qualifier worth pondering
– It ALL Needs to Go, especially decrepit apparatchiks like Cochran who somehow believes
he is a grandee ! The cancer spreads, unchecked, everyday in cartonville !
commented 2014-06-29 09:35:09 -0400 · Flag
A.R. writes:

This is the last straw. Because this is grotesque beyond measure. Hiring out Mississippi Democrat Zombie Welfare voters to push you over the finish line is political cynicism at its most degenerated. These venal, entrenched, entitled Establishment Republican reptiles are a cancer…as bad a cancer as the debased Collectivists on the Left. A pox on both their houses. And the filthy, tattered Race Card is once again pulled out of the deck…when will poor blacks who have been enslaved into Welfare dependency for generations finally understand that they are only being exploited as pawns in the political game…do they really want to stay in Welfare chains for the next 100 years? The Establishment Republicans must be expunged. They are worthy only of contempt and derision.