06.27.2014 1

Mississippi Burning

mississippi_pamphletBy Rick Manning

Politics is about the acquisition, expansion or maintenance of power, and the lengths that people go to achieve that power is what we actually learn from the process.

In the Mississippi Republican primary and run-off elections, we saw this pursuit in its most raw form.  An independent blogger attempting to hit the big time while influencing the election violated basic rules of decency by snapping a picture of Senator Thad Cochran’s invalid wife at a rest home was ugly.

But it was Senator Cochran himself and the Republican Party establishment that propped the incumbent up which revealed their craven need for power that truly was shocking.  While many in D.C.’s win-at-any-cost political culture are hailing the decision to use Democrat operatives fueled with “walking around money” and ads targeting blacks calling their Republican opponents racist as brilliant, one wonders if Cochran survives the general election now.

Cochran’s embrace of the welfare state in an attempt to get black Democrats to vote for him in a Republican run-off succeeded for the short-term, but those D.C. hucksters at the National Republican Senatorial Committee have only themselves to blame if Republicans fall one seat short of a majority in the aftermath.

In a results oriented world, the “victory” in Mississippi, now puts the Magnolia S.tate in play for the General Election, and it is hard to find a path for a Cochran win if Democrats are smart.  And they are.

Anyone who has been paying close attention to electoral politics for at least the past four years knows that the Democrats have run very tight voter suppression campaigns aimed at single issue conservatives.  Typically these campaigns feature previously unknown groups sending mail into targeted voters denouncing the Republican nominee as being anti-gun, or pro-abortion, or a supporter of tax increases.

If there is a large coal mining constituency, the voter suppression operation ties the Republican to global warming whackos, even as it is funded by those same green altar worshippers.

This is Thad Cochran’s General Election problem.

The Democrats have all of the distributed flyers, paid ads and contracts between Cochran and his allies.  They are loaded for bear, with $100 million promised by one radical environmentalist wing nut available to be spent to keep control of the Senate.  It doesn’t take too much imagination to realize the devastating impact that replaying Cochran’s desperate race card playing, big government appeal to the Republican voters who still believe in limited government will have.  Those who were never supposed to see it, will be drowning in Cochran’s big government attack on their values before the general election.

Cochran and his national party allies have revealed themselves, in their quest to keep power, as being nothing more or less than panderers to whatever might get them the votes to win at a particular moment in time.

The left will use Cochran’s own campaign against him, convincing conservative and independent voters to reject him, and it will work.

What’s more, nationally the Cochran big government appeal will be used against other Republicans, as their silence is evidence that they support not only the tactics, but the big government issues that were exploited.

When Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Missouri Todd Aiken offended the pro-abortion left, it took less than a few hours for the national Republican establishment to eviscerate him, dooming his chances to beat vulnerable incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Yet, these same “leaders” if not directly responsible, are at least indirectly culpable, for Cochran’s ugly race baiting turn, and their real time silence serves as their indictment.

If Thad Cochran loses in November, and Vice President Joe Biden is breaking ties in the U.S. Senate, these same folks will blame conservatives for their loss.  However, if there was a shred of honesty in them, they would realize that they have no one to blame but themselves.

Of course, if there was a shred of honesty in them, they wouldn’t be willing to run a despicable, win-at-any-cost campaign attacking the very principles that they claim to uphold.

Conservatives learned in Mississippi that for establishment Republicans, the end justifies the means, making it impossible to separate them from their “big government” peers.

The only remaining question post-Mississippi is will conservatives still reward them with their votes as the lesser of two evils?

Rick Manning is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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