Drama. Something we hoped we left behind in High School but, unfortunately in the world of politics, learning to play nice in the sandbox was never taught. This week, the name of our sandbox is Mississippi and the two children fighting over the toys’ names are Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel.
Now, I am not disrespecting either man as we all know its ludicrous to refer to grown men as children. However, for image sake, I believe a playground is the most accurate way to describe the political environment of the Senate Primary Runoff in Mississippi.
Whether you want to throw mud at the McDaniel campaign for a blogger taking a picture in a nursing home or kick dirt in the face of Farmer Thad who had a farm and on that farm he did “indecent things with animals.” Regardless, its obvious the media is being given a plethora of opportunities for juicy and entertaining pieces on both candidates.
But while we love the drama for the snark factor, is it really what the voters of Mississippi need to be focusing on when they go to the polls on Tuesday to cast their vote in the runoff? Is enough emphasis being put on how the candidates differ on the issues at hand that affect not only Mississippians, but also all Americans?
Wouldn’t you think this should be more of the focus considering that this should be a referendum on who deserves more seats at the table? The so-called Republican Establishment has continued to lose most of their national battles where a single Tea Party candidate is matched up to an Establishment candidate. David Brat, Joni Ernst, Ben Sasse and almost all of the races in Texas have seen Tea Party victories when the ballot was just a clear one on one competition. Yet, the Establishment likes to continuously boast of their win in South Carolina, where Lindsey Graham went up against three Conservatives, and the reelection of John Boehner as the death of the Tea Party.
According to Gallup, Mississippi is ranked as the 2nd most Conservative state in the United States with only Wyoming beating them by 3 percentage points, with 51% of Wyoming residents identifying themselves as Conservatives. Notice, that I am saying the word Conservative. Not Republican.. Conservative. Big difference and the people of Mississippi are intelligent enough to realize right now there is a difference between the two words.
So, if 48% of Mississippians consider themselves to be Conservatives, what exactly does that mean on key issues and who aligns more with the Conservative viewpoint on the issues?
According to a study just released by the Brookings Institute on the future of a political movement, more then 38% of those within the Establishment are rooting for failure of the President’s policies as compared to 78% of Tea Party Conservatives. Let’s highlight 3 of the President’s most aggressive policies he has pursued.
On health care, Cochran voted in 2013 to end the debate which allowed Senate Democrats to re-insert funding for Obamacare into the Continuing Resolution to fund the Federal Government. He might have voted against the final bill. However, that was just a political play since he knew that voting for cloture was in essence a de facto vote to fund Obamacare since it ended the debate and allowed a party line vote by Senator Reid.
In exact contrast, Chris McDaniel commented “We must commit ourselves towards the complete removal of Obamacare.” While in the State Legislature, McDaniel supported legislation requiring that Mississippi agencies not to participate in the government healthcare scheme. He was lead council on behalf of several Mississippians to sue the Federal Government based upon the belief that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. He also fought against federal attempts to expand Medicare in the state.
On the Education platform, Senator Cochran voted for the federal takeover of the Department of Education. He was even one of the few still in Congress today who helped establish the department under President Carter. Later in his Congressional career, he voted for the failed No Child Left Behind in 2001.
In the State Senate, McDaniel, however, sponsored the SB 2633 “The Mississippi Student Religious Liberties Act,” which was designed to protect students who wanted to express their religious viewpoints. The bill also allowed for students to offer prayer at a school event if they wished. State Senator McDaniel also voted yes to pass SB2189 which expanded Charter School authority and authorized public non-charter schools to apply to become public charter school. The bill also required public charter schools to be composed of at least 80% of “underserved students” of the district where the school is located, truly a community based school system.
On most issues, the two candidates have actions and votes starkly different from each other. This is seen more clear on the issue of Immigration, a subject which might be what sent Eric Cantor packing back to his district in Virginia.
Thad Cochran, besides voting to raise the Federal minimum wage in 2007, wants to put more of a strain on the American job market by voting YES on giving guest workers a path to citizenship and encouraging more illegal immigrants by co sponsoring a bill which covered illegal children under Medicaid and the SCHIP. The US Border Patrol gave Cochran a 50% rating indicating a mixed record on open borders.
There is nothing mixed about McDaniel’s position on immigration. McDaniel was the first to sign the new anti-amnesty pledge. In an interview with Breitbart’s Matt Boyle, McDaniel stated,
“What we’ve seen over the past several years is a combination of wage stagnation, growth in welfare programs and even shrinking workforce participation. That comes in large part because of out of control illegal immigration but also because of increased numbers of legal immigration,” McDaniel said. “We have millions of Americans who don’t have a job, plus we have millions who are on public benefits,” he said. “How about we find a way to put those people back to work?”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
These are just 3 of the top issues that I look for in my candidates. However, just like the people of the 7th District of Virginia, I encourage the voters themselves to take the time and look at the actions of their candidates and not just the glossy mailers or well produced campaign commercials.
Let’s save the drama for the sandbox, the reality show for the TV box, and the truth for the voter box.