At a time when the liberal progressive Left and the GOP establishment are looking for any evidence to demean and disparage the Tea Party this election cycle, they just got a gift in the GOP primary Mississippi senate race.
The U.S. Senate race is between incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran, vying for a 7th term, and State Senator Chris McDaniel. It has been a brutal battle, as one can expect, but there has been a very different turn of events.
As reported by Fox News, with just a week left until primary day, the whole tone of the campaign took an exponential leap into the sordid and salacious after the actions of an obscure McDaniel supporter named Clayton Kelly.
Kelly is facing charges for sneaking into the St. Catherine’s Village nursing home in Madison, Miss., taking photos and video of Sen. Cochran’s wife Rose, who is suffering from dementia, and posting them to his blog Constitutional Clayton.
Now of course this is fuel for the bonfire by which some will seek to end the campaign of McDaniel. Others are already saying this is yet another reflection of the inability of Tea Party candidates to be effective. And of course, everyone in politics loves a scandal.
Fox reported that Cochran’s campaign took aim at McDaniel saying he was aware of the video but rather than alerting the authorities, had his campaign manager contact the blogger to tell him to take it down. In a conference call, Cochran communications director Jordan Russell argued that McDaniel, an attorney, had shirked his responsibilities.
The day after that call, police in Madison, Mississippi made three more arrests, including Mark Mayfield, the vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, who was also a volunteer for the McDaniel campaign. While there was still no evidence directly linking McDaniel’s campaign to the alleged crime, the Cochran campaign lashed out with an ad attacking the challenger on it.
McDaniel fired back with his own ad calling the attacks “shameless” and “outrageous.” And with outside groups like Citizens United, Club for Growth and Crossroads GPS dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the final week’s ad wars, the tone will likely get nastier still.
The problem is that all of this has devolved away from what should be the real issue: improving the lives of the people of Mississippi. Now no one is talking about what they’re for, only the typical political game of personal attacks. Unfortunately, we as an electorate allow this to happen, and we don’t want to hear debate on issues and solutions. It all reminds me of the song by Don Henley, “Dirty Laundry.”
The primary is next Tuesday and who knows how it will end, but my prayer is that this doesn’t cause further damage to the Constitutional conservative movement.
It’s interesting how everyone looks for faults, failures and shortcomings with which to castigate the Tea Party in a negative light. All the while, there is complete acceptance — even dismissal –of the abhorrent actions and behaviors of the Obama administration.
This Friday, I’ll be the keynote speaker at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. The topic will be all about ending the circular firing squad on the center-right.