by John Hawkins | July 19, 2014 6:18 am
A majority of Republicans in Mississippi who voted in the primary and run-off election wanted Chris McDaniel to be their Senate candidate. Yet, Thad Cochran won anyway.
By telling Democrats that Chris McDaniel and his supporters were racists.
Worse yet, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, the Chamber of Commerce and worst of all, the NRSC all went along with that dishonorable behavior.
Think about that; The National Republican Senatorial Committee worked hand-in-hand with Democrats to help smear other Republicans as racist as part of an effort to keep the candidate that the majority of Republican voters wanted from being elected. If you want to know why so many good conservatives hold the NRSC and everyone who works there in complete and utter contempt, that says it all.
There are more serious allegations as well. There is at least one Democrat operative who has been confirmed as working for the Cochran campaign who is publicly alleging that the campaign was buying votes at $15 a head and that he participated in it. Is it true? Is it false? We don’t know for sure, but since there is someone who worked for the Cochran campaign putting his name to the allegation, it should be thoroughly investigated and, yes, it is possible that the Thad Cochran campaign won the Republican primary via outright fraud. On top of all that, Chris McDaniel’s campaign claims that it’s found enough illegal Democrat votes (Mississippi law doesn’t allow Democrats to vote in the Republican primary and the run-off) to get the results thrown out.
Will that happen? It’s not impossible, but it is unlikely. That’s why most candidates in McDaniel’s situation choose to bow out, even when they’re cheated, rather than dragging things out and creating more bad blood. On the other hand, when you believe you’ve been cheated out of an election by dishonorable men, it’s hard to fault anyone for continuing to fight on.
Yesterday, there was yet another twist in this saga. After initially lying and denying that he was involved in ads smearing conservatives as racists, Haley Barbour’s nephew finally admitted that they were guilty. You can thank Charles Johnson for that. He so thoroughly exposed the Barbour clan that they must have felt like it was a waste of time to continue lying. So, Henry spilled the beans to National Review.
Even in the bitterly fought primary battle between Mississippi senator Thad Cochran and his challenger, state senator Chris McDaniel, some of the radio ads that aired against McDaniel were considered especially incendiary. One charged that a McDaniel victory would set back “race relationships between blacks and whites and other ethnic groups.” Another warned that his campaign was part of an attempt to “roll back the hand of time.”
The political-action committee that aired the ads raised eyebrows from the outset.
For one thing, it had the same address, phone number, e-mail domain, and leader – the bishop Ronnie Crudup – as the Jackson-based New Horizon Church International. Crudup told Mississippi’s Clarion-Ledger earlier this month that he founded the PAC and raised $200,000: “Some money from the Republicans,” some from African Americans. “I raised money from a number of sources,” he said.
As it turns out, Crudup raised all of the $144,685 his PAC took in from exactly one source: Haley Barbour’s political machine.
…Henry Barbour says Crudup has told him the report contains a “mistake” but that, regardless, Barbour’s committee was “clearly the material donor.” And he is not distancing himself from the inflammatory ads. In fact, he says they were deserved because McDaniel and his tea-party supporters criticized Cochran’s outreach to black voters and “tried to intimidate African Americans from voting.”
“That conduct was reprehensible and was not good for Mississippi or the Republican party,” Barbour says. “Many Mississippians, who were already disgusted by McDaniel’s race-baiting talk-radio-show comments, heard the code words that insinuated that African Americans were not welcome in the Republican primary.” He points in particular to their criticism of Cochran for working to bring “Democrats” to the polls. The chairwoman of the Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin, accused the Cochran campaign of “begging” and “trolling” for Democratic votes.
In other words, Haley Barbour’s PAC smeared the campaign chosen by the majority of Republican voters in Mississippi as racist and he has no apologies for doing so.
That is absolutely, unconditionally unacceptable and it should permanently end Henry and Haley Barbour’s career in Republican politics. From this point forward, there is no such thing as a “good guy” or a “good organization” in Republican politics that works with the Barbour clan.
Additionally, the Cochran campaign has a special responsibility here. It won because of these dirty, loathsome, irresponsible race-baiting attacks by Barbour. Did it know exactly what Barbour was doing? Yes, probably. However, can that be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt? No.
So, consider the position that puts supporters of Chris McDaniel in today. They’re being asked to vote for a candidate in the general election who was chosen by Democrats, not Republicans, who won by painting them as racist. Setting aside the possibility that the Cochran campaign committed outright fraud to win, which would be unforgivable, yelling “Party Unity” just isn’t good enough in this case. What was done during the primary and run-off went beyond the pale and a price has to be paid for that to insure that it doesn’t happen again.
That price could be Republicans staying home in November, costing Thad Cochran his seat and maybe, maybe even thereby costing Republicans the Senate. I’d hate for it to have to go that far, but if the choice was for this sort of behavior to become the new norm or for Thad Cochran to lose in November, I personally wouldn’t vote for Cochran if I knew my vote was going to decide an election.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Since we now know Haley Barbour and his nephew were responsible for smearing conservatives as racists, Thad Cochran’s campaign can break with them entirely and condemn their inexcusable behavior by name in the harshest of terms. Will Thad Cochran’s campaign be willing to do the right thing and publicly burn the Barbour clan down to the ground for the way they behaved? If not, Republicans in Mississippi should stay home in November, no matter what the cost may be.
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