Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Travis Childers is desperately running to the right in the waning days of the campaign, trying to distance himself from his liberal cohorts pulling the strings in his party both in Jackson and Washington D.C. while strategically pandering to disgruntled Tea Partiers still suffering from McDanielitis. His goal is to appear just conservative enough while not angering his liberal base.
But such posturing is nothing new for Democrats in Mississippi; it's their normal modus operandi down the stretch in most elections, especially regional and statewide. Democrats know they cannot win straight up being who they are outside of the 2nd Congressional District without a significant veer right in the days leading up to a general election.
Take Childers' recent statements on his party and who he would support for leader in the US Senate. It's a play out of the Gene Taylor political bible circa 2010:
On party affiliation...
"I am proud to be a Democrat. But I have enough sense and experience to know that my party is not always right." (Clarion Ledger, Oct. 2014
"Both parties are screwed up. They're screwed up in different ways." (Daily Kos, Oct. 2010
On being linked to DC party leadership...
"I would like to see someone who views are more moderate and more in line with the people of the state of Mississippi... Mark Warner..." (Sunherald, Oct. 2014
"I would vote for Heidi Heitkamp." (Clarion Ledger, Oct. 2014
"My ideal candidate for Speaker would be Ike Skelton... What I would want is a Democratic nominee for Speaker that is much more in tune with what I believe." (The Hill, Sept. 2010
But Taylor isn't the only one who has followed this tactic; it's the same song and dance for Democrats in Mississippi.
Democratic Trust executive director Brandon Jones, a Childers advisor, knows a thing or two about running right. It was he who pulled the wool over the eyes of Jackson County voters back in 2007, persuading otherwise staunchly conservative voters to forget the D behind his name, sounding just conservative enough to get elected while not committing to support then Democratic Speaker Billy McCoy. Jones did go on to support McCoy, allowing Democrats four more year of their "spend now, pray later" philosophy.
It took conservatives and Republicans finally waking up in 2011, recognizing that party affiliation matters in terms of leadership and the implementation of conservative public policies, to oust McCoy and his boys, Jones included.
Jones' recent comments on Childers not identifying himself as a Democrat in his new ad is textbook campaigning for their side of the aisle. "The feeling was, don't put any type of jersey on other than the state of Mississippi when you introduce yourself," Jones told WTOK
. It is always hide the ball for Democrats in Mississippi.
The problem for Childers, as it was for Taylor, Jones and the rest of the Democrats in Mississippi, is in trying to whitewash his obvious ties to the vocal liberal progressives in his party. That is also the case for whoever votes for the Democrat.
Bobby Morgan, Mississippi Republican Party communications director told the Southern Political Report
that "if you think Travis Childers is the most conservative candidate, you are not a real conservative," a quote he attributed to chairman Joe Nosef.
For Childers to win he has to appeal to Republicans, and given the contentious GOP primary this year some self described conservatives are considering holding their noses and crossing over out of spite.
Yet, "conservatives" who can't look past themselves and their egos at the bigger picture - that of 51 - and who will vote for a Senate candidate that will readily fall in line behind the liberal progressives in the Democratic Party should never call any other conservative or Republican a RINO or offer up their "principles" to be followed as if they somehow hold the keys to conservative thought again because, you see, voting for Childers isn't conservative or principled. Voting for Childers is a vote for the continued liberal majority in the Senate and an endorsement of Obama's agenda. The President said so himself.
In Mississippi terms it's no different than voting for Billy McCoy a la Brandon Jones 2007.
In this writer's opinion, for a people who pride themselves in being ideologically superior to practical, mainstream, results driven conservative Republicans voting for Childers out of spite, hate or whatever other reason you can muster within yourself to justify such a vote proves you care more about your own plight, your own personal feelings than the conservative cause as a whole of limiting the expansion of liberalism and implementing those conservative principles of which there is no debate - fiscal sanity, limited government, strong defense, pro-life, freedom of religion, personal responsibility and the like.
Let's hope for the sake of Mississippi and America the wool is thin, the vitriol is farcical, and voters, either out of ignorance or arrogance, aren't fooled by Childers' attempt at throwing conservatives a little red meat.