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Prior to this year's US Senate primary the Mississippi Republican Party was known for two things: unity and discipline. Reagan's 11th Commandment was the foundation of the GOP primary system which valued policy discourse versus a circular firing squad.

It took decades of dedicated work to build a solid, effective Republican organization in this once solid blue state. Not until Haley Barbour's tenure as governor, and even now under Phil Bryant, had the GOP finally gone from fitting in a phone booth to chairing legislative committees in the state Capitol in both chambers.

The Republican Party had replaced Mississippi Democrats as the dominant party, and those across the aisle were left scratching their heads, wondering where they went wrong.

Those who have extremely short memories about the long desert that conservatives trekked through in Mississippi are starting to give Democrats glimmers of hope.

What changed over the course of the last year?

Alan Lange talked the other day about how there is a real effort going on to hijack the Republican Party. Folks that have pretty extreme views know that’s the only way to get a foothold.

This political posturing has resulted in third party conservative-lite crossovers who don't respect the Republican Party or its history in Mississippi politics. They operate solely in ideological terms while being allowed to plague the Mississippi GOP.

For example...

Reform Party

The Reform Party says it takes no stance on social issues as an organization "such as pro-life/pro-choice and gay marriage."

The last time I checked in Mississippi being a conservative was predominantly linked to being a social conservative, something Republicans have readily championed, especially evangelicals.

Yet, a key Chris McDaniel operative and campaign committee advisor (and a writer for the pro-McDaniel MS Conservative Daily), Ryan Walters, was a Reform Party vice chairman.

Walters, who was also a regular on McDaniel's now infamous Right Side radio show "held a seat on the Reform Party’s National Committee, served as a delegate to the Reform Party National Convention." He states on his personal website, "With the party essentially dead by 2003, Ryan left and became an independent conservative."

To my knowledge the Reform Party is still functioning as best such a third party can. Walters may just have had his fill of never gaining any meaningful base to peddle his ideology or perhaps he saw an opportunity to jump on another bandwagon.

Walters does list that he served on the campaign committee during the 2007 state senate race of McDaniel, as well as speaking at Tea Party rallies.

Libertarian Party

The Libertarian platform states, "We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual."

Yes, they use the line "cult of the omnipotent state."

It goes on to say, "Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships... Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration."

Again, not quite the social conservative philosophy most Republicans in Mississippi hold. In fact it sounds more like what Democrats would put forth.

But that didn't stop McDaniel from encouraging their crossover votes in the Republican primary.

In his letter to the Libertarian Party in the wake of the release of one of his radio rants, Chris McDaniel wrote, "...the longer I serve in government, the more my positions evolve."

He goes on to say [despite having voted in a Democrat primary]:

"Although I am a proud and lifelong member of the Republican party and a two-term GOP state senator, I have always been an advocate of the liberty movement and its intellectual efforts. I will continue to do so.

"To allow perpetual statists to divide us on the basis of a 10-minute radio clip from nearly a decade ago is hardly a recipe for success. To my friends in the liberty family, we can either light the torch of liberty together or continue to curse at the darkness."

As a matter of fact, Club for Growth, one of the biggest out of state donors to McDaniel who has a record of overtly encouraging and promoting divisiveness within the Republican Party, has accepted significant donations from Libertarians, namely Peter Thiel of Facebook and PayPal fame ($2 million) and Robert Arnott of California-based Research Affiliates ($750,000).

Constitution Party

The Constitution Party states in its platform that public-private partnerships are "called fascism."

In practical governance terms where would Mississippi be if not for fiscally conservative public-private partnerships, and with the Legislature now under Republican leadership the oversight of these efforts has increased to ensure taxpayer confidence. Compare that to the Democrats' "spend now, pray later" philosophy just three years ago.

But in 2012 Chris McDaniel crossed over and sought to gain traction within a party outside his own as one of the featured speakers at the Mississippi Constitution Party’s State Convention in Tupelo. It's not a far stretch of the imagination to believe he coveted the Constitution Party vote in 2014.

***

These party infiltrators don't care about Republican ideals; they are nothing more than gypsies taking what they can for their own benefit no matter how much conservative advancement is left destroyed in their wake.

It's not about advancing conservatism in practical, real life governing terms that gets results; they don't even know what that means. It's all about the fight and the spectacle.

So if you want to know why these folks are so quick to dismiss the decades of work to build the Republican Party in Mississippi and burn the house down it's because they are not true conservative Republicans; they are Republicans for expediency - their allegiance, their ideology is rooted somewhere else.

Posted September 12, 2014 - 3:24 pm

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