Mitchell: Anger is understandable, meanness is not

Looking at Mississippi and this summer’s Republican primaries specifically, there’s no doubt why the campaign organization supporting state Sen. Chris McDaniel decided to launch a mean-spirited assault on the incumbent U.S. senator. Identical tactics had worked elsewhere. Call Thad Cochran a RINO (Republican In Name Only), a big spender, out of touch and more. Label your opponent a “professional politician” who needs to be retired.

Given that a Rasmussen poll says 72 percent of Americans believe life would be better if most members of Congress were not re-elected, it’s a good campaign plan. The strategy was to tap into that and win, but it didn’t work.

Yet rather than wake up and smell the coffee, the McDaniel minions responded with all sorts of outbursts and continued mean-spiritedness. The Cochran camp “race-baited” by asking black Mississippians for votes? That’s absurd. It would have been racist not to seek support of all Mississippians.

Too, Cochran has always had more minority support than most Republicans. In heavily black Claiborne County in 2008, Sen. John McCain managed only 748 votes against Obama while Cochran received 964 in a one-on-one contest with the African-American Democratic nominee, state Rep. Erik Fleming. What’s racist is to assume all Mississippians vote by pigmentation only.

Charlie Mitchell
Clarion Ledger