BILL CRAWFORD: McDaniel’s record at odds with rhetoric

Do you favor politicians who vote for earmarks funded with borrowed money? How about those who vote for tax increases?

If your answer is “no” and you want to throw the rascals out, then there won’t be many Republicans left in the Mississippi Legislature.


Yep, Republican legislators regularly vote to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in borrowed money for earmarks – for zoos, museums, cemeteries, colleges and universities, and more. They consistently vote in favor of allowing local tax increases and voted for increased tobacco taxes in 2009 and taxes on hospitals in 2008.

Oh, and amongst those Republican legislators who voted for earmarks and tax increases is a state senator named Chris McDaniel.

All this points out two things: One, a lot of our Republican legislators talk a stronger conservative game than they play. And, two, McDaniel is nothing special when it comes to earmarks and taxes.

But wait, that last point deserves a second look.

You see, McDaniel in his campaign for the U.S. Senate portrays himself as a special candidate, one with strong character who takes principled stands with “no compromises, no surrenders.” He calls his candidacy part of “one last great stand for liberty.” A lawyer and former talk radio host, he does have a gift for compelling rhetoric.

While compelling rhetoric aligned with courageous stands indicates steadfastness, compelling rhetoric at odds with real behavior indicates something more shifty.

McDaniel proclaims his opposition to earmarks, calling them an “unfair and costly practice.”

But, since taking office in 2008, records show he has voted for nearly $50 million in earmarks funded by borrowed money – for pet legislative projects like the Jackson and Hattiesburg zoos, the Ohr-O’Keefe and B.B. King Museums, and the Port of Greenville. And that doesn’t count hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks for colleges and universities. Not bad projects, but earmarks just the same.

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