Chris McDaniel: Cruz, Paul and extremism

Those of us who follow the tenets of conservatism know the tired, worn-out campaign catchwords and phrases well: extremist, radical, fanatic, zealot, racist, arsonist.

And the sad part is that most of these insults originate not from Democrats but from our fellow Republicans, who engender despicable primary disputes, making the left’s job much easier in general elections.

This is precisely why Ronald Reagan crafted his famous 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.

Reagan, however, was not implying that we should never criticize or even challenge other Republicans, as he himself challenged a sitting GOP president in 1976, only that we should refrain from the kind of harsh and vile attack lines that Democrats utilize against us.

Although the 2016 presidential race is more than a year away, anti-conservative mudslinging is already in full swing. Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign was minutes old when the establishment piled on him with full force and vigor, with the essence of their assaults being that he was too extreme to win the nomination or the general election. And when Sen. Rand Paul announced his candidacy, he, too, was immediately ridiculed.

Unfortunately, I am familiar with such tactics. In my 2014 campaign for U.S. Senate, I did not denigrate Thad Cochran with attack words. I respected him and showed him the courtesy he deserved. But in his few public remarks, Cochran used harsh rhetoric, calling me an “extremist” who was too “dangerous” to serve in Washington, an attack promoted by the Huffington Post.

Clarion Ledger