You can’t wear your feelings on your sleeve in politics, especially in Mississippi politics.
As YP noted Tuesday morning, and the Clarion Ledger’s Sam Hall subsequently picked up, Keith Plunkett took issue with the Mississippi Republican Party on Monday on his blog (Mississippi PEP) for not being more engaged in Texas US Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s visit to Mississippi.
Plunkett along with state Sen. Chris McDaniel have been tapped as state co-chairs for Cruz.
“The events in Mississippi, one in Tupelo and the other in Olive Branch, have been broadcast across media outlets for weeks. Yet, the Mississippi Republican Party is quiet. The last communications via the parties social media page promoted Chairman Joe Nosef’s appearance on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ and the news that the debate on Thursday was the highest-rated primary debate in history.
“Back in December of 2014 the party hosted presidential hopeful Rand Paul with the theme that the state GOP was “reuniting” following the bruising Senate campaign between Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel. They welcomed John McCain with open arms in June of 2014 as he campaigned for Cochran. They celebrated a visit by Jeb Bush to the state just a few months ago.
“Where is the party support for Cruz?
“Does this sound like a party that has “reunited”? Does it sound like a state party that truly cares about “reuniting”? Or does it sound like more of the same picking and choosing political favorites?”
Plunkett conveniently relays to his readers, mostly avid supporters of the McDaniel drama of 2014, a version of the truth that supports his ongoing narrative against the state Republican Party instead of the facts. It’s spin designed to stir ill will, a staple element of what has become their M.O.
YP contacted Mississippi Republican Party chairman Joe Nosef for reaction regarding Plunkett’s comments. Nosef sent the following statement:
“We are always glad to have Republican presidential candidates come to Mississippi. Obviously, the MSGOP does not endorse any specific candidate but we’ve been fortunate to already have several Republican presidential contenders visit here recently to support the party through headlining fundraisers and other events. That’s a tribute to our growing party, so many candidates’ recognition of our state, and honestly our very popular conservative governor.
“In this case, although I was not contacted by the Cruz campaign and really can’t speak to the details of his visit, we certainly were happy that he decided to come through Mississippi during his presidential campaign.”
With that in mind, here are the facts:
* The state party was not notified of Cruz’s visit, as is customary with such visits if support is needed. Otherwise, candidates come and go on their own and do their own events, promotion etc. The state party is to remain neutral before a nominee is named in the primary or in this case the convention.
* The state party posted a message on Facebook Tuesday evening noting Cruz’s visit and the importance of Mississippi’s role on the national stage.
* Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s visit to Mississippi was for a party fundraiser. This was prior to his announcing a presidential campaign. Plunkett was invited to the Jackson event and attended.
* Sen. John McCain was in state in 2014 to support Thad Cochran’s reelection campaign. Similarly, Sen. Rick Santorum (who is running for president again as well and actually endorsed McDaniel unlike Cruz), Sarah Palin and others stumped for Chris McDaniel. The party sought neutrality in the race as best as possible, not inserting themselves.
* Jeb Bush reached out to the state party and requested use of the headquarters which the party obliged just as they would for others in a similar position.
* It’s notable that since last year’s contentious US Senate primary it appears the MSGOP has been pressing ahead with their overall agenda of championing the viability of electing Republican candidates in almost every corner of the state and getting objectively successful results, all while Mississippi Democrats are chasing their tails. It’s obvious the MSGOP isn’t focused on the past (as some seem to be) but the future.
Plunkett’s accusations against the state party is nothing more than a hyped effort to continue the “us versus them” narrative he, McDaniel and others in their “movement” use to stir hate and division against other Republicans.
Perhaps it helps them raise a few dollars and more than a few tempers on social media but reality doesn’t match their overhyped sensitivity.