It was all going so well for Chris McDaniel.
The Mississippi state senator trying to unseat longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in a June Republican primary had united a panoply of conservative groups behind him. He’d been disciplined in his critique that Cochran had gone Washington. Even Cochran allies acknowledged that the incumbent was in for a tough fight.
But, to paraphrase Alanis Morissette, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you.
McDaniel spent much of this past week trying to explain away things he said while hosting a conservative talk-radio show in the mid-2000s — things that don’t sound so good coming out of the mouth of someone who wants to be in the U.S. Senate.
Here was radio-host McDaniel on paying reparations for slavery: “If they pass reparations, and my taxes are going up, I ain’t paying taxes.” And here he was on the Mexican economy: “You know, a dollar bill can buy a mansion in Mexico. And I think we all get together, go down there, build us a studio for like 26 pesos, uh, and you know, put on a radio show right there in Mexico.” He also offered up his thoughts on race and homosexuality, among other hot-button topics.
Candidate McDaniel’s defense? “Thousands of hours of radio clips and this is what we’re bringing up?” he asked the Associated Press in a telephone interview. “Are you serious?”
Um, yes. Welcome to the big leagues. And with numbers out this past week showing that Cochran outraised him three to one in the first quarter, it appears McDaniel may not be ready to play.