Mississippi Voices: Cochran’s tea party challenger

Used to be a candidate like McDaniel couldn’t raise the money to rock the boat. This has changed. There are a half dozen deep-pocketed national tea party PACs and they love McDaniel.

This has struck fear in the hearts of the state Republican Party establishment and the McDaniel-Cochran race is capturing national attention.

Cochran’s recent comment that “the tea party is something I don’t really know a lot about,” added fuel to the fire. There are a lot of tea party sympathizers in our state and they don’t cotton to being ignored.

A few years ago, Sen. Cochran, as chairman of the Senate appropriations committee, brought home a boatload of money for Mississippi. Many movers and shakers in the state considered him a godsend.

Your greatest strength is the flipside of your greatest weakness. Cochran became the poster child for pork-laden earmarks and irresponsible politically-based spending.

Cochran’s supporters have been quick to expose the weak flipside to McDaniel’s ideological purity. They are running ads implying McDaniel would have voted against $10.5 billion in Katrina aid. In an interview, McDaniel said, “That’s not an easy vote to cast,” even though the Senate approved the aid without a single dissenting vote.

For the hundreds of thousands of Mississippians made desperate by the hurricane’s devastation, that’s not likely to sit too well, even though nine years later it appears much of the money was wasted and mishandled. The Gulfport port expansion has gone nowhere and the coast now has numerous multi-million-dollar, state-of-the-art water and sewage systems operating at minimal capacity.

As usual, the Cochran TV ad takes McDaniel out of context. McDaniel later said he supports true disaster aid but not necessarily all the economic development money that came with it. In any case, McDaniel was correct in stating he couldn’t answer the question of how he would have voted because he never had a chance to study the Katrina relief legislation.

Wyatt Emmerich
Commerical Dispatch