Politics

Who Paid for Race-Baiting Flier in Mississippi?

Smear of Tea Party and McDaniel needs investigation.

By 6.26.14

Thad Cochran
Send to Kindle

Who paid for it? Who will investigate it? Who will apologize for it? “It” being the flier distributed in the Mississippi Senate GOP primary, as seen here, whose headline reads: "The Tea Party intends to prevent blacks from voting on Tuesday." 

The flier says that the Tea Party uses the word “Democrats” as “code” for blacks. In short? Somebody out there in Mississippi put out a race-baiting flier to smear both Thad Cochran’s Tea Party opponent Chris McDaniel and the Tea Party itself. Using the worst lie about Republicans — against a Republican.

More than a blatant untruth, the flier is now big news itself, featured on talk radio and spread across the Internet and conservative media. (Over at National Review, John Fund asks if this was “The Flier That Got Thad Cochran Elected?”) So too has this pro-Cochran robocall, which asks voters to say “NO to their [the Tea Party’s] disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president," come to light. The question on everyone's lips: Whodunit?

Don't forget that the Republican establishment strongly backed Cochran. GOP Senators, as mentioned over at Breitbart, were not long ago raising money for him at a National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraiser hosted by Mitch McConnell. It would boggle the mind, but did any of that money pay for the flyer and robocall?

Meanwhile, all of this is going to backfire. You can lose by winning.

Mississippi’s Thad Cochran is a six-term and very powerful senator. A Washington fixture. The kind of guy who should trample a challenger from inside his own party like an elephant dispatches an ant. Yet Cochran has shown himself to be what Ronald Reagan used to call a “fraternal order” Republican. Believing his job as a senator is to loot the federal government for his K Street pals and add endlessly to the $17 trillion deficit that he helped cause. Over at the Daily Caller, Matt Kibbe of Freedom Works put it all in perspective this way:

It’s disgraceful that self-described GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell, John McCain, the Chamber of Commerce and the NRSC would champion a campaign platform of pork barrel spending and insider deal-making, while recruiting Democrats to show up at the polls.

If the only way the K Street wing of the GOP establishment can win is by courting Democrats to vote in GOP primaries, then we’ve already won. Tonight is proof that the K Street establishment is intellectually bankrupt, and we are going to have to clean it up. 

Perspective is in order here. This battle between establishment Republicans and conservative ones was fought here in Pennsylvania between the late Arlen Specter and Pat Toomey. Toomey won. It was fought in Florida between Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio. Rubio won. So too in Kentucky, with Rand Paul beating McConnell favorite Trey Grayson, and in Texas with Ted Cruz beating David Dewhurst. Notably? Specter and Crist switched to the Democrats (Specter in mid-primary). Grayson is co-chairman of GabbyPAC — the political action committee of liberal Democrat and former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Gifford. Dewhurst just lost his GOP re-nomination fight for lieutenant governor of Texas. And, of course, most recently GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his own primary to conservative Dave Brat.

Why? Let’s go back to the wisdom of the late Jack Kemp. Here he is in 1978:

The sad truth is that for too long Republicans beat a mental retreat from leadership. Remember, for example, the “Constructive Republican Alternative Proposals” of the 1960s? After Barry Goldwater went down to defeat as the Republican presidential nominee in 1964, the “moderates” and the “progressives” in the party stepped forward with a host of ideas on how to rebuild the party.… Republicans were giving in to the idea that what voters wanted from the Republicans was not more competition [with Democrats], but less.

Republicans would try to be more like Democrats, which meant more spending, more taxes, more government standing between the individual and the American Dream. Did the Democrats want to build public housing for the poor? The GOP would build public housing for the middle class. Did the Democrats want food stamps for the poor? The GOP would have to provide lunches for the middle class. Did the Democrats want to educate the poor? Republicans would have grants to blanket the middle class with low-interest government loans and tax credits for Middle America’s tuition.

The Republicans could not win this competition. For one thing, the GOP’s “progressive” wing could never persuade the whole party to join in. There was instead a long internal party struggle for identity. The voting public saw chronic confusion, relieved on rare occasions by moments of genuine teamwork.…

If one political party concentrates on increasing public spending and the other party concentrates on decreasing public spending, who is left to concentrate on economic growth, on the expansion of opportunities that can come only from such growth? Who is left to prevent the American Dream from becoming a distant memory in an increasingly segmented, selfish, Europeanized politics-the kind of which Jefferson was so fearful? This is why a Republican revolution is so important, and why it can only come as the GOP increasingly focuses its intellectual resources and political skills on generating a climate for economic growth. Republicans must commit themselves boldly and relentlessly to real economic expansion, to the growth of opportunity, and with that a return of hope.…

It is not enough that the Republican Party somehow survives. It is not enough that it enjoys a mild success, that it only wins enough elections to hang on as a minority political party. What is really necessary to the system is that the GOP become the dominant party in America…

Alas, the current GOP leadership is hell and gone from Reagan and Kemp. The good news is that whether its Mississippi, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas or Rand Paul’s Kentucky, there is a revival of the Reagan/Kemp Party of Ideas. Yes, there are defeats along the way. There were defeats when Reagan and Kemp themselves were on the playing field.

But the Mississippi election is in fact another indicator that the Tea Party is winning this battle.

The task now is a simple one: to get to the bottom of the race-baiting flyer and robocall. This cannot be allowed to stand. There is an answer out there as to who is responsible and who paid for this racial garbage — and the Republican Party has an obligation to find it.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.