The primary race for the Republican senate nomination in Mississippi has taken some sharp turns on the road to Crazy Town. This is a race that has seen a blogger associated with one candidate, Chris McDaniel, sneak into a nursing home to surreptitiously take photos of the ailing wife of his opponent, Thad Cochran. Some other McDaniel operatives managed to get themselves locked inside a courtroom on election night with that precinct’s ballots. As for Cochran, he told an amused audience that he grew up in Mississippi having fun doing “all kinds of indecent things with animals.”
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So who would have thought that on the eve of the election runoff, one of the most coherent analyses of modern politics would emerge from the daughter of one these candidates? Kate Cochran posted her impressions of the race on her Facebook page a couple of days ago, and if more Republicans had the insight that she demonstrates here in support of her father’s struggling campaign, democracy would take a huge leap forward. Here are some excerpts beginning with the an apt appraisal of the media.
“I think that Mississippians are being snookered by neocon zealots on talk radio, Fox News, and elsewhere.”
Clearly Kate is paying attention. Fox News, and a confederacy of wingnut pundits, have led the Tea Party parade to replace “establishment” Republicans with ignoramuses who robotically spout pre-chewed Teabaggerisms. It is something for which the GOP should feel profoundly embarrassed. She goes on…
“The New Right values extremism, obstructionism, partisanship, and–frankly–ignorance. I am disappointed to realize that the New Right seems to want to walk hand-in-hand with the horrible strain of anti-intellectualism that sees universities as vocational schools and vilifies anyone expert in a field as somehow not living in the ‘real world’ or representative of ‘real people.'”
Anti-intellectualism is a hallmark of the New Right. They ridicule graduates of Harvard and Yale as being unable to relate to “regular” folk. But the whole notion of wanting someone “regular” to assume the responsibilities of shaping the future of our nation is unfathomably idiotic. Would these dimwits also want a yokel to perform their heart surgery? The point of electing a representative is to have the best possible person in a position to make the hard decisions. Kate gets this right when she notes that McDaniel’s supporters value him for his lack.
“Lack of experience (he is not a ‘career politician.’) Lack of wisdom (he relies solely on Jesus, the Constitution, and ‘common’ sense–combined in the veneer of ‘goodness’). Lack of judgment (he vows to refuse federal monies and to try to impede legislation). […] I see these ‘qualities’ as a disingenuous pose, engineered to appeal to the very worst in our electorate.”
Indeed. If all voters are looking for is affirmation of their biblical fears and shallow interpretations of constitutional principles that border on another form of worship, then the Tea Party is their ideal political savior. But like religion, the Tea Party is focused mostly on imminent disaster and destruction. The economy is collapsing; morality and family are under attack; freedom is slipping away; and the devil is ushering in a communist/Muslim millennium of torment. They have no solutions, only harbingers of doom. Kate closes with this personal perspective:
“I find his campaign appalling on intellectual, moral, and idealist levels. The fact that Mississippi voters are even considering his candidacy saddens me more than I can say. Mississippi used to be recognized as the most backward, prejudiced, ignorant holdback in our nation, hands down. This sea change makes me very afraid that we might deserve that mantle.”
What’s really sad is that it takes this sort of political smack in the head for many Republicans to grasp just how dangerous and ignorant the Tea Party and its disciples are. It’s encouraging that Kate has come around, and her articulate passion is moving and profound. But the sort of experience that inspired it is not likely to be shared by many others. Consequently, America will continue to be saddled with this mindless cult of stooges who unknowingly help cloistered billionaires to shape a world that keeps them oppressed. At least for a while.