Lots has been said about the June 3 election for the Republican nomination for Mississippi’s United States Senate race, and there’s more to come. Unfortunately, one candidate’s claims have gone unchallenged.
Tea Party extremist Chris McDaniel is challenging Senator Thad Cochran and is irresponsibly misleading voters by trying to paint Cochran as a big spender.
Relying on canned talking points from his D.C.-based backers, McDaniel tries to blame the national debt on Cochran’s success in fighting for Mississippi in Washington. Someone needs to tell McDaniel that erasing everything Cochran’s done for Mississippi wouldn’t reduce the debt one cent. Every dollar Cochran has brought to Mississippi would have been spent elsewhere.
McDaniel, who is a trial lawyer, is trying to stoke the fires of voter disenchantment by throwing around “constitution,” “liberty” and “courage.” This does not qualify him to be a U.S. senator. Anyone can do that.
Mississippians should reject his empty rhetoric for what it is: the ranting of someone who either profoundly misunderstands the job to which he aspires or who doesn’t mind misleading folks.
Entitlement vs. Discretionary
McDaniel won’t tell you that our debt is being driven by entitlement programs, not annual discretionary programs. The Appropriations Committee, where Cochran is the most senior Republican, only has control over the latter.
Discretionary spending is considered by the Appropriations Committee every year and provides support for priorities like our military, veterans and research.
Cochran’s committee does not have jurisdiction over mandatory spending for entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, which were put on autopilot by laws passed in 1939 and 1965. The only way to truly reign in federal spending without raising taxes is to reform these programs.
Discretionary appropriations, where Cochran plays a key role, have remained relatively constant for the past 50 years and have been significantly reduced in recent years, thanks in large part to his leadership.
Chris McDaniel won’t tell you that.
Smaller Pies, Bigger Slices
Cochran’s appropriations committee has no control over how big the annual federal spending pie is. Overall pie size set by separate legislation written by a different committee. Cochran’s committee only controls how the pie is sliced and served.
Once the pie size is locked in for the year, Cochran always muscles up for bigger slices for Mississippi. It’s practical and possible to fight for both smaller pies and bigger slices.
Under McDaniel’s temper-tantrum politics, you get neither.
If the government is going to build a ship, Cochran says build it in Pascagoula. If the government is going to research how to increase agricultural yields, research it at Mississippi State University. If it’s going to be done anyway, don’t surrender it to California or New York or Chicago. Do it in Mississippi.
McDaniel, on the other hand, is content to allow these opportunities to go to other states. What courage!
Work Horse or Show Pony?
Chris McDaniel spoke at MSU recently, declaring to a sparse crowd that he wants to be like Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Utah Senator Mike Lee. Asked to name one specific instance when either of those politicians was successful in reducing spending or helping his home state, McDaniel was stumped.
The correct answer to both of those questions is, “There is none.”
Chris McDaniel’s election wouldn’t give our nation a smaller spending pie any more than would Cochran’s re-election. We’d just have an ineffective loudmouth willing to trade away Mississippi’s pie slice for his own personal gain.
What Chris McDaniel really seems to want is fame. He says whatever he thinks gets him on TV. He’s a politician more interested in developing a national following than doing what’s right for Mississippi.
Thad Cochran simply goes to work every day to fight for Mississippi, no fanfare.
I recommend Chris McDaniel actually show up for his current job and learn to be an effective state legislator. Leave the complex, serious problems of our time to someone who understands the responsibility of representing all Mississippians: Thad Cochran.