Political This and That — Arms Race, Mending Fences, and Votes for Show

The Arms Race is On

No, I’m not talking about an arms race between two or more nations for military or weaponry superiority. What I’m talking about is the arms race for 2015 campaign contributions when statewide and legislative elections will be held. Last year the 2015 elections were two years away but most people said they had never seen the number of fundraising events or fundraising letters, etc. that were held in 2013. In the past 30 days or so there’s been a steady barrage by elected officials seeking campaign contributions.

One obvious reason is that the next deadline to report campaign contributions is January 30, 2015 for contributions and campaign expenditures made through December 31 of this year. One way for candidates seeking re-election to discourage opposition is to report a large war chest on hand at the end of year. Some politicians might also have their eye on higher office that will require much larger campaign funding. A lot of legislators not only have campaign events in their district but also will hold events in Jackson — the easier way to tap into contributions from Jackson lobbyists and major companies that have a presence in the state capital.

Another driving force in campaign events is those firms or individuals that raise money for candidates. Just about every statewide elected official or candidate hires a professional fundraiser. Even many legislative candidates hire fundraisers. Since fundraisers get a percentage of the money they raise for a candidate they certainly welcome the opportunity to sell their clients on the need to have events to rake in the contributions.

The Mississippi Legislature won’t return to Jackson for the 2015 session until January. That won’t in any way deter dozens of fundraisers that will be held between now and then. A businessman told me that last year that candidates wore his company out with fundraising appeals. He certainly won’t have any rest between now and the end of 2014.

Mending Fences

State Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula was not at the initial hearing in Jones County for defeated U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel’s election challenge. On election night and in press conferences held by McDaniel since the June 24 runoff, Watson has always been at the side of his friend from Laurel. Their friendship is still just as close but Watson is trying to show a little separation to mend political fences with his constituents in Jackson County. He has a lot to mend. Watson crossed that river a long time ago and he will be swimming against a very strong tide of people in Jackson County who are upset with his anti-Thad Cochran posture, his role with the tea party, and McDaniel’s seemingly endless role as a sore loser.

Congressman Palazzo’s Votes for Show and Nothing Happened

Prior to his June 3 victory in the Republican Primary, Fourth District Congressman Steven Palazzo said this in an email to his supporters: “I’ve voted more than 50 times to repeal, delay, dismantle, defund, and destroy Obamacare.”

What has Palazzo and other House Republicans accomplished by voting more than 50 times (my emphasis) against Obamacare? Not a darn thing except campaign and political rhetoric. Sure, Obamacare should be repealed, but until Republicans can take the Senate and White House nothing will be done. Wasting taxpayer time in Congress with meaningless votes is just another of the many reasons that Congress is held in such low esteem.

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