I admire politicians who have strong convictions. Purity in politics is another matter. Political purity means nothing if it causes a candidate to be defeated and even worse, to have no chance for victory. A favorite derogatory term of ultra-conservatives is to call someone a RINO (Republican In Name Only). I will sidetrack for a minute to recall one of my favorite RINO stories.
The late Mayor Ken Combs of Gulfport was one of my favorite people. Early one morning I received a call from a businessman who did a lot of business with the City of Gulfport. He was a friend of Combs, but also had a good relationship with several of the city councilman. Combs was a three-term mayor of Gulfport, a very likeable man, and served the Gulf Coast city well. “Did you hear, ” the businessman asked, “last night Ken called one of the council members a wino?” I commented he had called one of his Republican councilman a RINO, not a wino. RINO is a term we are hearing more often these days. You mostly hear it coming from ultra-conservatives who spend more time attacking fellow Republicans than Democrats. Next year’s presidential election is very critical for Republicans. They have majorities in both the Senate and House, but with Democrat Barack Obama or another Democrat in the White House, the Republican agenda won’t get very far.
For me personally, the most important reason for having a Republican president in the White House is conservative appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. As far as a death wish, that would be the case if someone like Donald Trump got the GOP nomination for president. If he did, which I think and hope he won’t, Democrats will be dancing in the streets. Recently I noted that another Republican contender, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, showed that having graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School with honors doesn’t keep someone from being a whack job. Being a billionaire like Trump certainly proves success in business and having a lot of money does not make someone qualified to be president. To me it is a little scary that right now Trump is polling higher than other Republican contenders and almost one in every five Republicans favors Trump.
Another snapshot of a questionable campaign finance report
Rep. Robert Johnson of Natchez has served in either the Mississippi House or Senate since 1993. He is chairman of the important Transportation Committee and serves on several other key committees. In 2015 Johnson does not have Democrat or Republican opposition. His campaign finance report for 2014 shows Johnson received $44,550 in campaign contributions and he had a tidy sum of $70,406 cash on hand. It is Johnson’s 2014 campaign disbursements that are interesting. For the year, Johnson reported a modest $5,730 in campaign disbursements. However, he reported zero in itemized disbursements and $5,730 in non-itemized spending from his campaign account. The Campaign Finance Guide is published by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. On page 11 of the guide, it says, according to the Mississippi Code, “Each report must contain an itemized listing of each person, business , or entity (including name, address, occupation, employer, date of expenditure or disbursement, and amount) receiving year-to-date totals aggregating to more than $200. Pretty simple, isn’t it? If a candidate spends just $25 per month or $201 in one year to any vendor or any other expense, that expense should be itemized. Johnson spent almost $6,000 from his campaign account in 2014 and there was not a single itemized expense. Campaign finance reports are a farce in Mississippi and the abuse is widespread under both Republicans and Democrats alike.
Liberal says Mississippi needs a real two-party system
Lynn Evans is a regular contributing columnist to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. There is no doubt, from reading any of her columns, Evans writes from the left side of the political spectrum. A few days ago, Evans wrote it would be “healthy” if Mississippi had a true two-party system. I’m old enough, but somehow I don’t remember Democrats being for a strong two-party system when they totally dominated statewide and local politics.
Another reason not to support Sen. Ted Cruz
This week Ted Cruz made a swing through north Mississippi with stops in Tupelo and Olive Branch. He was joined by Sen. Chris McDaniel, Sen. Melanie Sojourner, and McDaniel’s Tea Party sidekick, Keith Plunkett. Cruz named McDaniel and Plunkett as co-chairmen for his presidential campaign in Mississippi. Sojourner has a tough general election opponent in former Sen. Bob Dearing, who Sojourner defeated four years ago by just 458 votes. If Republicans can stomach voting for a Democrat in November’s general election, Dearing would be the Democrat to support.