Category: General Politics

Reports say Brandon Presley eyeing U.S. Senate race

State and national Democrats encouraged by Doug Jones’ win over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama special election

One of the current political rumors making the rounds as 2017 draws to a close is Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley will enter the 2018 contest for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker. If Presley gets in the race, it will not really be because he is taking on Wicker but would run in the event Wicker is upset by state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the GOP primary. It’s never been a secret Presley has bigger ambitions for higher office and would like to run for statewide office. His statewide political liabilities are pretty obvious. Presley, despite serving as one of three public service commissioners since 2008, is not well known outside of North Mississippi. It is also a very valid question if Presley, especially within Mississippi, can raise the vast amount of money needed for a statewide race. The reason for a possible candidacy is obvious besides his own ambition. Democrat Doug Jones’ victory over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama has made both national and Mississippi Democrats giddy over possible inroads into the strongly Republican south. However, it is easy to dismiss some of the Democrats’ glee of the Jones victory. The narrow win by Jones was not the result of a rapid increase in anti-Republican feelings or anti-Trump backlash in a state Trump won by 63 percent. Roy Moore lost a very narrow race to Jones because Moore was a terrible candidate. In the past I have used the word “wacko” to describe some left-wing Democrats, but the wacko description certainly fits Republican Moore to a T. If Democrats were to pick an ideal Republican candidate to oppose, in any state, Moore would be the winner in a landslide. The Democrat scenario in Mississippi is pretty obvious. McDaniel beats Wicker in the GOP primary with Presley ready for McDaniel next November – a Mississippi version of Alabama’s Jones versus Moore. If McDaniel were to upset Wicker in a primary, he almost defeated Cochran in a close and bitter primary in 2014, there’s no doubt in a contest with Presley, McDaniel would be taking shots not only from Democrats, but from the state’s left leaning press and the so-called establishment Republicans who supported Wicker. However, whatever you think of McDaniel, he’s not a Roy Moore. McDaniel’s negatives, while many, would never approach the negatives associated with Moore. The flip side is Wicker is leaving nothing to chance. He has a ton of campaign cash to spend and is making all the textbook moves needed to ward off a challenger. He has embraced President Trump and will have a first rate team as campaign consultants. On the negative side, Wicker’s strong embrace of changing the current state flag with its Confederate emblem will not be popular with a significant number of Mississippians who will vote in a Republican primary. Wicker cannot be encouraged by a recent poll that showed him with very mediocre approval ratings in the state. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could be hung around Wicker’s neck. While many state Republicans are not fans of the Steve Bannon, Tea Party and other Republicans who often seem to attack Republicans

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Some so-called conservatives are not conservative, they are just nuts and nasty

Mississippi Conservative Daily can match the fake news of the liberal media

President Donald Trump often complains about “fake news” and the liberal bias of the mainstream national media. I can’t argue with that. The left-wing bias of most major news organizations, print and television, is as bad if not worse than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. However, in Mississippi, and on the conservative side, we have just as much fake news and right-wing basis from an online site called Mississippi Conservative Daily (MCD). MCD bills itself as a news site for “true conservatives.” I don’t intend to let MCD define whom I would consider a true conservative. MCD is basically a flack website for state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Laurel. If you read the various stories published on Mississippi Conservative Daily, you might say it features even more “goofy” reports than fake news. The most recent that caught my eye was headlined, “Is Swamp Creature Mark Keenum Mississippi’s Next U.S. Senator?” Rather than being a “swamp creature”, Dr. Keenum is the very well-regarded president of Mississippi State University. A side headline to the Keenum story called Keenum a “pro-amnesty political operative” with another that said “More Cheap Mexican Labor.” The article even took fake news to a new level by reporting an MSU search committee is already looking for the next president of MSU. Of course, the recent political speculation about Mississippi’s next U.S. Senator is the result of extensive stories and rumors about the health of Sen. Cochran who defeated McDaniel is a very close primary in 2014. As far as Keenum is concerned, he has very impressive credentials even before he became president of MSU. He served as Cochran’s chief of staff and Under Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush. I don’t know if Sen. Cochran will resign before his current term ends. I do know Mark Keenum has the resume and more importantly, the good character, to represent Mississippi and to be a fine U.S. Senator. This has nothing to do with the prospect of Keenum being appointed or if he were, whether or not he would be a strong candidate in the special election that would be called. It is also worth noting MCD had another post urging its readers to call Gov. Phil Bryant and urge Bryant to appoint McDaniel if Cochran steps down. Since Bryant is termed limited, Bryant seems intent on leaving a positive legacy for his eight years as governor. Appointing McDaniel to anything would only tarnish any legacy Bryant would like to leave. Cochran hasn’t stepped down and apparently has no immediate intention of doing so. The best thing for Mississippi is for Sen. Cochran to be healthy and continue his service to our state. Cochran has been a good senator, has done much for Mississippi and even more important, he is a very decent man. The Mississippi Conservative Daily mouthpiece site for McDaniel also shows if McDaniel challenges junior Sen. Roger Wicker in 2018 as some expect, the campaign will be as nasty and vulgar as McDaniel’s 2014 campaign against Cochran.

Native Mississippian to be honored by Washington, D.C. City Council   (or yes, for some, the earth is still flat)

The city council of Washington, D.C.  has voted to erect an 8′ bronze statue of former mayor and councilman Marion Barry. The statue will be placed in a prominent position on

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After the state flag, what’s next?

Rev. Al Sharpton and his clones

The battle over Mississippi’s state flag continues with apparently no end in sight. Normal political lines are somewhat blurred over the state flag controversy. Besides Democrats, the NAACP, well-known Mississippians and others usually found on the left, the Mississippi Economic Council, some Republican leaders and many other conservatives strongly feel our state should adopt a new flag. But even if Mississippi abandons its current flag with the Confederate emblem insert, will that satisfy many of those who demanded the change? Of course not. It is not difficult to come up with a long target list for those who claim to be offended by the state’s history. We see that already in New Orleans. The group that spearheaded the removal of Confederate statues in NOLA has a new targeted list that includes the statue of Andrew Jackson at Jackson Square in the French Quarter, almost a dozen more monuments, the names of  24 streets in the city, the names of two hospitals and the names of seven schools. For starters in Mississippi, we don’t even have to consider the dozens of Confederate statues on town squares or in front of country court houses. Let’s start with the vast 33,000 acre Ross Barnett Reservoir, named after one of the most racist, if not the most racist governor in our state history. Down in Hattiesburg, we have the stadium where the USM Golden Eagles play football each fall. The stadium is affectionately known as “The Rock” to USM faithful, but the official name of the facility is M.M. Roberts Stadium. An easy argument can be made that M.M. Roberts was the most racist college board member in state history. If we head northeast from Hattiesburg, we arrive at Mississippi State University.  A bust of Stephen D. Lee is in the middle of the drill field at MSU and Lee Hall is where the offices of MSU President Mark Keenum and other top administrators are located. Lee is appropriately honored at State because he was the first president of the school. Lee was also a lieutenant general in the Confederate States Army. At Ole Miss, we have already seen where previous chancellors Robert Khayat, Dan Jones and current UM head Jeffrey Vitter have bowed numerous times to sanitize the school’s history and traditions. Since South Carolina took down the Confederate flag flying at its state capital, states other than Mississippi don’t have a flag issue so the groups that want to revise history have targeted statues erected to honor Confederate generals and veterans. Does anyone really think a change in the state flag will satisfy Al Sharpton?

Bennie Thompson, Mayor Lumumba and some others should be called the “New Racists”

clones in our state like Congressman Bennie Thompson or Jackson Mayor Lumumba? Lumumba and Jackson councilman DeKeither Stamps and other activists held a press

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Race card fails in UAW’s push for union at Nissan

Landslide vote against union at Nissan is a win

for Nissan workers and also for Mississippi

On the Monday after the Saturday when workers at the Nissan plant in Canton overwhelmingly rejected the United Automobile Workers attempt to unionize, The Wall Street Journal called the vote “another humiliation” for the UAW. The editorial noted the UAW spent heavily to win the unionization vote and enlisted supporters such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democratic National Chairman Tom Perez and actor Danny Glover. Of course, the UAW was supported by Mississippi’s own congressman Bennie Thompson, the state NAACP and Jackson’s new mayor, Chokwe Lumumba. I had previously been told about 65 percent of the workers at the Nissan plant are black, but the WSJ said more than 80 percent of those who voted were African Americans. Of course, the UAW tried to exploit racial politics before the vote. Socialist Sen. Sanders said the UAW supporters were “connecting workers rights with civil rights.” Fortunately for the Nissan workers and future industrial development in Mississippi, playing the race card did not work for the UAW and its supporters like Bennie Thompson, longtime radical Danny Glover and Mayor Lumumba. The WSJ editorial was right on target when it said “race-baiting fell flat in Canton.” Most workers at the plant make $24-26 per hour. What do you think most of them would be making elsewhere? The WSJ also noted, and I assume the Nissan workers were also aware, a week before the vote a deceased UAW vice president teamed up with an official at Fiat-Chrysler to allegedly steal millions of dollars from a fund that was intended to train auto workers. The wife of the late UAW VP and the Fiat-Chrysler official have been indicted. UAW leaders often live high off the hog compared to the workers they represent. It is no wonder during the past 35 years the UAW’s ranks have shrunk by more than 75 percent. The Center for Union Facts also estimates during the past 10 years big labor unions have used more than $1 billion in member dues to donate to the Democratic Party and other left-wing special-interest groups. While workers at Nissan were voting 2,244 to 1,307 against joining the UAW, Toyota and Mazda announced they will spend $1.6 billion to build another assembly plant in the South. The plant is expected to have 4,000 jobs, a huge prize for whatever southern state is the winner of the competition to build the plant. That competition will be very stiff and Mississippi may be a longshot to win the plant, but one thing is very clear – if Nissan had lost the vote to the UAW, Mississippi would have zero chance to secure the economic development prize.

Correction and apology to Clarion-Ledger columnist Billy Watkins

In the August 2 WeidieReport, I commented that popular radio talk show host Bo Bounds noted a disclosure lapse at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson. In that post I was incorrect when I wrote that veteran Clarion-Ledger columnist Billy Watkins had written several

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Another disclosure lapse for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger?

Apparently, popular sports talk show host Bo Bounds of Jackson has noted another disclosure lapse at the Clarion-Ledger. In a column written by Josh Peters in USA TODAY,  veteran Clarion-Ledger columnist Billy Watkins and two others were listed as “contributing” to the Peters article which essentially asked the question, “Who is Hugh Freeze?” The conflicting perceptions are of a football coach who wore his religion on his sleeve or a flawed coach who cheating in recruiting and possibly cheated in his personal life. Billy Watkins of the Clarion-Ledger is the brother of W. G. Watkins, Freeze’s personal attorney. Nothing really surprises me anymore about the state’s largest newspaper that has also been very shallow in its coverage of the NCAA allegations against Ole Miss and the resignation of Freeze. (Editor’s note: In this original post, I said that Watkins had written several columns about the NCAA investigation of Ole Miss. That was not correct and for that, I apologize to Mr. Watkins. My next post will have additional comments about this issue.)

Mississippi neighbor as the next President of the United States?New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called darkhorse and longshot to be Democratic presidential nominee in 2020   LOL

The Big Easy or easy to get mugged?

Once upon a time, there were three ambitious governors in the neighboring states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. All three were considered hot national political property, all three were Democrats, and all three had degrees from Ivy League schools. There was also no question that Buddy Roemer in Louisiana, Ray Mabus in Mississippi, and Bill Clinton thought they were all going to be President of the United States. Roemer finished third in his re-election campaign for governor, Kirk Fordice derailed Mabus’ reelection bid in Mississippi leaving Clinton as the only one left with presidential ambitions. Interestingly enough, Clinton’s well-known reputation as a womanizer was expected to sidetrack his ambition. I remember being on a commercial flight to Washington, D.C. with Mabus and his security guard when Mabus openly talked about Clinton’s female problems. Mabus thought Clinton would not overcome the problem.Not long after that, but before Clinton won the Democrat nomination to oppose George H.W. Bush, I had a talk with Republican Haley Barbour. Barbour told me he hoped Democrats would nominate Clinton to oppose Bush for the same reasons cited by Mabus. They were

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New U.S. Attorney For Southern District – Mike Hurst, An Excellent Choice

What has been rumored for months was officially confirmed last week when President Donald Trump, as recommended by U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, announced his nomination of Mike Hurst as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. Trump also announced the nomination of Chad Lamar as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District. I do not know Lamar except for the fact he is highly regarded. I do know Hurst, and I think he will make an excellent U.S. Attorney. I first met Hurst when he served as a top aide to then Congressman Chip Pickering. Hurst left Pickering’s office and became an assistant U.S. Attorney in Jackson. He handled several high profile corruption cases before resigning to run as the Republican nominee for attorney general against Democrat incumbent Jim Hood. Hurst lost that contest but made a good race. In 2019, many expect Hood not to seek another term or run for governor. Hurst was again mentioned as a probable candidate to succeed Hood.  In many ways I think Hurst can do more for our state as a U.S. Attorney than he could as state attorney general.

Is Hurst a persecutor or a prosecutor?

Many weeks ago when Hurst was mentioned as a prime candidate for U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, I smiled when I was told one prominent state Republican, opposed to Hurst being nominated, said Hurst was more of a “persecutor” than a prosecutor when he

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A great American regardless of political party

George H. W. Bush – A Perfect Fit For “The Greatest Generation”

The term “The Greatest Generation”, coined from the best selling book written by Tom Brokaw, is often used to describe those Americans who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II, both on the battlefield and those on the home front who contributed to the war effort. Brokaw correctly said these Americans were the “greatest generation that any society ever produced.” My point leads to a book written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jon Meacham. It is entitled  Destiny and Power, The American Osyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush. Destiny and Power is my recommended read for this month whether you are a Republican or Democrat. It also doesn’t matter if you thought Bush was a good president or not. Regardless of your political affiliation, the forty-first president is a very decent man of character and great humility. Bush was from a wealthy, prominent family, but as soon as he finished high school, he joined the Navy. His plane was shot down on a combat mission in the Pacific. Bush was picked up by a submarine and was the only member of his crew to survive. He may have made mistakes during his public career, but he is one of those Americans of “The Greatest Generation” who did many things not for power, money, fame or glory. Throughout his life, Bush did most things just because it was the right thing to do. Bush truly deserves a place as a member of “the Greatest Generation.” If you read Meacham’s book, I promise you will enjoy it. The great historian David McCullough calls Destiny and Power a “first-rate book.” The book is an inside look at a man who served as a congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, envoy to China, chairman of the Republican National Committee, head of the CIA, vice president and President of the United States. I completely agree. It is a first-rate book and it is the story of a very noble American.

Senate Democrats target Lynn Fitch’s ticket to Washington

(Editor’s note: Wednesday afternoon Andrew Puzder withdrew as President Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of Labor)

The Hill newspaper in Washington and other media are reporting the fight over President Trump’s Cabinet has moved from new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to Andrew Puzder, Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of Labor. Democrats, teacher unions and other liberals targeted DeVos in an attempt to block a Cabinet selection. The Senate confirmation of DeVos ended in a tie until Vice President Pence broke the tie by voting for DeVos. Now, Senate Democrats view Puzder as their best chance to block a Trump Cabinet member from confirmation. Puzder, the CEO of a fast food chain, is thought to be vulnerable on several points. More important from a Mississippi angle is State Treasurer Lynn Fitch is expected to be named to a subcabinet position in the Labor Department if Puzder is confirmed. Puzder’s path to confirmation starts with hearings this week. From what I have read, most of the allegations against Puzder are bogus.

Attention Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at Ole Miss: There is no “assault” on the media

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mississippi statehood, the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at Ole Miss will sponsor several programs during the spring semester. According to “HottyToddy.com”, a site covering Ole Miss and Oxford, the Feb. 17 program is titled “Assault on the Media.” The four journalists who will discuss the “growing hostility” toward the press will be Clarion-Ledger investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell, cartoonist Marshall Ramsey of the same newspaper, Ronnie Agnew, the executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting and former executive editor of the Clarion-Ledger, and Kate Royals, formerly of the Clarion-Ledger and now a reporter for the web newspaper Mississippi Today. I repeat, there is no “assault” on the media. People are just sick and tired of the left-wing bias of the press. That is not an “assault”. Poll after

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And your next State Treasurer is …….

Unless there is a total blow-up of President Trump’s somewhat controversial nomination of businessman Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor, Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint a new state treasurer. If Puzder is confirmed, incumbent Treasurer Lynn Fitch is expected to be appointed to a subcabinet position under Puzder. Bryant will appoint the next treasurer to succeed Fitch and several names have already surfaced as replacements for Fitch. Two of the possibilities sought the office when Fitch won her first term in 2011. One would be former state senator Lee Yancey of Brandon and the other is Jackson attorney Lucien Smith. Fitch defeated Yancey six years ago in the runoff for the Republican nomination. Smith finished third in the same GOP primary. At the time, many political observers viewed Smith as the favorite in the contest, but he finished a disappointing third. Prior to his political race, Smith served as a key staff member in the administration of Gov. Haley Barbour. Later Smith was Gov. Bryant’s chief of staff before returning to practice law with the leading firm of Balch and Bingham. Money may be a consideration if Bryant considers Smith. Smith has impressive academic credentials. His undergraduate degree is from Harvard and received his law degree from the University of Virginia. The salary of the state treasurer is $90,000 per year. When he first ran for office in 2011, Smith was not married. He now has a wife and young child and apparently is making significantly more at Balch and Bingham than he would make as treasurer. Another name in the mix is state Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula. Watson has long been a close political ally of Gov. Bryant. On the other hand, in the Senate, Watson is deep in the doghouse of Lt. Gov. Tate

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Sen. Cochran’s new Chief of Staff: A very good choice

Brad White, Sen. U.S. Thad Cochran’s district director, will be moving to Washington, D.C. in early January, to be the new chief of staff for Mississippi’s senior senator. White replaces Keith Heard who will return to the private sector as a lobbyist. White is an excellent choice to replace Heard. A former state chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, White has an impressive resume in state politics and Mississippi government. Despite his extensive state political and state government experience, some might question White’s lack of Washington experience. That is not an issue. Most chiefs of staff have political experience, are expected to manage the member’s staff, and serve as a senator or representative’s right-hand man or woman. White won’t have any problem handling any of those duties or other assignments Sen. Cochran might give him. Actual Washington and Capital Hill experience is more important for the usual number two staff position, the legislative director. Cochran’s existing staff has solid experience in that important area.

Gov. Bryant should back off telling people Sen. Cochran should resign and will not serve his full term

Thad Cochran just turned 79. Almost as soon as he was re-elected in 2014 when he defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel in a very close Republican Primary and Democrat Travis Childers in the general election, speculation soon became common that Cochran would not serve his full six-year term. Those reports continue to swell and it is no secret Gov. Phil Bryant is pouring fuel on those fires. There are several reports Bryant has told people in both Mississippi and Washington Cochran should retire before his term expires in four years. Reports Cochran will retire in a year or so have spiked several interesting rumors. If Cochran would resign, as Sen. Trent Lott did several years ago,

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