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
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
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
In defending her profane rant at the women’s march the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Madonna said her words were “taken wildly out of context.” If you think her speech to hundreds of thousands of women was taken out of context, I suggest you watch the video of her vulgar remarks. At least three times she yells “F… you in her speech. Despite an Associated Press report that labeled her speech, among other things, as “fiery,” there is nothing taken out of context when the singer-actress screams “F… you”. The really, really sad part is the three times when Madonna yell “F… you”, the assembled thousands attending the women’s march cheered Madonna. I repeat. That is pretty sad.
A Mississippi Senate staff member and the State Capitol used for political fundraiser
Sen. Bob Dearing, a Natchez Democrat, was a longtime and respected senator until he was defeated by Republican Melanie Sojourner in 2011. Sojourner’s tenure in the legislature was marked by controversy, and she was also Chris McDaniel’s campaign manager during his nasty GOP primary campaign against U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Four years after his defeat, Dearing took on Sojourner again and won a very narrow victory. Legal battles over
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,
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.
Many political veterans in Mississippi will recognize the name Wiley Carter, even if they were not fortunate enough to know Wiley personally. Wiley worked for Lt. Gov. Carroll Gartin and U.S. Rep. John Bell Williams before Williams was elected governor. More importantly, Wiley was a top aide to Congressman and later Sen. Thad Cochran for 23 years until Wiley’s untimely death in 1997. When I first moved to Washington, D.C. more than 25 years ago, one of the first calls I received was from Wiley. After working for Cochran in his Capitol Hill office, Wiley was then working in Cochran’s Jackson office. Wiley promptly told me that if I needed any help or information getting settled in D.C., he strongly recommended I call a certain lady who worked for Sen. Cochran. That lady was Kay Webber.
I can’t remember what I asked Kay when I called, but I remember she was very kind and helpful. After Sen. Cochran’s wife died in a nursing home last December due to a very long illness, Sen. Cochran married Webber on May 23 in a private ceremony on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Having known Webber since I moved to Washington and Cochran since his first campaign for the U.S. House in 1972, I was very excited for both of them. Of course, when the news of their marriage broke, all the stories of Cochran and Webber’s relationship brought out during Cochran’s tough re-election campaign against state Sen. Chris McDaniel were rehashed again in both the national and local press.
The actions of some Chris McDaniel supporters during the campaign reached a new low in Mississippi politics. Even worse, after the wedding of Cochran and Webber was announced, some very nasty comments were made in the print media and in some political blogs. The lawyer for the man accused of taking pictures of the bedridden Rose Cochran in her nursing home room even added his own stupid comment. He said Cochran’s marriage to Webber would help the defense of his client. Many comments expressed best wishes for Cochran and Webber, but almost as many fell far short of common decency. The fact of the matter is this: Cochran’s first wife Rose died in the nursing home after 13 years. As very sad as it may be, Cochran lost his wife long before she actually died. Kay Webber has been very good for Thad Cochran. We should all be very happy for them and wish them the best for years to come. They are both very decent people.
McDaniel term limit proposal creates a lot of smiles
Politicians are often the source of amusement. State Sen. Chris McDaniel can always be counted on to be a source. A few days ago, The United Conservatives Fund PAC of McDaniel issued a press release regarding term limits. The organization will seek enough voter signatures for a constitutional amendment in 2016 to limit state legislators and statewide elected officials to two consecutive terms in the same office. Of course, while advocating limiting legislators to two consecutive terms, McDaniel is seeking his third term in the Mississippi Senate. The next day I received more than a few calls and emails from people that were very amused that McDaniel is seeking a third term while advocating term limits. In regards to McDaniel, a lot of us are still waiting for him to concede his defeat by Sen. Thad Cochran and to congratulate his fellow Republican on his re-election to another term in the U.S. Senate. McDaniel’s ego, arrogance, and self-righteousness are never diminished. There will never be term limits for McDaniel in “The World is Flat Club.”
In sports, the “silly season” is used most often in reference to NASCAR’S offseason when rumors about drivers switching teams, crew chiefs switching drivers, etc. are in full swing. There’s little doubt that Mississippi politics is having its own version of a silly season with only a few days to go before the Feb. 27 qualifying deadline for statewide, district, legislative, and local candidates. Even in many legislative districts the list of qualified candidates is thin and there will certainly be more candidates jumping into contests before the end of the day next Friday. Here are some of the big “ifs” and discussions that are prime topics for the political silly season…
Singing River Hospital System plays a bogus PR game
On December 28 the Sun Herald newspaper on the Mississippi coast posted a video produced for the Singing River Hospital System in Jackson County. While taking a few shots at the press, doctors and nurses working at the hospital stressed the quality of health care provided by the hospital. Everyone knows that SRHS is very important to the citizens of Jackson County. The question of the hospital’s quality of health care and the dedication of the system’s doctors and nurses, etc. has not be the issue and has not be questioned. What has been questioned is the financial problems and mismanagement by some SRHS officials. Those responsible for the financial crisis include hospital administrators, the hospital board of trustees, and the county board of supervisors. In a word, the financial problems of the hospital should not be overlooked by a video parade of doctors and nurses stressing the quality of patient care at SRHS.
All politics is local (and that’s too bad)
“All politics is local” is a common political phrase. Former Speaker of the U.S. House Tip O’Neill is most closely associated with this phrase and anyone who has read his memoir, Man of the House written with William Novak, knows why he is the main architect of this famous phrase. “All politics is local” has almost become one of the “Ten Commandments” for politicians and aspiring politicians. According to Wikipedia, the phrase was first introduced by a Washington journalist in 1932 and O’Neill used it in 1935 when he first entered politics. Maybe it’s time for “All politics is local” to be removed from the political Bible. This nation would certainly be better off if our elected officials, both in Washington and in Mississippi, did what is best for the nation and state, not what is best for politicians’ own re-election.