Politics

06.25.14

Thad Cochran Wins One for Sanity Over Tea Partier Chris McDaniel

Democrats might have been praying for a McDaniel victory in Mississippi’s Senate runoff—why not make the Republicans look nuttier? Here’s why they should be glad the establishment won.

I know, I know. Fellow liberals, you were rooting for Chris McDaniel to beat Thad Cochran on Tuesday night in Mississippi. I understand. Just a few days ago, I was, too. Put more crazy in the national GOP. Make them look that much more embarrassing. Bring one more nut to Washington who talks about hot Latino babes and all the rest of it.

Besides which, if McDaniel had won, the Democrat, Travis Childers, would have had a shot. Childers would scarcely qualify as a Democrat in about 17 or 18 states, but the Senate is the Senate, full of weird senators, for better or worse. Every state gets two. Why not have one be a guy who’ll vote (we presume, shakily) to make Harry Reid the majority leader of the Senate?

Nah. First of all, the idea that Childers ever had any kind of chance of winning a Senate seat in Mississippi was a pipe dream. The voters of Mississippi aren’t going to send a Democratic senator to Washington, D.C., in the era of Barack Obama. I don’t care what the circumstances are. Remember that old joke about incumbents being safe as long as they weren’t caught with a live boy or a dead girl? During the Obama presidency, a Mississippi Republican could be caught with a dead Bichon Frise, and the only question he’d be asked is why he favored a dog with such a gay-sounding Frenchie name. Childers wasn’t going to beat McDaniel.

As to whether Democrats would prefer to have Cochran or McDaniel in the Senate, this takes us back to the old Marxist dialectic, “The worse, the better.” That is, the worse things get for our enemies, the more extreme and crazy they get, the better things are for us, because the worse things get for them, the more quickly the public will see that the other side has lost its freaking mind.

We don’t need one more extremist GOP candidate who is going to make those cowardly Republicans in the Senate conclude that they have to live in fear of losing to some certifiable, fact-bending jelly-head of the extreme right.

This was the stratagem of leftists everywhere for a long, long time. Not that I’m making any direct comparisons here—OK?—but this is what the socialists and communists thought in Germany in 1933. The right, they were sure, is going to discredit itself. And they were correct. But it took 12 years and around 9 million or 10 million dead human beings. That’s enough collateral damage to prove the theorists wrong.

No, sorry. Boring as it may seem, be glad that Cochran eked out his win. Be happy that sane won. Here’s a little political truism for you: Sane is better than insane. We don’t need more Ted Cruzes in the Senate. We don’t need more candidates endorsed by Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum. We just. Don’t. Need. Them. We don’t need one more extremist GOP candidate who is going to make those cowardly Republicans in the Senate conclude that they have to live in fear of losing to some certifiable, fact-bending jelly-head of the extreme right. We really don’t.

Cochran will never vote for anything Obama wants. No minimum wage hike, no carbon tax, no nothing. I understand that. But he’ll be in there, assuming he wins and stays alive, until January 2021. That is, through what might be Hillary Clinton’s first term. If the GOP intra-bloodbath happens in 2017 after she’s won, Cochran, who won’t be running again and just won’t give a shit, might actually vote for one or two things Clinton asks for. McDaniel, obviously, would not.

And consider this. The Tea Party people are furious about this outcome. A very prominent Tea Party activist tweeted Tuesday night: “If Cochran wins this #mssen race, the GOP is done. They teamed up with Dems to steal a race. Kiss the base goodbye.”

So there we are. Be for sanity. Be against insanity. The dialectic never worked, even back in the glory days. Chris McDaniel belongs where he belongs—chasing ambulances in Pascagoula, or wherever it is he’s from. And his election would not hasten the Republican apocalypse. If anything, Cochran’s would. More Tea Party losses in races like this are what’s needed.