Tea Party Horror

Right-Wing Radio Fury Over Thad Cochran Win in Mississippi

Rush Limbaugh blamed ‘Uncle Toms.’ Glenn Beck skewered the ‘90-year-old fart.’ And Laura Ingraham cried ‘race-baiting.’ Plus, more apoplectic reactions to Chris McDaniel’s loss.

John Sommers II/Reuters

Conservative radio hosts are livid. On Tuesday night, their favored candidate in Mississippi’s GOP Senate runoff, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, went down to incumbent Thad Cochran—largely thanks to a last-minute appeal to black Democrats.

Democrats were not barred from voting in the Republican primary as long as they did not vote in their own, and with turnout low for the Democratic primary, plenty of voters were ripe for the wooing for the runoff. Cochran’s strategy paid off, giving him about 6,300 more votes than his Tea Party challenger and leaving Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck purple-faced with outrage.

Rush Limbaugh, known for his delicate, measured approaches to sensitive issues, erupted Wednesday morning on his show: “I wonder what the campaign slogan was in Mississippi the past couple days. ‘Uncle Toms for Thad?’ ’Cause I thought that the worst thing you could do as an African-American was vote for a Republican. Absolutely worst thing you could do…Insider Republicans in the Senate bought 9 percentage points, 8 or 9 percentage points, from the black Uncle Tom voters in Mississippi. Well, you know what they call Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice. Black Republicans, they call ’em Uncle Toms.”

Later, Limbaugh returned to the subject to denounce the “corrupt and undeserved victory” for Cochran. “So the Washington establishment, both parties, distribute a flier claiming the Tea Party wanted to prevent blacks from voting on Tuesday. This, combined with other efforts, secured a turnout of black Democrat voters in a Republican primary that gave Thad Cochran, in my view, a corrupt and undeserved victory.”

Glenn Beck, another sensitive soul miraculously attuned to the thoughts and needs of all African-American Mississippi residents, called Cochran’s victory “absolutely unbelievable.” “I have a question for every black Democrat in Mississippi: What the hell has this 90-year-old fart—a white Republican, the same white Republican that for years the Democrats have been telling you are nothing but old racists—you tell me exactly what Thad Cochran did for you…You either say, ‘No, no, no, I recognize how much it sucks to be black and unemployed in America, and so I’m done with the Democrats, I’m going to go over to this new fresh-faced Republican who’s provided even better unemployment rates for us.”

Laura Ingraham agreed that the number of dark-skinned individuals who exercised their right to vote in a primary election detracted from Cochran’s victory, the taste of which “should be quite bitter” in the senator’s mouth. “When you have to win as a Republican by playing the race-baiting game that the left routinely plays, I would say that the taste of victory today should be quite bitter in the mouths of the Barber family and Sen. Cochran himself. Do we really think that is the future of the Republican Party? Candidates who brag about how much bacon they’ll bring home and who engage in those types of smear tactics with the help of the entrenched left, meaning people on the left who spend their morning, noon, and night smearing good people?”

Sean Hannity, a beacon of “dignity and honor and integrity,” called Cochran’s victory “the opposite” of those virtues. “I am so angry at this Thad Cochran/Chris McDaniel race, I can’t even begin to tell you,” Hannity said on his show. “You know, between the flier that was distributed in black neighborhoods and the robocall saying: ‘The time has come to take a stand and say no to the Tea Party. No to their obstruction. No to their disrespect and treatment of the first African-American president.’ Why would these calls be made in a GOP primary? We all know the reason, because according to Mississippi law, Democrats not voting in either party primary—remember, this was a runoff—were eligible to vote in the Cochran-McDaniel runoff. And Thad Cochran, seeing his power slipping away after many decades as a senator in Washington, you know, knew that his career was on the line here. And rather than run with dignity and honor and integrity and honor and decency, what did he do? He did just the opposite. And he was appealing to Democratic voters.”