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by
Rick Moran

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June 3, 2014 - 11:26 am

There may have been a time when a septuagenarian like Mississippi’s 6-term Senator Thad Cochran would have breezed to renomination and re-election. Voter sentimentality would have rewarded him for past service, even though the infirmities of age — and a long tenure in Washington — might otherwise have been liabilities that would have helped defeat him.

Today, those liabilities — both real and perceived — are likely to end his 4 decade political career. There is no longer room for sentiment in politics. Harsh realities and the perception that Cochran has lost his connection to the people by getting too comfortable with the Washington elites will probably doom him to a humiliating primary defeat today.

Cochran’s very effectiveness as a Senator has been turned against him. The tens of billions of dollars he has personally steered to his constituents in Mississippi has been dismissed as “pork” by his opponents and his careful nurturing of relationships with Democrats across the aisle that culminated in a $29 billion aid package for the Gulf Coast after hurricane Katrina has been redefined as accommodation with the enemy.

Such could be said about much of Cochran’s low-key legislating over the years, as this CNN report pointed out:

Though the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report both have the senate seat as remaining solidly in the Republican column, Stuart Rothenberg in April wrote: “Cochran, 76, is in trouble — in deep trouble — primarily because of changes in the Republican Party. But it’s also true that the senator, and his campaign, didn’t start his re-election effort where they needed to be.”

That’s partly because the very thing Cochran has cited as a strength: his tenure in Washington and power broker status, has been used by his tea party backed opponent to paint him as an antiquated Beltway insider.

In 2010, Citizens Against Government Waste, a non profit government spending watchdog group, dubbed Cochran the “king of earmarks” after he netted roughly $490 million for projects he favored.

Cochran has served as the chairman of the Appropriations Committee and the Agriculture Committee. In this role, he was able to help net federal funding for his alma mater, the University of Mississippi, for medical research, as well as money for defense contractors and protected the interests of Mississippi farmers, Barbour said.

“He has worked hard in the state to make sure Mississippi got its fair share,” Barbour said.

Barbour’s nephew, Henry, is an adviser to Mississippi Conservatives, a super PAC that is trying to get Cochran re-elected.

Still, the challenge from McDaniel has Cochran on the defense, Bruce said.

And well he should be on the defense, given his record. Earmarking, now forbidden in Congress, was an unaccountable means of spending that encouraged profligacy and waste. Of course, getting rid of them hasn’t slowed the growth of spending or cut back on the waste. But at least now Congress is more accountable to the taxpayer for their votes.

Cochran is a victim of the changing definition of legislator. No longer is it important what a congressman or senator achieves for his district or state. A lawmaker is now judged on how ideologically pure they are, how intensely they join the battle between the two sides, and how closely they are perceived to be to the power elites in Washington.

Cochran strikes out on all three criteria. It’s not only sentiment in politics that has disappeared; it is pragmatism that is fast disappearing as well.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.
All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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It's disgraceful that anyone would be battening off the people of the United States for almost his entire adult life.

This person has been a senator for six terms, channeling taxpayers' money to his personally-favored people and organizations the entire time, becoming a multimillionaire, and I am supposed to feel sorry for him because he might finally, at long last, be pried out of office?

Thirty-six years squatting in the Senate. Think about that.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The Mississippi Senator is a victim of the changing definition of legislator."

The problem is that the Democrats learned that lesson decades ago, and have spent that time training the Republicans to believe that "crossing the aisle" will get them the earmarks that will get them re-elected, and got lots of leftwing legislation passed that way. Meanwhile, they never "crossed the aisle" to help get Republican legislation passed unless it was a move to the left.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
I once worked for a company that was at the top of its industry. They picked company men to be the execs. Company men knew what to do -- stay the course, don't rock the boat, maintain the status quo, and don't screw up. The company did well with this philosophy until the industry changed. Suddenly, the company was no longer doing well financially. The company men at the helm were at a loss. The tried and true ways didn't work in the new world. The company eventually went under.

Men like Sen Cochran learned the ropes in the old world where America had unlimited ability to borrow-and-spend. Compromise mean agreeing to spend on everybody's pet projects. A good Senator knew how to fight for his share of the goodies from the limitless Washington money tree. Now, the world has changed. The money tree got struck by lightening and died. We have finally run out of other people's money. The skills of men like Sen Cochran are now obsolete. We need new leaders who think differently, or else America is going under just like my former company did.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Only Moran could link sentimentality and pragmatism as mutually compatible motivations.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Voter's sentimentality. Politician's pragmatism.

If you'd like I could recommend a good junior college in your area that offers classes in remedial reading.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you know of a good Junior college, you should sign up for a class in basic logic.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Really? This is your final sentence:

It’s not only sentiment in politics that has disappeared; it is pragmatism that is fast disappearing as well.

8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
The election is statistically tied in polling. Mississippi has open primaries. Cochran has called for Democrats to cross over and vote in the Republican primary to save him. If he wins by a narrow margin, it is arguably because he is beholden to the enemy. If he loses, anyone want to bet against him [and the Mississippi Republican Party] refusing to endorse McDaniel and maybe supporting the Democrat?

Subotai Bahadur
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
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