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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

JACKSON, MS. — Can you hate the federal government but love the money it spends on you?

The electoral earthquake that was Mississippi’s Republican Senate primary has pushed this question to the forefront of American politics.

In conventional terms, the success of state senator Chris McDaniel in outpolling Thad Cochran, a 34-year Senate veteran, on Tuesday and forcing him into a runoff was a triumph for the Tea Party movement. Outside conservative groups such as FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth spent millions trying to oust a gracious and civil incumbent they saw as far too cozy with Washington’s big spenders.

If Cochran went to Washington to bring back what Mississippi needs — most crucially after Hurricane Katrina — McDaniel vowed he would fight D.C.’s expansive government and named Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee as his role models. McDaniel takes delight in the word “fight.”

Cochran had the support of the entire Mississippi Republican establishment, from the governor on down. These practical politicians understand how important Cochran’s senior role on the Appropriations Committee is for their state and relish the idea that Cochran would become chairman again if the GOP wins the majority in the Senate.

“By God’s grace, he was chair of Appropriations for two years during Katrina and it made all the difference in the world,” former Governor Haley Barbour said in an interview last month. Cochran was pondering retirement, but “a lot of people” told him, “Thad, don’t put yourself first. Put Mississippi first.”

Barbour and his allies did all they could for their friend, but there was that nagging contradiction at the heart of their argument: Cochran said he was as stoutly conservative and penny-pinching as McDaniel, but also the agent for many good things that come this state’s way courtesy of the despised national capital. Mississippi taxpayers get $3.07 back for every $1 they send to Washington, according to Wallet Hub, a personal finance website. The Tax Foundation ranks Mississippi No. 1 among the states in federal aid as a percentage of state revenue.

Strange numbers, you’d think, for a Beltway-hating state, but Marty Wiseman, the former director of the Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University, explained the apparent inconsistency. “Our anti-Washington politics has been to make sure that we got as much of it here as we could,” he said. “You’ve got the Tea Party excited that they’ve corralled a big spender, but he was bringing it back to Mississippi. That’s the paradox of all paradoxes.”

  • Lynda Groom

    If it was not for the rest of we taxpayers sending revenue to that state Mississippi would dry up and blow away. The disconnect between hatred of ‘big-government’ and the need of Federal funding is truly astounding.

  • howa4x

    I’m so tired of these tea party dolts who don’t understand how their state is funded but yell budget cutting slogans out, that they also don’t understand the ramifications of. As a resident of a sending state that gets back .61 cents out of every dollar we spend I would love to see these welfare queen red states do that. Imagine if Mississippi got back .61 instead of $3.07 for every dollar it sends? The tea party would be squealing to become a pork barrel state again. So tea party, cutting the budget starts at home. Learn to live on less. Isn’t that what you preach to everyone else? Stop being the welfare Cadillac you accuse everyone else who really is in need, of being.

    • Douglas Johnson

      I changed parties to vote for Thad when Senator Eastland decided to retire. Since then I have moved to Florida where the REAL crazies live. I am not proud of the reason the republican party is in ascendancy in my home state. It is essentially racism and nothing else. My childhood friends call people of color “democrats” as a pejorative. Some years ago I was invited to speak to a local Rotary Club in Mississippi as a visitor and since I flew in, a local planter was appointed to give me a ride to and from the airport. On the way back to the airport, the planter, a childhood friend, commented to me “Doug, we got to get these N—-rs off welfare.” I tried to explain to him that Mississippi got back about two dollars (at the time) for every dollar the state paid in taxes. He simply reiterated “We got to get these N—-rs off welfare.” Some time later, I had an epiphany. He was paying labor three dollars a day to chop cotton, and with federal welfare they wouldn’t work for three dollars a day. So the real issue was about exploitation, not wealth transfer.

      • howa4x

        Well at least you were able to wake up and see. Up north when we hear people in the deep south say they want to fight the civil war again we all say don’t bother just go.


    The folks in Mississippi remind me of the person I saw demanding that the federal government keep their hands off ‘his’ Medicare.

    • ralphkr

      When the Koch TEA Party was starting I went to some of the local gatherings. I was tickled to hear how many of them were screaming about how they had to protect their Medicare or VA Health care from the Federal Gubment taking over and messing it up. I finally had to speak up and point out that both Medicare and VA are Federal Government run plans. It was immediately suggested that “that d–n Commie” be ejected in no uncertain terms (violence being suggested by many).

  • herchato

    GOP consider ignorance in the south a God sent blessing.

  • ralphkr

    I was born and raised in an uber-conservative upper Midwestern state and I was taught in civics class that you were to judge whether a Senator or Representative deserved your vote by how much Federal loot he had been able to garner for the state.

  • charleo1

    Can one hate the Federal Gov. and love the money it spends on you Obviously, if one doesn’t realize where the money’s coming from. Or, are not aware of a lot of other basic things that generally have to do with how poorly overall things would be in their State, if not for the Federal Gov. Or, how truly dire they would become, if those people behind “Freedom Works,” and “Americans for Prosperity,” the sponsors of politicians like Chris McDenier, Er, McDaniel, had their way. In fact, the entire potential for disaster the T Party represents for the good intentioned, but sadly mistaken people of MS. or the Country, for that matter. Could be avoided entirely, if the people of such States as, MS.TX. OK. GA. and a few others, had just a little nuts, and bolts knowledge, on how the worlds they live in, work. How the schools their children are educated in are funded, and built. Or, a lot things maybe they just take for granted are going to be there, without that big old bloated Federal Gov. Like for example, when a hurricane produces third world conditions, and they don’t stay that way for years. Do they realize that’s due in large part, because the Federal Gov. steps in, borrows the money, and puts their communities back together? And fixes the thousands of traffic lights. A small thing, but how do they think that happens? I don’t know if they think about those things. Or just thank God, as they magically all just start to work after a couple of days? I live in a Southern State. And do see a concerted effort by those politicians in my State, and Local Gov. to emphasize their own roles in providing vital infrastructure, or disaster relief. And playing down, and being opportunistically critical of the Fed, that’s actually taking on the lion’s share of the huge expenses involved after a huge natural disaster. To boost their bonafides certainly. But also to boost the narrative, the Federal Gov. in it’s proper place would be almost superfluous. And anti-big-gov. sentiment is purposefully reinforced in the minds of many residents. They always make the case, FEMA is horrid, and wasteful. And FEMA camps are the suspected place Obama will send hard core lover of democracy to, “reeducate them!” No, didn’t make that up, the Koch’s people probably did. They kicked Governor Charlie Crist completely out of the Grand Old Party, first for acknowledging the truth. That the Federal stimulus money saved millions of Florida jobs. Then, he thanked President Obama for helping pass the vital program. So, if you’re a politician in a Southern State, you don’t give the Federal Gov. credit for anything, only blame. So they dragged Ol’ Charlie to the Grand Alter of Anti-Governmentalism. Dedicated to the dual concepts of cynicism, and nihilism, and sacrificed him as an example of their seriousness about the whole Federal Gov. has to go thing. To the hoots, and hollers, I might add, mostly by people completely dependent on the Federal Gov. for their income, (Social Security,” And their medical care, on public hospitals, (Medicare/Medicaid:)

    • Douglas Johnson

      I just hope that there are enough of us left in Florida with their eyes open to give Charlie another chance and let him try to rectify the damage the medicare fraud felon has done to the state in one short term. We don’t pay any less in taxes, but Slick Rick rejects medicaid and sends our already paid taxes to some state where people like Ralphkr elected the governor.

      • charleo1

        Well, I don’t know about ralphkr. I was raised in a pretty
        conservative midwestern state myself. And I do understand,
        or did understand, before all the extremist, the reluctance to jump on the newest bandwagon, adopt the latest cause. Their wariness, and skepticism, are born of the necessity of coming from a tough environment, and dirt poor. (Been there.) Where their educations weren’t the best. (Many had to quit school.) And, they were smart enough to know it. Mistakes hurt, a lot. And are hard to recover from. So they are very conservative. (Careful.) But that also causes a lot of problems itself, The false bravado, and this air of backward, and proud of it. That’s rooted in the fear of change. The sense that they hardly know the rules now, and if they change, they may not understand them at all. So, the slick political, psychologists have been able to exploit this to a large extent, and validate, and manipulate that fear, that is a part of the way they have learned to survive. This is the T Party, almost in it’s entirety. It’s why it was invented. A new Black President, with a Muslim Father, and one of them there, Liberal Mothers, that seemed to prefer them Black men. Well, they are told, we know how this is going to go! Right? We need to get ’em all off welfare. And he’s going to put ’em all on it! And, of course, right away, he’s “The Food Stamp Pres. Well, we’re in a financial crisis, for God’s sake! Didn’t matter, did it? A lot more, many more,White people on public assistance, than Black, or Brown people. Didn’t matter. They could be on PA themselves. Don’t matter now. And, as you’ve figured out, Fl. is full of folks like you, and I grew up around. And everyone of them, back in SW Mo. voted against their best interests too. They know me. They don’t talk about Obama to me. Ever.

  • snickers413

    If we didn’t have to support the Red states all the time there would be more money for the states that work. Instead we’re constantly giving them money while they cut the government down at every opportunity. Talk about ungrateful POS! While I wouldn’t want all the people of the state to suffer because of the ignorant Republicans who run the states, maybe if we cut them off one or two times they’d come to their senses and throw the bums out. You can’t have it both ways. Either you learn how to say thank-you or go without! Sounds simple to me!