12/10/13 Thanks, Thad

Thad Cochran, Mississippi’s Senior Senator, has been good for the ThadState of Mississippi. He has been mostly conservative, but he ranks among the more moderate GOP Senators. Thad has been the champion of earmarks, choosing, rather than media coverage, to bring home the bacon for Mississippi. Thanks, Thad.

As a Republican who is more and more failing to see the difference between the Democrats who would constantly spend more and more money to create more and more government and the Republicans who do the same, the only difference being that Democrats seem to want more taxes and a redistribution of wealth and Republicans just want to spend more money and have it printed up, I am going to say the unthinkable and incur the wrath of my own party: Thad, it’s time you went home.

Both parties continually outspend resources and add to the deficit. Republicans call for fiscal restraint but they never seem to vote for it. Both parties cry foul on profligate spending when they are not in power (remember then Senator Barack Obama’s comments about Bush’s deficit spending as “unpatriotic”), yet both parties spend as if there is no tomorrow. Every person who has ever set down to balance a checkbook knows better than that…that there is ultimately a payday in one way or another. Being able to print your own money is certainly helpful, but when inflation kicks in, as it must eventually, the tax on the nonexistent money will be obvious.

Mississippi has a history of sending folks to the Senate and keeping them there forever. John C. Stennis, from my own home county of Kemper, served forty-one years after having won a special election in 1947 after the demise of Mississippi’s firebrand racist Senator, Theodore G. Bilbo. Bilbo was so controversial that the Senate at first refused to seat him. The very conservative John Stennis was a Democrat voice of reason in the post Bilbo era.

At that time, every politician, conservative, liberal, racist, or otherwise was a Democrat since the Republicans were still the party of Lincoln. It was not a pretty time in Mississippi politics, but the truth is the truth: better to face it than to deny it ever existed, which you wouldn’t believe and would strain my credibility more than a bit.

Thad Cochran replaced Mississippi’s other forever Senator, James O. Eastland, who served nearly thirty-six years. Together, he and Stennis were the longest serving Senate duo at the time, up to South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond and Fritz Hollings.

Now we have Thad Cochran, once again offering to serve the folks of Mississippi and the nation at large as Mississippi’s Senior Senator. Thad has served a full six terms and will be going for his seventh. My question, which is quite a legitimate one, is this: Thad, what do you hope to accomplish in your next term that you have not been able to accomplish in your last six?

Is the perpetual lure for public office about service, or about ego and power? I submit that is is not about service. If we are to continue to prosper as a nation we must send career politicians home and not allow their focus to be on their own re-election and the access to and trappings of power. It would be much easier for me if I could persuade you to send your Senator home, but I cannot vote for or against your Senator, I can only vote for or against mine. While I will not vote for Thad Cochran, it is not because of any animosity towards him. I am thankful for his long-time, honorable service to Mississippi. I just think it is time for him to go home. I think that so diligently that I will not support any incumbent for re-election. This may be a pointless, personal protest, since Thad will very likely get re-elected in a landslide, but I must vote my conscience, or not vote at all, which is the most likely thing.

I want the Republican party in Mississippi to field a candidate to run against him, and the field was heating up since Senator Cochran had delayed any announcement for another Senate bid. Now that he has announced his candidacy for re-election, the field of Republicans has quietened down and will likely only have a token candidate. It is likely that I will not support any Democrat candidate, either, so technically I am wasting my vote since I will likely not exercise it. But, not voting is a political choice, and not a benign one. I will not lend my vote for something or someone I cannot support.

Thanks, Thad, for your long-time, honorable service to Mississippi and the nation. I wish you would acknowledge this and leave some room for a new generation of Mississippi Republicans to assume the role of Mississippi Senator. I will not like it if you become like Strom Thurmond, ancient beyond function, ordered about by aides, reading Senate speeches prepared by aides, prompted by aides, and led about by aides who did everything for you except push the vote button, though they pointed at which one he should push. There simply comes a time when one should say, “My service days are over,” else the question of just whom you are serving will arise…and service to one’s state and nation becomes service to one’s own ego and to those aides and staffers who depend on you for a job. I am not interested in Thad’s aides and staffers. There are plenty of jobs in D.C. which has grown consistently in spite of our long-running recession.

The suburban D.C. area has the highest per-capita income in the nation, with every one of those incomes in one way or another being funded by government. It is the Thad Cochrans of the world that have ensured that a government job, in pay and benefits, outpaces jobs in the private sector. No longer is government service a pathway to a more lucrative private-sector job, it is a destination and end in itself. The jobs report this past month indicates that government must be doing something right, since 203,000 new jobs were added. This is mitigated by the fact that forty-one percent of those jobs were in the government sector. While those are real jobs for real people, it is the rest of the public sector which funds those jobs. In a sense, the public is continually funding those who regulate (and frequently thwarts) the commerce that produces the money from which the taxes are gathered to fund the job. Only government will bite the hand that feeds it.

We do not exist to serve the government. The government exists to serve us all. Thad Cochran and his fellow Senators and Congressmen have not learned this…they just keep on perpetuating government growth. That is not service to the nation or its citizens. Rather, it is an unseemly self-service.

Thanks, again, Thad. I’d rather you enjoyed the fruits of your labors. You have lived in Washington for so long now that it has become your home. Would that Senate and Congressional jobs were officially just part-time, then those elected to serve could spend most of their time in their home districts really serving those who elect them. It is part-time now, since the amount of time spent in recesses and vacations is remarkable. I suppose that the Congress must recess frequently so that elected leaders can spend more time with lobbyists.

We have created this mess. Only we can fix it. It would be foolish for the hens to expect the foxes to create more real obstacles between themselves and the hen-house, wouldn’t it? If you were a hen, would you sleep safer at night knowing the foxes were in charge of your security?

I didn’t think so.

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