A generation ago, southerners of a certain age would refer to the Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression.” The meme was simple. Northerners from Washington came down to subjugate the south.
Today we are seeing a new war of northern aggression. Denizens of Washington are coming to a certain southern state to try and impose their will on the state.
Who are these people and what is the state?
The state is Mississippi.
The Tea Party is fighting lobbyists from Washington over the future of the state. Thad Cochran, has been a US Senator from Mississippi since 1978. He is the poster child for what is wrong with Republicans in Washington. He is a big spending Republican, who is more concerned about what the Chamber of Commerce thinks than what the people of Mississippi think.
Leading the charge on behalf of Cochran is one of the most prominent Republican lobbyists in the nation. He is former Mississippi governor and Washington lobbyist Haley Barbour.
They are fighting Tea Party conservative Chris McDaniel who is challenging Cochran for his seat. McDaniel is supported by almost every conservative group, including Tea Party Nation.
The Barbours and the Washington establishment have decided to make all out war in Mississippi. There is no thought being given to the general election right now. All that is happening is that there is unrestricted warfare by the Washington establishment against conservatives to make sure a conservative is not nominated.
But there is more than ideology involved. A little over ten years ago, Cochran cut an ad for Barbour complementing him on building one of the largest lobbying firms in the nation. Watergate figure “Deep Throat” gave the cryptic advice, “follow the money,” and that is what everyone should do.
Why are the Barbours so interested in keeping Thad Cochran in the Senate? There is certainly some personal loyalty there but if Chris McDaniel wins that seat, suddenly that door is not open to the Barbours and groups like the Chamber of Commerce anymore.
According to Politico, outside establishment lobbying groups have already spent $400,000 in attack ads geared towards taking out a conservative.
This isn’t simply a primary in Mississippi. This is the latest war that will determine the heart and soul of the Republican Party.
When this war is over, if Cochran can prevail, the GOP establishment is going to want the Tea Party to line up and support Cochran, lest some Democrat slide in and take that seat blue.
The much more interesting scenario is what happens if Chris McDaniel wins. Will the Barbour organized political family simply go home or will they try to sabotage McDaniel’s campaign as the GOP establishment sabotaged Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign in Virginia last year.
The race in Mississippi is a test race. If conservative Chris McDaniel defeats Washington insider Thad Cochran and the Republican establishment does not support him, then that may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The Republican establishment wants to engage in a scorched earth policy against conservatives in the primaries. The establishment had better remember, they need us more than we need them.
There are many conservatives watching Mississippi who only need a small push to leave the Republican Party and start looking for a new political home.