Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Atlantic article, failure to speak to supporters raises issues about Cochran's fitness to serve

    The Atlantic had an interesting article that was released on Election Day about Thad Cochran, entitled The Last of the Naive Republicans. I would urge every Mississippian to read it.
    The article describes the 76-year-old Cochran as being hustled around by his handlers like a prop, unable to answer many questions posed to him. I would urge anyone concerned about Cochran's ability to continue to represent Mississippi in Washington to read it.
    A couple of paragraphs from the article:
On his way to the exit, Cochran held out his hand to me. I had met and interviewed him less than half an hour before. "Hello, how are you doing?" he said with a kindly smile. "I'm Thad Cochran."
    And later in the article:
Onstage at the rally, Cochran read from paper notes. It was a stock speech of generic Republican lines, a marked contrast from Cochran's rambling performance earlier in Meridian. Cochran read slowly and deliberately, looking up from the podium every so often. The other politicians surrounding him onstage appeared nervous about whether he'd make it through the text, but he did not stumble. "President Obama has taken us down some wrong paths, but starting tomorrow, we can get America back on the right path," Cochran said. "That starts with repealing Obamacare!" Belatedly, he thrust a finger forward, then waited as the crowd applauded forcefully.
    Now, this is just one reporter's opinion, but the tenor of the article is not that of someone with an ax to grind against Cochran. When a candidate's handlers appear nervous over a veteran politician's ability to read a simple speech, it is cause for concern.
    Cochran failed to address his supporters after election returns showed him being slightly edged out for his opponent, 49.5 to 48.9 percent. A relatively unknown name on the ballot took in enough votes to likely force a runoff. Win, lose, or draw, why in the world was Cochran unable or unwilling to address his supporters?
    I had planned to vote for Cochran until the last few days of the campaign. Even if he has irritated me from time to time, for the most part he has served Mississippi well. But rarely has he spoken out firmly in support of Mississippi's conservative values, which is part of what I want from a senator.
    But whether Cochran is physically and mentally capable of continuing in the job is a fair question that has to be asked if we are to vote again in three weeks' time on which man will represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate. It's not a pleasant subject, but it's an important one.

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