Are rights from God. . . or man? Part II

After Chris Cuomo’s quarrel with Judge Roy Moore, another media-type has expressed her belief that rights come from man. In response to Sen. Ted Cruz invoking God as the grantor of rights, Yahoo News political reporter Meredith Shiner posted:

If rights are granted by men, they can be taken away by men.

The Declaration of Independence declared that humans are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” and the U.S. Constitution was created to prevent government from trampling them. In a 2001 interview, President Obama recognized the Constitution’s restraint on government: “It says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”

Rights granted by men are artificial or man-made but certainly not natural and unalienable! Shiner should thank God for all of her rights, including her 1st Amendment right to speak her mind–even if she doesn’t know Who granted them.

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Senate passes balanced budget amendment for U.S. Constitution

The Mississippi Senate passed Bill 2389 which, if also approved by the House and signed by the Governor, will enjoin Mississippi in the Compact for a Balanced Budget, an interstate effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a federal balanced budget, reduce federal borrowing, and seek state approval before increasing the debt limit. Alaska and Georgia entered the compact in April 2014 and at least 38 states are required.

With three-fourths of state agreeing to the compact, the U.S. House and Senate can pass resolutions without presidential signature to initiate the amendment process. Having the wording agreed upon up front, a 24-hour Article V convention would convene in which each governor, acting as their state’s delegate, would vote “yes” to ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment.

The U.S. Constitution, Article V provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. However, three-fourths (or 38) states are required to ratify an amendment.

Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall introduced the bill.

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Review of the Republican runoff

On Tuesday, June 24th, Senator Thad Cochran won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat he currently occupies.  The nastiest and craziest primary in recent memory apparently deserves an equally crazy ending.  While lobbyist Stuart Stevens wrote that the formula for victory was very simple, a look back at the results is fascinating.  The Stennis Institute remarked, “[T]he turnout for the runoff election exceeded the primary turnout by 20%, which is an astonishing fact.”

National Review echoed the thought with a similar assessment:  “It’s generally agreed that Thad Cochran squeaked out a win in Mississippi last night in part by getting Democrats, especially African Americans, to turn out.”  Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight completed the exhaustive (and fascinating) data-mining showing how Cochran’s victory correlated to black turn-out and later reported that a Cochran victory was not as implausible as pundits initially predicted.

Mississippi State’s Stennis Institute produced numerous post-runoff maps including the one below.  The colors show the vote difference between the primary and runoff for each county while the elevation shows the voter turnout.

Vote Difference from June 3rd

Change in raw vote numbers from June 3rd primary to the June 24th runoff

Turnout in DeSoto County increased in support of challenger Chris McDaniel but was overshadowed by the dramatic increase in Hinds County in support of Cochran.  The author counted 6 counties that shifted from one candidate to the other but the most significant was in Jackson County which netted more than 700 more votes for Cochran.

Runoff Results by County

However, even in counties held by McDaniel, the change in margin of victory greatly favored Cochran who received a net increase in votes in 48 of the 82 Mississippi counties.  The Stennis Institute’s full analysis with even more maps is provided in “Mississippi Primary Runoff Election, 2014.”

But how did Cochran expand the voter pool to increase turnout and win the Republican nomination?  The days following the election have shown that defining your opponent is critical to energizing potential voters.  Negative and misleading attacks are expected from those across the aisle, but Cochran used the tactic effectively against a member of his own party.  Consider this flyer that was found in traditionally Democrat precincts and posted by National Review:

GOTV Flyer for Thad Cochran

Courtesy of National Review

Like the flyer above, a “robocall” in support of Cochran stated similar positions and even implied that Cochran would not block President Obama’s agenda, a significant point that McDaniel expected would increase his support in the reputedly “deep red” state of Mississippi:

If that wasn’t enough, listen to this clip posted by Breitbart and reportedly aired on WMGO radio warning voters that the Tea Party will take away food stamps and “everything we and our families depend on that comes from Washington will be cut”:

Tea Party Republicans are shocked at the Cochran campaign’s attempt to disparage a fellow Republican Party member.  The election results and campaign tactics demonstrate the divide between establishment and Tea Party Republicans and will likely shape both the ethic and ideology of future campaigns, especially when facing an ideological purist from within one’s own party.

Cochran friend, classmate, and Ole Miss professor Curtis Wilkie, defending Cochran’s campaign in The Last Southern Gentleman, wrote on the day of the runoff, “In a rare sight for a Republican, Thad is openly seeking help in the predominantly black Mississippi Delta in the closing hours of the campaign.”  Bolstering one of McDaniel’s assertions during the campaign that Cochran has never led a conservative fight, Wilkie recalls that “He specialized in agriculture and appropriations and rarely engaged in discussions about heated ‘wedge issues’ such as abortion rights and gun control.”

A week after the election, McDaniel has yet to concede, at least in part, due to reports of voting irregularities which include a 50% increase in voter turn-out in Hinds County.  A June 25th Fox News report summarized:

Of particular interest to the McDaniel campaign was the turnout in Hinds County, which Cochran won by nearly 11,000 votes Tuesday. By contrast, Cochran won the county by 5,300 votes on June 3. Just under 25,000 total ballots were cast in Hinds County Tuesday, while 16,640 total ballots were cast on June 3.

On Fox New Channel’s “Hannity,” McDaniel stated that he intends to verify the number that voted in the June 3rd Democrat primary and illegally voted in the Republican runoff.

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Domestic dispute: Tea Party vs. Establishment

The race for the Republican nomination for the Mississippi U.S. Senate seat is redrawing the political landscape.  Senator Thad Cochran’s seniority would be expected to keep federal dollars flowing into the state but it is just that reputation that is fueling the Tea Party opposition and candidacy of Chris McDaniel.

Since the June 3rd primary in which neither Cochran nor McDaniel were able to garner more than 50% of the vote, Cochran has increased his efforts and is even appealing to Democrats who did not vote June 3rd.  He is also emphasizing how his influence has ensured the growth and stability of military bases across the state and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) in Pascagoula.  DefenseNews reports that such influence may not be all positive as efforts to add another LPD to HII’s workload may cost at least one future ship based on a 2002 agreement.

While McDaniel has bashed excessive federal spending as bankrupting our country, Cochran supporters have stated that such spending is vital to Mississippi’s economic vitality and quality of life.  For years, economic conservatives have argued that so-called establishment Republicans are merely “Democrat-light” with no clear distinction with the policies from across the political aisle.

No shrinking violet, Sarah Palin has weighed-in accusing establishment Republicans of tearing down McDaniel instead of making a case against President Obama.  She is asking voters to “send a message to the career politicians who sure seem satisfied with the trajectory our nation is on, because they sure don’t lift a finger to help elect the guys they KNOW will be the fighters for American exceptionalism in DC.”

Mississippi will settle this round of arguments in the runoff election on Tuesday, June 24th.  Anyone who voted in the Republican Primary or did not vote can vote in the runoff;  only those that voted in the Democrat Primary are unable to.

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Runoff election rundown

With Political Action Committees backing both sides, watch-out for misinformation and half-truths as advertisements and the media heat-up for the June 24th runoff election between Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

With McDaniel winning more of the June 3rd vote, the establishment backing Cochran is looking for some help from Democrats who sat out the June 3rd Primary.  What seemed absurd two weeks ago may have helped Cochran’s momentum.  Even gun-control advocate Michael Bloomberg gave $250,000 to Mississippi Conservatives PAC, the primary super PAC supporting Cochran’s reelection.

The polling data only fuels the debate.  One poll shows McDaniel with a 8-point lead.  Two days later, another shows a dead heat only to be refuted by second poll the same day saying McDaniel has a 12-point lead.

One opinion says Ingalls has shrunk during Cochran’s tenure while another says Cochran must remain our senator if the next ship is going to be funded.  All the while, McDaniel is under fire for wanting to shrink the federal government.

The big winners?  Newspapers and Democrat nominee Travis Childers!

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“Business as usual” vs. “Sacrifice” at issue in campaign

Sen. Thad Cochran is firmly established as a gentleman in the U.S. Senate.  Years of working across the aisle with Democrats has gained him the respect of Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) as well as fellow Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Unlike his opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who says that compromise is part of the problem, Cochran makes no apologies for the tactic.   In their endorsement, the Sun Herald even called him a “respected conciliator.”  Cochran’s negotiation skills have pushed through many deadlocked bills and brought millions of dollars in federal funds to Mississippi.

McDaniel was identified as an “up-and-comer” from the moment he took office as a state Senator in 2008.  But he is equally unapologetic in his commitment to fight compromise.  “The liberals always win.  That’s not compromise.  That’s called surrender.”

Concerned for the country’s future, McDaniel says every state depends on federal funding, an addiction that must stop:  “. . . every state is going to have to make sacrifices to save this union.”

With one day left until the primary election, Geoff Pender says both McDaniel and Cochran are consummate gentlemen.  In a very close race for Mississippi’s U.S. Senate seat, personality may be vital to turnout and victory while statesmanship will be vital for whoever wins.

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Cochran’s 42 years of influence summarized

The Washington Post caught up to Sen. Thad Cochran on Friday and wrote an extensive article, Cochran promotes D.C. influence to fend off tea party challenge, on issues ranging from longevity and compromise to ObamaCare, the Tea Party, and his opponent in the Republican Primary, state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

In the article, Cochran appeared to make a critical misstep by saying, “I think we need to monitor any federal programs that provide services and assistance to people who need help, and this is an example of an important effort by the federal government to help make health care available, accessible and affordable.”  Later on the campaign trail, Cochran’s staff clarified the statement by saying that the Senator though he was addressing the VA scandal and Cochran stated himself that he has always been against the law.

Cochran has continued to promote the political clout he has gained by 42 years in Washington.  Cochran says, “I’m convinced that if that phone call would have not been made to a Cabinet member, we wouldn’t have been able to keep the hospital open.”

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