Tonight I submit my updated analysis on the Cochran – McDaniel race for the United States Senate.
As you are probably aware, a blogger named Clayton Kelly allegedly entered Mrs. Rose Cochran’s nursing home bedroom a few weeks ago and snapped some pictures of her. Then, Mr. Kelly allegedly published the same onto his anti-Thad Cochran blog. The ensuing controversy has engulfed what had already become a highly contentious campaign, turning it into the nastiest campaign in America.
The issue of Rose Cochran, however, predates the controversy surrounding Clayton Kelly. Several weeks ago, media organizations like Breitbart.com began running anti-Cochran hit pieces, insinuating that he had been cheating on his bedridden wife by living with (and traveling the world with) his executive assistant. From a general reading of the news reports surrounding Mr. Kelly, it would appear that his motivation to photograph Mrs. Cochran may have been, at least in part, the result of the rumors surrounding Senator Cochran and his executive assistant.
Although Senator Cochran’s alleged infidelity may very well be relevant to his fitness to serve in Congress, I will pass on any such discussion since I have no credible information to confirm or to discredit these charges. My opinions are based upon the assumption that Senator Cochran is honorable and that he has remained true to his wife. Until clear and convincing evidence is presented to the contrary, I will not assume otherwise.
Nevertheless, Cochran’s opponents have used these rumors of infidelity to paint an unflattering picture of Mississippi’s senior senator. His detractors would have us believe that he is cold and callous toward his wife, abandoning her to the care of a nursing home while he gallivants the world with another woman. And while Chris McDaniel has not publicly engaged in such gossip, he certainly stands to benefit if these rumors are believed.
Perhaps this explains why Senator Cochran is attempting to connect Chris McDaniel to Clayton Kelly’s alleged actions. On May 20, the Senator’s Facebook page proclaims, “Chris McDaniel names liaison to Clayton Kelly … his campaign manager.” That same day, Senator Cochran’s children declared, “…We are shocked by someone trying to use our mother’s illness for political purposes.” Then today, Senator Cochran posted a link to Marshall Ramsey’s cartoon blasting the “filming of a candidate’s wife illegally.”
Senator Cochran and his family have every right to be enraged by what happened to Mrs. Cochran. Nevertheless, their reaction, when viewed through a broader lens, accentuates the irony that now forms the backdrop of this primary battle.
On the one hand, Senator Cochran has been accused – be it subtly or overtly – of betraying Mrs. Cochran. Conversely, Chris McDaniel has been accused – be it directly or indirectly – of exploiting Mrs. Cochran.
Essentially, the Cochran – McDaniel race may now be distilled to a simple question: Which candidate respects the dignity of Rose Cochran more – her husband, or her husband’s opponent?
In a state with almost three million citizens, it seems odd that we would select a candidate based upon his behavior toward one bedridden, septuagenarian woman. Yet, ours is a compassionate state where we have learned from our parents — and I hope that we continue to teach to our children — the importance of respecting “the least of these.”
How a politician is willing to treat one person may be a reflection of how he intends to treat all persons, especially if he is elected to office.