- - Monday, June 30, 2014

While many conservatives across the country are still fuming about the Obama/Alinsky race-baiting tactics the Republican Party establishment used to help K-Street corporatist puppet Thad Cochran win the Mississippi U.S. Senate runoff last week, the Magnolia State’s other GOP senator has a different reaction.

It turns out Sen. Roger Wicker finds this whole potential voter-fraud thing funny.

When it questioned Wicker about the raging controversy in his own backyard, The Associated Press said Wicker “responded with a laugh.” Apparently in the GOP establishment’s world, betrayal is a real knee-slapper.

I’m sure the majority of Mississippi Republicans who voted for challenger Chris McDaniel and had their primary stolen from them think this is funnier than a trip to the local Chuckle Hut. “Hey, Roger! Why not throw in a ‘let them eat cake’ while you’re condescendingly at it as well?”

And the elites wonder why the tea party wants to storm the Bastille.

Perhaps this political party is a joke after all, and the joke is on those of us who still believe there’s actually any substantive difference between ruling class Democrats and ruling class Republicans. Former Reagan White House political director Jeffrey Lord told me recently the late Barry Goldwater used to refer to the GOP establishment as “dime store Republicans” because the only difference they offered voters was big government on a cheaper and more efficient scale.

Wicker actually had the chutzpah to describe the Cochran campaign’s Obama/Alinsky race-baiting tactics — which I documented here last week — as “broadening the base.” So now finding at least 1,000 potential cases of voter fraud in one county is “broadening the base.” Maybe we finally know now why the GOP establishment wants amnesty so badly — to “broaden the base.”

But whose base is being broadened here?

How many of those black Democrats the GOP establishment successfully race-baited will vote for Cochran in November? If history is any guide, almost none of them. There’s a reason Democrats use race-baiting tactics, because they work for race-baiters. There’s a reason the tea party is the only movement in the GOP successfully recruiting minority candidates, because it inspires people with American Exceptionalism that knows no color.

On the other hand, the GOP establishment may have been so desperate to stop McDaniel from becoming the Senate’s next “wacko bird” they might have jeopardized what was previously regarded as a safe seat this fall.

A post-runoff survey of Mississippi Republicans found 9 out of 10 McDaniel voters want potential voter fraud investigated, 79 percent of McDaniel voters would support him in the general if he ran as an independent, and 74 percent of McDaniel voters said they would support him as a write-in candidate. There is some precedent for write-in spoilers. Just ask the GOP establishment.

After my buddy Joe Miller won the Alaska Republican Senate primary fair and square in 2010, those sanctimoniously now crying “unity” did not hesitate to run establishment proxy Lisa Murkowski back then as a write-in candidate in the general.

By the way, last year Murkowski scored 36 percent on the FreedomWorks scorecard — the second-worst among Republicans in the U.S. Senate. For what it’s worth, Cochran wasn’t that far behind her, with a paltry 41 percent. Murkowski and Cochran each score poorly on the Heritage Foundation’s scorecard as well. Now you know why the corporatist wing of the GOP went scorched earth to keep each of them in power.

Yet Sen. Wicker says: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”

Really? Sen. Wicker, you don’t think there’s anything wrong with hiring a Democratic operative like James “Scooby Doo” Warren to manipulate a Republican Party primary in your own state? You don’t think there’s anything wrong with raising turnout 43 percent in counties in your state where President Obama received at least two-thirds of the vote in 2012? You don’t think there’s anything wrong with campaign literature that claimed McDaniel “made racist comments on his radio show?” You don’t think there’s anything wrong with accusing McDaniel and the GOP base of “disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president” in a “robo-call” to black Democrat voters?

This is probably the angriest (and rightfully so) the GOP grassroots has been at party leadership in my lifetime. Even conservative talk show titans Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin are openly talking to their massive audiences about not supporting Cochran in the general election.

If I were running the GOP, and self-destruction is likely all that stood in the way of our winning control of the U.S. Senate this fall, I wouldn’t find this a laughing matter as Wicker apparently does. I’d be thinking the last thing a political party with a pathetic 29 percent approval rating needs is an open civil war in the midst of a very favorable election cycle.

But I’m probably just not as smart as Wicker’s buddies, who lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections and are in charge of a House of Representatives with the lowest approval rating in the history of the Gallup poll.

(Steve Deace is a nationally-syndicated talk show host and the author of “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)

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