Senator Thad Cochran’s daughter, an English professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, is not happy with the “New Right,” i.e., the Tea Party, who she describes on a Facebook post as representative of a “horrible strain of anti-intellectualism,” consisting of people who have “no training, education, or experience shouting down those who bring expertise to the table.”
The New York Times mentioned Cochran’s post Monday, saying that it “reads like a eulogy to a past political era…”
Kate Cochran begins her rant by lamenting that she has been “trying to understand the seismic shift in the Mississippi electorate in the past six years.” After all, she explains, her father has “served with dedication and compassion and loyalty.” Senator Cochran, she says, “upheld the state’s conservatism,” all the while managing to avoid “any hint of radical jingoistic fervor…”
After defining “statesman,” her manifesto takes a bizarre turn. “I’m struggling with this election because of my personal feelings about the Mississippi electorate,” she writes. After all, she has always been a “strong defender of Mississippi to any of her detractors.”
Who, exactly, are Mississippi’s “detractors”?
Cochran continues to say that despite her prior support and defense of Mississippi, she is now “disillusioned.” She explains,
“I think that Mississippians are being snookered by neocon zealots on talk radio, Fox News, and elsewhere. The New Right values extremism, obstructionism, partisanship, and–frankly–ignorance.”
She continues to say that she is “disappointed” that the “New Right seems to want to walk hand-in-hand with the horrible strain of anti-intellectualism that sees universities as vocational schools and vilifies anyone expert in a field as somehow not living in the ‘real world’ or representative of ‘real people.'”
Cochran is generalizing an entire group of people, without examples, substance or explanation. This “anti-intellectual” trend contributes mightily to the current state of polarization in America.
The English professor continues,
“Mississippi used to be recognized as the most backward, prejudiced, ignorant holdback in our nation, hands down. This sea change makes me very afraid that we might deserve that mantle.”
Moving on to bash State Senator Chris McDaniel, her father’s challenger in the Mississippi run-off election, she writes:
“I think this is the reason that so many seem swayed by my father’s opponent: he is valued for his lack. Lack of experience (he is not a ‘career politician.’) Lack of wisdom (he relies solely on Jesus, the Constitution, and common sense*–combined in the veneer of ‘goodness’).”
Later in her post, Cochran clarified that “common sense,” means McDaniel’s “version of common sense, which is not sensical at all; that is, reasoning that keeping one dollar and refusing three from the federal government makes Mississippi come out on top.”
She continues, that McDaniel also illustrates,
“[L]ack of judgment (he vows to refuse federal monies and to try to impede legislation). Lack of specificity (what are ‘Mississippi values’?). Lack of perspective (how does he believe for one moment that a junior Senator from the poorest state will have any influence in Washington? How can he believe that he will not want his family to live with him in the D.C. area?).”
From the author’s perspective, Kate Cochran describes exactly the type of representative needed in America. The establishment Republicans may have more political clout, but America is hungry for principled representatives.
Cochran disagrees, as she writes,
“I see these ‘qualities’ as a disingenuous pose, engineered to appeal to the very worst in our electorate.”