Last month, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) was asked by a reporter what he thought about the Tea Party and the senior Senator said: "That is something that I don't know a lot about." The six term Senator is being challenged by State Senator Chris McDaniel (R-MS 42nd, Ellisville) a Tea Party inspired Republican primary challenger. A month later, Senator Cochran did not seem much more clued in.
It is curious that news of the Tea Party phenomenon had difficulty reaching Senator Cochran's Cocktail Party in the District of Calamity. After all, the Tea Party recently celebrate its fifth anniversary and gave the GOP the impetus to net 60 seats and regain control of the House of Representatives in 2011.
While it is possible that the 76 year old Senator Cochran was feigning ignorance about the Tea Party so as not to give his Tea Party challenger more credence. If that is so, it might not have been wise for Senator Cochran to partially echo Will Rogers charming deprecation “Well, what shall I talk about? I ain't got anything funny to say. All I know is what I read in the papers" as he launched into his vaudeville schtick. As delightful as Will Roger's homespun wisdom sounds, he died in 1935 which is two years before Thad Cochran was born, which further contributes to the out of touch impression.
Some might claim that this is a prima facia example of why there ought to be term limits for elected federal officials. Personally, I am chary about term limits on Congress as the will of the people should not be impinged as there are regular elections and the power of an individual legislator is limited.
That being said, the electorate needs to think about their franchise. Typically, Congress fails in favorability polls on the whole but these same people think that their elected officials are fine. Cochran served three terms in the House before being elected to Senate in 1978. Mississippi voters need to discern if seniority is more important that being in touch with the electorate.
University of Virginia political pundit Professor Larry Sabato has observed that the Mississippi primary is the most likely race of 2014 in which a challenger can win. Magnolia State voters will decide when their primary is held on June 2nd.