Why some folks will do anything to keep Thad Cochran in office

There are two major problems with today’s Republican establishment

Thad Cochran represents one of them

Cochran—bring home the bacon cropped

Actual real newspaper headline proudly posted on Thad Cochran’s campaign web page:

DeSoto brings home the bacon

WASHINGTON — In the age of abolished earmarks and when cities and counties have to scrape for every federal dollar they can find, officials in the state’s fastest growing county have been successful in doing what many local governments can’t do — bring home critical federal funds for infrastructure projects which otherwise would go unfunded.

A case in point was the recent success of DeSoto County Regional Utility Authority officials, who were able to secure a total of $1.16 million in federal environmental infrastructure funds for ongoing wastewater projects in DeSoto County.

Exactly who is Thad Cochran helping when he brings home this bacon?

There are two important facts about Mississippi:

Mississippi once again leads the nation in poverty and lags in median household income.

According to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday, Mississippi had a poverty rate of 22.6% in 2011, while its median household income came in at $36,919. Both were roughly the same as the year before…

“Mississippi would dry up like a prune if we didn’t have the federal government,” said Joseph Parker, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“Obviously, cussing the federal government is like kicking the dog — everybody does it for one reason or another, but Mississippi is getting a fabulous return on its investment in Washington,” Mr. Parker said.

Mississippi and New Mexico are ranked as the most dependent states on the federal government, according to a recent study from WalletHub, a personal finance social network.

The study said that federal funding comprises nearly 46 percent of Mississippi’s revenue and said the state received $3.07 back for ever dollar it sent to the federal government.

A Tax Foundation study also found that Mississippi ranked first in the amount of federal aid as percentage of state revenue.

Mr. Cochran, 76, has been master at bringing home the bacon, and suggested during the campaign that he’d like to see the return of earmarks, which lawmakers put on ice in 2010.

In the three years leading up to moratorium, Mr. Cochran steered more earmarks to his home state than any other member of Congress.

“Senator Cochran requested 709 earmarks, costing taxpayers $1.9 billion dollars,” said Thomas A. Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste. “Each year he had both the highest number and dollar amount in earmarks. It would be legitimate to say that Sen. Cochran was the No. 1 earmarked, or porker, however you want to describe it, for fiscal years 2008, 2009, and 2010.”

Which is cause? Which is effect?

I’m not an economist, but my gut tells me these two facts—leading in both poverty and in bringing home massive federal dollars—are intertwined.

It would be a near impossibility, I think, to determine which is the chicken and which is the egg.

There was not much noise last night on Twitter from the Cochran folks as their campaign wheezed into a dreaded runoff.

But there was this, from a Republican lobbyist, and it was strange indeed:

I wrote about this toxic mindset previously (The Money that Really DOES Corrupt the Political Process). The corrupting influence of this mindset is why it’s the folks backing Cochran more than Cochran himself I want to stop

Uncle Sam could also restore integrity and accountability to The People’s government, because—for all the righteous expressions of horror at a political system awash in corrupting cash—the true corruption is in the expenditures of big government.

Financed by tax payers.

In other words, the money that really is corrupting politics—the money that government spreads around like manure in a mushroom factory—doesn’t come from fat cats like the Koch brothers.

Or from a magic government printing press.

It comes from you and me.

How to take the money out of politics?

Radically shrink the size of government.

End corporate welfare.

Restore liberty.

Bam!

Money out of politics.

Because if there’s nothing for sale, there will be no buyers.

In Mississippi, Senators have built astonishingly long careers buying the votes of their constituents.

Both the recent era’s run of Republicans, and their Democratic predecessors before them.

And what do those constituents have to show for all this bacon homecoming?

Not a whole lot.

So who is being enriched at the federal trough, if not the good people of Mississippi?

People like Mr. Feehery is my guess.

And his friends.

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