Most hilariously tone-deaf political ad of the year: Thad Cochran’s appeal to lobbying and pork

Mississippi's GOP senator is desperately trying to save his career via the twin pillars of Trent Lott and cash VIDEO

Topics: Video, Thad Cochran, Trent Lott, Mississippi, Senate, primaries, GOP, Republicans, Tea Party, 2014 elections, Campaign ads, Editor's Picks,

Most hilariously tone-deaf political ad of the year: Thad Cochran's appeal to lobbying and porkThad Cochran (Credit: AP/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is from a different time. A time when politicians kept quiet and squirreled away money for their home districts or states and built up insurmountable support that way, staying in office forever. A time when you would trade votes for special pet projects. A more corrupt and blissfully less dramatic time. Ahhhhh.

And this latest ad from Cochran’s campaign, ahead of the incumbent’s June 24 runoff against Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel, also seems to be from a different time — a time when such a direct appeal was commonplace and would surely work. It is the Most Establishment Ad Ever.

In the 30-second spot, former awful Senate majority leader from Mississippi and current awful Washington lobbyist Trent Lott basically tells voters that if they don’t reelect Cochran, all the pork that Cochran has worked so hard to protect, specifically for the Gulf Coast, is in danger, and so is national security, etc.

Despite the glowing, optimistic visage of Trent Lott, the spot is really a subtle attack ad on McDaniel, who has pooh-poohed the Hurricane Katrina relief package that sent billions of dollars to repair the Gulf Coast — and, generally, “wasteful” government spending. The thing is, a lot of “wasteful” government spending is the sort of spending that keeps Mississippi afloat. As EJ Dionne explored in a recent Washington Post column:

Mississippi taxpayers get $3.07 back for every $1 they send to Washington, according to Wallet Hub, a personal finance Web site. The Tax Foundation ranks Mississippi No. 1 among the states in federal aid as a percentage of state revenue.

Strange numbers, you’d think, for a Beltway-hating state, but Marty Wiseman, the former director of the Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University, explained the apparent inconsistency. “Our anti-Washington politics has been to make sure that we got as much of it here as we could,” he said. “You’ve got the tea party excited that they’ve corralled a big spender, but he was bringing it back to Mississippi. That’s the paradox of all paradoxes.”

Indeed. “If Mississippi did what the tea party claims they want . . . we would become a Third World country, quickly,” said Rickey Cole, the state Democratic chairman. “We depend on the federal government to help us build our highways. We depend on the federal government to fund our hospitals, our health-care system. We depend on the federal government to help us educate our students on every level.”

Some might see this Lott/Cochran ad as … sad. Conservative David Freddoso, for example, writes that “I don’t think you’ll ever see a more shameless appeal to pork than this new ad for Thad Cochran.”

Well, it’s definitely to the point. But while the Brigade of Constitutional Conservatives might see this as “shameless,” maybe it’s just … honest? It’s refreshing in a very real way. Instead of having some Tea Party upstart with no seniority blab on about the Bill of Rights for 30 seconds, we have a crusty old lobbyist saying, Look: enough with the cutesy tricorner hat bullshit, OK? What do you want, some junior senator prattling on about tyranny, or a possible chairman of the appropriations committee? He will bring you *money.* What is not to fucking get here? M-O-N-E-Y. Sort of how politics works! Jesus … (We’ll write the script of the next ad for a small fee.)

Cochran is losing to McDaniel in early runoff polls. His strategy now appears to be going all-in with the same appeals to pork that couldn’t put him over the top to begin with. It must be frustrating to run a campaign in which the same old appeals to good ol’ pork don’t work anymore.

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows


Loading Comments...