Sen. Wicker Is Right-On-Cue, But Way-Off-Base.

By Keith Plunkett | August 27th, 2017 at 6:06 am

BY: Keith Plunkett / Managing Editor

Keith Plunkett is the Policy and Communications Director for the United Conservatives Fund, and the Founder and Publisher of MississippiPEP.com.

Filed Under: Contributor, Ethics, Feature Stories, Federal Government, History, Keith Plunkett, Leadership, Mississippi, Opinion, Politics, Republican, Roger Wicker, State Flag, US Congress

“Mississippians don’t want elected officials who pick their positions from the latest polling results. They want elected officials who know how real-life works, and how it doesn’t.”


“The zeal which begins with hypocrisy must conclude in treachery; at first it deceives, at last it betrays.” – Francis Bacon


On August 17 I wrote an article about Mississippi U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker showing obvious political desperation at the mere possibility of being challenged in a Republican primary. No one has even announced they would challenge him yet, but there is an increasing volume to the buzz. This speculation was given a boost by the posturing of Wicker’s political handlers. Anticipating his vulnerability, the defensive maneuvers on behalf of the junior senator by the crony ranks in the state began many months ago.

Like Mississippi’s Senior Senator Thad Cochran, Wicker has been a very reliable vote to keep money flowing from the federal government, through the proper conduits, and into the pockets of the corporate crowd who have, shall we say, the ‘right stuff’.

The thought of losing a reliable rubber stamp like Wicker is just as likely to cause that crowd to break-out in hives as it did when Cochran came close to meeting the same fate in 2014. Conservatives across the state and country saw then exactly how far the corrupt are willing to go when their worried reassurance turns into frenzied desperation. It’s also a very good indication of how important these particular elected positions are in maintaining the scheme that keeps the Magnolia State ranked as one of the top states in the country for receiving the most in federal money.

Now that Wicker has launched a more official campaign operation his organization has began playing the posturing game instead of relying solely on media.

My August 17 commentary noted how Wicker was working overtime to seem to be everywhere at once, hitting trending topics as quickly as possible. There was the first announcement that Wicker thought the state flag needed changing. There was the love of everything Trump following the swearing-in of the 45th President of the United States. There was the tour of the state to show all the wonderful friends all the wonderful things federal money could buy.

There were also the submissions to local and statewide newspapers that ran over the course of several weeks where Wicker discussed many different things.

Mississippians haven’t seen this much of Roger Wicker since . . . Well, we’ve never seen this much of Roger Wicker.

I’m all for Sen. Wicker sending in an article to state news outlets every few weeks. In fact, I think it’s probably a task that should be one of those unwritten expectations for every federally elected representative. Unfortunately, like most of Mississippi’s federally elected representatives, it’s been out of the ordinary for Wicker. That is, until the heat of a possible challenge became the political discussion ‘du jour’. Suddenly, if a gnat farts in Wicker’s DC office his staff releases a statement from the senator.

I noted how Wicker once again called for changing Mississippi’s State Flag. He used the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia to get headlines for this rehashed position despite clearly knowing, and saying, it was poor judgement to do so. Charlottesville is the latest city to remove historic monuments memorializing aspects of the Civil War. The events, as most know, resulted in the death of a young woman, and countless personal assaults and injuries. I’ll set aside for now the assaults that occurred on common-sense during the fracas.

I also noted in the article how a poll released by Marist after Wicker’s statement indicated that maybe his position wasn’t all that popular, even with the moderate to leftward leaning public whose attention he was hoping to grab. The most unexpected portion of the poll showed that a plurality of black voters supported keeping the monuments in honor of Civil War dead in place. I speculated that this quite possibly might indicate a wide portion of the general public souring on the notion of removing ANY history and historical symbols, including the state flag.

And here comes the headline surfer. Right. On. Cue.

Wicker’s campaign jumped into action following the poll and within days began pushing online advertising asking people to sign up to show that they supported Senator Roger Wicker’s effort to KEEP historic monuments FROM BEING REMOVED!

Say what?!

This one has got to be a bullet to the number one spot on the list of ‘Roger’s Dodgers.’  Now it suddenly appears that for Wicker, historic symbols of the South and the Civil War DON’T need to be removed. Well, which is it?

Wicker’s political handlers have outmaneuvered their own candidate, and again show how desperate these guys are to land their candidate somewhere–anywhere–where voters might already be. The senator has spent several months saying that he appreciates the state flag himself, but since others say it causes offense then it should be ‘put in a museum.’ Now we are to believe, according to his campaign advertising, Wicker wants to keep historic monuments because he understands and appreciates them, and therefore no matter what others say they should not be taken down.

Got it? No. Not really.

Confusing? Absolutely.

Leadership? Nope. Not a whiff of it.

Heck, this shows Wicker is apparently not all that talented at either following OR leading.

Mississippians don’t want elected officials who pick their positions from the latest polling results. They want elected officials who know how real-life works, and how it doesn’t.

Whether he draws a challenger or not, Senator Wicker ought to stand for something more than just reelection, and preferably for more than five minutes.

 

  • JohnGalt

    Wicker is NOTHING but a good ole’ boy plugged into Oxford who serves only Oxford. The flag and the monuments are nothing but distractions compared to the degree of corruption that takes place in his own backyard, in his own house, and on a daily basis – while he stands by and smiles that stupid grin. His elected days are numbered…..he and Cochran’s. The state needs adults with integrity, not cornpone water carriers that serve the Plantation in Oxford.

  • William H Smith

    How difficult really is to understand that a person can be for keeping the monuments and against keeping the Flag? That is and has been my own position.

    The monuments were put up by white Southerners to commemorate some of their heroes from the War. No one need feel any loyalty toward and identification with those monuments. When I go up to Lexington and see the Stonewall Jackson monument, his grave, and the coat with the holes from the bullets that would kill him; when I see the place Lee sat in Lee Chapel, and Lee in repose at the front of the Chapel, and the grave of Traveller outside I am deeply moved. When I go up to Gettysburg and look at the battlefield from the Southern lines, I think about what might have been. I am after all a white Southerner whose ancestors fought and died for the South and whose heroes are men like Lee and Jackson.

    But what of a Flag? A Flag is the symbol of the whole state. It represents all her citizens. It ought to engender a sense of pride and loyalty in all her citizens. I ought to be unifying, not dividing. And the present Flag is not and never again can be any of that. It is a symbol that divides. It is an offense to blacks and an embarrassment to an increasing number of whites. It is time to let it go. Only those who want to thumb MS’s nose at the rest of the country, including the other 10 Confederate States, who do not at all mind offending blacks, who do not give a whit for a Flag as a unifying symbol of noble state, who cling to the that patch of Battle Flag is the corner of the State Flag. They, I say, and sadly add also some overt and covert racists.

    People like you and Sen. McDaniel could offer leadership that will give us a new State Flag. I hate to see you squander the opportunity.

    Meanwhile you criticize Sen. Wicker for vacillating when in fact on the matter of the Flag at least he is showing both leadership and statesmanship.

    I remind you that, as of next Saturday, I will again be living in MS. We really do need to get together over lunch.

    • Keith Plunkett

      Your position isn’t difficult to understand, Bill. But that’s because you actually articulate it. Wicker’s logic on the flag has been that the flag has a honorable meaning for him, but since others don’t see it that way, then it should be changed. He then says just the opposite regarding the monuments.

      Remember what started all this? The distrurbed young man in South Carolina who killed the 9 church members. Up until that moment, the emblem we are discussing had begun to become, more or less, accepted as a symbol of Southern regionalism. Even black Americans were sporting it on clothing. The updated movie version of the Dukes of Hazzard was becoming a bit of a low-brow cult classic. No one was marching or killing anybody over it.

      What happened? Politics happened. The shooting occurred during a Presidential election, and both candidates were quick to connect the flag and the shooting, much like Wicker did the Charlottesville tragedy, for political points. They needed to show they were ‘men of action’. But it was just a show.

      I wrote a few weeks afterward that this would lead to a cleansing, and I was quickly rebuked for it.

      But had our childish society been adult enough to focus then on what mattered most, the shattered lives of those families in Charleston, this might have never progressed the way it has.

      I’ve spoken openly about the truth as I understand it. I haven’t waivered on it. My position is today the exact same as it was the day before that tragic shooting. Because I don’t believe the shooting changed the meaning of anything. It just gave quite a few confused and vengeful souls an excuse to release the darkness they held hidden in their heart.

      People are angry, but I don’t for a moment think the source of that anger is in those symbols. The source of that anger is a selfish, me-first attitude; addicted to frivolities, untrained by fatherless families, dumbed down by government Education schemes, crapped upon by corporate schemes that have jerked the economic engines of their local communities right out from under them; and at the mercy of the institutionally entrenched administrative bureaucracy that manipulate tens of thousands of lives with a simple rules change at an agency boardroom in Washington.

      People can’t live their own lives anymore. So, all they have left is to hate all others who aren’t like them, and who they believe have more privilege than they do because of their identity, or sexual preference or ethnicity.

      None of this is about these symbols. It’s about a sickening vengeance, and a loss of faith in humanity.

      Now, that’s what I want to hear someone stand up and say. And then talk about how to move forward TOGETHER. In my opinion, that is the leadership this country longs for.

      • William H Smith

        The problem Wicker faces is the same problem every politician faces in elections. You are going to do some statesmen like things, as Wicker did, I think, by taking a stand on the Flag. Then you are going to throw red meat to a portion of the electoral whose votes you may need. You take a “courageous” stance against the removal of the monuments. I feel certain that Wicker is saying what he believe with regard to both the Flag and the monuments. But why does he need to make an issue of standing for the monuments? Because he has got Chris McDaniel on his right, signalling he may run. Wicker is not stupid. He is not going to get “Cochraned” – he is not going to take his renomination for granted, take it easy through the run up, and run a lazy campaign. He is preparing and means to stay prepared right through the primary if he has opposition from McDaniel.

        Now, you may disagree with me on this, but I think all McDaniel has left is his base. He is not going to get the kind of out of state money he got last time. He is not going to be able to say the Roger is old, worn out, maybe senile, and maybe shacked up with his administrative assistant. I also think he has been ineffective in the Senate since the election, and people don’t see him as a good leader, effective legislator, viable alternative. He also seems to me to be all but friendless in the Senate and within the MS Republican Party. He has created an us (himself as the champion, his sympathizers as the followers) against them (the Republican Party, the House and Senate leadership, even the colleagues in the Senate) scenario. No allies. So, I wonder if he will run at all. If he does run, he is not likely to get near the votes he got last time. I am sure you follow his Blog. He throws out some red meat almost daily, and here come the dogs with grievances. You don’t get much thoughtful interaction – and perhaps he does not want such, as he blocks such as I. But where are the serious, non-angry people who are for him? But the point is, Wicker means not to get caught flat-footed. He will be ready. He will do the stuff politicians do to get elected.

        Here is part of a Blog I wrote after the Dylan Root incident:

        “So, I come to ask about the Mississippi State Flag, ‘What would Lee do?’ I think there can be little doubt, given what we know about his character and the things he both counseled and practiced after the War, that Lee would say, ‘Change it. Take the Battle Flag (of the Army of Northern Virginia) off it.’

        Lee’s counsel would be formed by his desire to see the hostilities within the nation put away and the disunion healed. He would have counseled removal of the Battle Flag in the interests of national reconciliation and unity. That much we can surmise from what Lee wrote.

        But, I think it is not unduly speculative to think that, if Lee could give us his counsel now, he would counsel removal of the Battle Flag for other reasons: (1) The Battle Flag unfortunately has been so co-opted by racists and those who have sought to stir sectional hostility and resistance to equality of rights that it is no longer a symbol of the courage and heroism of those who fought under it. (2) When a black citizen of Mississippi sees that Battle Flag corner of the Mississippi Flag, he or she sees a symbol of slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow laws, the Dixiecrat Party, Mississippi politicians such as Theo Bilbo, John Bell Williams, and Ross Barnett, unequal opportunity, denial of voting rights, and all the worst things about Mississippi. I do not much see those things, but it is undeniable that black people do – and that it’s understandable. (3) The purpose of a state flag is to provoke pride and loyalty and to symbolize the unity of the state. All citizens should be able to salute a flag and feel a sense of attachment to the state it represents. Not quite 40% of the population of Mississippi is black and practically none of them find the Mississippi State Flag a symbol of unity. My guess is that is also true of whites who, either as Southerners share the values of General Lee, or who don’t care about the War and the reasons it was fought and, therefore, feel no need to have the Battle Flag on the State Flag.

        There is an unverified Lee quote that does sound like the man, and which, whether he said it or not, aptly summarizes what I think he would counsel about the Battle Flag: ‘Fold it up and put it away.'”