In 2015, Wicker Planned to “Handle” Trump Should He Become The Nominee
The public attention brought to bear on Senator Roger Wicker over the past few months appears at times to have caught him by surprise. This can hardly be the case, of course. But his reactions in public rarely come across as someone who finds the attention to be a pleasant experience. At times the junior senator seems jittery and at other times confused. This could be because Wicker’s record is fraught with indefensible contradictions. Keeping all his answers straight can’t be easy.
Of course, how voters would measure a senators record of support or opposition is of importance. Most would reflexively assume the record of actual votes to be the best measurement. But that’s not the only way the world of political “maneuvering” works. Exactly where the deceit ends and the delusion begins is a question of conscience. Senator Wicker doesn’t always come across as comfortable with where he finds himself in that regard.
Like many other political animals, Wicker has become accustomed to activity in the shadows. Whenever the light is brightest, Wicker has often resorted to becoming a caricature of what he perceives a principled conservative might want to see, proving he hasn’t had much practice honestly considering principles or trying to understand conservatives in Mississippi.
Wicker becomes a blank slate out of political necessity and convenience. He’s always been a blank check for special interests.
The results of the tension this creates are a collection of statements that contradict his voting record, and a record of public actions that require a dizzying amount of explanatory spin.
Take, for example, Wicker’s latest obsession with proving how much he “supports” President Donald Trump. Wicker’s online communications touts a statistic to show he supports Trump “95.9-percent” of the time. The timeframe and what is meant exactly by the term support, however, is narrowly defined. Out of 49 total votes tallied this year so far, 25 of them were cast to confirm directors of government agencies and approving nominations to government positions.
Then as a member of Senator Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Team, Wicker seems to have done little to counter the majority leaders insistence that Trump has “excessive expectations” regarding legislation.
Heres’s what ought to be said. How absolutely laugh-out-loud ridiculous it is that a sitting U.S. Senator, who ought to have a clearly defined record in his own right, is resorting to presenting statistics for how often he votes in agreement with the President? Nothing indicates a desire to run-and-hide quite as convincingly as presenting as a comprehensive guide the calculation — literally and strategically — of support for an elected official who has yet to hold office for a full year.
It’s as if Wicker’s campaign team hopes voters will forget that prior to 2017 he existed at all.
There’s a reason for that.
First, Wicker’s more comprehensive record of top 50 votes over the past 6 years shows a Conservative Review Liberty Score of 39-percent. This includes votes on substantive conservative issues such as term limits, prohibiting earmarks, reauthorization of the corporate giveaways of the Export-Import Bank, increasing the debt limit by $2.4 trillion and allowing for the funding of ObamaCare among many others.
Then there’s Wicker’s role in protecting a well-established spoils system. With Senator Thad Cochran making headlines over the amount of work he is unable to accomplish due to deteriorating health, Mississippi’s high stakes, high-dollar government affairs lobby is in real danger of losing a very senior cash cow whose staffers keep open the pipeline of federal dollars that fund lucrative government contracts.
To keep that pipeline flowing as freely as possible the political establishment resorted to nasty political tactics to save Cochran from a conservative insurgency. In doing so, it revealed to the world the once barely hidden moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party. That’s when the whole ball of yarn started to unravel.
Afterwards, there could be no more hiding behind the thin veneer of “reasonable” interpretations and “acceptable” excuses of why the GOP repeatedly fell short on important conservative issues. Gone forever were the sermonizing and nice-guys-finish-last moral victories. The entire world saw in disgusting race-baiting detail what the power players in the Republican Party were saving their real fighting energy to accomplish: to keep the gravy-train rolling for themselves and their monied interests.
That single act of desperation in response to a political grassroots uprising the likes of which the country had never before seen out of the Magnolia State, behind a person of unshakable principled belief in Senator Chris McDaniel, birthed the anger and outrage that paved the way for the unlikeliest of presidential elections in history to follow in 2016.
No interpretations or excuses will ever be enough to completely wipe away the stain on the GOP’s reputation no matter how hard apologists might try.
“Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.” – Arthur Conan Doyle
And now, here we are awaiting a decision as to whether Senator Chris McDaniel will once again step up and be the fist of conservative rejection hurled at the nose of the bullies who believe themselves entitled to what never belonged to them in the first place. What they have taken through evasion and deception sets us each in motion towards a reckoning.
They promised and they promised and they promised. Then when they didn’t make good on the promises they excused and exempted and justified their behavior. Then they defended and ignored, until finally they sanctioned the use of whatever means necessary to shut down the voices of conservative conscience they had grown tired of hearing.
In 2016, people across the country said enough is enough. They gave notice that quiet adherence to unrecognizable claims of authority will not be an acceptable option for them.
With notice dutifully served, Trump became the Republican nominee for President, and conservatives in Mississippi and across the country began coming together again after a tough fought primary that saw us divided between two anti-establishment candidates. However, contrary to what Roger Wicker would have voters believe today, he was not yet among that number of united conservatives.
As chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), Wicker was a key player in causing the original break in the Republican Party. He joined Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014 to wrangle money out of senators in Washington, D.C. to fund the effort to save Cochran’s political skin by funding ads to incite racial division and by funneling money through political action groups to pay Democrat voters to crossover and cast a vote in the Republican primary runoff.
But Wicker didn’t stop with skirting election laws in Mississippi to stem the tide of revolt against the special interest control of the GOP. Just over a year later in September of 2015, Wicker’s NRSC confidently laid out in a seven-page memo to senior staff exactly how the GOP would “handle” Trump were he to become the Republican nominee for president. Suffice it to say, Wicker wasn’t angling for a photo-op or releasing statistics about how much he agreed with Trump then.
Exactly the opposite. The NRSC memo recommended Republican candidates for U.S. Senate keep their distance, referring to Trump as “a Misguided Missile”. Wicker’s NRSC director’s memo had quite a few very unflattering things to say about President Trump.
“Let’s face facts. Trump says what’s on his mind and that’s a problem,” the memo warns before advising Republican candidates to avoid “defending him” because “that’s a place we never, ever want to be.” The final conclusion of the memos opening point is to “not be so tied to (Trump) we have to engage in permanent cleanup or distancing maneuvers.”
Ah! There’s a term every red-blooded constitutional conservative voter longs to hear their U.S. Senator support: “distancing maneuvers.”
There’s way more. The memo reminds Republicans to “take Trump to task” on his statements “where the media won’t let you off.” Because, as the statement reminds NRSC senior staffers, “Trump is subject to farcical fits.”
If The Farcical Fits …
But today is a new day and the winds are blowing in a different direction. Wicker is no longer concerned with “permanent cleanup or distancing maneuvers” related to Trump. Now Senator Wicker finds himself “maneuvering” to get as close as possible to Trump while not saying much at all about his previously-ballyhooed position on the McConnell Leadership Team.
Were there much of a record to run on, Wicker wouldn’t have to worry so much about how many times he said he “supported” Trump, or try to excuse himself from the times he actually supported McConnell and attacked conservatives.
Maybe Wicker’s campaign is trying, as the memo advised, to find “the populist points Trump makes and ride that wave.”
A ridiculous part of all this is how establishment Republicans in Mississippi worked so hard to give credit to Wicker’s work with the NRSC for Republicans holding the U.S. Senate in 2016, when virtually no one in the House or Senate GOP Leadership even mentioned Wicker inside the beltway. Now we see the substance of what Mississippi Republicans promoted as a valiant effort by Wicker is diametrically opposed to the senators latest political pander to Trump’s Magnolia State voters.
Chasing political winds in a hurricane must be incredibly aggravating.
The NRSC memo takes on a tone of disappointment when it states, “We may not like it, but Trump has connected with voters on issues.”
Gosh. What a downer. Who’d have predicted that connecting with voters on issues would work?
With three active candidates still in the running during Mississippi’s Republican Presidential Primary, it’s not unusual that many of us, including Wicker, might have supported a candidate other than Trump at the time. What is highly unusual, especially after the past 3 years of political mishaps engineered from the venom of establishment politicians, is how Wicker’s campaign believes Mississippi voters will be fooled by a statistical calculation of a small number of recent votes, rather than the complete record of actions the senator has taken and votes he has cast.
It doesn’t speak well of Senator Wicker’s campaign handlers that they think Mississippi voters are more easily fooled like children than engaged in a serious discussion like adults. Then again, as the NRSC memo relates, connecting on issues never was too high on the list.