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Mississippi’s Stockholm Syndrome Republicans

Barbour and Cochran

The term “Stockholm Syndrome” was coined after four bank employees were held hostage by bank robbers in Stockholm, Sweden. The robbers threatened their lives, but also showed them kindness. During their six day ordeal the captives strongly resisted police efforts to rescue them and once they were rescued they still retained warm feelings for their captors. Eventually two of the former hostages became engaged to their kidnappers.

Today, many of Mississippi’s Republican voters find themselves in a Stockholm Syndrome-like relationship with Haley Barbour, their super lobbyist former Governor, and his extended political family who have held the Mississippi GOP captive for going on thirty years now.

Barbour’s carefully maintained Yazoo City drawl and his bluff “good ole boy” demeanor are skillfully crafted to mask that his career as Governor, Republican National Committee Chairman and head of what Fortune magazine called Washington’s most powerful lobbying firm has made Barbour and his cronies vast wealth, but left Mississippi mired at the bottom of virtually every measure of economic well-being, with the state having the highest rate of poverty and the lowest median household income of the fifty states.

How could Mississippi be so poor and the state’s most well-recognized and influential citizen get so rich? 

Simple, all the influence and power that Barbour and his family and cronies accumulated working at the White House, at the RNC, in the Governor’s office and in half a dozen Bush family political campaigns was for sale after he left office – and the buyers weren’t the conservative voters of Mississippi or the poor folks down in Yazoo County.

Want to know why Haley Barbour thinks amnesty for illegal aliens is a good idea, even though it holds down wages for American workers? 

Perhaps we need look no further than the fact that his lobbying firm lobbied on behalf of the Embassy of Mexico as far back as 2001, when they pushed for the passage of an amnesty bill during the George W. Bush administration.

For their work on behalf of Mexico’s push for amnesty Barbour's firm charged Mexico $35,000 a month, plus expenses, almost the median household income in Mississippi for an entire year.

Think Haley Barbour’s support for Common Core came about because he was committed to excellence in education and concern that the state of Mississippi was at the very bottom of almost every measure tracked by the National Center for Education Statistics, or because the “Godfather” of Common Core, billionaire Bill Gate’s company Microsoft, was a major client of Barbour’s lobbying firm?

How has Haley Barbour pulled this off over the course of thirty years?

It hasn’t been by rocking the boat or upsetting the status quo by fighting for less spending or a smaller and leaner federal government. 

It has been by being the status quo, and especially by backing the status quo in the form of a pork-barreling Senator named Thad Cochran.

Cochran has spent a thirty-six year career in Congress being a lobbyist’s dream, grasping for pork-barrel projects and feeding at the taxpayer-funded trough instead of fighting for the conservative principles of less spending, less government and more freedom. 

In 2010 Citizens Against Government Waste named Cochran the leading pork-seeker in the Senate because he had his name on 240 earmarked projects worth $490.2 million of your hard-earned dollars.

If you start looking at what Haley Barbour and his cronies do from the perspective of who is getting paid (or might have an expectation of lining-up a client later) suddenly, you don’t have to wonder why Haley Barbour backs Thad Cochran. 

Nor do you have to wonder why Barbour’s nephew Henry, his handpicked representative on the Republican National Committee, backed rules changes demanded by Mitt Romney and his insider allies that were designed to freeze out the very grassroots Mississippi Republican voters he was supposed to be representing as their Republican National Committeeman.

Those grassroots limited government constitutional conservative voters Henry is trying to freeze out of the RNC are the same grassroots conservative voters who now want to oust Thad Cochran, cut spending, end earmarks and cut-off the Barbour gravy train.

We suggest that Haley and Henry Barbour aren’t backing thirty-six year incumbent Senator Thad Cochran because of his distinguished record as a legislator. Cochran is almost universally acknowledged as one of that body’s least distinguished members, but he is at the top of every Washington lobbyist’s must-donate list as one of the Senate’s most prolific pork-barrel spenders.

Thad Cochran, Haley Barbour, Henry Barbour and the rest of their big government Republican cronies have held the Mississippi GOP hostage for the past thirty years while they metaphorically robbed the bank by growing Washington's spending, deficit and debt.

To break the spell of this Stockholm Syndrome-like relationship with their political kidnappers is easy, all Mississippi's conservative voters have to do is vote for Chris McDaniel for Senator.

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