Sen. Thad Cochran Cracks Whip On Tea Party Tactics

US Sen. Thad Cochran, Argh-Mississippi, has made his seat in Washington a comfortable one. He’s now in his sixth term and chairs the Senate’s Agriculture Committee.

From that perch, you can launch one helluva storm in the direction of the parties who, say, sneak into your 72-year-old dying wife’s nursing home room to take her picture, which would be included in an expose/ad alluding to an alleged affair being had by Mr. Cochran and a woman residing somewhere other than a nursing home.

It was all the more riveting to see how the people who were arrested on charges related to those photos and affair allegations are some of the louder voices in the conservative movement, the Tea Party. Included were Tea Party members like conservative blogger Clayton Thomas Kelly (below), 28, of Pearl, who was charged on May 17 with felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult and photographing or filming another person without permission where there is expectation of privacy. Also charged: school teacher Richard Sager, Mark Mayfield, and John Mary.

All of the men are members of the Central Mississippi Tea Party; Mayfield, in fact, is a member of the board.

The ad was organized by Cochran’s primary election opponent, of course: The Tea Party’s Chris McDaniel, currently a state senator. Cochran, of course, can’t stop talking about that in as round-about a way as possible.

“It’s an unfortunate, sort of bizarre incident, but it’s being handled by the authorities and I trust in their good judgment,” said Cochran at a Friday press conference. “The nursing home people are worried, you know, about the impact it might have on their reputation. But I think everybody is trying to do the right thing.”

Cochran has until the June 3 primary election to get as much political currency out of this little gift.

McDaniel has denied any foreknowledge of the photos of Cochran’s wife, who’s suffering from an advanced phase of dementia. Though he calls that action “reprehensible,” he hasn’t denied believing that Cochran is having an affair.

Jordan Russell, a Cochran campaign spokesman, said rumors that the 76-year-old has been having an illicit affair are “outrageous and offensive and the dirtiest form of politics. As we see from the arrests today, these people will stop at nothing to smear Thad Cochran, including a despicable act like the one committed against Rose Cochran.”

Rose Cochran has lived at this nursing home since 2000.

[Images courtesy of the University of Southern Mississippi and the Madison County Detention Center]

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