Every word he says - or ever has said - is subject to scrutiny.
McDaniel, the tea party favorite, has been getting a little roughed up recently over his attempts at redneck humor while he hosted a conservative talk radio show about a decade ago, and before he won a seat in the state Senate.
Clips of that radio show have been circulating on the Internet, with The Wall Street Journal linking to one nearly 10-minute clip in which McDaniel made remarks that were insensitive to blacks, Hispanics and gays.
At the time, his audience - presumably mostly white and ultraconservative - probably laughed right along with McDaniel, for instance, when he talked about moving to Mexico and having to learn the local lingo. But his expounding on the meaning of the word "mamacita" doesn't sound so funny coming from a person espousing to represent this state on the national scene. Mississippi gets enough knocks as it is for being a racist backwoods without its representatives in Congress contributing to the unflattering stereotype.
In fairness to McDaniel, his job as a talk show host was to entertain, and he wouldn't be the first host of a radio show - conservative or liberal - to get caught up in the moment and say something disparaging that he might later regret.
Of more concern in McDaniel's case should be some of the positions he has taken since announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination - such as questioning whether the tens of billions of dollars in federal aid to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina were a justified expenditure of the taxpayers' money.
To set himself apart from Cochran and keep the financial backing of ultraconservative special interest groups, McDaniel has to repudiate the "bring home the bacon" philosophy that has dominated not just Cochran's 41-year political career but also that of most every politician Mississippi has ever sent to Washington.
If McDaniel were to be elected and carry through with this slash-spending ideology, it would mean a lot less in the way not just of social welfare for Mississippi but of farm payments, highway funds, flood-control projects, disaster relief and the like. In a state that gets $3 in federal money for every $1 it pays in federal taxes, that would seem to be self-inflicted financial suicide.