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What in the world were they thinking?
by Wyatt Emmerich Emmerich Newspapers
Aug 21, 2014 | 106 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sometimes I wonder, “What in the world were they thinking?”

Naming thousands of voters in a lawsuit is not good politics, so I wonder what Chris McDaniel was thinking would come of his massive effort to roll back his recent political defeat.

Politicians, journalists, bloggers and frequent Facebook contributors aside, most people are intensely private. Most people have a gut fear of lawsuits. McDaniel has just made a few thousand personal enemies.

Mississippi is a small state with three million people, about the size of a metropolitan area. If you figure everybody knows a thousand people personally, then the whole state is just one person removed from the two or three thousand names personally mentioned in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit lists these names because they appear to have engaged in crossover voting – that is, voting in the Democratic primary and then switching over to vote in the Republican runoff.

The illegality of this hinges on a decades-old Mississippi attorney general’s opinion that may or may not be held up in court. Nevertheless, naming thousands of people and accusing them of having violated voting protocol is definitely not good politics.

Even worse, many of these mistakes may be clerical in nature, caused by the poll workers rather than the voters. Basically, just checking the wrong column.

I viewed the names listed and several are Northsiders I know are hard-core Republicans. It stretches my imagination to think these folks really voted in the Democratic primary. Yet there they are, named in a lawsuit of voting improprieties. I know several who are mad as hornets. I imagine none of the thousands named are very happy with their name appearing in a lawsuit.

In addition, the lawsuit vaguely implicates thousands of other voters based on an unenforceable law saying you cannot vote in a party primary if you have no intention of supporting that same party in the final election. Given that it is a woman’s perogative to change her mind, at least half of these challenges would have to be thrown out.

McDaniel’s strongest case is for the crossover voters who switched parties. Problem is, he doesn’t have nearly enough of these to change the election results. So why tee it up?

Much of the lawsuit rests on vague, unprovable allegations that would take decades to ever prove in court. Talk about the mother of all lawsuits. We worried a bit that McDaniel was a plaintiffs’ lawyer, but I don’t think Mississippi voters quite realized he was going to sue them personally before the election was even over.

So why has he done this? What is his end game? It mystifies me.

Perhaps he just got sucked up into the fight and once the train left the station, he couldn’t call it back. Every politician who runs for office needs to be prepared to lose. I don’t think McDaniel was prepared. As a result, he gave a spooky concession speech that reminded me of Alexander Haig’s “I’m in charge here” speech.

Nobody likes a sore loser. Every athlete knows that. You compliment your opponent on his great game, don’t make excuses and try harder next time. McDaniel had the perfect opportunity to make us think what a great guy he was and he blew it. And now the bogus lawsuit. What was he thinking?

My next “what were they thinking” moment involves the administration of the University of Mississippi, formerly known as Ole Miss.

First of all, I would kill for an endearing nickname. How do you get to be known as Big Daddy or Kingfish?

In the entire United States, there is only one college or university that is known universally by an endearing nickname – Ole Miss. Go ahead, try to name a single other. How many millions and millions of advertising dollars would have to be spent to embed an endearing nickname in the popular culture? And the administration wants to throw this away?

I hear tell some folks are offended by the term Ole Miss. You can’t please everybody all the time. What could possibly be offensive about “old” and “miss.” Old is a reference to tradition, a good thing for any institution to have. And “miss” is just a shortened version of a rather long state name.

What is offensive is political correctness taken to the absurd. It reminds me of the attempts by ideologues of the French Revolution to totally revamp the calendar, changing the way time was kept and the names of the days and months. New calendar for the newly perfected man. It didn’t catch on.

Banning Colonel Reb was bad enough. Colonel Reb, an old caricature of a die-hard Rebel fan, was somehow – nobody every explained how – linked to an endorsement of slavery. This ban occurred despite surveys showing that Colonel Reb offended practically no one, including the African American students.

But my favorite political-correctness-gone- wild Ole Miss vignette is when the university banned the Rebel flag from games on the grounds that the tiny sticks on which the flags were mounted were dangerous weapons and a safety hazard. Anybody ever heard of free speech, perhaps the most precious value of our republic?

Free speech be damned, the administration pressed on, even winning a federal court opinion on the matter, thus affirming that political correctness is more important than freedom on the Oxford campus.

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