Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sid Salter: Hyde-Smith’s stumble on Trump’s backing points up McDaniel’s political Gordian Knot

About 333 years before the birth of Christ, historians believe Alexander the Great marched his troops into the Phrygian capital of Gordium in what is today known as Turkey.  As the legend goes, Alexander soon encountered an ancient wagon with its yoke tied intractably by several ropes in multiple knots tied in such an entangled fashion that it appeared impossible to loosen them.

 Phrygian oracles held that the wagon had once belonged to Gordius, the father of King Midas, and that any man who could untie the ponderous knots would become the ruler of all of Asia.

Alexander struggled unsuccessfully in untying or loosening the knot. Eventually, in anger he declared that “it made no difference how the knots were loosed” and drew his sword, slicing through the knot in one mighty lunge. The prophecy seemed fulfilled as Alexander soon took control of Egypt and much of Asia before his death at the age of 32 in Babylon.

What does that little jaunt through ancient history have to do with the 2018 Senate race in Mississippi?

U.S Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, after an unusually smooth transition from her former post as the state’s elected Republican commissioner of agriculture and commerce to her new post as the first woman in history to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate, stumbled last week.

In a fundraising letter, Hyde-Smith told state voters: "I'm facing a crowded campaign with both Democrats and Republicans. But, unlike my opponents, I don't have the backing of deep-pocketed special interest groups like most candidates running for Senate ... I have the support of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, but the support I need most is YOURS."

Trouble is, neither Trump nor Pence have formally endorsed Hyde-Smith’s candidacy. Tea Party favorite and GOP state Sen. Chris McDaniel quickly jumped on the gaffe as evidence that the Republican “establishment” was attempting to dupe state voters.

“Just another day in the D.C. swamp,” said a McDaniel campaign staffer. For Hyde-Smith’s part, the campaign letter mistake was written off as a “drafting error.” Regardless, the bobbled letter gave some much-needed political oxygen to a McDaniel campaign that was flailing without the millions in super PAC funds that buoyed the Ellisville trial lawyer’s 2014 campaign.

But give the McDaniel campaign their due. In challenging the mistake in the Hyde-Smith letter, they raise one of the central questions in this race – who will get the support of Donald Trump and how much does that support matter?
Look at neighboring Alabama. In that state, the candidate Trump backed in the GOP primary – Luther Strange – lost to Judge Roy Moore. In the general election, the candidate Trump backed – Moore – lost to Democrat Doug Jones.
So McDaniel’s political Gordian Knot is rather tight. If he continues as he has this week to make the support of Donald Trump the benchmark for success in his Senate campaign, he’s one Trump endorsement of Hyde-Smith away from significantly stalled momentum.

And while forecasting what Trump will or won’t do is nearly impossible, it’s clear that there is a track record to follow. Hyde-Smith co-chaired the Trump campaign’s national Agriculture Advisory Committee. She was invited to White House meetings with Trump's U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue and Pence on agriculture and tax reform issues.

As Mississippi’s successor to Thad Cochran, Hyde-Smith has already voted to support the Trump White House, most recently on a Senate rules change to move the president’s judicial nominees along.

In the 2016 presidential race, McDaniel was late to the party in supporting Trump after going all in to back Texas U.S Sen. Ted Cruz. Untying himself from his past Trump opposition – already solidly documented by Republican Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker – is a political knot that would have given Alexander pause.

That, and the millions upon millions in super PAC money that financed McDaniel’s 2014 campaign that just isn’t there for him in 2018.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

Whole lotta angst from the Republican establishment about a candidate the RINOs keep telling us isn't worthy. The more they tell us about McDaniel the less we learn anything about Hyde-Smith. The MSGOPe has obviously concluded that they can't run on Cindy's strengths, if any.

I'm pretty sure that Mitch McConnell Dumbass wishes now that he hadn't sabotaged Luther Strange in the Alabama primary.

Anonymous said...

8:46. Keep up. McDaniel and his groupies are the RINOs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Sid, for taking three paragraphs to explain to us dumb Mis'sippi hicks what the well-known term "Gordian Knot" means! I done thinked it had sumpin to do with fishin' lures or shoelaces or SEC football.

So glad we done gots smart guys like Sid to edumacate us backards hayseeds!

Anonymous said...

"U.S Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, after an unusually smooth transition from her former post as the state’s elected Republican commissioner of agriculture and commerce to her new post as the first woman in history to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate...."

Unusually smooth? Only if you mean she had no flight delays on her trip to DC. Her office is a disaster and Cochran's staffers are bailing ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Will someone for the love of God tell us who a true "Republican" is in Mississippi!? People keep screaming RINO for every damn elected official in this state

Phil Bryant = RINO ?
Haley Barbour = RINO ?
Thad Cochran = RINO ?
Roger Wicker = RINO ?
Tate Reeves = RINO ?
Chris McDaniels = is now a RINO?

All of the aforementioned have passed stagnant regressive legislation and people are calling them RINO's

I guess some of you won't accept them as Republicans until they come out in a grand dragon robe screaming Sieg Heil waving a confederate flag

Anonymous said...

Lots of words. For those of us who 'like' both candidates pretty well they are puzzling however. Why would a columnist write all these words about an event without discussing who, what, when, where & how the event happened? How did a political pro like Hyde-Smith end up publishing a fund-raising letter with a lie in it? Shakes my confidence in her efficiency. Evidently it just makes Salter sputter - without providing any info.

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is a fraud upon my intelligence, and if you think I’m being a partisan hack, Espy falls under that category as well.

The #45 ass-kissing smells of desperation and politics as usual. And, McDaniel might as well be a white, redneck Saul Alinsky style community organizer whose campaign strategy amounts to “whip them into a frenzy at every turn!” To be fair, they all do it, but it’s so pathetic coming from a guy like him.

Anonymous said...

Sid remains inextricably submerged in a shallow pool; a Hobson's Choice as it were. Although the pool is shallow, Sid sees one way out yet believes he has a choice.

Anonymous said...

Phil Bryant = 1/2 RINO, hoping to go FULL by last day in office
Haley Barbour = FULL RINO, all Bullshit
Thad Cochran = FULL RINO, passed the bill for pork to your children
Roger Wicker = FULL RINO, bootlicker
Tate Reeves = 1/4 RINO
Chris McDaniels = 1/8 RINO
Gregg Harper = FULL RINO, all lackey

Anonymous said...

Is Salter Hyde-Smith's campaign manager?

Anonymous said...

@ May 2, 2018 at 10:58 AM

well stated! My sentiments exactly

Finally someone on the thread that's a pragmatist

Anonymous said...

"...a political pro like Hyde-Smith..."

You use that in a context that signifies proficiency and expertise. Why didn't you just say 'professional politician' instead of 'political pro'.

Most with walking-around sense are suggesting she not unpack too many boxes.

Anonymous said...

Sid’s Gordian knot may be the tougher one for him to untangle: Unelected state agency directors using government data collection information from a federally funded data program at a university heavily dependent on federal subsidy want to tell Mississippi’s story. Sid gets a cut of that money.

Anonymous said...

Sid "gets a cut of that money"? Really? Documentation please. That's just some more of the same crap that spews from the MSPEP crew and McD-lites. I'll bet all you can find is that Salter gets a salary from MSU - not a 'cut' of any funding different from any other administrator, teacher, or professor at any one of the state universities. Don't see you bitching about their expressing their personal opinions.

Anonymous said...

May 6, 6:49, you and McDaniel's spokesman Plunkett are showing your true colors with his article and your linking to it - without even your attempt to tie Salter into the discussion.

Parisi might find that a great many Mississippians want neither him nor unelected state agency directors to have responsibility over the power to collect or use their data, or to tell the story of Mississippi for them or their children.

From the opinion column: "It’s not the governments story to tell." Plunkett (while tending to his goats and waiting for his wife's criminal trial) has taken off on the fact that there is a group of state agency directors involved in a federally funded program examining the social/economic life of our state. AND THAT THE AGENCY DIRECTORS ARE ACTUALLY USING THE INFORMATION FOUND FROM THE PROGRAM!! How terrible. Don't they know that all these federally funded studies and programs are only supposed to collect this data and put it on a shelf never to be looked at or used by public policy administrators?

Hell yes - I want these so-called by Plunkett - nonelected state agency directors to consider the findings of studies such as this, and others, as they decide how to spend all the state tax dollars they are charged with managing, using the data to best decide how and where those programs ought to be headed. Or eliminated. Or adjusted. Hell - I'm glad they are even getting a copy of the study much less PARTICIPATING in the development of it.

Of course, Plunkett learned well from his stint writing crap for McDaniel to spew out of his orafices and doesn't give up the opportunity to throw Hillary Clinton's name (albeit unrelated to anything in the opinion piece) with a reference to someone who came to the MS DOE early this decade who had met Clinton at some previous cocktail party. Or some such ridiculous connection. I'm sure that his thinking works along the line that unless he demogages Hillary at least once in a column, he hasn't earned his pay for the day; just like it was back in 2014.

Trying to tie Salter into this federally funded program because it is operated out of MSU - a premiere research university - and Salter working at MSU is a ridiculous tie. Just because you want to attack Salter since his opinion of your Saviour is only slightly below the tails of Plunkett's goats does not get you to your attempted connection. Besides the ridiculousness of Plunkett's desire that "unelected state agency directors" stop using any data or analysis in the operation of our $6 billion state agency programs.

Anonymous said...

MSU a "premier" research university???

Thanks for the laugh, whoever you are.

And please try to raise your standards.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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