Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Sid Salter: Change in Senate Partisan Control Could Elevate Wicker To Key Chairmanship

Perhaps better than anyone before him, the late U.S. Sen. John C. Stennis understood what Mississippi’s military infrastructure meant to the state in terms of jobs, influence and improving the daily lives of the people of the state.

In Pascagoula, the sprawling shipyard called Ingalls Shipbuilding, now a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, employs some 11,000 workers. Those workers in recent years built the U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Jack H. Lucas (DGG 125) and USS Ted Stevens (DDG 128) – both technologically capable of “crisis management and power projection at sea” according to the Mississippi Development Authority.

At the height of Stennis’s power on Capitol Hill when he chaired the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee from 1969 to 1980, military installations like Naval Air Station Meridian, Columbus Air Force Base, Biloxi’s Keesler Air Force Base and the Naval Construction Battalion Center (Seabees), and Camp Shelby, the massive National Guard training facility near Hattiesburg employed some 27,800 people when the senator retired in 1988.

Stennis also used his Senate Armed Services Committee clout to steer what was in 1961 the second-largest construction project in the nation. The Mississippi Testing Facility, later renamed the Stennis Space Center, was tasked with evaluating the Saturn V rockets’ first and second-stage components that later took U.S. astronauts to the moon.

The 1961 MTF project in Hancock County brought 9,000 new jobs and an annual income of $65 million to the area. Today, the Stennis Space Center employs some 5,000 employees and has an annual economic impact of over $1 billion.

Five months from now, Americans will go to the polls to vote in federal elections to decide the presidential election between incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden, 81, and former Republican President Donald Trump, 78.

With the announcement by veteran Democratic West Virginia U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin that he won’t seek re-election from his conservative state, Republicans feel emboldened that they will pick up Manchin’s seat. From there, the political math gets increasingly favorable for the GOP in that the Dems will defend 23 of the total 34 Senate seats contested on the 2024 ballot.

Moreover, three Democratic Senate seats are in states carried by Trump in 2016 and 2024. Four more seats are in swing states won narrowly by Biden in 2020.

While the projections of Senate partisan control numbers are tight and the presidential race numbers even tighter, most political prognosticators give the GOP a solid path to taking control of the Senate away from Democrats if they can win the White House.

So how does the partisan struggle for U.S. Senate control impact Mississippi? Why does it matter?

Representing Mississippi in the Senate since 2007, senior Mississippi U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Tupelo, currently is the ranking GOP member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and also a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee. Wicker also serves on the Environment and Public Works Committee and the Rules and Administration Committee.

If the Senate flips to Republican control, Wicker becomes chairman of the Armed Services Committee. How big a deal is that for Mississippi’s economy? Simply put, only Walmart employs more Mississippians than Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. Wicker is a longtime champion of expanding the nation’s U.S. Navy and commercial maritime fleets with American-built ships.

As it did during the Stennis era, every military base in the state, Mississippi’s robust Army and Air National Guard and Reserve units, federally funded defense research enterprises, and the state’s commercial defense contracting manufacturers and the jobs they represent would benefit.

Wicker is also among the few in the Senate who served in the military. He’s a veteran of active-duty service in the U.S. Air Force and retired from the Air Force Reserve in 2004 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Stennis once famously said: “The best way to avoid war is to be fully prepared, have the tools of war in full abundance, and have them ready.”

In a guest essay for The New York Times in May, Wicker echoed that sentiment: “It is far past time to rebuild America’s military. We can avoid war by preparing for it.”

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

Sid forgot to mention that Stennis 'persuaded' Boeing to occupy part of the shuttered Greenville Air Force Base. The tubas and cymbals celebrated 'bigly' and Boeing soon occupied offices and hired hundreds in Washington.

Soon they announced the Navy A-6 rewing project. All Navy A-6 jets were to fly in for the rewing. That particular project never took flight and Boeing left the state as soon as Stennis retired to the Madison nursing home.

Anonymous said...

Grateful for Senator Wicker’s service and seniority. Let the muckrakers suck on it.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Senator Wicker, one of the few remaining grown-ups in Washington.

Anonymous said...

@8:32 AM - Roger, thanks for checking in.

Anonymous said...

Wicker the "grown-up" who wants to send your sons - and daughters- to fight in wars we have no business in.

Wicker is on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Those members had to approve the language of the 2025 National Defense Reauthorization Act before it came to the floor. Regardless of his protests after the fact, he knew and approved of women being made to sign up for the draft.

He is a liar and a warmonger.

Anonymous said...

The A6s were being rewinged just as the Navy, in its infinite wisdom, chose to retire them and go with the A12. That was based on the recommendation of a dumb Admiral (sorry for the redundancy). They had to choose between a 30 year old design and a new one. Pick one. Not Stennis's call.

Dick Cheney then dumped the A12 program in 1991 for delays and cost overruns, and the F18 went forward in 1992.

How the hell can you geezers complain about something Stennis had nothing to do with but attempting to get work here in Mississippi. And what does that have to do with the 21st Century and Wicker?

Wicker saves Mississippi, even if I am not always his biggest fan. Only fools argue against Senatorial seniority, in a small state.

Anonymous said...

“If the Senate flips to Republican control, Wicker becomes chairman of the Armed Services Committee. How big a deal is that for Tel Aviv’s military?”

There you go, fixed that for you. You’re welcome.

Anonymous said...

The notion of preserving peace by being prepared for war is hardly new. In Rome the adage was, “if you want peace, prepare for war”. Theodore Roosevelt had the same idea with his idea of carrying a big stick and walking softly. The problem we have, though, is confounding heavy spending on “defense” with preparing for war. Politicians seem more interested in bringing bucks to their States in the name of defense than defense. Too much is wasted on things that don’t have anything to do with fighting a war. And, unfortunately, some people in office see the military as laboratory for social engineering. Enormous amounts are already being spent on ‘defense” but the Pentagon can’t account for some of it. Like spending on “education”, the problem isn’t so much underfunding as it is waste or unwise or misdirected spending. That ought to be corrected first rather than just throwing more and more money into these things.

Anonymous said...

9:45 for the win!

Anonymous said...

Suckling on that big tittie, way to go “last in almost everything” Mississippi!

Anonymous said...

We have the smallest Army since WWII (1940). China and Russia and North Korea are united against us, and unafraid of a woke military. Iran is trying to start WWIII and Israel seems hell bent on helping. China has increased its military exponentially. Low cost drones at 100K are making us spend 2 million dollars to shoot them down. We have ONE plant to make 155mm artillery round, but we ship it to Ukraine.

We not only don't have enough materiel for our troops, in the smallest numbers since 1940, we don't have any surge capability.

Anyone thinking we can be the world's policeman on this level of funding is a fool.

Anonymous said...

@9:18 - Didn't insinuate the rewing project was Stennis' call. That's YOUR language. Stennis coerced Boeing to come to Greenville, Mississippi's old AFB. Period. He pushed. They came. He retired. They left.

What does it have to do with anything? Ah, just responding to Salter's article and omission. What's up with your crochety ass?

And nobody is arguing against seniority, senatorial or otherwise. The argument is against the incumbent. One day Cindy Smith will have seniority. I suppose YOU will then favor her elevation to Secretary of Agriculture. And you supported Bennie Thompson in the lead Homeland Security role too, right? Seniority, remember.

Anonymous said...

There would be no need to prepare for war if Mr. Wicker, and his warmongering friends, had not had us in continual war for over 20 years.

Brown University, in its Cost of War project, from 2021, has estimated the cost to be over $8 trillion, and over 7 thousand U.S. soldiers.

It also estimates that over 900 thousand additional lives have been lost.

Those figures don't include what the Biden regime has wasted in Ukraine, or to supply Israel, in its present action in Gaza.

Neither, do those figures include what was left behind by the Biden regime in the demoralizing retreat from Afghanistan.

Mind you, all of this was done by warmongers in a war against an ideology, while the infrastructure of our country has crumbled.

Even now, the U.S., and its N.A.T.O. allies, are pushing for a war with Russia.

Anonymous said...

11:11 you are partially correct. We have rebuilt numerous other country’s infrastructure over the last several decades while allowing ours to deteriorate to what we have today. The rest is hog wash.

Sometimes the big dog has to get off the porch and prove to the world that it still is willing to fight. Better to do that on foreign soil than our own. Today’s generations have forgotten that freedom ain’t free. I’m no warmonger, but the world is every bit as dangerous today as at any time in this great nations past.

We also must be prepared. If we show weakness, similar to what has happened to Russia with their military incompetence in Ukraine, then our sons and daughters will be in trouble. There are still bad actors in this world that wish nothing more than the fall of the good ole US of A.

Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him? Who can fill his shoes? None on the national screen at this time.

Saltwaterpappy said...

We live in a dangerous world. Tyrants like Putin, Xi, the mullahs, and Kim only respect power. They curb their actions accordingly. I can only imagine with dread and trepidation what the world would be like if the U.S. didn't protect it's national interests and those countries who are not part of the Axis of Evil. By having a strong military, the world has been spared WWIII. Most fighting has been limited to regional conflicts.

To be sure, there have been serious mistakes made by our policy makers that have led to the misuse of our military and military assets. But in balancing everything, the U.S. and the world are better off.

Roger Wicker knows this, and how real politik operates. He knows that by having a strong military that is controlled by responsible civilian oversight, that regional disputes elsewhere (with the exception of radical Islamism) have not reached our shores.

Anonymous said...

Wicker's favorite meal is pork.

Anonymous said...

June 26, 2024 at 2:24 PM, I'm totally correct. You presented nothing to prove my post wrong. All you posted was speculation, and conjecture. Why is it we had to rebuild other countries' infrastructure?

You say if we show weakness, we have already shown weakness. When Biden left Afghanistan the same way Nixon left Vietnam, we showed the whole world who we were. How ignorant are you?

When a key member of the Pentagon, in a news conference, even, tells the entire world we don't have enough armaments to supply Israel, and Ukraine, do you really think we are projecting strength?

Below is the Brown University report, denoting some resources the warmongers have wasted.

Anonymous said...

June 26, 2024 at 4:23 PM, the nations of the world are leaving the side of the U.S., like rats leaving a sinking ship.

You go visit the countries we have invaded for the last 20 years, and ask them if their world is better off.

We have wasted trillions in resources, lives of our military personnel, and what was the accomplishment? To leave Afghanistan running, with our tails between our legs, was that the mission accomplished Bush 43 lied us into?

Roger Wicker is just one more pawn in the game that is Washington, D.C., nothing more or less. He will do the bidding of his masters in the military industrial complex, and they will make him rich.

Anonymous said...

June 26, 2024 at 2:24 PM, I will stand by my opinion. You presented nothing to prove my post wrong. All you posted was speculation, and conjecture. Why is it we had to rebuild other countries' infrastructure?

You say if we show weakness, while we have already shown weakness. When Biden left Afghanistan the same way Nixon left Vietnam, we showed the whole world who we were.

When a key member of the Pentagon, in a news conference, even, tells the entire world we don't have enough armaments to supply Israel, and Ukraine, do you really think we are projecting strength?

Below is the Brown University report, denoting some of the resources we have wasted.

Anonymous said...

JJ you flushed my earlier post about pork in this state and the great example Sen Stennis set on how to take money from wealthy states to fund his “constituents”.

But to 10:41am’s post: Why are you afraid? Who tells you be be that way, or have you always lived in fear? And more importantly, why do you think we should be “the world’s policeman”?!!!

Saltwaterpappy said...

5:24--Are you suggesting that we should not have invaded Afghanistan to protect us against further terrorist acts? It is the lessor of two evils to take the fight against terrorism to the places where the bad guys live, rather than having to do the fighting here.

To be sure, W and Cheney are war criminals for the unnecessary invasion of Iraq. As despicable as Saddam Hussein was in the mistreatment of his own people, it was clear to U.N. inspectors prior to our invasion that Iran was not involved in 9/11, nor did it have weapons of mass destruction. History will not be kind to them.

Anonymous said...

“I can only imagine with dread and trepidation what the world would be like if the rest of it used its military force as does the U.S.”

There you go again. Fixed that for you, too, @4:23 PM. And you are always welcome.

Anonymous said...

At 9:45am Well said, and basically explaining how what a poser America has become - and the whole world knows it. America doesn't even have a bark anymore, much less a bite.

Anonymous said...

I’m anti-war monger and if I were George W. Bush I would kill myself to escape thinking about the colossal damages caused by that idiotic Iraq War decision. When criticized for getting in and getting out instead of outright war with Iraq in 1991, George H. W. Bush (daddy Bush that actually fought in a war) said we were not going to get involved in another Vietnam. But party boy silver spooner Jr. W., and his s__t eater VP Dick Chaney knew better. What a sinful disaster!

Having said this, anyone that believes not having a strong defense, i.e. a tote a big stick while walking softly, scares the s__t out of me. It’s the only thing thug countries understand, and it is the only way to stay on top.

Anonymous said...

I'm confident that the Peter Principle which has exalted Wicker does not scare Xi.

Anonymous said...

June 26, 2024 at 9:09 PM, why Afghanistan? 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, so why not Saudi Arabia? I ask again, why Afghanistan?

The 9-11 attack was quickly contributed to Bin Laden, yet, the U.S. attacked Iraq, an ally, a nation that had been a proxy in the U.S. war with Iran. Similar to the Ukraine situation, now.

What was accomplished from the 20-year conflict against an ideology? Is the U.S. safer because of that waste of lives, and resources?

No, the only winner in this is the military industrial complex, and the banks that print the money. They own Roger Wicker, and he will vote accordingly.

Even if the war on terrorism had made the U.S. safer, Joe Biden undone all that accomplishment with his open border policy. The experts say it is only a matter of time before the U.S. suffers terrorist attacks.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:27 - Glad you're taking a break. You must be worn out after six lengthy posts.

Anonymous said...

June 26, 2024 at 9:09 PM, why Afghanistan?

One word: Poppy plants.

But Biden have it up completely so China can corner have the now trillion dollar opiate/heroin trade flowing not only through the new Belt and Road (Asia to Europe), but worldwide.

Anonymous said...

June 28, 2024 at 9:03 AM, you are correct. I was aware of the answer, I wanted to see if anyone else was.

The Taliban had nearly eradicated the farming of the poppy plant. The U.S. intervention into Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban, allowed the growth of poppy to resume. The U.S. military assured the Afghan poppy farmers that the soldiers wouldn't harm their crops.

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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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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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