A picture is worth a 1,000 words. Well, in Mississippi Politics a picture is worth way more. What (fill in the blank)____Gate will this be called? ClaytonGate, SenateGate, #YetAnotherBlackEyeAndWhyMississippiRoutinelyRanks49or50Gate
The story that will not end is that of the Pearl blogger-want-to-be, Clayton Kelly, surreptitiously photographing Senator Thad Cochran’s wife and then using that photo to insinuate infidelity. He “snuck” into a nursing home to capture the image.
Decillion = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1033).
There are enough questions about the bizarre story to cast aspersions at both sides and that is constantly being done. The criticism of McDaniel’s camp is how they knew, when the knew. Campaign personnel reached out to the Cochran side to express disgust and outrage prior to the full details being made public – raising the specter of how they knew. A subsequent interview of McDaniel downplayed his knowledge of the event, though his people knew of it for almost a month. Additionally, the perpetrator stated he took down the posting because “the big man” wanted it down. Presumptively “the big man” is McDaniel. McDaniel has used this scandal to repeat his mantra that Cochran refuses to debate him. The McDaniel camp has also prematurely declared their innocence based upon a reported District Attorney, Michael Guest, statement that Guest then addressed clarifying no such innocence due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, causing McDaniel to delete his declaration. It made the mess look worse than it was. Confused yet??
The other visual that each story includes is a picture of McDaniel at political meet & greets with at least 2 of the arrested individuals, alluding to guilt by association.
Cochran has been criticized for taking his sweet time in reporting the allegations. That the Cochran campaign waited until the opportune time to use this situation for political gain, sitting on it for 3 weeks to a month and then feigning outrage. Accusations that Cochran orchestrated this have been lobbed and infidelity accusations continue to be raised.
The most bizarre aspect, other than the brain that thought this was viable strategy, are the conspiracy allegations that have embroiled an attorney (Mark Mayfield), soccer coach (Rick Sager)and Hattiesburgian (John Mary), leading to their arrests. What role they played, if any, remains to be seen, but could include providing aid or information on Mrs. Cochran’s whereabouts and how to gain access, or after the scheme, the taking down the posting and trying to “bury the evidence.” Who knows?
We, as the general public, declare disfavor for the whole sordid affair, but blog, comment, research, speculate, gossip and conclude about this mess based on our own political ideology. Unfortunately we love to hate this, but perpetuate it, too.
What really happened? Who knew what and when? We will likely never get the full story. Mississippi politics will forever prevent the truth of this situation being fully determined. It’s a sad, sordid turn that will reverberate until the next political scandal…
Matthew Thompson is a Divorce and Domestic Relations Attorney in Mississippi and admits that he has followed this story, read the blogs, the comments, seen the clips, interviews, press releases and finds it all fascinating in a very sad way.