The New York Times on Thursday kicked off what could be an attempt to find a 2014 version of Todd Akin. Writer Jonathan Weisman pronounced the accession of senatorial candidate Chris McDaniel as a "major headache" for Republicans and hyped Democrats as "gleeful" over the run-off campaign between the Tea Party favorite and incumbent Senator Thad Cochran.
Repeating liberal talking points, Weisman parroted, "Already on Wednesday, Democrats were quietly expressing glee and moving to elevate the McDaniel candidacy, hoping to make him this campaign cycle’s equivalent of Missouri’s Todd Akin, whose provocative comments on rape created problems for Republicans around the country in 2012."
Weisman began the article by running down McDaniel (see file photo at right) and laying the groundwork for a national campaign against him:
It is a major headache for the national Republican Party and perhaps the biggest break Democrats have been handed in this difficult election year: a three-week runoff campaign in Mississippi between a party elder, Senator Thad Cochran, and the sometimes unpredictable Tea Party favorite, Chris McDaniel.
Mr. McDaniel, whose showing in the primary on Tuesday forced the runoff and shook the Republican establishment, carries the kind of baggage the party is eager to shed as it seeks to win over female and minority voters: He threatened to leave the country rather than pay reparations for slavery and described trying to pick up Mexican women by calling them “mamacitas.” He once dismissed a controversy over a wrestling video game in which a white woman holds down a black woman by shrugging, “Well, she wasn’t holding down a gay guy.”
The journalist added, "Democrats’ excitement about Mr. McDaniel’s strong showing on Tuesday was mainly driven by their hopes of highlighting his views to a broader audience around the country."
Of course, the Times writer brought in race:
Even if Mr. McDaniel ultimately defeats Mr. Cochran, a six-term veteran of the Senate, in the runoff on June 24, Democrats face difficult odds in trying to capture the Mississippi seat in November. The state has not sent a Democrat to the Senate since the 1980s.
Democrats’ excitement about Mr. McDaniel’s strong showing on Tuesday was mainly driven by their hopes of highlighting his views to a broader audience around the country.
In contrast, the Washington Post on Thursday focused on the actual facts of the present moment. The headline for writer Dan Balz's story announced: "Sen. Cochran faces perilous fight in Mississippi runoff."
Instead of seeing this a goldmine for Democrats, Balz noted:
Of all the Republican senators who drew tea party opponents in this election cycle, Sen. Thad Cochran (Miss.) seemed particularly ill-prepared for the challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel. He was by most measures the most vulnerable incumbent of them all — primed for an upset.
For starters, he symbolized Washington at a time when voters — Republicans and Democrats alike — are disgusted with Washington. Beyond that, he embodied everything that tea party activists say they are fighting against: He is a proud appropriator known for pork-barrel spending and a compromiser too willing to cut deals with Democrats.
On May 17, 2014, Weisman hinted that the newest Tea Party candidates might be hypocrites who were only posing as common-man conservatives."