On the day of the Mississippi primary election, The Atlantic’s Molly Ball published a profile on septuagenarian Senator Thad Cochran called Thad Cochran, the last of the naïve Republicans. Great piece. I encourage you to read it. It gives a good profile of the pathetic nature of Cochran, his campaign, and his supporters. What is most interesting is the way Ball revealed his severely diminished mental acuity:
I followed Cochran from the square to a local diner, Jean’s Restaurant, where patrons swiveled away from plastic plates of boiled okra and corn fritters to shake his hand. On the wall were two framed photographs of Chris McDaniel. The restaurant’s owner, Diane Trammell, told me McDaniel had visited twice and stayed for an hour each time. “I don’t recall the last time I seen Thad,” she said. She’d always voted for Cochran in the past, but now she wasn’t sure.
Cochran didn’t pose for any pictures during his brief sweep. As he made his way toward the exit, the senator held out his hand to me. I had met and interviewed him less than half an hour before.
“Hello, how are you doing?” he said with a kindly smile. “I’m Thad Cochran.”
Thad Cochran, not a genius on his best day, has had his mental faculties the subject of rumors for some time. Just like his seeming adulterous lifestyle, it was a subject widely discussed in political circles but only now seeping into the public consciousness. For instance, Dave Weigel writing in Thad Cochran and the age issue no one wants to talk about:
It wasn’t Cochran’s only poor interview. Through the spring, as McDaniel built momentum, Cochran struggled to answer a fairly easy question — what did he think of the Tea Party movement? Twice, he said he didn’t know much about it. When newspapers editorialized for Cochran to debate McDaniel, he never came up with a compelling reason not to other than a theory that McDaniel was trying to make him “look bad.” (Well, yeah. It’s a campaign.)
And this week, on the same day, Cochran seemed confused by two questions about the race. At a stop in Hattiesburg, Dan Balz asked Cochran about the Affordable Care Act. “I think we need to monitor any federal programs that provide services and assistance to people who need help, and this is an example of an important effort by the federal government to help make health care available, accessible and affordable,” said the senator. Afterwards, as Balz reported, the Cochran campaign called him to say the senator thought the question was about the VA. When I talked to Cochran, I asked why he thought it was important for his campaign to run ads about the videotaping scandal. “I can’t control other people’s right to free speech, and I’m not going to try to,” he said, apparently unaware that the ad was his.
After Ball published her article, the Cochran camp felt sufficiently worried about what looks like an allegation that Cochran’s brain is not firing on both cylinders that they had to contest the story:
Sen. Thad Cochran’s campaign has publicly criticized The Atlantic’s Molly Ball for suggesting that the 76-year-old senator suffered a memory lapse at a campaign stop in Mississippi.
“Molly Ball’s article is the most unprofessional, ridiculous, hit piece thing I have ever seen,” Jordan Russell, Cochran’s communications director, told Business Insider on Wednesday. “There were hundreds of people standing there. He did dozens of interviews … with people like MSNBC. I have no idea how he would have remembered who she was.”
Ball reported Tuesday that Sen. Cochran had introduced himself to her less than 30 minutes after she had concluded an interview with him. At a diner, she writes, “the senator held out his hand to me. I had met and interviewed him less than half an hour before. ‘Hello, how are you doing?’ he said with a kindly smile. ‘I’m Thad Cochran.'”
Ball rightly points out that Cochran’s campaign is not disputing the facts of the encounter as she reported them. Russell also later acknowledged that while the senator has done dozens of interviews in recent weeks, he had only done three prior to reintroducing himself to Ball.
Russell told BI that “Molly Ball, whoever that is… is a journalist trying to make a name for herself. She should be embarrassed.” Ball, who is an award-winning staff writer at The Atlantic, is standing by her reporting.
So they aren’t contesting the facts but Molly Ball is a bad person for writing the story. This guy must be taking douchenozzle lessons from the NRSC’s Brad Dayspring (say hi to Brad on Twitter, @BDayspring).
Let’s cut to the chase. Thad Cochran is an old man. Nothing inherently wrong with that, in fact, most of us aspire to that status. But where some old men have wisdom and mental acuity, Thad Cochran is manifestly not one of them. He is disinterested in politics beyond wanting to be a senator, he is unable to answer softball questions, and he can’t remember who he talked to a mere half hour after the event. Even his staff can’t deny this. He is a spent force and he needs to find something else to do with his “executive assistant” in his twilight years other than serve as a sockpuppet for pork barrel interests in Mississippi.