His party seemingly on the cusp of a big victory, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) was ready on Tuesday to take some credit. The GOP’s expected triumph could, of course, be traced back several months ago when Republicans in his home state narrowly chose incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) over tea party upstart Chris McDaniel.
Barbour said with certainty during a television interview that McDaniel, a conservative firebrand with some questionable associations, “said some things that everybody in our party would have had to either say they agreed with or say they disagreed with.”
“And we didn’t need another Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock on steroids,” Barbour cracked to the crew on “Morning Joe,” an ample repository for talk about moderating the Republican Party.
Barbour is clearly invested in pushing the “Mississippi saved the GOP” storyline, and there will be some takers in the political press. But one guy who is not feeling that narrative: Erick Erickson, the RedState editor who supported McDaniel and has long been suspicious of big city elites meddling in the GOP.
On Monday, a plaintive Erickson wrote in Politico Magazine that this year’s midterm will only be a success for “Republican establishment types.”
“When the new Republican Congress convenes next year, tries to lead, and looks over its shoulder, there won’t be many conservatives following,” Erickson wrote.
Dismayed by Barbour’s victory lap, Erickson sounded the same note on his blog on Tuesday, lamenting the governor’s assertion that “the GOP’s destruction of conservatives in Mississippi will win this thing tonight.”
“It is worth noting that both Circle of Jerks in the press corps and the DC GOP Establishment have a vested interest in pushing out this narrative,” Erickson wrote.