"unforced error" from my vantage in that it looked like there might be reason to conclude collusion between the McDaniels campaign and the blogger who meant to use the image of Sen. Cochran's very ill wife against him, is interesting in and of itself as a kind of lesson about what can and can't be used in a campaign, and how timing in these things works. But this story has gotten a little more interesting with the story recently breaking that three McDaniels campaign staffers got stuck in the courthouse where ballots were held on election night, for reasons not especially well-understood.
To track back to the first story, I stood in open admiration that anyone might have thought that working Cochran's wife into a campaign narrative was appropriate. It looks to me like, even after the blogger published his story in April, that the Cochran campaign might have sat on it (possibly worrying about the Streisand effect) until it hit the mainstream media, when it became fair for the campaign to strike back. But that didn't give them a lot of time to hammer home the idea that there was something a little dodgy about the McDaniels folks.
But this, you guys! This is something to feel a little confident about if you're Thad Cochran, veteran Senator, and the Rove-backed American Crossroads is thinking about dumping you in case of a run-off. There is a way things are done, and a way they are not done. Do I think a Cochran campaign won't point out that some members of the McDaniels bunch were where they should not be, and it was kind of reminiscent of dirty tricks we have heard of before?
One of my longtime senators was Arlen Spector, who became a Democrat rather than deal with being knocked off by a Tea Partier like, say, my current Senator, Pat Toomey. I don't think it's so great when incumbents can't ever lose because they lose touch with their home-truths. But I also feel a little like service matters. If I was eligible to determine a GOP primary, I'd have preferred someone like Spector. He was a congressional lifer, but he was realistic. If Cochran is even getting a Tea Party challenger, I think his fault must be some degree of realism.
Thus, on with a three week slobberknocker. I am rooting for their eventual opponent--the Democrat either of them might be facing. What if Cochran has the ways and means to find something better for himself to do, and leaves McDaniels to the fate he wants to hurtle towards? I wouldn't wonder if his campaign's business is still used against him. And if Cochran is the victor? It would still mean he was challenged just so much...