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Notes from the field

By By Buddy Bynum / editor
Sept. 22, 2002
While the rest of the world tries to guess President Bush's intentions on Iraq, I'm wondering how U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows is going to beat U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering on Nov. 5.
Shows has a tough row to hoe, especially here in east Mississippi where his name recognition does not nearly rise to the level of Pickering's. The makeup of the 3rd Congressional District favors Pickering. He's done some good work for our region of the state and he's working hard, much harder than Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Parker did in 1999.
Parker was essentially building his transition team and redecorating the Governor's Mansion before voters actually went to the polls. Even then, he got enough votes to push the election into the state House of Representatives, which, of course, gave us Ronnie Musgrove.
Thanks, Mike.
While lawmakers actually elected Musgrove, many folks credit Parker with giving them the opportunity. Strangely, today, lawmakers don't seem all that happy with their choice.
White House briefing
Last week, while Pickering was attending White House security briefings on Iraq with two top Bush aides CIA Director George Tenet and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice and working on federal lawsuit reform, Shows was smarting from the sting of misleading and deceptive ads funded by the AFL-CIO.
The target of the ads, of course, was Pickering, whose conservative voting record is despised by the labor organization. According to the ads, Pickering hates poor folks and old folks and probably kicks his dog. He loves greedy pharmaceutical companies, relishes the fact that thousands of employees in the telecommunications business are losing their jobs and cherishes corporate corruption.
Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, which is why the victim of the ads' wrath was clearly Shows. You have to assume that Shows did not clear the ads because that's the way the federal law says it's supposed to work. Money spent by independent, third party advertisers really has to be independent of any campaign.
But this is another classic example of how big labor tries to feed voters a healthy serving of hogwash, with scare tactics on the side. Message to the AFL-CIO: We're not that stupid.
Three stations in Jackson yanked the ads off the air in an embarrassing testament to their falsity. Three stations in Meridian did the same. And the AFL-CIO re-tooled the narrative taking out the most outrageous portions in order to get them back on the air.
Message to Ronnie Shows: The AFL-CIO isn't helping you.
Federal reform?
As the Mississippi Legislature continued to ignore the call of the people for tort reform, a U.S. House committee actually sent to the full House a bill that features medical malpractice reform. Pickering, a member of the committee, supported H.R. 4600. He said it would offer Mississippi and the rest of the nation medical malpractice reform to help lower medical costs and make sure people have access to the health care professionals they need and trust.
Pickering said Shows has received more than $400,000 in campaign contributions from trial lawyers. And we thought they were spending all their time and money in the state Legislature.
On the subject of Iraq, Pickering said after his briefing that Congress could debate and vote on a resolution authorizing force within the next three weeks.
That is truly a sobering thought.