Rickey Cole, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party, has had time to contemplate his party's defeat in the Governor's and Lt. Governor's elections. On a visit to Meridian, Cole brought advice he said would apply to both political parties.
"Say what you mean and mean what you say. And keep your word. Everybody who's involved in politics ought to be about those three basic principles, I think," Cole said.
Cole indicated the outcome of the November state elections was very disturbing to Democrats.
"Sam Rayburn was fond of saying that any jackass can kick a barn down but it takes a carpenter to build one," said Cole. "And Mississippi politics is in sore need of carpenters to build a better Mississippi, regardless of party."
In response to a question, Cole said it is part of his job to "rebuild" the Democratic Party in Mississippi.
"And to continue to build on the foundation that we have laid. You don't learn from winning, but you're kind of stupid if you don't learn from at least the second kick of the same mule," said Cole.
But he says Mississippi Democrats are not influenced by the national Democratic Party.
"We never marched "lockstep" with the national party and never will," Cole said. "I don't know of any state that really does. Every state operates within its own context. One of the great differences between us and the Republicans, the Republicans in recent times have been such an homogenized group that it's been pretty easy for them to march lockstep. We have a lot of diversity. We think that diversity is our strength," said Cole.
Cole debates former Lauderdale County Republican Party chairman Rick Barry on WTOK'S "on the Record" program, Sunday, Dec. 7, at 5:30 p.m.