Wednesday, July 26, 2006

9th District Revisited

After reading the news and local blogs today, I thought this race was worth revisiting.  You know, what with the seismic shifts brought on by Joe Towns getting out of the race and telling his single digit list of supporters to vote for Julian Bolton.

There are some genuinely good people in this race.  Many of them are people that I would personally like to see in office.  In fact, I wouldn’t even rule out seeing them in the 9th District seat.  Someday.  Not today.    When Joe Torre is looking to complete a Yankees lineup, he looks for people that have held a baseball bat before, players that have been standouts when they played in the minor leagues.  He doesn’t pick a neophyte that seems nice and has potential--- He picks seasoned players that he believes have the potential to go on and become even greater.

  • Lee Harris seems great.  I look at him on the issues, and I find myself agreeing with him more often than not.  Let this man get some legislative experience, and you’ve got not only a contender, but a leader in the years and decades to come.  I don’t know what area he lives in now, but I know he grew up in Whitehaven.  There’s an ethically challenged and vulnerable state senator whose district winds through Whitehaven (I’m not 100% sure where the district lines are drawn, but I know this senator’s campaign HQ was in Whitehaven) that I would love to see Mr. Harris replace.  From there, he can build a relationship with constituents, develop a solid reputation that stretches outside his district, and challenge for the seat of his choice from there.

  • Ruben Fort – What the hell are you doing?  Do you even know?  Your best hope was in 2004, when you ran against Harold Ford in the hopes that some half blind old ladies would get the names mixed up and vote for you by accident.  Of course, you were a Republican then.  Far be it from me to suggest crime, but if you rob a bank, you’ll get better face and name recognition.  Maybe strike up a deal with E-Cycle.

  • Marvell Mitchell – Something interesting happens if you click on the “issues” banner of his website.  Where everyone else tells you where they stand on the issues, he asks you to tell him what’s important to the people of the 9th District.  Sorry, but I think you should have a better grasp on the issues by now.  You have yet to tell anyone why they should vote for you.  An elected leader should be responsive to his constituents--- But you’ve not only told us nothing that you stand for, but you’ve led us to believe that you stand for nothing.  Are we to believe you’re going to fly back from DC and put a poll in the field before every vote in the House?

  • Ralph White – I went to his website and found it to be extraordinarily light on the issues.  With what he did talk about, it looked more like he was running for a local office than a federal one. He is, though, a motivational speaker with the “5 Steps to Success” on his website.  So I decided to take his advice.  Step 1 is to evaluate your current position.  My current position is that I don’t have any idea if Ralph White carries heavy enough lumber to be a congressman.  Step 2 is to visualize my desired outcome.  Okay, I would like to know if Ralph White carries heavy enough lumber to be a congressman.  Step 3 is to create a plan for moving from the starting point to the goal.  Okay, that’s why I went to the website.  Step 4 is to take steps and act on my plan.  Okay, I clicked on the issues thing and found more self-help drivel than useful information.  Step 5 is to repeat steps 1-4 if necessary.  Sorry, there are only so many times I can read the Ralph White website in search of something of substance.  Substance on the White website is as elusive as Iraqi WMDs.

  • Bill Whitman – I looked at his website, and I think that on many (Not all--- He and I would have a good argument over a woman’s right to choose) issues, he’s on point.  He falls into the same category as Lee Harris--- Please run for something else.  Get the experience and gravitas that are necessary to stand out in a race like this one.

  • Tyson Pratcher – Before anyone feels the need to tell me, I’m aware that he dropped out.  But he falls into that Lee Harris/ Bill Whitman category.  I want to hear more from you.  But 2006 is not your year.  You play in the minors before the Yankees call you up.

  • Joe “MySpace” Ford.  Uh huh.  Next.

  • Laura Davis-Aaron – Who are you?

And now we come to the candidates that I absolutely loathe.

  • Ed “Southern Strategy” Stanton – Why do I call him “Southern Strategy”, when the Southern Strategy is clearly a Republican ideal?  Because he’s running it in reverse.  Stanton has decided that he can do without every non-black vote in the district as long as he solidifies the black vote.  He’s not the only one, mind you.  Perhaps the reason I’m so angry over this is simply that I feel betrayed by the Stanton campaign.  I didn’t get to attend the candidate forum--- I listened to a tape recording of it over the course of a car ride to Nashville with Brad Watkins and Frank Burhart.  I was excited by what I heard out of Ed Stanton.  We were working with a candidate for another office at the time, and we deliberately held out on mentioning the abysmal infant mortality rate in Memphis simply because Stanton was talking about it, and we wanted him to own that issue going into the primary.  No way were we gonna steal his thunder on it.  And how did he follow it up?  By playing the race card the first chance he got, and every opportunity he’s had since then.  When I’m looking for someone to vote for, I look for a man of the people--- Not a half-man that represents some of the people.  Your campaign over the last few months has lacked the substance of a loose bowel movement.  If you never stink up Memphis politics again, it’s still too soon for my taste.

  • Ron Redwing – Much like Stanton, only with less substance.  All he can come up with as a reason to vote for him is “Vote for me or a white guy gets the job” (Which differs from Stanton only in the sense that Stanton says “Jew”).  I keep thinking back to Dr. King, who wanted us to judge a man by the content of his character… And I find that Redwing has no character.  Bye bye, Ronnie. Your stench is so overpowering that I have a tough time saying the name of my favorite hockey team.

  • Julian Bolton – The last time I wrote about the candidates, I lamented the fact that you’d served for over two decades on the Shelby County Commission without really building enough of a record to run on.  Unfortunately, in an attempt to build more of a name for yourself, you seem to have taken the Stanton/ Redwing route.  He was recently quoted in the Commercial Appeal as saying "We need someone who's going to put our interests first.  Do you think he's going to be able to do that with all of that going on in Israel?"  Captain Subtext wasn’t very subtle here.  He said, in essence, “A Jew can’t represent you.”  Of course, what he also said, quite accidentally, was “I don’t have the gravitas to tackle one of our biggest foreign policy issues these days”.  After all, did he not just say he wanted to ignore the war between Lebanon and Israel, which even besides the human toll, further destabilizes the foreign oil markets?  Isn’t a hike in gas prices something that affects the 9th District?  How sad is this?  Someone with over two decades’ experience still isn’t ready for prime time.

Last, but not least of the candidates I won’t be endorsing is one that I couldn’t bring myself to put in the list with the others simply because she’s pissed me off enough to defy categorization.

Nikki Tinker started off her campaign with even less substance than Ralph White, which is near unimaginable.  It’s only in the last couple of months that she’s had anything to say other than “I’m not prepared to talk about the issues at this time”.  If that’s the case, then why in the hell were you running?  Did you need more office space?  Did you just like the title?

And now… You’re still not talking about the issues very much.  You sent out a libelous mailer that devoted so much time and space to attacking Steve Cohen (Mostly on spurious, false charges) that it took a couple of glances to realize who sent it out.  The campaign literature reads like the copy was written by Karl Rove or Lee Atwater.

You went from irrelevance to outright stupidity over the course of the last few months, and it’s not been overlooked.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the same room as you.  I held my tongue.  I tried to remain civil.  I thought you were a pretty worthless candidate at the time.  I’ve simply got no use for anyone that waits until six months after starting the campaign to develop a platform.

Next time, I won’t.  And if it means I get the opportunity to publicly embarrass you, then all the better.  Your attempt to make yourself sound like a frontrunner have been noted, but we all know that you’re going to be battling for third place.  That’s still a couple of places higher than you deserve to be.

Now, on to more pleasant subjects.

Please allow me to reiterate my support for Steve Cohen in the 9th District primary.  I’m not backing him because his skin color is closer to my own, as the Stanton/ Redwing/ Bolton-ites love to claim.  I’m backing him because he has decades of experience running clean campaigns, legislating a true progressive agenda (Although even I would go a few rounds with him on his opposition to gun control and his position on capital punishment), and serving his constituents like no other representative out there.  

I had never even had any substantive conversation with Cohen until a couple of weeks ago, and it reinforced everything I thought about him.  He’s the real deal.  He’s ready for prime time.

Steve Cohen…  The next Congressman for Tennessee’s 9th District.


David Holt said...

You want some trolls, too, eh? You can't have them. They're all mine! Bwaaahahahaha...

Anonymous said...

I agree with you.........except for Stanton.

I think Stanton is a good guy. I think he could do a lot of good. He really cares. I don't know about the attack stuff. I just know Ed and I know he is a good guy.

Anonymous said...

Tinker will have the last laugh. You negative will all cry when Tinker Time is August 3rd.

Tinker hasn't done anything to anyone. She has talked about issues. She has met with the elderly. Go to her website. Look at her ads.

You all are anti-black women.

Freedonian said...


I'm feeling neglected.


You're not the first person to tell me that. I would like to see it proven true over time.

But for me to go back and support Stanton later on (Never say never), it would take a complete disavowal of this campaign. "I took some horrible advice, got caught up in a moment, and ran a nasty campaign".

I hear that he's not a racist. I hope that's true. I've heard Barry Goldwater wasn't one either. It didn't stop him from running a racially divisive campaign that provided the blueprint for the Southern Strategy, though.

Like I say, I was thrilled with this guy before the push poll.

Freedonian said...

She has talked about issues. She has met with the elderly. Go to her website. Look at her ads.

How can I not be won over by logic like that? I mean, ads are never misleading, are they?

What? You mean I may NOT have already won $10 million? I'm crushed. I thought I was really hanging in there.

Crawl back under your rock and find a candidate with some substance next time, bub. I'm not anti-black woman--- But I damn well object to a black woman that has less substance than things floating in the sewer.

LeftWingCracker said...

You KNOW you need to cross-post at The Cue, I've already done a linking post at the Cracker.

Why should David get all the trolls?

Freedonian said...

Good point, my friend. And thank you.

David Holt said...

Don't help him Cracker! Anon@3:17: Aren't you being a tad but negative yourself?

Blinders Off said...


This post is whip cream with a cherry on top. I hope the people in the 9th district vote for Cohen because he is the best out of the bunch.

Anonymous said...

Your Blinders are one. Cohen is the most established out of the bunch. His experience does not make him better. I don't think he is the best. He is just the easiest choice because people are comfortable with his record for the most part.

Tinker is better than COHEN. When a black woman out risies a Jewish man, that speaks volumes about how far we have come. Hats of Tinker she has served on many boards. She had met with voters. Her mailers are fantastic. Kudos to EMily's List and Tinker. We are going to Washignton. Cohen hang on to your hat we are going to blow by you.

Harris and Whitman have a future too. I agree with the Freed there but now it is Tinker Time she is supported by the Tinker Tots and the Tinker Bells.

LeftWingCracker said...

The Tinker Bells? You DON'T want to know what THAT conjures up in my mind...

Freedonian said...

Thank you, Blinders. Cohen is easily the best of the bunch.

Freedonian said...

Your Blinders are one.

Her Blinders are one? What did the English language ever do to you?

When a black woman out risies a Jewish man, that speaks volumes about how far we have come.

What is that? Some kind of "Jewish people are supposed to be good with money" thing?

We are going to Washignton. Cohen hang on to your hat we are going to blow by you.

"We"? Does this mean that the semiliterate Tinker Tool stinking up the internet is a staffer?

If this is representative of the people she surrounds herself with, then that speaks volumes about why you shouldn't vote for Tinker.

Anonymous said...

Tinker is being supported by the Tinker Tots?

I sure hope that she is being supported by a group her campaign created for toddlers.

Freedonian said...

I live in Senate District 29. They can vote here.

autoegocrat said...

I really like Lee Harris, and I really like his campaign so far. I want to see more of him. Let's get him on the City Council, County Commission, in the state House, or something.

He's got a future in this town.

LeftWingCracker said...

Yes, we need to help raise up people like Harris, Whitman, maybe even SS Stanton if we can get the DC consultants's stench off him.

But that carpetbagger Nikki Tinker is going down like a $2 crack ho, my brothers!

Anonymous said...

When a black woman out risies a Jewish man

She has been raising money for a year - he has been raising money for 4 months. If she hadn't out raised him, it would be a bigger story.

Pam said...

"Your Blinders are one.

Her Blinders are one?

What did the English language ever do to you?"

Best line. Ever.

Blinders Off said...

Anon 5:32pm,

I am not a political blogger, but I am damn happy technology has reached and provided many average Joe and Jane voter an outlet with political blogs other than relying on mainstream media about our elected politicians and politicians seeking to win an election. My blinders has been off to politics in Memphis and Washington DC for a long a$$ time.

I am sick and tired of want to be politicians and career politicians coming out of nowhere seeking average Joe/Jane vote when it is election time. I have nothing personal against Niki Tinker and should be proud of all her accomplishment. BUT 1. Niki Tinker was the first name mentioned seeking HFJ seat, months before D9 race was flooded with the other candidates. 2. The average Joe/Jane had NO idea who Niki Tinker was. 3. She waited two months before the primary to introduce herself to the voters with a commercial were she does not come off believable and sincere. 4. She was a no show for more than one political forum for D9 candidates. 5. She joined the bandwagon of dirty politics against the only white candidate in the race.

It is a disgrace watching some of the talent in this race actually asking for a vote based on race. If I am not mistaken a politician is to represent all the people not some of the people. God help us if the majority of our legislatures…who happens to be white felt that way. Therefore, many politicians need to wake up and realize the average Joe/Jane does not buy into their bull.

As I said before I would vote for Cohen in a heartbeat. As a voter I can honestly say Senator Cohen acknowledge his constituents when they email him in a timely manner and his record speaks for itself.

Freedonian said...

Anon. 9:53,
Absolutely true. He raised a little over half the money she raised in 1/3 of the time. Not too shabby. And if money was all it took, then wouldn't Toothless Joe Cooper be on the ballot instead of Steve Mulroy?


She waited two months before the primary to introduce herself to the voters with a commercial were she does not come off believable and sincere.

That's also pretty close to how long she waited to quit saying "I'm not prepared to talk about the issues at this time". I mean come on now... Even if your staff has yet to prepare an official statement, do you lack the mental wherewithal to state a position? To me, that's the scariest thing about her. She ran for almost a year without ever addressing the issues.

Anonymous said...

Nikki Tinker is a corporate woman. She is a business woman. She might have grown up poor in Alabama ,but I don't think that she understands the problems facing Memphians. She understands business. She has raised more money than anyone and she probably won't come in second. I hope this ends her career. It should.

Lee Harris and his staffers are just wonderful1. I wondered upon them while I was out on main street for the trolley tour and they were just great. Harris is genuine and smart and hopefully will have bright future in politics.

Bill Whitman is a super super nice guy. I chatted with Bill and I just thought man we need more politicians like him. I hope he runs again. Obviously, his pro-life stance and anti-gay marriage stance is problemantic but he is such a straight shooter.....I could perhaps look past that. You are a true gem

The only other person I have something to say about is Ed Stanton. Ed Stanton isn't a kid. He has a wife and a child. I have met them in person and seen them on his commercial (which I really like). Ed Stanton chose to engage in unproductive race baiting. He made that choice. He may not have thought of it but he followed the advice and is guilty.

I can't vote or support Ed for anything. Even an apology would come accross as opportunistic. He had a chance to run a respectable campaign and fumbled the ball.

I have never met Mitchell.

Redwing and Bolton.....wouldn't have my vote for charter comission or dog catcher.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Tinker is as beautiful as she is genuine and committed to the people of the ninth district. She doesn't care if you are gay or if you have AIDS. She doesn't care if you are white or if you didn't get your GED. She doesn't care if you are CEO of FedEx and supported Stanton or if you have a cheap blue sign in your lawn for Cohen. She doesn't care if you are a Jew or Muslim or agnostic. Vote for Nikki Tinker for Congress.

She understands that because of the failing schools here many people lack the educational background to see Cohen's voting record for what it really is.....anti-the values in the heart of most Memphians. Vote for Nikki Tinker for Congress.

Ms. Tinker is guided by her faith and the values instilled by her grandmother. She is committed to helping the poor and the needy. She wants our seniors to have access to prescription drugs at a low cost. She wants our kids to have new schools and textbooks. She wants all of you to help her make this community better. Vote for Nikki Tinker for Congress.

If you visit her website she lists her promises. She wants to unite this community. Vote for Nikki Tinker for Congress.

Steve Cohen hid in the state legislature for 24 yrs. He was too afraid to challenge Harold Ford Sr and waited for an open seat and then was afraid to challenge JR after he lost ten years ago. Tinker is fearless and she is a fighter. Vote for Nikki Tinker for Congress.

Pam said...

Anon 11:59

Your first paragraph says it all: SHE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT ANYBODY!!

Freedonian said...

Beautiful as she is genuine? I don't think she's much of either.

But if that's the criteria, then to hell with Tinker, I'm writing Pam in. Unlike Tinker, Pam has the guts to tell us where she stands on issues instead of running for ten months on "I'm not prepared to talk about the issues at this time".

Beautiful (According to Anonytroll) and unprepared to talk about the issues. You've set your standards so low that you could grab a stripper off of the pole and run her for office. We might even be able to find one that was raised by her grandma. Whaddya say? Shall we go candidate recruiting at the Mount Moriah Performing Arts Centre? Make sure you bring some $1 bills.

Tinker is fearless and she is a fighter.

Oh yeah?

"I'm not prepared to talk about issues at this time."

"I'm not prepared to talk about issues at this time."

"I'm not prepared to talk about issues at this time."

Anonymous said...

I'm not here to beat up on Cohen. I'm sure he's a decent legislature - he's not mine, so I can't say 100%. But, since it seems the sole goal of this blog is to BASH THE CRAP out of Stanton, I feel I have to say something.

Stanton is one of the most honorable people I know. I asked him -and my friends in the Jewish community - who know him- about the poll. All of my Jewish friends - some of them prominent in the community- out right stated their support for Ed and called the attacks "baseless" or "ridiculous" and offered to publically defend him - an offer they told me he refused because he did not want to offend or divide the community over issues of race or religion. As for Stanton, he said from day one he would never attack someone based on their religion or their race. And even went on Channel 13 news to say so. The pollster he used is the same one Cohen used in '96 - and he's Jewish. Apparently, the pollster is the one who wrote the questions. Every event I've ever attended for his campaign - has had both black and white faces in nearly equal amounts and a good number of Jewish supporters. I have never once heard him speak that he did not mention ending "factional" politics and putting an end to the things that divide us and representing "all" of Memphis. Over a dozen times in emails and speeches, radio, literature etc. this is the message. "I believe Memphis' next days will be it's best days" and "campaigns are about more than one person, they are about communities" - while not necessarily inspired, it doesn't really reek of racism either.

Honestly, Cohen will likely win or maybe Tinker will. If Cohen wins, I feel with certain dread that there will be an even uglier general election. And I feel he will likely be beat or have to fight a much uglier battle in two years against one strong African American candidate. Further dividing our community.

If Tinker does win, the Cohen folks have no one to blame but themselves. They spread vicious lies about a good man just trying to run his own race and talk about things like infant mortality, minimum wage and the war. The Cohen camp ripped him to shreds through lies and distortion. [The Flyer -where this story was repeatedly reported never contacted the polling firm and no-one ever asked Stanton for comment or even put the alleged questioning in any kind of context. I was personally told by a Cohen supporter that Cohen was responsible for this story] That's politics I guess, but in the void that Stanton left, something much uglier arose - Tinker, Bolton et al.

It's true Stanton spoke about his faith, it's a big part of who he is. He did not say my faith is better than yours - what he did say in speeches, probably in polls and other venues is I'm spiritual, it's what makes me want to help people, it's why I'm a Democrat and why I believe in fighting for issues like reduced infant mortality and increased minimum wage and ending the war in Iraq and universal healthcare. And essentially, what he did was ask people if that was acceptable to them or if they would not be able to vote for him because he's COGIC or Christian or whatever.
And, white Democrats basically told him - no, we don't accept you, because we don't do God in the Democratic Party. That's their perogative I guess, but I don't think it's a lasting recipe for success.

I know you all disavow Stanton and HATE him as you've proclaimed. But maybe you should ask yourself if that hatred has blinded you.

Freedonian said...

But, since it seems the sole goal of this blog is to BASH THE CRAP out of Stanton, I feel I have to say something.

Actually, the sole goal of this blog is to rope in chicks. That's not working out so hot, so in the meantime, I'll settle for calling a piss-poor campaign a piss-poor campaign.

Are you literate? Shall I type more slowly next time so you can keep up? When Stanton first came on the scene, he had very few bigger fans than me. In fact, a genetic link of some kind might have been required to be more eager to hear what the guy said next than me.

As I said in the post that you responded to (Scroll up if you've managed to get lost in the vast "tubes" of the internet), I respected him so damn much for bringing up infant mortality that a campaign I was working with shortchanged itself by not jumping on the infant mortality issue. We wanted him to own it.

And when rumors first started circulating that Cohen was going to file, I remember thinking I had a tough choice to make.

But you know what? Southern Strategy Stanton made it easy for me. I would kick a white candidate in the nuts for pulling the shit Stanton, Redwing, and Bolton pulled in this race. As a white guy, if I went in for that kind of thing, I'd be a goddamned Republican.

So why am I supposed to overlook sleazy tactics? I've had no less than Isaac Hayes tell me that Lee Atwater was a nice guy. Does that mean I'm supposed to overlook that he was the sleazebag that invented the push poll? Hell no. So why am I supposed to overlook Stanton's sleazy push poll? Because he's a "nice guy"? Screw that. Character counts for something, and he made a bad showing for himself.

As I said (Again, reiterating that well over half of your blather wouldn't be necessary if you could read worth a tinker's damn), I don't even rule out supporting Stanton in the future. But he's going to have to disavow the tactics he used this time around.

And essentially, what he did was ask people if that was acceptable to them or if they would not be able to vote for him because he's COGIC or Christian or whatever.

I was born on Thursday, but I assure you, it was not yesterday. If that was the question, then why would Cohen's religion even have entered the conversation?

And, white Democrats basically told him - no, we don't accept you, because we don't do God in the Democratic Party. That's their perogative I guess, but I don't think it's a lasting recipe for success.

I am a Democrat and a Christian. Catholic, if you must know. And that last paragraph of your was an attempt to shit into a bowl and pretend it's chocolate soft serve.

Christians are everywhere. We live in a city that has more churches than we have gas stations, and you can't swing a dead cat in this town without hitting five people that would love to tell you about Jesus for an hour or two.

So quit trying to pretend that you're part of some persecuted minority. Most of us believe in God. Very few of us believe in theocracy. The "They don't like God" shit is a weak talking point that should be returned to whatever right winger you swiped it from.

Glen Wellington said... I wish that Pratcher hadn't dropped out of the race.

Given the tripe being spewed by some of these small-time, closeminded, never left their mama's backyard clowns, it would have been interesting (dare I say welcomed and refreshing) to see an intelligent debate between Harris, Pratcher and Cohen about the issues facing D9. On what planet does rhetoric about someone's ethinic/religious background sound like good campaign material that will get you elected? You can't run your campaing without shooting yourself in the foot multiple times, but yet you think you belong in Washington?

A sad time in Memphis...

Freedonian said...


Man, the last thing someone like Julian Bolton or Nikki Tinker wants is to have to go toe to toe with Steve Cohen on the issues.

The race baiting, the distortions... They're all these people have. Nikki Tinker can't convince people she's an education candidate when she's in the same room as the guy that brought the Hope Scholarships to TN. And Julian Bolton's 24 years still have left him with a remarkably short list of achievments.

I met Pratcher just the other day. I like him. If he was still in the race, I might have a tougher choice than I do now. Personally, I'd like to draft him to run for mayor next year.