I was looking around at the activity on other blogs over the weekend, and one thing jumped out at me.
Thaddeus Matthews, who had correctly been referring to "Joke Ford" has now started referring to him by his semi-proper name, Jake, and seems to be pushing the absurd idea that "only a black" can represent the 9th District (Which means that Thaddeus was ostensibly against him before he was for him).
So... How well has the 9th District been represented over the last ten years by a black man that votes like a white Republican? The black community supported a Ford over Steve Cohen last time this seat was open--- How well has that worked out?
Did you end up with a strong advocate for African-American issues, or did you end up with a congressman that constantly runs interference for the Bush White House on Iraq?
Did you end up with an advocate for the poor and working class, or did you end up with an advocate for the banking industry that voted for the bankruptcy bill?
The idea that you would be better off represented by a high school dropout who failed to "get over" as a wrestler than by a State Senator with well over two decades of progressive politics in his rear view mirror is absolutely counterproductive. Unlike Jake Ford, I care enough about the needs of the black community that I don't want to see them shoot themselves in the foot by sending someone to Congress that they simply cannot trust to represent their interests.
Harold Ford Sr. was a magnificent Congressman that truly looked after the needs of his community. His record as a progressive was unassailable.
But his sons, much like George Bush's, have proven why inherited political power is a terrible idea. Unlike the Bushes, Harold Jr. has proven that the apple can indeed fall far from the tree.
Where does that leave Jake? Who in the world knows? He has no record as a politician. In fact, he has no record of employment anywhere that a family member wouldn't be filling out his evaluations.
It's well past time that we look past the politics of racial demagoguery that have plagued Memphis for far too long. I don't care about the skin color of a candidate.
Imagine for a moment that the roles are reversed. A black candidate has 24 years of experience as an effective progressive leader in the State Senate, and a white candidate got kicked out of multiple schools, has never held a non-family job for any impressive amount of time, and has no political experience whatsoever.
Do you think for a moment that white voters would have a tough choice to make?
I'll even go a step further: If all other things were equal, and both were seasoned progressive leaders that were imminently qualified, there's still a 50% chance I would have gone for the black candidate.
So the idea that anyone would look to skin color as a qualifier for holding public office is absolutely foreign to me.
***While we're on the subject, please see this excellent post in Crackerville. He's got an interesting theory we should all look at.