A very good friend of mine just sent me the new Gadfly piece from The Memphis Flyer. As much as I like Gadfly and respect much of what he has written in the past, I read “Why the Mayor Will Lose” and had to scratch my head, wondering if Gadfly is new to the city.
First, there’s the obvious. He seems to read the public’s disenfranchisement with Mayor Herenton as some kind of sign that they’ll actually do something crazy like, you know, vote against him.
First, of all, it’s flawed logic that public displeasure with a candidate automatically translates to votes against him. We’ve made that assumption before. Remember November 2, 2004? People of my political persuasion call that “Dark Tuesday”, as it guaranteed us four more years of the leadership of a guy that couldn’t find nipples in a titty bar.
Memphians are always “tired of Mayor Willie Herenton, including his shenanigans and histrionics”. Yes, they’re tired of them now. They were also tired of them in 2003. And 1999. Oh, and don’t forget 1995.
He also refers to the recent “thumping” of Robert Spence in the Senate District 30 primary as evidence that the people want the mayor cut loose. Nice theory, but another false association.
First, Spence was walking into the lion’s den by even running in District 30. District 30 and white liberals were made for one another. I think that I and the rest of the liberal bloggers were perhaps giving Spence credit for having game that he didn’t actually have when we thought he would be a real contender in that race.
But perhaps more importantly--- This was not Spence’s first attempt at running for office. When the Herenton machine was still riding high, he ran against Wanda Halbert and spent well over $100,000--- Most of the candidates for US Congress last year would love to have had that kind of money to play with--- Yet he still only managed to eke out a third place finish, winding up Election Night with numbers only Lyndon LaRouche could love.
By the way--- You mention Herenton discounting the polls as if there’s something outrageous about that. The mayor discounted the polls for the same reason I discount those very polls. Partially because we’ve seen more than our fair share of unreliable polling (Just ask President John Kerry).
One of those polls was taken out by a Cordova firm that has polled for Ed Bryant in the past (They had him up, by the way--- How did that one turn out?), and at 500 likely voters, is far too small a field to get what I would consider reliable data. And the other was taken out by… The very guy that now stands accused of attempting to blackmail the mayor by paying a topless bar waitress to videotape herself having sex with him (As if that would even work--- Herenton would likely sell copies of it at fundraisers. We know Herenton likes to have sex with women. That is how babies are made, right?)
If I was him, I wouldn’t sweat those polls either.
Make no mistake. I have come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. I’m not particularly fond of Herenton. Unlike some of his critics, I can separate personal foibles from abilities as an executive, and I tend to overlook a lot of the personal garbage. I care about politics, not the “Melrose Place” that politics is often reduced to by people that don’t care enough to learn real issues.
He’s certainly not a political ideal either. For every brilliant thing he’s done, my friends have no trouble bringing up at least one thing that makes me say “Yeah, that was pretty bonehead of him.”
But at this point, no one that is actually in the race has given me or anyone but their own diehards a solid reason to vote for them other than “I’m not Willie”.
Yes, voters are fatigued with Herenton. They always have been. As much as I have read and enjoyed Gadfly in the past, this seems pretty off the mark.