Monday, July 31, 2006

Election Day Volunteers Needed!

9th District Poll

I'm already booked dawn to dusk. Want to join me?

Volunteer For Steve Mulroy Election Day, Thursday, August 3, 2006

The following polling locations need to be covered for the Mulroy Campaign

66-1 Aldersgate United Methodist
7 am- 11 am
11 am- 1 pm
1pm -4 pm

66-2 Marion Hale Community Center

7 am- 11 am
11 am- 1pm
1pm -4 pm

81-5 Southwood Baptist Church
7- am-11am
11am -1 pm
1pm -4pm
4pm -7pm

If you can take one of these shifts please let us know ASAP. You may volunteer either via e-mail or You may also reach me on my cell 282-1358

Haley For Senate!

And don’t forget to vote in my 9th District poll.

I want to take this post to offer my full support to Steve Haley in his race for the District 29 Senate seat.  Both the Memphis Flyer and the Freedonian covered his campaign rally yesterday.  Autoegocrat promises to have the audio up soon.   Brad Watkins, Rep. John DeBerry, and the candidate, Steve Haley, all gave excellent speeches regarding the importance of clean money for clean government.  Steve expounded on his support for publicly-financed campaigns in Tennessee, tax reform, and strengthening of predatory-lending laws.  If elected, Steve, a professor at Southwest Tennessee Community College, will also donate his legislative salary to scholarships for district students.  He may not be taking money, but from what I’ve seen, he’s campaigning harder than Ophelia ever has.    

The 'Cue Straw Poll

(Don't forget the 9th Dist. poll)

Those awful, muckraking, blogging freaks at the 'Cue polled themselves on this massive, headache-inducing ballot. Check out the highest vote getters here.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Early Voting Totals

And also remember to vote in my 9th District poll here.

71,901 People Have Voted through
July 28, 2006
Election Turnout By Race, Sex & Party

Black 28,411 (39.5%)

White 31,237 (43.4%)

Other 12,254 (17.0%)

Democrat 41,754 (58.1%)

Republican 29,332 (40.8%)

Independent 816 (1.1%)

Male 28,417 (39.5%)

Female 43,484 (60.5%)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Silent Majority

So I had record high hits this week, but only a small minority of people comment. Here's the chance for this Silent Majority to be heard. Vote here for who you support. It's an Instant Run-off poll, so I think it could also be useful to see our second choices and those who we want to stick around in politics.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Kerry Endorses Mathes

John Kerry has endorsed Gail Mathes and is doing a robo-call for her. She will also be at the Gore book signing Monday. Hat's off to David Upton for swinging that.

Cohen-Tinker Head to Head...

The Freedonain has a great comparison of where Nikki and Steve are on the issues. Check it out.

Sr. and Wharton Go in With Bolton

Harold Ford Sr. has given the maximum ($2100) contribution and A.C. $1000 to the campaign of Julian Bolton.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Let's Tinkle!!!

After triumphantly announcing that Nikki now polls 17%, 11% behind Steve in her poll, a few Tinker supporters seem to have broken out the bubbly early. A sampling:

Please join us for our victory dance. Hey Nikki you're so fine you blow my mind hey NIkki. Hey Nikki you are so intelligent you blow my mind hey Nikki. Hey Nikki congrats on winning the Ninth District.

Hey Donkey, Hey Holt, Hey Cracker, Hey Freed, Hey Pam, Hey Auto, Hey egg. You will eat your words and choke on your tears as Cohen loses on August 3rd.

The poster attributed the rise to mean bloggers. who are anti-black woman (apparently my meanness is more powerful than her 500,000+ dollars and special interest spending) In a different comment, she/he also adds that Tinker will heal the racial divides caused by white liberal bloggers (because approximately 275,000 more people read my blog daily than hear other candidates race-baiting) and that When a black woman out risies a Jewish man, that speaks volumes about how far we have come (damn those rich Jews, eh?.) Sadly she states Mr. Holt.....don't look for a summer internship with the Tinker Congressional Office. (There goes my life's ambition. Whatever shall I do?) Want more? Check out my comments, or go to peskyfly, thefreedonian, polardonkey, or the cue.

Advice to Nikki's supporter: Don't drink and blog, at least until after Aug. 3rd. Also, isn't it illegal to post partisan stuff from federal court computers while at work?

Also, you know I tend to think I'm a real softie on my blog, because I prefer not to attack other Democrats. The Tinker Tots (their words not mine) and the Tinker Bells (I thought Steve was the candidate hoping for the gay vote?) are starting to get my stone-casting fingers itching, though. I know... I know... "let he who is without sin" and all that, but they threw first, and there are just SO many tempting targets.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

From Steve Haley

Dear friends:

I was pleased and honored when I read the following editorial endorsement of my District 29 State Senate candidacy in The Commercial Appeal:

State Senate District 29: Ophelia Ford's lone opponent for the nomination this time is Southwest Tennessee Community College professor Stephen Haley, 63, a public campaign financing advocate who is neither accepting contributions nor spending money on his campaign. Because of Haley's involvement in community activities, his progressive approach toward important state and local issues and his strong intellect, The Commercial Appeal strongly recommends STEPHEN HALEY.

Many of you have observed that, in sharp contrast with my candidacy for the this same position in the special election held last summer, my campaign thus far has been largely invisible: no yard signs, no bumper stickers, no newspaper inserts, and no direct-mail pieces in your mail-boxes. Several of you have, in fact, commented that I do not appear "serious" about winning this election.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I am deadly serious not only about winning this campaign, but about providing a viable, qualified candidacy for the residents of District 29. My campaign this year is also dedicated to making a statement about the rottenness that is at the core of American politics.

That rot can be described in one word: money. I need not bore you with the details; in America today, elections are not won and lost so much as they are bought and sold. As The Commercial Appeal correctly noted, I am indeed "a public campaign financing advocate"; I believe that both major political parties have been compromised because of their financial dependence upon special interests. And in this particular campaign, I am putting my money (or lack thereof) where my mouth is.

As I have stated clearly in the past, I plan if elected to donate my salary to scholarships for students in my district. And I have pledged in this campaign to spend not a single dollar in my run for office. Campaign-finance reform is a nice idea, but we need more, much more than that to restore real democracy to America. Our political system is broken, and it's time to fix it. We need to close the door to special interests; we need to get the lobbyists out of the Senate chamber and back out into the lobby.

So instead of spending money to get elected, I plan this year to spend time meeting constituents on home turf, so to speak. One hundred and ten years ago, William B. McKinley conducted one of the most unusual Presidential campaigns in American history. Recently retired as Governor of Ohio when he won the Republican nomination, he refused to travel the country seeking votes. Instead, he stayed home in Ohio, giving daily speeches from his front porch. His famous "Front Porch Campaign" was a huge success, as McKinley swept to victory in November, becoming the country's 25th President.

In light of my views on public campaign financing, I'd like you all to become part of my own 2006 "Front Porch Campaign." It won't cost you a dime, but it will give me the opportunity to meet each and every one of you, to tell you more about my views and opinions, and, more importantly, get your input on what issues you think are most critical to us all as Memphians and as residents of the 29th District.

This Sunday the 30th at 5:00 I invite you to attend an old fashioned political rally in my front yard at 1278 Sledge in the Annesdale-Snowden neighborhood just south of Lamar and Bellevue. Lemonade will be served. The theme will be “clean money, clean elections.”

Among those attending and speaking will be Representative John DeBerry, Jr. and Brad Watkins of Democracy for Memphis

This is a very important election, not just for District 29, but for Memphis and Shelby County as a whole. Over the past year, my opponent has spent far too much time in the news, mostly for all the wrong reasons. In light of this, I felt obliged to run again this year, so as to give Democrats in District 29 an alternative to casting ballots for Ophelia Ford.

I believe I am a most viable option. I ask you to consider my qualifications and views on the issues, and compare those to hers. If you feel she is the better-qualified candidate to represent District 29, by all means give her your support on August 3rd. If on the other hand, her continued presence in this race causes you concern, please give serious consideration to my very serious candidacy. .

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Emily's List... Are you stupid?

First off, Joe Townes has pulled out of the race and endorsed Bolton. I know that might keep many of you up at night, but try to be strong and carry on.

Second, has anyone seen the new Emily's List mailer for Nikki Tinker? It's not really for Nikki. It only says her name in an out-of-the-way spot once. What it is is a glossy, expensive, attack piece against Steve Cohen. It accuses him of fighting to open sex shops (complete with a picture of a building with a neon "sex shop" sign. It says he's anti-education, has missed ungodly numbers of votes, refused to vote against racial profiling (he was in the hospital for kidney stones!), isn't good for families, and was against education funding. Of course Emily's list is going to support Nikki. What doesn't make sense is for them to go for the throat of a candidate who supports their issues and is more than likely going to win. Those of you who give to them, is this what you give your money for?

Kuhn hits Trustee and Willingham for public mailers

Dear Executive Committee members:

I wanted to share a letter I sent to DA Gibbons today about 2 illegal
mailers sent out by Republican office holders. Should the DA not do
anything about these letters sent out with our taxdollars we will
ouster petitions. As you can see they are getting pretty desperate. I
everyone has already voted early and remind everyone to vote early this


July 25, 2006
contact: Matt Kuhn, Chair
(901) 289-5846

Media Release

Shelby County Democratic Party Chief Protests Mailing
Calls for Criminal investigation of office holders

On Tuesday, Shelby County Democratic Party Chairman, Matt Kuhn, sent a
letter to District Attorney General Bill Gibbons asking him to open an
investigation into the illegal use of county taxpayer dollars by two
County office holders. Specifically, requesting that a mailing of the
County Trustee, Bob Patterson and County Commissioner John Willingham
investigated by the District Attorney’s office for misappropriation of
county funds for converting official mail to political mail.

“For men who hold themselves up as public watch dogs for our taxes,
this is
a grave violation of the public trust. At the very least, they should
refund the money they used for political gain to the public treasury,”
stated Shelby County Democratic Party chair, Matt Kuhn.

A press conference will be held at 5 pm on Wednesday at the Memphis
Board of
Education, 2597 Avery Avenue. Chairman Kuhn will release the letter
to the
District Attorney and have comment from the Democratic Candidate for
Trustee, Becky Clark and Democratic Candidate for District Attorney


Matthew Kuhn
Shelby County Democratic Party

Candidate Meet and Greet

9th Congressional District Candidates Meet-and-Greet
July 25, 2006 06:30 pm - 09:00 pm
Contact: Mark Jordan
Phone: 312-7760
Venue: Memphis Central Library
3030 Poplar
Memphis , TN 38103

Get to know the candidates for Tennessee's 9th Congressional District seat up-close-and-personal.

Join MPACT and the Memphis Urban League Young Professionals for a meet-and-greet with the candidates. Candidates will be invited to deliver a brief address before a reception where voters can meet the candidates in person and ask the questions that matter to the most.

This event is free and open to the public. Complimentary refreshments provided.

Okay, Enough About Religion

This is looking pretty good for the Democrats. There will be a good bit of cross-over vote for the county-wide elections, but I'm not sure there will be enough of that to keep the Republicans in power. I'm feeling REALLY good that the races I care the most about are looking good. Knock on wood.

42,451 People Have Voted through July 24, 2006

Election Turnout By Race, Sex & Party

Black 16,392 (38.6%)

White 19,268 (45.4%)

Other 6,792 (16.0%)

Democrat 24,128 (56.8%)

Republican 17,766 (41.8%)

Independent 558 (1.3%)

Male 17,504 (41.2%)

Female 24,947 (58.8%)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Last One, I Promise

I guess I don’t know when to stop, but I thought I’d wade back in a little more to the subject of my last two posts. Over at thepeskyfly, auto stated that the problem isn’t with liberals it’s with Christianity. I’m not even about to get into theological arguments on a blog. It would be fruitless for all concerned. I do want to make a few points though.

1. It’s been suggested that Christians really shouldn’t complain about being disrespected because they are the majority. There is actually a bit of truth in this statement, but not entirely. Using the same logic, shouldn’t all the Cohen-supporting white bloggers (myself included) not be upset by the idea of blacks being racist against whites? After all, aren’t whites the majority as well? That hasn’t been how the issue played out on the blogs the past few weeks. The question of whether whites or Christians are really persecuted or not does not mean that prejudice against them is acceptable or not harmful. Shouldn’t we be against intolerance of any kind? I feel that many of my fellow Christians often ignore the parts of the bible speaking of loving your neighbor, etc. Similarly, I feel that many of my ideological and political brethren at times forget their own values of tolerance.
2. Forget for the moment any ideological or philosophical arguments, let’s look at practical politics. The Republicans have been kicking our ass for pretty much my lifetime. The Solid South that Democrats used to depend on is gone. There are reasons beyond religion. It was largely race that broke that hold, however, it’s largely religion that maintains it. Some suggest that the Democrats can win without the South. It’s difficult to win when you write off a huge chunk of the country, but it’s mathematically possible. Where will those votes come from? The Mid-West? The West? The same issues come up there. Additionally, the minority that is becoming increasingly important in elections is on average quite religious.

Even if you buy the theory that Christians have a persecution complex when they feel that the party isn’t interested in them. That doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Whether it’s true or not, as long as people feel that the Democratic Party is not accepting of religion then the Democrats will keep losing. We need to find a way to keep our progressive values but reach out to those who aren’t yet in the fold in a way that does not condescend. We need to make sure that we are the big tent party that we like to think we are.
Pesky makes some good points in his comments on my blog. There is a lot of down-right goofy paranoia among a lot of Christians which I’ve been arguing with all week long. For example, the whole prayer in school issue. How people think prayer in school is illegal is beyond me. I merely can’t force a kid to pray as a teacher. A kid can pray how and when he wants in any religious sense. It just can’t be school directed and sanctioned. Now matter how much they think they want “prayer-in-school” the moment we started making Baptist kids say Hail Mary’s, they’d change their minds.

From My Reply To Him:
I do get your point. That's a real frustrating aspect of blogging for me. The topics I would prefer to address would take hours and hours of prep to make them understandable and to really approach what I think. However, I only have about 15 minutes a day for the blogosphere. I'm sure I did miss the mark. I am well-aware, and have often commented on the "Persecuted Christian Syndrome." I more meant that the fire shouldn't be fed by stooping to the same intolerant level that they do. I had just finished talking to someone who was convinced that Christians were the cause of all evil in the world. That got on my nerves. That gets on my nerves when people say it about gays, blacks, or fill in the group of your choice. I also don't think rural white Christian voters are a lost cause for progressives and want us to work to win them over. Maybe I'll find the time to flesh out what I mean to say at some other point. This attempt was most definitely woefully, inadequate, but I have some canvassing to do so I better worry about that later.

What's the Matter With Kansas? Flaming, Anti-Religious Rhetoric is Part of It.

I have been out of town a lot lately. Since I likely won’t be able to go home for Thanksgiving, we have been taking time to get some family visits out of the way this summer. We went to see my grandfather in Selmer, my mother and grandmother in Cosby, and my wife’s massive extended family in Rose Creek. Some of the conversations there turned to politics. Most of our family has lived in the rural South for generations. They are mostly hard-working, religious, and of modest means. They’re the people who used to be the backbone of the Democratic Party. In recent decades, they have become the backbone of the Republican Party. A lot of my liberal friends are of the opinion that we’re better off without the “redneck vote.” They dismiss such voters as rather bigoted and uneducated people who will vote for whoever their pastors tell them to. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When the talk turned to politics, over and over again they expressed dismay at the cost of the war. We have many relatives over there in Iraq and Afghanistan. They think the war was a wrong-headed mistake caused by an incompetent administration. They think that Bush is only concerned with enriching the large corporations and could care less about regular people. They think global warming is real and is a threat to society. They think tax-cut-and-spend is the worst fiscal policy imaginable.

Some of them still vote Republican. More will not next time. But they will do it holding their nose. They will have to hold their nose, because they feel that the Democratic Party does not respect them. It may well be a small number, but a loud segment of the left is as evangelical about being anti-religion, as a fundamentalist is about his own. I have had God only knows how many conversations where I listened to an otherwise tolerant liberal lambaste organized religion as a fool’s crutch and merely another method of oppression. Would you vote for a party that you feared did not respect you?

I am not asking you to be religious, or to hide the fact that you’re not. I have no problem with whatever religion or lack thereof you have. What I have a problem with is attacking those of us who are. Religion is NOT the enemy. Martin Luther King Jr. was religious. Mahatmas Gandhi was religious. The abolitionists were religious. Throughout this country’s history (and in much of the world as well) it has often been religious leaders who have led the progressive movements into mainstream acceptance and real social change. We still have many real progressive leaders who are religious such as Jimmy Carter and Jim Wallis. We still have progressive churches all across the country who refuse to let their religion be hijacked by one political ideology or another. We do not need to fight these people. We also do not need to fight moderate Christians, those who are deeply troubled by issues such as gay marriage and abortion, but are also deeply troubled by war, poverty, and AIDS. Such people cannot be won over by calling the “Christo-fascists” as one local blogger who I otherwise deeply respect did recently.

The bible (or you can replace bible with most holy books) is not an inherently conservative book. In the New Testament, Jesus calls for sweeping social change. He railed against prejudice, inequality, hypocrisy, poverty, disease, etc. He calls for love above all else. These are Christian values. These are progressive values. And it is high time that some liberals stopped thinking of themselves as superior to those who are religious. Disagreement is fine. Disdain is not.

Check Out Smart City...

The always-great Smart City has a post up about the 9th District race.

Not that any of ya'll care, but I just got my law school schedule.

LAW -0111-011

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

I'm Baaaccckkk...

I've been out of town and out of the loop this week but now I'm back. I'm tired, grumpy, and have to figure out what to do with my stupid cat tonight. It decided to hang itself by its tail and now is going to need a partial amputation. Sheesh... Maybe I should have gotten it counseling...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Update From Gale:

13,363 People Have Voted through July 17, 2006

Election Turnout By Race, Sex & Party

Black 5,230 (39.1%)

White 6,065 (45.4%)

Other 2,068 (15.5%)

Democrat 7,680 (57.5%)

Republican 5,456 (40.8%)

Independent 227 (1.7%)

Male 5,923 (44.3%)

Female 7,440 (55.7%)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I Reserve the Right...

To change my 9th District predictions up until Aug 2 at midnight as this race is fluid. :-) Here's an update.

1. Cohen
2. Ford
3. Bolton
4. Tinker
5. Stanton (I'm teetering between him and Redwing on this...)

Question of the day? What's up with candidates doing ads and polls that HURT them?

Canvassing Blitz

We are down to 2 weekends left for canvassing and Steve Mulroy needs EVERYONE'S help. We NEED at least 7 crews( that's teams of 2) to do an all out blitz. Steve is the DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE , so come on all you great Democrats out there, let's work together and help get Steve elected to the County Commission. He will be the deciding factor in the make up of the County Commission. It's been a long time since WE have had the majority make-up of the Commission. Please call either Gilda Gant at 324-4761 or Jody Patterson at 282-1358 and let us know which shifts you can take. The shifts we have available are Saturdays 9:30am and 1pm, and Sundays 1:30pm.

Bolton's Ad

Anybody seen the new Bolton attack ad? He must be pretty desperate. For those who haven't seen it, here's a summary: Bolton stands there in a full body shot and never moves. He has a dour expression on his face as he says that Steve Cohen does not share our values. He says that Steve supports gay marriage, that Steve wants to legalize marijuana (I talked to Steve on the phone today. He does not. He supports medicinal use of marijuana which is no different than medicinal use of countless other drugs that can also be abused) and that Steve doesn't want people to use the name of Jesus in prayers.

Note to Bolton: For a tip on how to run a decent attact ad, check out Ed Bryant's new "Corker supports abortion" ad. Ed let's some women at a kitchen table beat the crap out of Corker. Then it cuts to Ed who talks positively about himself. Your ad did not do that. It had you attacking someone without offering anything about yourself. The best you could hope for from that is that I watch that and think "Steve must suck. Hmmmm... Who should I vote for. This guy (Bolton) seems like a negative meanie... Let's see who else is in the race." I don't see you pulling any Cohen voters away with it. Do you? If I even think about supporting Steve than I won't be swayed by: "Ahhh!!! The gays are coming..."
If not, then what's the point> Since all it does is attack Steve, it won't pull any voters from the other 19 candidates to you. In short, keep it up. The economy needs stimulated.

Hat Tip to Gale Jones Carson

Election Turnout By Race, Sex & Party

Black 3,171 (39.3%)

White 3,602 (44.6%)

Other 1,299 (16.1%)

Democrat 4,713 (58.4%)

Republican 3,187 (39.5%)

Independent 172 (2.1%)

Male 3,627 (44.9%)

Female 4,445 (55.1%)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Worst Hair in Congress...

We had the Hottest Man in Politics... We had the Hottest Woman... And now... The Worst Hair in Congress. Enjoy.

Blogger's Bash

The lovely, Serabee is organizing the next Blogger's Bash. Check it out. See you there.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Vote For Bill Morrison

To my friends who live in the 7th Congressional District: Please consider voting for Bill Morrison, It's a longshot of course, but at least we can make Marsha spend some money. He's a teacher. He's a Democrat. He's not to the right of Dick Cheney as she is. What else do you need? How about balanced budgets? Ending dependence on foreign oil? Protecting social security? Increasing access to health care? Check out his webpage, and enjoy the rare gift of getting to vote for a progressive for Congress out in the wilderness of red-state territory.

Beat the WTL...

Every year the CA has a contest to beat the movie critic in Oscar predictions and to beat the sports writers in playoff predictions. Let's do the same for the 9th District primary. The person who does the best will get an incredible prize... (If you think something crappy like an autograph from Memphis' 27th ranked blogger or a cameo appearance on "The 'Cue" an incredible prize at least) So here's the drill, what order will the top five vote getters in the primary come in?

My Predictions:
1. Cohen (He started out with a huge, committed base.)
2. Bolton (name recognition)
(The next three get harder. I could see Tinker, Stanton, Harris, Mitchell, Ford, White and Redwing pulling in there. I would have put Stanton in third a few weeks ago, but I think his campaign has taken a big hit lately. I expect them to all pull single digits or low teens at the very best so they're really hard to predict. )
3. Tinker (Money and ads)
4. Ford (Never count out the name. I've yet to meet him, but from what I hear I might actually like him. Go figure...)
5. From what I've seen Stanton should be ahead of Redwing, Mitchell, and White but I strongly suspect that they have been out there and just not really focusing on my vote. This one's a shot in the dark, but I'll say Redwing. He started earliest and seems to have worked hardest at least at first. That will probably count for a little.

So kick my butt at it. It shouldn't be too hard.

Welcome Back, Donkey-man!!!

A big welcome-back to blogging to the PolarDonkey. He's got a great map of poverty in Memphis that he created for the Red Cross. He's also got one of his patented swipes at Nikki. Unless I'm reading the tea-leaves very badly though, that's kicking someone while they're down. After you check him out, go and vote. Early voting starts today. Between the new machines and the huge ballot, lines will be awful if you wait.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The 'Cue's Inaugaral Podcast

The first of the 'Cue's podcasts are up. It takes up the topic of the senate race, 9th District race, and charter commission. I was the moderator and doped up on benadryl. Hopefully I won't sound too drunk. I'll listen to it myself in the morning. In the mean-time, check it out. We had a great time.

The 'Cue Podcast (streaming)

The 'Cue Podcast (download)

Running Time: 62 minutes

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Perfect Excuse...

For you guys who are in a relationship, but don't want children. Apparently, I'm allergic to babies. Last night, we were at a wedding and I spent several hours holding and playing with an adorable baby. She spent much of the day grabbing my face, and we played a game that involved me hiding a ballon she was slobbering on and playing with up my shirt. That night, my face burned like heck. I woke up this morning and my face and belly are covered in an itching-like-crazy rash. I look like I have leprosy. I've thought about everything I ate, and every product I use and the only thing different yesterday was the baby. Maybe they used some weird baby powder or detergent or something? Whatever the case, use my misery to your benefit. Apparently, you CAN be allergic to babies.

UPDATE: SEE! I'm not crazy! I AM allergic to babies. I talked to my mother today and she said that I was allergic to several different Johnson and Johnson products as a kid. I would break out in exactly this! Take that Leah for not believing me!!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

If You Disagree With Me Then You Are an Asshole…

And a liar. And a racist. And worse yet, a Republican. And that’s why I love Memphis. People don’t assume they are having a principled argument with someone. They automatically assume that there are mysterious “agendas” normally motivated by race involved.

In the past year I have heard so many accusations of racism or closet-Republicanism, that if I had a dollar for every one of them I’d now be a death-tax banning Republican. Case in point, the judicial endorsements. Say what you want about the proper approach to the endorsements, but why do people automatically assume that just because you differ with them you must have a nefarious motive. It’s been said that the elections committee and some of the voters on the EC spent the night trying to get white Republicans elected and to defeat black Democrats.

That is total and complete BULLSHIT. Some people voted against every single endorsement. White, black, Democrat, Republican, whatever. Others voted for black and whites both all night long. Name me one effing person who only “voted to keep blacks off the slate.” You can’t because there wasn’t one.

Read my last post for a non-conspiracy theory reason for why people voted the way they did. As to the election committee being racist, Republican, or according to the idiot a few blogs over, bribed, please describe which of us you mean? There aren’t that many to chose from. Let’s see… Dwayne Thompson has been working for the local party since before I was born. He brought the old-timer LWC along when he was already established in the party. Do you think he’s a Republican? Norma Lester? I can think of a lot of ways to describe her, but Republican doesn’t rate high up there. Desi Franklin? She is the favorite whipping boy of anonymous posters. She has put in yeoman’s work for the party since elected in every way possible. If she is a mole, than she is a damn good one. Myself? I have voted in every Democratic primary since I turned 18, and put in double digit hours for Democrats or progressive causes every single week in one way or another no matter how many hours I’m working elsewhere. Are Norma Lester, Tara Maxwell, LeaEster Redmond, or Tomeka Hart racist against black people? If so, this town is even stranger than I thought.

I hear over and over again that “white Democrats will not vote for blacks in the county elections.” This is seen as evidence of white racism. Apparently white racists didn’t hear the rumor that A.C. might not be Caucasian. As a white Democrat, let me address that. One, I DO vote for black Democrats. I voted proudly for A.C. Wharton, Joe Young, Reginald Fentress, and others in May. I will vote for all but two of our Democratic nominees in November. “Aha!” You say. “You skipped two. I bet you skipped black candidates, you racist, Republican, you.” I have to admit. You caught me. I’m not going to be voting in the race for sheriff or in Roderic Ford’s race. I WILL not vote for a Democrat that I do not feel is qualified to hold an office. If it makes me racist to vote against unqualified black candidates than I will have to wear that mantle along with no few black friends I have. Please give me one reason to vote for Roderic? If you give me candidates who are running on a name (and one that they don’t really own at that) or who have been indicted or convicted, or who have no qualifications than I ain’t voting for them white, black, brown, or purple doesn’t matter. If Gail Mathes was 24 and had no experience in her race and was hardly campaigning then I wouldn’t be voting for her either.

My party embarrasses me at the local level when that is the best we can come up with. There are talented African American Democrat’s out there. Run them, and I will vote for them with pride. So will other white Democrats. I’m a Democrat for ideals not for jobs. Therefore voting for the party name without ideals does not make sense for me.

Secondly, some black candidates don’t campaign for white votes. Case in point, Del has mentioned to me multiple times that white Democrats wouldn’t vote for Roscoe Dixon but they would for Rita Clark. The assumption was that this is obvious proof of racism. I wasn’t involved in the party for that race, but I was a voter. I got mailings from Rita. I saw her in the neighborhood. She asked me for her vote. I saw her signs around the place. I never saw Roscoe. He never asked me for my vote. Why would I have voted for him? Just like a lot of black Democrats feel that whites just want their votes without supporting black candidates, a lot of whites feel like some in the party are just counting down to the days when all the whites are gone so they don’t have to mess us anymore.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that all this is stupid. Most people were voting what they felt was right last night. If it is so hard to believe that your fellow Democrats can disagree with you and not be out to stab you in the back, then why are we all in the same party? It seems sometimes that people are more concerned with fighting over peanuts then actually winning elections. Personally, I’m inclined to say they can have the peanuts. They’re old and stale anyways.

I love my party. I am a Democrat because I think “we are our brother’s keeper.” I think we’re better off as a whole when we work together. I think one person’s suffering affects all of us. I think we need a living wage, universal health care, better education, a cleaner environment. I also think we need to spend our tax dollars wisely so that we can continue to provide those things to our children and grandchildren. I think the government needs to see all citizens as equals, black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, Christian, Jew, whatever. Does it sound like I’m a Republican?

Ask yourself why you’re a Democrat. Your answer will be different than mine, I’m sure, but it won’t be too far away. Is what we fight over about how best to implement these ideals of why we’re Democrats? Is it about how best to elect candidates who best embody those ideals? If so, great. Let’s fight tooth and nail, reach a decision and implement it. If not, then what the hell is the point.

Looking back over the course of the last year, I can see many hours that were NOT spent on those ideals. I’m not a quitter. I want my party to succeed. If I feel like I’m making a difference than I will work my fingers to the bone. We live in a great city. We truly do. It has the history and assets and potential to be one of the truly stellar cities in America. We also live in a city with debilitating problems. Let’s put away our knives for 6 weeks, win some elections, then look to see if we can do something for those problems to make us really matter.

Last Night...

So I spent an hour (plus a little) writing about Thursday night. Computers are evil, and I'm an idiot. Long story short, it's gone and not recoverable. I'll attempt a rewrite. Things are hectic so I'll go for speed over eloquence. Just assume that the previous post was much better. Think Pulitzer Prize material if you'd like. Not saying it was that quality, but you're welcome to think it was.

A real man admits when he was wrong, and after watching everything go down at the EC meeting, I was probably wrong about the judicial endorsements. Chalk that up to experience. I’m not as convinced as some that last night was an entirely unmitigated disaster though.

There were two major ways people approached the endorsements. Most people seemed to assume that the other way was moronic, I don’t. They both have merits that I can buy.

The first approach is that judicial races are non-partisan and the parties shouldn’t be involved in them. If they are involved in them, then endorsements should be made based on who is the best qualified candidate. Judges should be fair and independent and there is not a Republican or Democratic way to run a Chancery Court. Most of the election committee and most of the lawyers took this approach.

The other approach can basically be summarized as “We are the Democratic Party. If we endorse Republicans why do we exist? We are in the business of electing fellow Democrats.” This approach was taken by the majority of the EC.

I see merits in both ideas, and my own thoughts are kind of a mixture. I think we should endorse the best candidate. If the best candidate is a Republican, then we should just stay out of it. If there are multiple good Democrats, then we should stay out of it unless doing so increases the odds the Republican we are not happy with as judge wins. If there is an incumbent, I think it should take a higher standard to recommend he or she be unseated than it does if the seat is open.

I agree that the meeting was embarrassing for the party. We were immature and disorganized. I don’t have a problem with the EC not accepting all of the Election Committee’s recommendations. What I have a problem with are catcalls, speaking out of turn, calling people “Republican’s”, insinuating racism, etc. A lot of this came from spectators outside of the committee. The Chairman had his hands full, I understand, but we need to be forceful about putting a stop to such immaturity.

The final results however, were not bad. The only one I had a problem with was Montesi’s. Otherwise, they tended to follow the pattern of voting for Democrats who were also well qualified. Unfortunately, that was not a foregone conclusion. In several races, Mark Ward’s for example, the best candidate only won by a hair. Matt had to break the tie in this race. Mark was appointed by Governor Bredesen as part of an extremely rigorous review process, is well-respected across the board, has the highest ratings by lawyers of all the judges, literally “wrote the book” on the subject of his court, etc. Why did we almost not endorse him? Because he voted in 7 Democratic primaries and 6 Republican primaries. You know what the makes him? A Democratic-leaning independent. You know what might make the best kind of judge? Perhaps an independent person who shares our values? Of course, we’ve learned over the years that we are so talented at winning elections that we don’t need Democratic-leaning independents to win. That’s why we control the county, state, and country. Similar situations happened with other candidates, including one who was held to the fire for voting in a Republican primary 20+ years ago. If having ever voted for a Democrat was the kiss of Death to Republicans, how much power would they hold now?

In the end, it was a hellish meeting, but the results weren’t too bad. We have some great judges to support. Names like Regina Newman, Veronica Coleman, Paula Skahan, etc… I just wish we hadn’t looked like a joke getting there. Heated debates are fine. Arguing for thirty minutes about the order of the votes, name-calling, etc. are not.

Another issue that keeps coming up is race and the future direction of the party. Thaddeus Matthews has taken it to his normal insane extremes (I’m happy to learn that as a member of the election committee I am a white, racist, Republican who probably took money from the Republican judges) but there is a lot of distrust out there from others as well. I want to address that, but this post is too long as is so I’ll separate them. The next will come as fast as I can type when it’s after midnight.


I just spent an hour writing an in depth post about last night and it's gone!!! Dagnamit!!! I hate blogger!!!

What meeting?

Go to Cracker's, Thaddeus', or the Memphis Flyer for three takes on what may appear to be three different meetings. I'll give my own take on it when I get home, I wanted some space after the fun so I didn't have to take back what I said later.

Cracker's Mad...

Check him out.

Here's a sampling:

To the members of the ExecCom, you acted like spoiled children, like out-and-out damn fools, and you should be ashamed of yourselves. When we get our asses kicked on August 3, it's partly your fault. Only partly, because, let's face it, the SCDP has a bunch of underfunded, WEAK candidates who only campaign on one side of town because they live under the delusion that enough African-Americans will turn out so that they don't have to get white votes. And again, they will learn (maybe) at their own peril.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Delay Stays on the Ballot.

A good end to a strange day. I'll blog about the Democratic judicial endoresments tomorrow. Might have to have a drink first. It was that kind of meeting.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'm Not Dead...

And I shall return to posting soon. Funny how beer and bbq take precedence over blogging. Guess I'm not as big a geek as I thought I was.