Herenton’s Got 99 Problems and Senior is One of Them

Oh wait, this article isn’t from Jay-Z, it’s from JB, Jackson Baker, that is, talking about Harold Ford’s endorsement of Steve Cohen:

One has to give credit to former mayor Willie Herenton for even trying to spin President Obama’s endorsement of his congressional opponent, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, as a plus for himself. It’s as if the captain of the Titanic had thrown a deck party on that famously slippery slope (as, in a way, having the band set up and play, he did)..

By its nature, the Obama announcement has drawn more attention to itself than other endorsements garnered by the incumbent congressman, fore and aft. But that of Harold Ford Sr., subject of a news release by Cohen on Wednesday, a day after the Obama bombshell, is worthy of some special attention.

Well, while we knew this was coming, it takes JB back to those heady days of 1991 when, for you youngsters who may not believe it, Ford and Herenton were, well, FRIENDS, if not for long:

The two have a professional relationship, and that’s part of it. But there’s more — and it bodes ill for Herenton, whose call for “Just One’ African American — himself — to serve in Congress from Tennessee surely depends on being the kind of consensus black candidate that Herenton was in 1991 when he first ran for mayor.

As it happens, that 1991 election season was the one and only time Herenton and Ford had functioned as political cohorts, and their alliance, an ad hoc affair motivated by constituent pressure and by a joint service to history, was a tenuous and short-lived affair.

Ah, memories.  Since then, of course, they have gone at each other hammer and tong, and this endorsement can’t have lifted the former Mayor’s spirits in the slightest. As JB notes in the wrap-up:

Harold Ford Sr. was the closest thing to a godfather figure that Memphis’ African-American community has seen, and he was the nearest thing to a political boss in these parts since Boss Ed Crump.

Though he is no longer an active day-to-day force in Memphis, Ford Sr. keeps his hand in, and for Herenton to think that he can achieve anything like domination of the African-American electorate in the face of the Obama and Ford endorsements of Cohen — not to mention the several black city and county personages who have thrown in with the congressman — is arguably delusional.

Herenton is now at a pass where he is desperately short of avowed allies, and the five-times unbeaten mayoral candidate of yore is now potentially up against every adversary, of whatever kind, he has ever had.

It is not an enviable predicament, with early voting about to be under way and with less than a month before election day.

It’s a shame the former Mayor has interpreted the well-wishes of people on the street as a groundswell that will carry him to victory.  People in the community remember him as a historic figure and show him love and respect based on that, which he deserves.
However, I wonder how he will react when they then vote for the Congressman whom they also like and who has done so much to earn their vote.  Then is when the rubber will meet the road.

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