Monday, September 16, 2002


First, we looked at SAT's take on the Herenton betrayal, now we turn to Jackson Baker's take on the same event for the Memphis Flyer. Predictably, it's a long name-check with some strange circumlocutions involved. And, to no one's surprise, he even manages to work in Al Gore's name, once again.

Baker does distinguish himself by actually providing the links and explanations that Thorp disdains. He also seems to have actually talked with more of the players involved. Or at least he names them. The rather incestuous nature of County politics is made clear.

As Thorp never really discussed, and Baker does, the event, while coming clearly from the Alexander camp seems intended to reach across party lines. All the sponsors Baker talks with make that clear.

But, there are the patented Bakerisms:
All of that should add up to an inadvertent involvement and an
embarrassment for Mayor Herenton, who, along with several
members of his inner circle, is from time to time quite active
in Democratic ranks. Right?
What a strange way to paint the titular head of the Shelby County Democrats. It's making a purse from a sow's ear. Any other head would be expected to hit the stump for his party, not "time to time." Herenton couldn't even be bothered to work for AC Wharton, at least publicly. What does that say?

Here's some more classic Baker:
During the recent Shelby County mayoral contest, when it
was strongly rumored that then-county mayor Jim Rout, a
Republican, was supporting Democrat A C Wharton, the
ultimate winner, and not GOP nominee George Flinn, Rout
availed himself of the circumlocution that he was a
Republican and supported "the ticket." Democrat Herenton
declined to express himself in analogous terms and, while he
denied that he would formally "endorse" Alexander, he would
not disavow the word "support."
Orwell would be proud of this double-speak. Try this clearer version: Rout specifically didn't endorse Flinn, even going so far as to avoid being seen as endorsing him, and making some veiled anti-Flinn remarks. His staff was openly working for Wharton. Herenton was AWOL until Election Night. Period. Why Baker feels the need to whitewash all this is known only to his liberal-Democrat-soaked mind.

Baker, as the sub-headline suggests, does try to make connections with the now-cooled Ford/Herenton feuds of the past. He fails, because this situation has little to do with that. It's about one good friend supporting another. That it crosses partisan lines seems baffling to the partisan Baker. One imagines that with Baker, politics trumps all. Herenton would, and as both columns attest does, see partisan politics as a failure of larger visions and relationships.

And then Baker goes into a miserable, fizzled ending with some lame boilerplate remarks from the Clement camp. Pfhht. Just like the whole situation.

Until next time.

No comments: