Sunday, October 06, 2002

The Crone Speaks

Doesn't the Bible say something about not castigating the mote in your brother's eye when you have a beam in your own? Well, seems the Commercial Appeal's Susan Adler Thorp, in this editorial, should take some heed of that advice.

Once more, she takes a nugget of sugar and tries mightily to spin a fairyland of cotton candy from it. Looking at State Senator Curtis Person's run for re-election, she notes he has an opponent and proceeds to use that opponent against him. What she fails to tell her readers is her agenda in doing so.

We start with the headline: Mouse's roar has Person running scared Unfortunately, the story nowhere supports that thesis. She writes:
For the first time in 34 years, State Sen. Curtis
Person is running scared - so scared, in fact, that
the Memphis Republican has raised $180,000 in
campaign funds since the beginning of this year and
hopes to raise at least another $20,000 before
Election Day, Nov. 5.
That's $200,000 over ten months. Not a considerable sum. Compare that to House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, who has two and a half times as much. So much, in fact, that he's sharing. More on Naifeh later; he's key here. But Person's amount isn't egregious, by State Senate standards.

Let's look at the "mouse" that SAT holds up.
And never mind that Person's Democratic challenger, Anthony
D'Agostino, a 43-year-old computer programmer, is a political
novice who hasn't raised any campaign money and doesn't
intend to.

D'Agostino said he once met the chairman of the Shelby County
Democratic Party, but has forgotten her name. He got into the
Senate race because "it seemed like the right thing to do...."

Even D'Agostino doesn't think Person should be worried.

"I guess I could have a little chance to win if the voters are upset
enough about the legislature and how it's been performing,''
D"Agostino said.

D'Agostino, who moved to Memphis nearly 20 years ago, never
has met Person. Told that Person is running scared, D'Agostino
said: "Wow. That's good.''

D'Agostino isn't familiar with Person's voting record other than
what he's been told.

"I'm told he is anti-union, he's not good on environmental issues
and he's against a statewide lottery,'' D'Agostino said.
This poor guy is clueless! A while back, SAT lambasted voters who didn't have a clue about the issues or candidates and now she's holding up this guy as ... well, I don't know what. But we get to her next paragraph:
Those are issues D'Agostino favors. He also favors a graduated
state income tax - something Person adamantly opposes.
And now we have the answer. It's the income tax.

SAT, during the Income Tax War, was four-square for it. She was lavish in praising those who supported it. Remember her hagiography of Senator Rochelle when he bailed from a losing race? But she's also ruthless with those who opposed it. She couldn't find enough bad things to say about some of those she saw as the chief architects of opposition. Marsha Blackburn and ... Curtis Person!

What she's doing here is using her column to give poor D'Agostino some free publicity. Never mind that he's an embodiment of what she despises. He is running against Person and that's enough.
Person is preparing to sink nearly all of the money he has raised
into TV and radio advertising, oversized yard signs and bus
shelter ads, even thought he knows his opponents are no match
for him.
Now, we've already covered House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh here. He's got an opponent too. One Antonio Lopez, who mounted a write-in campaign that exceeded all expectations and got him on the November ballot. Even with Naifeh's ugly nature exposed by the Income Tax War, and the changing demographics of Tipton County that favor Republicans, Lopez has an uphill fight at best.

Still, as the CA itself has reported, Naifeh is taking Lopez deadly seriously. It's axiomatic to good politics: never underestimate your opponent or his chances. Taking that for granted is a sure road to losing. Naifeh knows this and so does SAT. But that's OK, because they support "tax reform."

But let Curtis Person use the precise same principle and suddenly he's "running scared." No. I think the one who's scared is Susan Adler Thorp.

When it was Robert Rochelle, she couldn't have enough good things to say about his length of service. It was a sign of his wisdom and connection to both his constituents and to his fellow Legislators. Wanting to stay in office was a good thing. When it's Naifeh, or any other pro-IT politician, she's all for keeping them there. But Person was adamantly anti-IT and that's the rub. Now, his desire to remain in office is something unspecified and slightly worrisome.

Watching these columnist doing their damnedest to shill for their causes, and to sneakily try to poison their enemies, while piously acting as though they are disinterested observers, is what started me on this blog. And today's SAT column is a prime example.

Until next time.

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