Cohen/Tinker election results

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WITH 72% OF PRECINCTS REPORTING, CONGRESSMAN STEVE COHEN CRUSHES AUNT NIKKI, THE CORPORATE MAMMY, WITH A LANDSLIDE 60% MARGIN!!!!!!!!

STEVE COHEN 44,995 79%

NIKKI TINKER 10,676 19%

JOE TOWNS 844 1%

Black voters, especially those of us in the South, have always been able to judge our politicians by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. We’re never given credit for having that ability when racially polarizing tactics are injected into a political race by one of us, but we’ve always had it and always will. Now Mr. Cohen can go back to the halls of power confident in the knowledge that he has unequivocally earned the trust of a majority of his black constituents. In order to keep it, he must continue to provide the same common sense, progressive leadership that has been known as his trademark.

The epic collapse of the Tinker campaign is one for the history books and closes a sad chapter in the book of political rivalry between Harold Ford Jr and Steve Cohen. His transparent maneuvering to shield his allegiances to Tinker by using his wife as a conduit for campaign cash, and his politically expedient denunciation of Tinker’s tone-deaf tactics should be enough for Barack Obama to remove the Whore from any consideration for a prominent role in his administration.

Southern Comfort

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I drink rarely and when I do, wine is usually my drink of choice. If I’m feeling really adventurous, Southern Comfort is my favorite liqueur. Wikipedia describes it as, “a fruit, spice, and whiskey flavored liqueur produced since 1874. It is made from a secret blend of whiskey, peach brandy, orange, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon flavors.” It is so damn yummy and the perfect metaphor for the focus of this and subsequent posts I’ll be doing this week on Louisiana and Tennessee.

Wikipedia goes on to say that “Southern Comfort was first produced by Irish bartender Martin Wilkes Heron (b. 1850 c. 1920), the son of a boat-builder, at McCauley’s tavern at the corner of Richard and St. Peter Street, in French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. He moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1889, patented his famous creation, and began selling it in sealed bottles with the slogan “None Genuine But Mine” and “Two per customer. No Gentleman would ask for more.” Southern Comfort won the gold medal at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.”

“The plantation depicted on the label of Southern Comfort since the 1930s is Woodland Plantation, an antebellum mansion in West Pointe a la Hache, a small town in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.”

Being a lover of history, even the history of this liqueur evokes the right image of warmth and cozyness that I feel once I’ve downed a glass and settled in for a rich discussion of political history and southern politics. That being said, here we go.

Looking around the web I spotted the latest campaign finance reports of several races I have my eye on and found several interesting things.

Starting in Memphis, Tennessee, there is the race between the sistah I have dubbed the Corporate Mammy and her opponent, Steve Cohen. Cohen, you’ll recall, is the white successor to Harold Ford, Jr’s Memphis Congressional seat and is set to defend it next year against Nikki Tinker, a corporate tool cut from the same cloth as her mentor, Harold Ford, Jr.

At this point, its all about the benjamins and sistah ain’t no slouch having raised $176,000 so far this year with $171,000 on hand. Her white opponent is running scared and clocked a healthy tally of $374,000 on hand. The Commerical Appeal is reporting that the corporate mammy ain’t playing fair and has resorted to push polling to get her campaign jump started. This race has only begun to get interesting. The racial angle is what we thrive on here at Skeptical Brotha.

Next up is the race in Maryland between challenger Donna Edwards and her opponent, Congressman Al Wynn, a corporate butt buddy of Harold Ford Jr in the DLC. I’ve got much love for this sistah and have endorsed her for this seat. She’s been endorsed by Democracy for America and hopefully after the corporate pod people at Emily’s list are whipped mercilessly with a wet noodle-Emily’s List. Something tells me that we’ll all turn blue black and die holding our breath on that one.

Sistah Donna has rasied over $214,000 for this race with $115,000 on hand. Fat Albert has raised over $592,000 with $400,000 on hand. He is giving new meaning to running scared because he clearly is terrified. She is burning money at a fairly good clip and that concerns me, but I think that whatever she’s doing, she’ll have the money to continue and win this February primary over Wynn.

Finally, there are two races I’ve classified as no way in hell. My favorite two candidates for the Senate: Vernon-I-didn’t-rape-her,-I’m-just-a-little-freaky-Jones, and Vivian-I’ve-lost-my-damn-mind-Figures. Vernon Jones, the DeKalb County CEO, is term-limited and running for the Senate seat of Saxby Chambliss, the shameless xenophopbic bastard that accused his opponent, former Senator Max Cleland, of coddling Osama Bin Laden in a series of ads so foul that they are still infamous to this day-5 years later.

Jones has no hope of unseating the senator and his millions in campaign cash. Jones is being aided in his hopeless quest by raising over $376,000, which is more than respectable at this point. He has over $265,000 on hand. Dekalb county, the largest suburban county outside Atlanta is booming and he can rightfully take credit, but it still won’t help. We are talking about Georgia after all. I wonder if he takes a page out of Marion Barry’s book when his supporters ask about the rape allegation and tells them “The Bitch set me up.”

Anybody who knows me knows that I enjoy Alabama politics because like all southern politics, its colorful and interesting. The most interesting race in Alabama of late was the Mayor’s race in Birmingham in which they ousted their two term Mayor in favor of Jefferson County Comissioner Larry Langford. They were so pleased with the Mayor that he got only 8% of the vote. Ouch.

It also featured a wealthy candidate endorsed by CBC corporate whore Artur Davis. He came in second. Hallelujah, Thank You, Jesus. Anyhoo, the Alabama Senate race has none of the same Pizzazz. Instead, its tired and as over as Whitney’s marriage to Bobby.

To put it simply, State Senator Vivian Davis Figures is delusional. Her campaign report states clearly why: she ain’t raised but $24,636 dollars in the short time she’s been in this race. Not an auspicious start at all. Senator Jeff Sessions, a neo-confederate racist, has $3.5 million on hand. Like I said, the sistah is delusional and needs to check herself into a private funny farm somwhere before she’s involuntarily committed to a padded cell she can permanently call her own.

I almost forgot the little matter of Harold Ford, Jr’ s up and coming nuptuals to his fiance and his impending announcement of a run for Governor.

Before I comment on that fully in another post, what do y’all think about that. Y’all think he’s been hitting a bottle of southern comfort on the regular or do you think that it’s a mental thang for him to believe that jumping the broom with snowflake is not gonna make his gubernatorial run an exercise in futility.

I’ll let you all in on a little secret. There is a certain black female politico that I met a few years back and she met Harold Whore Jr at one of the Democratic National Conventions and has been pining for him ever since. Like Harold, she is fair skinned. What we used to call “Light, bright, and damn near White.” I’m sure if she got the chance, she’d tell him what Lonette McKee told Wesley Snipes in Jungle Fever “I wasn’t light enough for ya, you had to get you a white girl.”

Nikki Tinker, Corporate Mammy

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Stunningly beautiful, flawlessly dressed, seemingly cosmopolitan and well educated, Pinnacle Airlines Attorney Nikki Tinker looks nothing like the plantation throwback and sellout that she is.

Yes, Children, she ain’t nothin’ but a corporate mammy and Trojan horse for white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

A protégé of Harold Ford, Jr, Tinker is an agent of the Memphis corporate power structure and has been running behind her corporate slave master, Phil Trenary, CEO of Pinnacle Airlines, like a 21st century Mammy.

The mammy archetype is such a powerful symbol of black subjugation. For some, it is soothing, and for others, it enrages. I’m one of the latter. For me, the mammy stereotype is evocative of a particular Memphis twist to the racist mammy image, and is so appropriate to a discussion of the impending primary challenge Tinker is mounting to freshman Congressman Steve Cohen.

  

During the forties, Memphis blacks continued chafing under the dictatorial rule of E.H. “Ed” Crump, the local political boss who ruled both Memphis and Tennessee for over forty years.

Crump ran a sophisticated operation in which his operatives paid the poll taxes of African Americans and he voted them for his slate of candidates. Crump supported white supremacy and never backed a black candidate. For years, most could be bought off with copious amounts of walking around money, beer and barbeque.

Others needed something more and sometimes got it as Jim Crow weakened. G. Wayne Dowdy penned an article in the Journal of Negro History entitled “The White Rose Mammy: Racial Culture and Politics in World War II Memphis.” He wrote, “…forty years of Crump rule allowed blacks access to the political process through him or his subordinates. Better schools, housing and city employment were results of this alliance between white and black. To be sure, the relationship was at best an unequal one, leaving most African Americans with little protection from the overall practice of white supremacy. Indeed, when individual blacks challenged Crump and the local Democratic Party, retribution followed.”

Population changes as a result of the war swelled the black population to 41% and racial tensions increased and dissent from the black community followed. Dowdy takes up the story, “As this unrest was spreading, the White Rose Laundry Cleaners erected a mechanical sign on Linden Avenue, which was not very far from prominent Peabody Avenue where Mayor Chandler and Mr. Crump both lived. The sign depicted an African American woman, dressed in traditional mammy garb, bending over a wash tub.”

“Founded by Jewish immigrant Henry Klyce in 1928, the White Rose Laundry was representative of the economic importance of the local Jewish community. Nominally a minority, the Jews of Memphis had almost completely assimilated into the prevailing white southern culture. Several Jews even held important posts within the Crump organization. The depiction was apparently done in a humorous fashion, with the woman bending over and revealing her undergarments. Many blacks saw little humor in this and instead were angered.”

African Americans protested and wrote Mayor Chandler, “The advertisement represents a complete effrontery to Negro people, in its subtle although effective ridicule of the race.” Chandler intervened on behalf of the offended African American community and asked the owners of the White Rose Laundry to take down the offending mammy sign. While it is unknown the extent of Boss Crump’s involvement in this case, what is known is that nothing of consequence happened in Memphis without his consent and the sign came down, although when is not remembered.

Today, what should offend the black community is the Trojan-horse candidacy of Nikki Tinker, a twenty-first century white rose mammy, and the machinations of her plantation puppet master, Phil Trenary. Her $100,000 haul at the end of the last fundraising quarter has proven that she’s still as serious a contender as she was in 2006, when she raised over $577,000. The Corporate Mammy’s candidacy is an affront to the black community, fueled as it is by the corporate friends and associates of her plantation puppet master, and is inimical to our social, political, and economic interests in Memphis. If black folk ain’t careful, they’ll empower another Boss Crump in the form of a present day corporate executive, or they will continue to empower the slightly less objectionable Steve Cohen, a man who has coveted this seat for years and who ran for it and lost to Harold Ford, Jr back in 1996.

It used to be different. Proud black women like Ida B. Wells and Maxine Smith, a civil rights crusader, school board member, and community elder, showed the young how its supposed to be done. They used whatever community resources they had to work on behalf of the community and to hold the white power structure to account. Today’s black politicians worship at the altar of the corporate power structure and like American Express, don’t leave home without it.

Campaign receipts and news stories to date reveal Tinker to be a Trojan horse candidate willing to pander to homophobia in the black ministerial community. The names of prominent black homophobes like Rev. LaSimba Gray, a supporter of last year’s “independent” candidacy of Jake Ford, are littered throughout her campaign report. It won’t work with bloggers like Thaddeus Matthews and me willing to spread the word.

Steve Cohen

More progressive than either Ford, Jr or Tinker, Cohen’s motives in running for this seat aren’t as pure as he claims. He won this seat because of divisions in the black community and a slate of too many black candidates. Only in Congress for nine months, it hasn’t taken him long to travel to Israel and cavort with the most extreme right-wing political actors in that country-the same people who brought last summer’s war with Lebanon that was roundly condemned by human rights groups. Nobody was blameless during that war-Hezbollah was not, but like a fight among children, somebody started it. Israel started the conflict last summer with cluster munitions supplied by the United States.

While a strong opponent of the Iraq War, Cohen has said nothing that I can find about the indiscriminate use of cluster munitions by Israel to kill innocent civilians in Lebanon. That war was an abrogation of the international rules of war and a stench in the nostrils of God. What is needed in Memphis is a real progressive candidate willing to stand up and fight all forms of injustice. Neither the Corporate Mammy nor Cohen fit the bill. However, in the absence of a true progressive, Cohen will have to do until the real thing comes along.

 

Southern Political Report

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Complicating Harold Ford, Jr’s nascent bid for the Tennesse Governor’s mansion is the fact that Uncle John, a former state Senator, has been sentenced to 66 months in prison for taking bribes. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the scoop:  

John Ford sentenced to 66 months in prison

John Ford was sentenced to 66 months in prison this morning for his April conviction of accepting $55,000 in bribes in the FBI’s Tennessee Waltz public corruption investigation.

U.S. Dist. Court Judge J. Daniel Breen carefully noted his interpretation of advisory federal guidelines that suggest enhanced punishment for factors such as the amount and number of bribes, threatening witnesses, acceptance of responsibility and the fact that Ford was an elected official.

The judge said he was not convinced that Ford truly believes he did anything wrong and that the sentence must be a deterrence to others.

“The court is not convinced that a reduction for acceptance of responsibility is warranted in this case,” Breen said. “This trial reflects a person of greed and avarice, but at the same time a man with the ability to help others. This is the tragic dichotomy of this case.

“The sentence, therefore, should reflect the serious nature of this offense.”

Breen said he would impose no fine.

Ford, who showed no reaction to the sentence, will remain free pending notification from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons when and where he will report.

Ford, 65, was one of 12 lawmakers or aides charged in the sweeping statewide investigation, 11 of whom have pleaded guilty or been convicted in trial.

Earlier this morning defense attorney Michael Scholl criticized the media and the government for “the persecution of John Ford” over the years.

“What I have seen is John Ford singled out in all of this,” Scholl told the judge, noting that other legislators have been convicted and faced lighter sentencing. “John Ford could have gone out and robbed and shot somebody and he would be facing less time than he is now. What I want to emphasize here is all the good that John Ford has done. We can’t just wipe out 30 years in the legislature.”

Witnesses have testified that the county has suffered in money it gets from the legislature because Ford is no longer there, Scholl added.

He also issued a plea for the judge to consider Ford’s support responsibilities for seven of his 12 children.

“John Ford has suffered for two years,” Scholl said. “They have taken everything he has. One of the things I’ve seen in this case is the awesome power of the government.”

Federal prosecutor Lorraine Craig said Scholl’s comments reflect the problems that the government has with Ford.

“He has been persecuted? He has suffered?” she said. “Is it a surprise that his family and friends did not see the side that we saw on those (undercover) tapes? This was Mr. Ford, the man who makes the deals. The man who goes first class. That’s the Mr. Ford we saw.”

She said Ford accepts no responsibility for his offense.

“The only thing he says he did wrong was that he trusted too much,” Craig told the judge. “No one persecuted Mr. Ford. He is here in this courtroom because of his own criminal conduct.”

 Speaking of Memphis Politics, Nikki Tinker, the corporate protege of Harold Ford, Jr is ramping up her campaign to take back Tennessee’s Ninth Congressional District for the Congressional Black Caucus against Steve Cohen.  The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the scoop:

WASHINGTON — Nikki Tinker began her 2008 campaign for the 9th Congressional District seat the night she lost the Democratic Party Primary to Steve Cohen last August by just 4,459 votes.

Cohen did too.

Cohen, who is white, says voters in Memphis will consider the job he’s doing rather than his skin color in deciding whether to re-elect him. Meanwhile, he tells anyone who will listen that he votes with the sensitivities of a black woman.

He and others suspect that a recent brouhaha among members of the Baptist Ministerial Association over his support of hate crimes legislation may be the opening salvo in a battle that Tinker would like to have center on, as she puts it, changing “the face and pace of our leadership.”

Tinker did not respond to repeated phone calls for this story, but her Washington-based spokesman, Cornell Belcher, explained Friday that she’s not interested in talking issues or Cohen’s record yet.

“Here’s where we are, to be straight with you: At this point, we want her talking to voters and raising money,” said Belcher, a partner in Brilliant Corners Research and Strategies. Talking about her differences with Cohen “is something that we really would rather not get into right now. … It will come, but it’s just not going to come right now.”

Cohen isn’t waiting. He says he doesn’t know where his opponent stands on most issues, and points out she’s never cast a legislative vote.

Tinker has spoken to the ministerial association and arranged for the company she works for as general counsel to provide a free airplane ride to members of the ministers’ congregations in June — after declaring her candidacy. Pinnacle Airlines flew the group in circles around Memphis on June 23 but, through spokesman R. Phillip Reed Jr., said the flight was “not directly or indirectly associated with the Tinker for Congress campaign.”

The ministers say the hate crimes bill passed by the House would limit what they could say about homosexuality from their pulpits, although the language of the law indicates it won’t. It’s pending in the Senate.

Among those who suspect that politics is involved in the hate crimes issue is Downtown developer Henry Turley, who has been Cohen’s campaign treasurer since he ran for the Shelby County Commission in the late 1970s.

“You can’t help but wonder, is this an effort to discredit Cohen?” Turley said last week. “It certainly makes you wonder since it’s an incorrect or spurious charge. …Why would they make that incorrect statement? … Why would someone say that unless there was an agenda?”

The issue didn’t draw fire during Ford’s terms. Records show Ford co-sponsored the hate crimes bill, broadening federal jurisdiction over crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation, four times between 1997 and 2004 and voted for it in 2005. His stance never made headlines or drew criticism from the churches.

Turley said Tinker’s prodigious fund-raising in 2006 was impressive and he attributed it to two things: the influence of her boss, Philip H. Trenary, CEO of Pinnacle Airlines, and her endorsement by the pro-abortion rights group Emily’s List, whose acronym stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast.

Some in Memphis publicly objected to Tinker receiving the February 2006 endorsement, saying Cohen’s abortion rights bona fides were better established, but hundreds of thousands of dollars poured in for Tinker from across the country.

A spokesman for Emily’s List, Ramona Oliver, said last week that no decision on an endorsement in the 9th Congressional District race has been made.

Cohen acknowledges he’s asked “a few people at the national level” to help derail future Emily’s List endorsement. The group endorses women only.

“I’d be shocked if Emily’s List would get involved in this election,” Cohen said.

African American State Senator Vivian Davis Figures is gearing up to challenge ignorant confederate incumbent U.S. Senator Jefferson Sessions in 2008

MOBILE — Democratic State Sen. Vivian Figures said Saturday she is running against Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions in the 2008 election, pledging to give Alabama “new progressive leadership.”

Figures, 50, made her announcement at Mobile Government Plaza where she began her political career in 1993 on the City Council. She moved from the council into her husband Michael Figures’ legislative seat after his death in 1996 and has served 11 years.

Sessions, 60, also of Mobile, won his second term in 2002 and will seek re-election. No other challengers have announced plans to run.

Senator Figures is delusional if she thinks she can win in Alabama.

Turning to Louisiana, State Treasurer John Neely Kennedy announced his change of party from Democratic to Republican in preparation for a run for U.S. Senate against Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, in 2008:

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

BATON ROUGE — State Treasurer John Kennedy has switched political parties and will seek re-election to a third term this fall as a Republican, he announced Monday.

The change immediately vaults Kennedy to the top of the list of potential challengers to U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La, who is up for re-election to a third term in 2008 and is considered vulnerable by national Republicans.

Kennedy has been publicly considering the party switch for months, and he has become an increasingly ascerbic critic of Gov. Kathleen Blanco and the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate on a variety of spending issues. 

In an e-mail message to supporters, Kennedy cited “certain fixed, bedrock principles” that he believes are more in line with the Republican Party than the Democrats, and said GOP officials have been more responsive to his proposals in recent years.

“For the past several years, it has increasingly been the case that those public servants who have embraced my ideas and my philosophy of trying new approaches are primarily Republicans,” Kennedy wrote.

He had been courted to switch parties by U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and met recently with senior White House aide Karl Rove to discuss the matter.

The switch comes at a time when Republicans are losing ground nationally, having lost control of the U.S. House and Senate in the 2006 mid-term elections, but appear to be ascendant in Louisiana, where U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner, enjoys a wide lead in the governor’s race.

Tennessee’s Ninth Congressional District Brawl

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A bitter and protracted battle for Tennessee’s Ninth Congressional District is heating up this summer between former Harold Ford, Jr. campaign manager and corporate attorney Nikki Tinker , and incumbent Congressman Steve Cohen. 

Steve Cohen

Congressman Cohen took the majority black congressional seat after a bitter primary battle which saw the black vote splintered by more than five serious black candidates.  Some quarters in the community are less than thrilled by Cohen’s representation and are encouraging this re-match.  

The general election was a match between Cohen and a younger brother of Harold Ford, Jr. for the seat.  The younger Ford showed himself to be out of his league, unprepared, and lacking the necessary skills to make his candidacy viable.  He resorted to unnecessary racial appeals and homophobia in a failed attempt to keep this seat in the family.

Ms. Tinker announced her long rumored intention to file for a re-match and the battle looks to be joined.   Black rivals to the Ford family emerged last year to back Cohen in the form of Shelby County Mayor Wharton and Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.

Since then, both Herenton and Wharton have been seriously damaged politically by scandal.  This race looks like one to watch because it parallells in intersting ways the Obama vs. Hillary match up.