Crush Liberalism

Liberalism: Why think when you can “feel”?

Corrupt Memphis mayor re-elected, but at least he’s black, right?

My home town of Memphis has let me down in a big way, and it is both saddening and maddening that it happened this way. Just as New Orleans re-elected the horrificly inept race-baiter Ray Nagin due solely to his skin color, Memphis has done the same thing with their corrupt, morally bankrupt, incompetent, sleezy mayor with a God-complex, Willie Herenton. He was re-elected last night to a fifth term, surviving a virtual three-person race and winning with a plurality (Memphis has no run-offs) that was much less than the combined votes of the second- and third-place finishers.

Here’s a quick background for those of you who don’t know:

Herenton became Memphis’ first black Mayor in 1991. He defeated the incumbent Dick Hackett by 146 votes in a 65% turnout election. Though Willie Herenton had been the Superintendent of the failing Memphis City School System and drove it into the ground, the predominantly black city of Memphis voted for him anyway. He’s been there ever since.

Here are the things that can be attributed to the embarassment of a mayor (and these are merely drops in a bucket):

  • Failed to insure sound fiscal management of the City of Memphis.
  • Frequent references to himself in comparison with Jesus.
  • Failed to address multiple allegations of improprieties regarding Memphis Light Gas and Water (and the only competent person to run MLGW in years was fired by Herenton to be replaced by a corrupt crony who has since been indicted by a federal grand jury on bribery and extortion charges) .
  • Angered citizens to the point of becoming a target of a citizen recall effort.
  • Done little in response to the significant rise in crime under his leadership, stating that “No mayor in any American city can solve the crime problem.” How would you like a mayor that says “Well, we have too much crime here. That sucks. Deal with it.”?
  • Stated that those who don’t like the way he has served as mayor can move out of Memphis.

    I (and tens of thousands of others, including businesses) took him up on his offer on that last point, and my substantial income and I bask on the lower-taxed, better educated, and overall less effed-up beaches in north Florida. While I most definitely love it here, I do miss home a lot. But I think I miss what Memphis was, not what it is. Yesterday’s mayoral race gave Memphians a chance to craft a Memphis that can be much better than the Memphis that is. But the citizens didn’t want it badly enough.

    Here’s my question, a politically incorrect one that has been nagging me for a while now: just what is it about the black community that makes it turn a blind eye to their corrupt, arrogant, incompetent leaders who also happen to be black? Is ethnicity so damned important that results don’t even matter? Whether it’s Ray Nagin, William Jefferson, Willie Herenton, or whomever, it’s like black politicians can just simply do no wrong!

    I mean, even a plurality of black Memphians hate Herenton…but they vote for him anyway! Herenton has destroyed their schools, allowed their communities to rot, fostered corruption in their police forces, ignored crime in their neighborhoods…but hey, he’s black, so what the hey? I can’t get my mind around that. If a CEO of a corporation failed that miserably, he’d get sh#tcanned faster than the MSM recycling a DNC talking point for a lead story.

    But even if Memphians are just bound and determined to have a black mayor, that’s cool…but is there not a single black man or woman in a city of almost half a million people that want to make a difference, that could challenge Herenton? He had such a man last night in Herman Morris as an opponent, but with the addition of a white woman opponent (Carol Chumney), Herenton was able to prey on racial fears and tensions with “a vote against me is a vote for Whitey”, and it worked. I guess had Chumney backed out and threw her support behind Morris (or even vice versa), Herenton would have been soundly defeated.

    There are issues that are (or atl least, should be) important to all people, regardless of race, gender, or income level: crime; education; jobs; opportunity. Under Herenton, he has demonstrably failed in massive proportions on all of those issues. If black Memphians want their kids to get to get good schooling, if they want their crime rates to drop, if they want the city’s economy to thrive so as to create new and better-paying jobs, then their best chance to realize these things would have been to depose King Willie and vote in someone else who genuinely shared their values. The only thing King Willie shares with these folks is skin color. Alas, in Memphis, that’s apparently all that is needed.

    By the way, good reading on this issue from my friends in the Memphis Posse: The Truth Hurts and Blue Collar Republican.
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    October 5, 2007 - Posted by | bigotry, The Memphis Posse


    1. It sounds a whole lot like Philadelphia. Street is a complete moron and has done a horrible job as mayor. But for some reason unknown to me, they voted him back in. I say “they” because I’m over the bridge in Jersey. But he is a black mayor and the man can do no wrong. Well, if they were stupid enough to vote them in, they deserve whatever ill he dishes out.

      Comment by Jennifer | October 5, 2007

    2. That’s what I mean, Jennifer. Blacks care about the same things that whites do in the whole scheme of things: education, crime, etc. They want what’s best for their families, just like anyone else does.

      What behooves me is that when they pick someone to represent their interests and that person makes their lives even worse, they reward that person with continuous employment. I just don’t freakin’ get it.

      Comment by crushliberalism | October 5, 2007

    3. There is plenty of blame to go around here. If Morris and Chumney had gotten together a couple of months ago and flipped a coin or arm wrestled to see who would stay in the race and who would drop out, King Willie would today be unemployed. Those two huge egos could not do what was best for the city as a hole.

      Comment by Lee | October 5, 2007

    4. A humorus (to me but I didn’t live in the city limits of Memphis)sidebar during the mayoral campaign. King Willie was acknowledging support from the “hundreds of African American ministers” but was slamming the 2 “PIMP-MINISTERS” that supported Herman Morris. I was hoping the reporter covering that would have asked King Willie just what defined one as a “pimp-minister”? But they didn’t ask. One might wonder why?

      Comment by tnjack | October 5, 2007

    5. His highness also said “This last election has been very disappointing to me,” he said. “A lot of people I thought were with me, and I found out they were not with me, and that’s a concern. There are some mean-spirited people in Memphis. There are some haters in Memphis!”

      Unbelievable, as usual. Memphis is officially a joke. Jon, I knew we were in trouble when a lot of yard signs saying “Only Herman can win” started popping up in East Memphis. Willie’s strategy all along was to divide the opposition. The same thing could happen in next year’s presidential race, and you know who wins that battle.

      Comment by A.C. McCloud | October 5, 2007

    6. “No mayor in any American city can solve the crime problem.”

      I think Giuliani would beg to differ. Having grown up in NYC during the 70’s and 80’s (undoubtedly one the lowest points in NYC’s history), I was always stunned when back there for visits during the 90’s. Maybe Herenton hasn’t seen Times Square lately. He could learn something….

      PS: My mom grew up right outside of Memphis; having been there many times, I can clearly say that it has gone down the tubes.

      Comment by Henry | October 5, 2007

    7. That’s what I mean, Jennifer. Blacks care about the same things that whites do in the whole scheme of things: education, crime, etc. They want what’s best for their families, just like anyone else does.

      I don’t think that’s true for the blacks who voted for Herenton. I think they like him because he’ll let them run wild, and supports their racist ganster rap lifestyle. Look at the correlation between the most crime ridden areas of Memphis and percentage of votes for Herenton in those areas. Go ahead. I dare ya.

      Comment by The Truth Hurts | October 5, 2007

    8. You know, upon reflection I’m not so disappointed in the citizens of Memphis as a whole. Thug neighborhoods aside, 58% of voters opted for someone other than King Willie. In a runoff or with a consensus candidate, Willie would be out. My disgust remains with those who accept or even condone his corrupt, ghetto ways.

      Comment by The Truth Hurts | October 5, 2007

    9. The Black community turns a blind eye to the misdeeds of their leaders for the same reasons Democrats as a whole do: Because they elect people who promise to give them the spoils of political victory (increased entitlements, government jobs, access to contracts or grants) and don’t care if they take some for themselves. Theirs is a zero sum world of the takers and the taken. Republicans in contrast elect people who promise to get government to stop taking from them (lower taxes, less regulation, less entitlements, etc.) and therefore Republicans caught violating the public trust are forced to resign by the loss of their supporters. To the Democrat voter in general, and the Black voter in particular, it is better to have their scoundrel in office, apparently no matter how incompetent or corrupt, than to be potentially shut out of the spoils system.

      Comment by Beef | October 6, 2007

    10. You mentioned Florida’s strongest suit in the artical: we are “…overall less effed-up…” than other places we can name!

      Comment by KHarn | October 6, 2007

    11. There is a Florida connection, Harold Ford Sr. now lives in Miami Beach but still votes in Memphis elections. They might not always break the rules but they sure bend the s**t out of them.

      Comment by Lee | October 6, 2007

    12. Had I known then what I know now, I would never have moved to Memphis seven months ago. I’m not sure what it is about Memphis as much as it is Tennessee. In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve been held up at gun point and told by police that they can’t do anything. Moreover, I endured the Super Tuesday tornados. Some part of me – as morbid as it may be – wishes that the tornados had caused a lot more destruction. Wiping out Memphis probably would have been a great start to change things, because now Memphis exists in a state where change will not come. When a mayor denies that there is a problem or tells you to deal with it, what kind of moral compass do they have? When they drive around in an excessive luxury personal vehicle bought at the expense of taxpayers, what does that say? And yes, perhaps this may come off a bit racist, but at this point, I simply don’t care – translate Memphis into the presidential race and you have blacks that are going to elect Mr. Obama as our next president because they can’t look beyond skin color. Just as the D.C. mayor was caught smoking crack, blacks will be willing to look beyond Mr. Obama’s shady dealing with a Chicago real estate developer – Mr. Rezko – because he can do no wrong, even when his hand is caught in the cookie jar (see The problem here isn’t that whites and blacks don’t want the same thing, but it’s that the vast majority of the latter are superifical in nature and judge a book by its cover. And let the flame mail begin!

      Comment by jsheld | March 2, 2008

    13. After the “rich” are all taxed out (or have fled) and the businesses have all been robbed into closure, what will the citizenry live off of for the entitlements to which they have become accustomed? After the police and fire departments close from lack of adequate funding, who will arrest the killers and quench the arsonists fires? Aging Memphis will make the end of Rome and the dark ages look like a picnic!

      Comment by Lyle Beck | September 29, 2008

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