Posted: Aug 13, 2009 3:35 pm
This is the end for Willie. He's spit in the eyes of his supporters who worked to get him elected for the fifth time by resigning. When you work to elect somebody, you don't do it to watch him resign less than halfway through his term, saying he's burned out and had enough and wants a bigger, better office now. He thinks he will be able to go back to the same well of low-information, poor, black voters who just want to stick it whitey, but he's going to find out that he's squandered their support, and this time, with lots and lots of black candidates who aren't public laughing stocks in the race, his usual divide and conquer strategy will work against him. He'll either not even get on the ballot for October or lose to A. C. Meanwhile, Cohen will sit back and wait for him to stop self-destructing before spending a cent of his war chest. This is assuming he's not indicted first.
The big tragedy of this is that he even ran for mayor in 2007 in the first place. His campaign set Memphis race relations back 20 years, and by the time it's all over we will have basically lost 3 years of possible political progress right in the middle of a depressionwhen it was needed the most. A lot of good people have given up and left the city in the meantime—people we won't get back—and it will take years just to undo the damage he did. A. C.'s hands are not clean in this, either. He is by all accounts of the people I know who know him a thoughtful and intelligent guy, but when he met with Herenton at that lunch in 2006 and agreed not to run against him, he doomed this city.
And the worst part is, when he ran, Herenton didn't even really want to be mayor any more. He just didn't like losing.