I wonder if Mayor Herenton understands the office he is seeking? Surely the Mayor knows that as 1 of 435 in the US House, he will have to seek alliances, and that means making deals, if he is to get any amendments or legislation he sponsors to make it to the President’s desk. Should the Mayor become a Congressman, he will have to make deals. That he is not practiced in this art, is a huge strike against him.
I haven’t written about Herenton’s primary challenge, or any of the on goings here in Memphis pertaining to the Mayor, because I don’t believe any of it until Council Chairman Lowery assumes the Mayor’s office on an interim basis. Once that happens, I’ll start believin’. Still, the Mayor’s antics today, including the possibility of running in the Special Election if he doesn’t like the field cast some serious doubts on how serious he really is about anything.
What this is starting to look like now, is a man who more than anything else, just wants to be in the public eye, stirring the pot, for his personal enjoyment. By resigning, or at least threatening to, he took himself out of power to seek a new office. He’s losing the bully pulpit he alone has as City Mayor. Now he’s starting to realize this, and he’s making moves to maintain his relevance at it’s current level. It must be a very lonely place for the Mayor.
I don’t think anyone believes that after Herenton leaves the Mayor’s office that he’ll be irrelevant. Quite the contrary, Herenton will have time to carefully craft his verbal grenades to lob into the race for Congress. He will have lost the bully pulpit, but he will not have lost the thing that elevated him to the Mayor’s office in the first place, his tenacity.
What will be interesting is how much media play he’s given after his departure from City Hall in comparison to his current media value, and the media play Cohen receives. Broadcast and Print media have had a pass on covering the Mayor while he held that position because as mayor everything he said was potentially newsworthy. Once he is no longer Mayor, everything he says is a part of a political campaign, which still holds some newsworthiness, but also creates the potential for the appearance of favoritism one way or the other should the media not cover them both equally.
In the end, Herenton may not be a deal maker in his political life, but he’s definitely made a deal with the media. Herenton has made a conscious decision to put publicity over policy, his personality over effective management and governance. Memphis deserves better, but we, as a city, have to step up and stop this madness. If we don’t, we can expect nothing more than more of the same, which has been devastating to the city in the long run.