Friday, May 02, 2008

Rep.Cohen's Uncivil War

Dear Friends, The time has come to defend what was rightfully won in the last Congressional election, and put an end to the Ford family's stranglehold on Memphis politics. It was a great day for representative democracy when Steve Cohen won the District 9 race over a Ford brother, cousin, and Jr.'s protege Nikki Tinker to fill the unexpired term of Harold Ford, Jr., but that was two years ago. We always knew that when re-election time came, it had the potential of becoming very ugly, very fast. But who could have imagined that Cohen would be targeted by a local group of "ministers," as well as the Ford family, from his first day in office? Memphians remember Cohen's courage in accepting an invitation to speak before these "ministers," only to be humiliated and attacked in public. And who can forget the awkward and embarrassing spectacle the Ford family caused during former President Clinton's visit to Memphis in 2006? The following is the text of a letter written to MoveOn.org on behalf of the Cohen campaign. Please use the link to visit Cohen's website and to volunteer or donate. We must fight for our incremental gains in the political arena, and Steve Cohen is a warrior deserving of re-election. Thank you, Randy
http://www.cohenforcongress.com

May 2, 2008


Adam G., Eli, Karin, Daniel, Patrick S., Ilyse, Justin, Peter, Laura, Lenore, Tanya, Nita, & Anne and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team

Dear Friends,

I am writing as a MoveOn.org Member and a volunteer supporter of the re-election campaign of Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District, where he won his seat the old-fashioned way, he earned it. In an historical political year, fraught with racial and gender overtones, Rep. Cohen is under attack by an unusual group of people; a cabal of long standing Democratic family political machine operatives, in league with the Memphis Baptist Ministerial Association, a group of right-wing preachers who lament the loss of a traditionally African-American seat in Congress to a white man, and a Jewish one at that.

That is not an opinion. Here are their words: “He’s not black and he can’t represent me, that’s just the bottom line,” Rev. Robert Poindexter, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church; or the open letter sent to Cohen from Rev. LaSimba Gray, of New Sardis Baptist Church, where he protested, of all things, Cohen’s support for the same federal hate crimes legislation that was backed by the very organization Gray represents in Memphis, Operation Rainbow/ PUSH, and demanded that Cohen protect their “Christian Values” to preach against homosexuality from the pulpit. A former and future contender for the seat, Jake Ford, brother of former Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., has publicly declared that Cohen’s intention in Congress is, “Not to get money for black people, but only for Jews and Israel.”

Cohen won election to Ford, Jr.’s old seat by defeating Ford’s protégé, Nikki Tinker, an attorney, and Joe Ford, Jr., his cousin, in the Democratic Primary. Then, in a desperate move to hold the seat, the Ford family ran Jake Ford, a high-school dropout with an arrest record in both Memphis and Washington, as a “Democratic Independent.” This maneuver cost Cohen the endorsement of Harold Ford, Jr., although Cohen unreservedly endorsed his candidacy for Senator. Imagine the dream team of Ford campaigning with Cohen in west Tennessee, but as a result of unintended consequences, Ford’s refusal to support Cohen only angered local Democrats, which may well have contributed to his loss for the Senate. Although the national media fell in love with Harold, Jr., many local Democrats, like me, viewed him as a Joe Lieberman acolyte.

Now, Steve Cohen again faces Nikki Tinker in the Democratic Primary over his re-election. Ms. Tinker is a well financed, attractive, and intelligent woman. Her problem as a candidate is that she is supported by the same Ministerial Association that has been attempting character assassination on Rep. Cohen for two years, and her major financial backer is her boss, Phillip Trenary, President of Pinnacle Airlines, who was a major contributor to the campaigns of Bob Corker and George W. Bush, and other Republican causes. Ms. Tinker’s law degree speaks to her scholastic ability, but her legal work is, and has been, on behalf of the management of Pinnacle Airlines and to the detriment of labor. The help Tinker now promises the workingman have been prefaced by years of working on the wrong side of the table.

In contrast, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, and former NAACP National Secretary Maxine Smith have all endorsed Steve Cohen, as has his Congressional mentor, Rep. John Conyers. Marion Wright Edelman’s Children’s Defense Fund has given Cohen their highest rankings, as did the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, and the Genocide Intervention Network, which works on behalf of the humanitarian crises in Darfur. Cohen is a vocal advocate for our military’s prompt withdrawal from Iraq and publicly defended MoveOn.org during the Petraeus ad controversy. He has endorsed Barack Obama, while himself being endorsed by Bill Clinton, who was quoted as saying “Steve has done a fantastic job.”

We are in danger of this honorable man going down to defeat at the hands of conservatives masquerading as Democrats with a heavily financed campaign of smear. He will be attacked by ministers of the gospel for being “pro-gay,” for his support of the hate crimes bill, and pro-Israel because of his religion. In this historic election, when the nation will be concerned about our ability to transcend racism, in the 9th District there will be racism and sexism of a different sort; directed at an able public servant, because he is white, and because he is a Jew. Unlike the situation with Harold Ford, Jr. and the slavish media attention he received, and still receives, this race needs to be brought into national focus to illustrate how the Ford family will use their power and influence to defeat a true Congressional Liberal, and replace him with a conservative, “Blue-Dog,” surrogate. As a Democrat concerned about fairness and our progressive values, I implore you to make news with the situation about Congressman Cohen’s struggle for re-election in Memphis against devious forces, and let others know what is being attempted in the party’s name. Should this good man be punished for doing a “fantastic” job?


Thank you most cordially for your attention,



Randolph J. Haspel

23 comments:

W in NYC said...

Randy!

I made a $100 contribution to Rep. Cohen's campaign chest. He's a
most worthy politician and I'm glad to help someone you think
deserving.
W in NYC

Anonymous said...

I would like to call the entire Sputnik Community through out the world to rise up and throw in your support to Rep. Cohen's campaign with prayers, support and contributions. It just comes down to this! Cohen is best for the job and the city of Memphis! Ministers! Don't make me come down there! Sputnik where do we mail our checks? Love to all! Father Farken

Rocky said...

RJ--Just did what I could for Steve. We're going to be proud in November.

Anonymous said...

AMEN, RANDY I THINK A LOT OF STEVE AND HE HAS CERTAINLY DONE A LOT FOR HIS DISTRICT. I LIKE YOU, HOPE THE COLOR OF THE SKIN IS OVERLOOKED AND LET HIM SERVE HIS DISTRICT ONCE AGAIN. THANKS FOR THE COMMENTS

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with the color of his skin? I think he is just fine. Hjynpe has my vote! Sireen

Anonymous said...

I said he has my vote! SIREEN

Anonymous said...

Question! Does Rep. Cohen pass the Jackie Fargo sniff test? So he has Sputnik's endorsement but what about Steve's spiritual advisor? Obama's guru stunk up the place! He stank! He Stinks! He's stinky! Deeply concerned! Jackie Fargo

Anonymous said...

Dear deeply concerned Jakie Fargo! I have some serious advise for you. Two words! SHUT! UP! You are always taking the low road talking about the way people smell. It is disgusting! You must have selective memory forgetting that in the mid 80s that Dr. Stink (who graduated with high honors in Stench Elemination with a PUhD at the United States Nasal Institute) and the Odorzout Express beat you and your boys unmerciflly at the Mid-South Odor Elemination Battle Royale in Memphis , Tn by stuffing y'all in 3-ply garbage bags and throwing y'all in the the polluted waters of the Wolf Riviera.

Anonymous said...

And any way, he has metaphysical healer Sputnik & Fr. Farken's endorsement. That should suffice! Behave! sincerely, SIREEN

Anonymous said...

I saw that wrestling match. It was amazing. Dr. Stink (Correction: His PUhD was in STINKOLOGY!) knocked Fargo out with a folding chair, tied him up with cable wire & then sprayed Fargo with a gigantic size of Industrial Strength LYSOL in 6 strategic areas of Fargo's odorous body (right foot, left foot, under both arms, head and Mr. Boo Boo) and then he sprayed that Lysol can till empty the whole Full Monty of the fabulous Jackie Fargo. I thought that I was going to have to call Farken for last rights...if not Fargo for me. It was not pretty but it should go down in wrestling history as one of the greatest matches of all time.
Maybe it is high time that the great people of Memphis stood up against all that smells of the Ford regime and throw its support behind the great Rep. Steve Cohen.
God bless Steve Cohen and may God Bless Memphis, Tn. and God Bless America. Shecky Kierkegaard McGirk

Anonymous said...

Sputnik! Your colorful friends reminded me of a beautiful quote from Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz.
"Just as I can put my physical body into a garden of wonderful scents or into a sinking sewer, the same is true in the spiritual world. We each choose whether our lives will be detective novel, a scandal sheet, or a scripture."
Our support and vote for Rep. Cohen would smell so sweet! Let's keep Memphis from sinking into a sinking sewer. Shalom to all.
Rabbi Lipschitz

The Watcher said...

I wish more people had the balls to confront blacks about their own racism. Blacks are some of the most outrageously racist people on the planet, but they are given a pass on this issue just as they are given a pass on everything else. Their treatment of Cohen was pure, unadulterated racist hatred. Will the double standard ever cease?

Anonymous said...

don't go blaming all the dogs because a couple have fleas

The Watcher said...

I'm not blaming ALL the dogs. But, everyone knows what I am talking about when I speak of black racism/hatred. I get it from the vibes and attitudes of black employees toward customers at stores, etc. all the time, and you see evidence of it in lots of places. I know that I am not the only one who experiences this. Steve Cohen sure has.

Anonymous said...

As I have stated I am supporting Rep. Cohen and I must say I am disappointed in the way many of the African American ministers have acted toward the congressman in this political race but I must say even though I look forward to hearing his comments on the BAH I hope Mr. Watcher never runs for public office-though he would make a magnificent Grand Wizard of that pointy-headed group Nathan Bedford Forest disbanded in the late 1800s when he got religion. Talking about painting with too broad of a brush! Hell! You are painting with one humongous roller dripping with white wash. Mr. Watcher, you know how you lock your car when you drive down Thomas St. Maybe you lock your mind as well when a black waitress waits on you at the IHOP! Let's give it a rest. From one sensitive soul to another! SIREEN

The Watcher said...

Just talking about my experiences, Sireen. Why should it surprise you that there is black racism/hatred toward whites? And, of course, this doesn't apply to all or even most blacks. There are probably and equal percentage of black and white racists. My point is that blacks are seldom called on it. And if they are, the person that is doing the calling will be attacked and called a klansman. Sound familiar, Sireen?

Anonymous said...

See! I told you that you were a sensitive soul. Please forgive me. You are no Grand Wizard! Can you imagine the Klan running around in tie-dye sheets spreading peace and love? OK! I'll challenge you! I'll go out of my way and spread some loving-kindness to some grouchy ass Caucasian and you spread some undeserving gracious love to some severely angry ass black person. And since there are so many pissed off people from different cultures and color with bad vibes, attitudes and hairdos let's just lift them all out of there junk! Mr. Watcher ! thank you for reminding me ITS ALL ABOUT THE LOVE! Forgive me! SIREEN

The Watcher said...

Fair enough...and love and kisses.

Anonymous said...

WHOOO HOOO! If you can melt my heart, honey, you can touch anybody. Now go out there and do your thing. BLACK ANGST IS HEADING FOR A MELTDOWN! Wonder if old Sputnik can turn this into a song?
Yours Truly, SIREEN

Anonymous said...

How about this for a song?
KUM BA YAH MY LORD! KUM BAH YAH!
Love and Kisses? Wait till FatherFarken reads this! Now I know what Chris Matthews meant by a warm feeling going up his leg when he heard Obama speak! I'm having a 'from a top of the head to the the bottom of my tootsies' kind of a thing from this beautiful exchange! Talking about warming the cockles of my heart? And as the Dr. Gene Scott would say, "This man could use some warm cockles!" WHOOO HOOO IS RIGHT!
Shecky Kierkegaard McGirk

Anonymous said...

Warm cockles? Sounds erotic. What's a cockle? A little cock, maybe?

Anonymous said...

Democratic ploy: Vote for us and we will do your stealing for you and it will be legal. We will take from those who produce and give to those who don't. Of course, this is buying votes and will eventually undermine the economic system, but we don't like to talk about that. We will worry about the implosion of the system after it happens. It is just too much fun doing compassionate things with other people's money. Hopefully, we will be dead before our game leads to disaster.

Anonymous said...

It's always better to do the compassionate thing----PERIOD!!!!!