Congressman Steve Cohen(D,Tenn) has been an interesting story this cycle. A liberal Jew representing an 80% black district in Memphis, Tennessee, he fought off a primary challenge from popular Memphis mayor Willie Herenton, who ran on the platform of...being black.
But let there be no mistake, Cohen can race-bait with the best of them. For instance, in the middle of his primary battle with Herenton, here's how Cohen described the Tea Party:
The two-term Democratic congressman said the Tea Party — "without hoods and robes" — has shown an angry, hardcore side of America that's against any type of diversity.
“We saw opposition to African-Americans, hostility toward gays, hostility to anybody who wasn’t just, you know, a clone of George Wallace’s fan club,” he said on The Young Turks, an Internet and satellite radio talk show...
Ah, Steve. Irony is a dish, like revenge, that is best served cold. Much like the blood in the Tea Party's veins. And while Mr. Cohen still seems to be a fairly safe bet for re-election, he's sweating it out right now, as his aggressive challenger, Charlotte Bergmann, waves the tea party flag proudly. Oh, and did we mention - she's black?
African-American Republican candidate Charlotte Bergmann appears to be galvanizing more anti-Cohen support than Herenton could muster (he got just 21 percent of the vote) and is heading a campaign that in many ways is more aggressively taking on Cohen...
Especially in Memphis' most affluent precincts, that anti-liberal, anti-Obama, anti-Pelosi message has found a home. Drivers in East Memphis might even be led to believe her slogan, "Charlotte Bergmann Can Win," could come true, based on the signs in the yards.
At a spirited rally at her headquarters Wednesday, Bergmann expressed confidence that her campaign was on its way to victory. She said Cohen should be held accountable for the problems of the 9th District, and that her decision to move even further right after the primary would be rewarded.
Cohen acknowledges he's spending more money in the general election than he anticipated and that the turnout reports from the first several days of early voting generated some worrying patterns.
What about that early voting?
The strongest turnout from any precinct in Shelby County came from precinct 5700 — at Second Baptist Church along Walnut Grove, where many of those Bergmann signs have sprouted.
Of course, Congressman Cohen has a well-reasoned response to the Bergmann surge; which is unsurprisingly similar to the one he made back in the primary season:
Cohen claims Bergmann is controlled by "far-right elements," with a campaign director, Howie Morgan, from Oxford, Miss....
"I guess the tea party is controlling the message, and as much as anything they are using her to get out their philosophy more than they are winning... ," Cohen said.
"The tea party message is not one that will resonate with a majority of voters, and even contrary to establishment Republicans and certainly to Democrats and Independents."
The Memphis Tea-Party Republican, Charlotte Bergmann, speaks with facts, clarity, and reason. Steve Cohen, Democratic incumbent, has literally nothing to offer but fear itself.
But fear is a notoriously loose rope, much like the race card, which a vexed Cohen cannot play against the African-American Bergmann. Could the 9th District, who's population resisted the call to racial identity by Willie Herenton, now resist the call to fear by Steve Cohen, and choose a new direction?
It's a long shot; the "D" may yet save Steve Cohen. But it pleases me to no end to know that this sc*mbag has to sweat it out...