In June, right around the time this site was launched, media figures around the state-such as Sid Salter, Charlie Mitchell, David Hampton, Bobby Harrison, and Lloyd Gray-insisted that a certain 'populist firebrand' with 'a grasp of the issues' and who was an 'effective campaigner who stays on message' would be a tough candidate in the general election of 2007. All he needed was to get his name and message out there.
But here's the thing they didn't get: A bunch of that stuff was either fluff they were hoping was true, or it was passed along to them by Franks allies and admirers (who, admittedly, are few, though well-placed). The more Mr. Franks talks, the less attractive a candidate he becomes. The first five minutes of a hellfire and brimstone speech from the pulpit can be entertaining. The next twenty minutes gets boring and repetitive. And once you get into his arrogant, smug, holier than thou personality, with crassness thrown in for good measure, you know what you get? 41 percent and running behind a gubernatorial candidate that was largely derided as an empty suit with a deep pocket and 2 percent more than a perennial candidate who at best is a little off and at worst a whack job.
Let's not forget that the 'effective campaigner who stays on message' of Mr. Salter's column in June (forgive me if I get the exact quote wrong, Sid, but it was the central point of the article) made a huge mistake by letting Mr. Bryant have the offensive in September and October, having only the grocery tax issue and some vague insurance proposals at his disposal, and made horrendous mistakes on the crime issue, which anyone who lives in the Jackson media market sees nightly and was highlighted by the looting seen during Katrina. He wasn't focused when he actually had to answer questions that were tough (which he'd never been asked by the Daily Journal in his brief election interviews with a fawning journalist). Mississippi is not District 19, home of the last die-hard white Democrats in the state who believe hurricanes are God's punishment for Mississippi voting for George Bush (an actual statement from the Ryan's Well community). There's only so much Bush hatred can get you, especially when the man is 15 months from giving up his office.
Heck, Mr. Franks was so bad a candidate that Mr. Bryant, per the grapevine, had a commercial highlighting some of Mr. Franks' former opponents woes following the 2003 elections, but declined to air it, knowing as he did a week beforehand that Mr. Franks was behind and about to go on a statewide tour-the best possible combination for the Bryant campaign. The combination of Jamie Franks talking and being behind in a race (remember, both of his regular elections to the state house were pretty close, even with a huge money advantage) and having to actually speak to people was worth more than any law-enforcement group's commercials.
Thankfully, this rube is going to run for something again. Whoever his opponent is in 2011, we'd wish you luck-but with Mr. Franks running, you probably won't need it. He's the best thing an opponent outside of District 19 could ask for.
One last thing-this'll be our last Franks post until he sticks his head up again. Then we'll go back to playing whack-a-mole. We here at the Tank are contemplating our reformatting options, and frankly, piling on is just plain mean-just ask Hilary Clinton.