Freeman’s Comments Don’t Help Luckett

In the opinion of newspaper writers Tim Kalich and Sid Salter and an editorial at the Madison County Journal, Morgan Freeman’s recent comments didn’t do much to help Bill Luckett.  Luckett’s campaign continues to suffer from missteps.  During the 2008 general election, Democrats argued that Barack Obama’s excellently conducted primary campaign against Hillary Clinton was demonstrative of his ability to be a good leader as President. That same logic suggests Luckett might not provide the leadership Mississippi needs in our future.

Tim Kalich writes in the Greenwood Commonwealth:

Politically, it’s just not very smart for anyone seeking office in Mississippi to alienate the farm community. Even Bennie Thompson, the most liberal Democratic member in Mississippi’s congressional delegation, has been sensitive to appeasing Delta farmers by defending their interests on Capitol Hill.

Besides, Freeman’s apparent perception of farmers and their attitudes is grossly outdated. Back in the 1950s, when there were six times as many farms and much of the labor was still done by hand, it was true that farmers resisted efforts to diversify the economy. They didn’t want the factories, looking to relocate from the North, to compete for their workers and drive up wages. The farmers preferred a work force that was cheap, uneducated, dependent and plentiful.

Mechanization and other technological improvements, though, have dramatically changed the entire agricultural landscape. The demand for farm labor today is a fraction of what it was, and the type of labor farming requires is different, too. Instead of strong backs, farmers need workers who can ably operate $150,000 tractors and $300,000 combines and cotton pickers.

Farmers today are more likely to view themselves as partners than competitors to industry. Both need a dependable, trainable and increasingly technologically literate work force. Both see troubling trends. Domestic manufacturers fret over how they can compete with foreign factories that pay dirt-cheap wages and operate free of government regulation. Farmers, with an average age of 57 and climbing, worry about whether there will be a next generation of growers.

If Freeman hasn’t recognized the changes on the farm, he’s not been doing his research.

The actor’s ill choice of words is not the first slip-up for the Luckett camp. Earlier this year, the Clarksdale attorney was quoted, again by the AP, as equating racism in the Delta with Republican affiliation.

It’s hard to win an election when you give the opposition that kind of “bulletin board” material.

Sid Salter writes for the Clarion Ledger:

The flap over Freeman’s comments aren’t Luckett’s first early stumble. Back in June, Luckett was quoted in another AP story as saying: “You can’t have grown up in the Mississippi Delta with any kind of sensitivity or any kind of feelings and not come out of that aligned with the Democratic Party, unless you’re just a racist or something,” Luckett said. Luckett later disputed the comment, but AP stood by the story.

But Luckett’s campaign has had two damaging stumbles that will haunt him when the campaign begins in earnest – and Freeman’s assessment of Mississippi’s “base stock” won’t help much back home. 

And the Madison County Journal editorializes:

Freeman told the Associated Press: “Reform in Mississippi is hard because the base stock of this state is a mule-headed bunch of farmers. Those farmers have ruled the roost for so long because this is an agricultural state.”

We would first point out that he is campaigning for a wealthy Delta landowner who is a Democrat and specializes in, among other things, agricultural law. Excepting two men in this century, all of Mississippi’s governors and those ‘ruling the roost’ have been Democrats.

It is hard to run on reform when your candidate is of the same ilk you’re criticizing.

Second, we note the farmers we know tend to have their heads on straighter than most politicians or Hollywood types. Nearly a third of all Mississippians are employed by agriculture, which is a $6.3 billion industry in our state.

In terms Freeman can understand, “That ain’t chickenfeed.”

We thoroughly enjoy Freeman’s movies and remain proud to claim him as a Mississippian, but he should leave politics to the professionals.

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One Comment on “Freeman’s Comments Don’t Help Luckett”


  1. […] with fear It isn’t enough that Morgan Freeman is opposed to Mississippi’s “mule headed farmers.” Now he supports a drilling moratorium in the Gulf as well. Actors Ted Danson and Morgan […]


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