Posted tagged ‘Bill Luckett’

Luckett fumbles on unemployment

November 20, 2009

Bill Luckett’s campaign for governor continues bush-league mistakes. In an interview with Ole Miss student journalists he rightfully says, “Right now the biggest problem seems to be jobs.” Before you can tackle a problem, you have to have a realistic idea of that problem and Luckett’s campaign is never going to go anywhere as long as he continues to project his image of Clarksdale upon the rest of the state. Here is his latest fumble. It likely won’t get as much attention because it is policy oriented rather than flashy campaign missteps.

Luckett says, “”In Mississippi as a whole right now we’re running just at 11 percent unemployment.” No. Clarksdale is running right at 11.1 percent (or at least Coahoma County is), but Mississippi is at 9.8 percent. But really, whats a few thousand jobs between friends?

You can see how a Delta-centric view infects his campaign by his business partners’ oft-reported on remarks about Mississippians being “mule-headed farmers” – a reference to Delta politics that hasn’t been an aspect in statewide politics for decades, as well as his own accusation that independents and Republicans are somehow “racists” because of his personal experiences regarding racial issues in the Delta.

Haley Barbour was from the Delta, or at least the gateway to the Delta, Yazoo City. Ronnie Musgrove was from Batesville and Kirk Fordice was from Vicksburg. But they all had a statewide perspective in their campaigns and their policies. Luckett will never get out of Clarksdale if he doesn’t first get his thinking out of Clarksdale.

Also, wasn’t Luckett’s icon – Barack Obama – supposed to keep national unemployment below 8 percent with the stimulus? Yeah, that worked great.

(Hat-Tip to Y’all Politics for the video link.)

Freeman’s Comments Don’t Help Luckett

October 20, 2009

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.

Bill Luckett Fundraiser Calls Mississippians “mule-headed bunch of farmers”

October 14, 2009

Our favorite Democratic candidate for governor is back, this time he doesn’t have his foot in his mouth, he has his business partner and chief fundraiser’s foot in his mouth.

Bill Luckett’s business partner, movie star Morgan Freeman, told the Associated Press he is supporting Luckett because: “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.”

Freeman sent a fundraising letter which said, “Holding on to the old politics of race, class and region has starved Mississippi for too long.” Freeman is a host of cocktail party fundraiser in Los Angeles, California next week for Luckett who wants to use that Hollywood money to buy Mississippi’s Governor’s mansion.

This is going to be fun.

Delta Editor Calls Luckett “rookie politician” whose words “insult voters”

June 17, 2009

Tim Kalich, editor of the Greenwood Commonwealth, wrote about the recent Delta Council meeting and noted the absence of  “Bill Luckett, the Clarksdale attorney who has drawn headlines as a possible Democratic gubernatorial candidate.”

Kalich looks at Luckett’s recent not-ready-for-prime-time goof.

Luckett was sounding like a rookie politician last week when he explained his affiliation with the Democratic Party. He told the Associated Press he couldn’t see how anyone with any sensitivity growing up in Delta could be otherwise “unless you’re just a racist or something.”

It’s not smart, though, to insult voters he would need to have in a governor’s race. Luckett only has to look at recent election results. Nine of 10 offices — state and federal — elected statewide are held by Republicans. Even when the rest of the nation trended Democratic during the 2008 presidential election, Mississippi stayed solidly in the GOP column.

The only way for a Democrat to win statewide office these days is to woo GOP crossover votes. Calling them racist is not a particularly effective pickup line.

Luckett Blames Reporters on Salter’s Show

June 16, 2009

Bill Luckett appeared on Sid Salter’s talk radio show on Supertalk Mississippi Friday, and Sid replayed part of the show and commented on it Monday afternoon.  Sid asked Luckett about this from a recent Associated Press article:

“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.

This is what Luckett had to say on the quote on Friday:

It was not the answer I gave and then the question that was asked was something about Brad White, the Republican chairperson in Mississippi said Democrats are out of touch with Mississippians and basically can’t win an election or something along those lines. And I answered that by saying, well my belief was that its the Republicans that are out of touch not Democrats. Then she asked me another question. I was fighting about four trucks going by. In fact, and I’m not saying anything derogatory about Emily Pettus, it was a most difficult conversation, it was interrupted a number of times, and finally she said ‘let me see if I got this quote right’ and she read it back and I got parts of it and I said ‘well it sounds pretty close.’ But my message…what I said was this, I said ‘growing up in Mississippi for sixty years in the Delta leaves me with a sense of compassion and social sensitivity that I think everybody in the Delta develops and has, UNLESS one is a racist.’ And I believe that.  And I’ve got Republican friends all over the Delta who are compassionate and as socially sensitive and maybe more so than I am even…If it was taken wrong, I apologize for that, but my intention was to say, ‘I grew up in the Delta and like a lot of my friends there you can’t have lived in the poorest part of the poorest state in the nation and not come away with some real social sensitivity.

Salter said after the show he got a text message from the Associated Press Capitol Reporter Emily Wagster Pettus, that said per Salter:

I understand that Mr. Luckett was trying to disavow the quote that was in my story. I read it back to Mr. Luckett immediately after he said it and told him I wanted to make sure I had it right and he said that yes, those were his words. I don’t want to get up in the middle of this on the radio, but clearly, I stand by the accuracy of my work.

Then Salter noted that Luckett also challenged his own reporting in a column from January of this year when Salter wrote:

There are other seeming contradictions. He supports charter schools, but supports a substantial amount of so-called “tort reform” legislation. That would seem to pit Luckett against one of the groups that delivers the most warm bodies to the polls to support Democrats (teacher unions) and one of the groups that has in recent years provided much of the campaign finance dollars (trial lawyers).

Salter said he remembers the interview and that his colleague Jerry Mitchell was in the Clarion Ledger conference room with him. But when he mentioned it on the radio, this was Luckett’s response:

Alright Sid, well first of all, that was one segment of your article that I don’t think you got right from me, on tort reform.

To this Salter said on the radio Monday:

Mr. Luckett questioned Emily Wagster Pettus because of an uncomfortable response to a question. He questioned me because of an uncomfortable response to a question that I asked back in January in an interview with him…It will be a long and difficult campaign if Mr. Luckett questions the veracity of every reporter who asks him tough questions and responds to the times when he gives difficult answers by saying ‘the reporter got it wrong.’ I don’t think Emily Wagster Pettus got it wrong and I can assure you, I didn’t get it wrong.

Bill Luckett’s Campaign Strategy

1) Announce

2) Put Foot in Mouth

3) Blame the Shoe

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Bill Luckett calls Delta Independents, Republicans “racists”

June 11, 2009

Bill Luckett, an attorney and owner of of the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, has opened the “Progress for Mississippi” PAC to get ready to run for Governor. In not the best way to start a campaign, he has said anyone in the Delta who is not a Democrat is a racist.

“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.

He also has aligned himself with President Barack Obama. Intentionaly linking himself to National Democrats is another foolish mistake for a Mississippi Democrat looking to reach the necessary conservative Democrats it would take to win.

Luckett said he voted for President Barack Obama and supports most of Obama’s efforts to get the economy back on track.

“He is making some smart decisions, but they’re risky,” Luckett said.

Not a good way to launch your campaign.