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DAVID DALLAS — Elvis to take on Tater

David Dallas

David Dallas

It appears that Mississippi’s most fortunate son, Lieutenant Governor “Tater” Reeves will finally face some opposition in his upcoming race for our State’s most powerful political position.

Enter the Elvis Impersonator. There is really no need to call the candidate anything other than Elvis. After Tater takes him down, we won’t remember his real name anyway.

Apparently, Elvis, who once impersonated a Republican State Senator and a Madison County Supervisor, has now shed his Republican persona and declared his intentions to run as a Democrat against Big Tater.

It would be different if this were some cool, young and hip Tupelo Elvis. But this guy is the garden variety left-in-Las-Vegas Elvis. God bless him.

Please won’t you help me, I feel like I’m slipping away,” Elvis will most assuredly be singing on the campaign trail, “Lord Almighty, I’m burning a hole where I lay.”

But it will not be “Love” that’s “Burning” for this Elvis and his fans. No, that would be the dumpster fire that is Mississippi’s Democratic Party.

God help them, if God even can. Are there any Democrats left in Mississippi? Is no one other than Jim Hood willing to run for Statewide office anymore?

Is an ex-Republican Elvis Impersonator the best Democrats can do?

It’s not much of a stretch to say this Elvis would probably be just as good if not better for Mississippi as Lieutenant Governor than Tater, who is about as inspiring as a yawn.

Tater has led the most charmed life in the history of Mississippi politics, a testament to the old Woody Allen axiom that “90% of life is just showing up.”

Tater first showed up in 2003 riding Haley Barbour’s coat tails into the State Treasurer’s Office. Tater was Barbour’s handpicked boy. With Barbour’s help, Tater outspent two, more qualified and better known, Republican opponents in the Primary that year. He then went on to defeat a more respected and qualified Democrat, outspending him nearly 4 to 1.

It may not be coincidence that Haley Barbour’s middle name is “Reeves?” Just look at them. Their jaw lines are not dissimilar. And Tater is still Barbour’s boy. All of the old campaign staffers who worked to keep Haley in office are now “grinding for their Tate.”

Tater has consistently out raised and outspent his no-named and even non-existent opponents by the widest of margins. His political war chest by this time is probably worth more than the actual Elvis Presley Estate.

Tater is the kind of politician the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling benefits, a politician who answers to money above all else. Money is what wins elections and that makes Tater invincible.

But never mind the lack of funding, hope has arrived for Mississippians who dare call themselves Democrats. Elvis is in the building.

Candidate Elvis is striking the right note by pitting Tater against the common man and the common good. “Elected officials should be in the business of helping all Mississippians, not picking out who to hurt,” he said during his announcement speech. “The current way of doing business in our state Capitol, and especially in the state Senate, has hurt a lot of our fellow Mississippians.”

Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole believes the GOP has “turned a lot of people off.” Cole is also not surprised by the defection of Elvis, whose name will more than likely appear on the ballot as “Tim Johnson.”

This could be the next trend in Mississippi politics. With Democrats too fearful to fight the massive amounts of money and the media machine behind Mississippi’s GOP juggernaut, the best Cole can do is hope for more disgruntled Republicans to fall out with Tater, Barbour, and the Establishment. Some will travel further to right and join the ever burgeoning Tea Party, but those with more moderate tendencies just may gird their loins and look to the left.

Even the best soldiers will not march lock step forever while neighbors and loved ones remain stuck with poor schools, poor healthcare, low paying jobs, corruption scandals, and the host of other problems that continue to plague our State. But such defections may prove pointless for the next few elections.

If Elvis is serious about repenting for his Republican sins, he can not just run for Lieutenant Governor only to have Tater mop the floor with him. He must help the Democratic Party find other dedicated candidates to run for all of our statewide offices. More importantly he should work his hips off convincing Mississippi’s electorate to vote for them.

Democrats had better focus on getting Mississippi voters to switch parties, not politicians with a penchant for losing.

» David Dallas is a political writer. He worked for former U.S. Sen. John Stennis and authored Barking Dawgs and A Gentleman from Mississippi.

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