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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Another view

First off, I think it was a risky, boneheaded move on the part of the DCCC, particularly in Mississippi. A classic example of a national crew failing to really understand a local dynamic. But, that said...

The beef behind the DCCC's mailer is that Greg Davis never actually said he'd take the Forrest statue, just the Davis statue. This was due to some less than clear writing in the Commercial Appeal. From the Hill, today:

“They called and asked Mayor Davis if he had any interest in any of the statues … and Mayor Davis basically said, ‘You know I’d take the statue of Jefferson Davis, because it’s part of history,’ ” Prill said. “The mayor next door in Horn Lake said, ‘Yeah, I’ll take 'em all.' One of those happened to be [Forrest].

“It’s completely untrue to say that Greg Davis wanted the [Forrest] statue in Southaven.”

The Memphis Commercial Appeal, which is cited in the flier, reported in 2005 that Greg Davis and Horn Lake Mayor Nat Baker “said they would gladly accept the statues here in DeSoto (County) if Memphis didn’t want them.” The statues being referenced are those of Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, but the story does not elaborate on who agreed to take which.

In a previous story, the Commercial Appeal specifically said Greg Davis would be willing to display the Jefferson Davis statue near City Hall in Southaven and that Baker said he would take the Forrest statue “in a heartbeat.”

The later story does make reference to Greg Davis’s offer to accept “the statues” – plural – but it never specifically says he wanted the Forrest statue. The Jefferson Davis and Forrest statues are the only statues mentioned in the story.

Greg Davis is quoted as saying, “We were just placing ourselves as an alternative for if the city wanted to move the statues,” but it’s not clear to whom the pronoun “we” refers – the city of Southaven or he and Baker.

Okay. But as helpful commenter JimM over at SSP discovered, we find another reference from back in 2005, in a NY Times story covering the specific issue of the Forrest statue alone(emphasis added):
There have been other proposals for how the handle the Forrest issue, like giving generic names to the parks and adding monuments of black heroes. Last week, the mayor of Southaven, Miss., a fast-growing city where many white Memphians have moved over the years, said he would be happy to have the Forrest equestrian statue in Southaven.

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