Wednesday, April 6, 2016

At Last, Does Cohen Get an Election-Year Pass?

It looked that way last week, as a candid and expansive congressman boasted to the Economics Club of a "YUGE' year of successes.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 12:26 AM

click to enlarge Cohen at the Economics Club - JB
  • JB
  • Cohen at the Economics Club

“[FedEx Founder] Fred Smith treats packages better than Delta Airlines treats their passengers”: 9th District congressman Steve Cohen last Wednesday in a luncheon address to the Memphis Economics Club, thereby launching a duel complaint (1) at the failure of Congress to establish comfortable seating standards for air travel, and (2) at Delta, for closing down its Memphis hub and drastically cutting flights from Memphis International Airport.

The congressman was none too charitable, either, with President Obama, handing the President the following grades on an alliterative trio of issues Cohen has considered urgent: A on Cuba, but C-minus on Commutations, and D-minus on Cannabis. Overall, however, Cohen felt that Obama should be credited with a positive agenda and a successful Presidency.

Cohen weighed in on behalf of greater expenditures for the National Institutes of Health as against spending taxpayer money of weapons systems that benefit influential political donors but have no practical purpose in national defense.

The Democratic congressman was unexpectedly kind to his Republican colleague from the adjoining 8th District, Stgephen Fincher, whom he praised for helping to facilitate a positive congressional vote for the Import-Export Bank. And he had praise also for Tennessee’s two GOP Senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, whom he credited with “not being part of the logjam” in Congress.

And Cohen was not above a bit of perhaps justified self-congratulation, ticking off a list of things he’s accomplished, then mimicking Donald Trump’s voice to boast “lots of wins this year, and some of them were YUGE!”

It is beginning to seem clear that, for the very first time since his first successful congressional race in 2006, Cohen is actually going to get a pass this year. No serious challenger in sight after the drop-out, several weeks ago, of state Senator Lee Harris; M. LaTroy Williams, a perennial, has filed, as has Cohen. Justin Ford, a member of the well-known political clan and a Shelby County Commissioner, picked up a petition in January, but there has been no obvious follow-through since. 

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