Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cyber Hillbilly Questions Fletcher’s Temerity

Boxing fans will be familiar with the term “Glass Jaw.” It refers to a fighter who often appears to have all it takes to win in every category save one: the ability to weather a really hard punch. Some of the most intriguing fighters in boxing have had glass jaws. Take Tommy “the Hitman” Hearns. He could move, he could jab, he could punch—oh my god, how the man could punch—but his Achilles Heel was always his chin. No matter how underrated his opponent might be, if they packed a wallop, ol’ Tommy was suspect to go crashing to the mat at the first sign of danger.

Then there was Tommy Morrison. He never quite made the big time, at least in terms of his fighting ability, but he showed promise. While not in Hearns league, Morrisson had a lot going for him. First, he represented the latest incarnation of the famed "Great White Hope"; that is, a Caucasian boxer who could win the title in the heavyweight division. Morrison had a fearsome left hook, was one of the strongest punchers in boxing in years, and was handsome and articulate. Further, he was a celebrity, having co-starred in Sly Stone’s fifth Rocky movie. Tommy’s star was in the ascendancy until he met a Marine named Mercer. Mercer stood his grounds and took Tommy's blows for several rounds before finally catching up with the Great White Hope. In a matter of seconds, after a few hard knocks, Morrison was out cold.

Politics can be similar to boxing. No matter how strong candidates might appear, there’ve been countless times those same candidates turned out to be a paper tiger. Might this be the case with Ernie Fletcher? For months, Anne Northup’s stalked the Governor trying to get in a good hard punch. She fended off crowds of hostile state workers at Lincoln Day Dinners and accusations that she was somehow disloyal to the party for running against the Governor. All the while, she continually insisted that the Governor couldn’t weather the storm of unpopularity in the general election. And for those same months we were treated to heartfelt assurances from Team Fletcher that he was in fact up to the task.

But last week an interesting thing happened; Anne caught up with the Governor. While the Governor was probably hoping that Anne had been the one portrayed in his latest cheesy ad, alas, it wasn’t to be. And now, after being on the defensive for a little over a week, the Governor’s own polls show him trailing or tied with Northup.

Granted, Anne Northup packs a wallop. Just ask Mike Ward, Jack Conway, Tony Miller, Eleanor Jordan, and various others who stood between her and electoral success. But come November, whoever emerges from the Democratic primary will be wearing brass knuckles. He’ll be buoyed by the passion and drive of a party uncomfortable with its loss of power four years ago and eager to do whatever it takes to get that power back. Further, he'll have the luxury of knowing that only once in the 30 years since Louie B. Nunn's election has a Republican won the Governor's mansion and that the majority of the voters are already registered his way even without a cloud of unpopularity hanging over the incumbent's head.

If at that time the opponent happens to be Ernie Fletcher, Republicans can expect an even fiercer assault. It’s hard to imagine that the Governor’s political jaw can sustain the abuse he’s likely to get. Take note Republicans… take note.

1 comment:

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