MAIN STREET JOURNAL Memphis' Newsmagazine Fri, 16 May 2008 21:42:52 +0000 en The Politics of Locality Fri, 16 May 2008 21:40:41 +0000 Main Street Journal (The following is an excerpt from the May issue of the Main Street Journal, a Memphis newsmagazine, covering the 7th Congressional Republican Primary race between U.S. Congressman Marsha Blackburn and Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood.)

The Politics of Locality: Could Shelby County pose a problem for Congressman Marsha Blackburn?

By: Jonathan Lindberg

On a Thursday morning in April, a group of reporters gathered together at Germantown City Hall to meet with U.S. Congressman Marsha Blackburn. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss an Anti-Earmark Pledge that Blackburn was signing. Though no actual signing took place, handouts were made available at the door.

The Earmark Pledge was being presented by a group called Freedom Works, a political action group from Washington chaired by Dick Armey, the former Speaker of the House. Armey arrived that morning wearing a full-sized cowboy hat and a suit. He looked every bit the former Texas Congressman, despite suburban surroundings.

“The earmark system in Washington is broken,” he said, showing little signs of a Texas accent. “Marsha Blackburn is willing to ask the big questions on the big issues, as well as anyone in Congress. She is one of the hero’s in Washington. I want to applaud her for taking the lead in the fight to reform the corrupt earmark system.”

It should come as little surprise that Blackburn, considered one of the staunchest conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, would attach her name to a pledge like this. What was surprising, or rather telling, was the fact that Blackburn had brought in a former Speaker of the House for an obvious campaign stop, and that her location of choice was not Nashville or its suburbs, but rather East Shelby County.

This is, however, election season, and Marsha has a race on her hands. For the first time since winning her seat six years ago in a hotly contested race which saw three Shelby County Republicans split the vote allowing Blackburn to carry the rest of the district, the Congressman (term preferred) is facing strong competition from Shelby County Register and former Republican State Senator Tom Leatherwood.

That any credible Republican would throw there hat into this ring comes as a surprise to many. The gerrymandered Seventh Congressional District has long been viewed as a district that belongs to the conservative incumbent for as long as they desire to keep it. But in a district that covers parts of two very distinct and differing metropolitan areas, Greater Memphis and Greater Nashville, location seems to matter just as much as political posturing. Leatherwood seems to understand the challenge. “I tell people, I am not running up against a brick wall. This isn’t a brick wall – this is the side of a mountain.”

The mountain Leatherwood is referring to are the dueling strengths of Marsha Blackburn – her incredible fundraising machine, which has collected nearly one-million dollars in campaign coffers over the past six years, and her seemingly sterling persona which has earned her the reputation as a “rising star”, “a congressional hero” and a leading “face of House Republicans” on the twenty-four hour cable news networks.

However, it is in these same perceived strengths that Leatherwood hopes to find victory. For when it comes to ethics and effectiveness, buzz words that resonate with voters on Election Day, Leatherwood feels he has found his opening.

On April 16, 2008 the Commercial Appeal ran a front page story explaining that the Blackburn campaign had underreported $286,000 in campaign expenditures, $102,044 in unreported contributions, and $52,024 in “routine”accounting errors. Of the unreported expenditures, $18,821 of those had gone to her own daughter, Mary Morgan Ketchel, who works as the Finance Director for the campaign. The CA was kind in its reporting, calling the oversight a glitch. But as one West Tennessee Republican official pointed out, “since when is a quarter of a million dollars a glitch?”

That glitch constituted one-third of the current holdings in the Blackburn campaign fund.

This was not the first time Blackburn had mismanaged campaign funds. In March 2006, the Blackburn campaign paid a $1,500 fine with the Federal Election Committee (FEC) after the FEC found that Blackburn had underreported $61,800 in campaign contributions.

The Blackburn team has worked hard to explain (read: spin) these oversights. Darcy Anderson, campaign spokeswoman, acknowledged that mistakes had been made at all levels, but reiterated that their team had stepped forward with this information in order to make things right.

However, as Anderson tells it, at the time when most of these mistakes were made, the Blackburn campaign staff was sparse to say the least, with one accountant who was part-time and was serving as a volunteer. The image presented was a campaign office that was understaffed and under prepared, where “everyone was answering the phone or everyone was sending out letters or everyone was pitching in to get done whatever needed to get done.”

With a war chest of hundreds of thousands of dollars, it would seem as if some of that money should have been spent on better accounting in the early years of the campaign.

During the last two or three years, the campaign has hired a professional accounting firm in hopes of rectifying these sort of problem and to help steer the campaign ship back on course.

Though other candidates have been toppled by similar issues of financial mismanagement, Blackburn still remains the overwhelming favorite to win the August primary. In a district dominated by conservative votes, Blackburn has remained true to her roots, casting consistent conservative votes on all-important issues like spending restraint, homeland security, immigration reform, budget reduction, limited government, and faith-based social issues. All of this simply adds to her own personal appeal and charm, which has gone a long ways toward softening the potential rhetoric in light of her current financial disclosures.

Fact is, regular voters like Marsha Blackburn. And in a congressional race where politics is local, that matters.

If Leatherwood stands any chance of unseating this incumbent, victory will have to come on the back of the second perceived strength of Blackburn – that is her effectiveness.

In her first three terms, Blackburn has managed to climb the congressional ladder with speed and agility. She has been described by some as “ambitious”. She has been labeled by others as a “rising star”. During her first term in Congress, Blackburn was named by the Washingtonian as “one of the top three freshman in Congress”, and by the National Journal as a “freshman to watch” and a “top House conservative”. During her first two terms Blackburn served as an elected Assistant Whip. During her current term, she is serving as a Deputy Whip.

Despite this aggressive resume, heightened by her own rhetoric and constant campaign press releases, Blackburn now seems very intent on distancing herself from Congressional Republican leadership, for obvious reasons, such as record-low polling numbers. In fact, when pressed on the issue of House
leadership, Blackburn responds by labeling any such attachment as “blatant lies”.

So the question remains – is Blackburn a “rising star” among House leadership, or is she simply a Congressional foot solider – part of the conservative wing of the Republican Party?

Consider this, during her six years in Congress Blackburn has sponsored 34 bills, 32 of which have never made it out of committee. While that is hardly unusual, it hardly speaks of leading-the-charge. And while it is true Blackburn has remained an active House member, co-sponsoring hundreds of bills, many of which have been passed into law, when it comes to the issue of leadership, the argument that numerous Republican leaders throughout Shelby County are making is that Blackburn is great for sixty-second sound bites on radio or television, or for making an appearance at an event, delivering her sound bite and the exiting out the door – but when it comes to getting things done, something is lacking.

According to these same leaders, comprising mostly of elected officials who openly support Tom Leatherwood, Blackburn is seen more as a style candidate and less of a substance candidate. Or as one Shelby County elected official asked rhetorically, “What has she really done?”

The question, more appropriately phrased, “What have you done for me lately?” seemed to come up a number of times among Shelby County leadership. Sour grapes – or does Blackburn, who is still seen in as politician from Nashville who only makes stops in Memphis, have a Shelby County problem?

Tom Leatherwood is hoping so.

Without question, Leatherwood is counting on his years of service both in the State Senate and his years as Shelby County Register to help him overwhelm the popular vote in Shelby County and give him a real chance of winning. In 2002, Blackburn faced three strong Shelby County Republicans – Attorney David Kustoff, State Senator Mark Norris and Memphis City Councilman Brent Taylor. Blackburn fared well in that race, finishing a competitive third in Shelby County votes, garnering just over 9,000 to Norris who finished around 10,000 and Kustoff with around 11,000.

And while Shelby County has changed dramatically in six years, with a whole new influx of registered voters pouring into the suburbs, if Blackburn can manage anywhere near those kind of ratios between her and Leatherwood, it will be tough to overtake her in the rest of West Tennessee and Nashville where she is sure to have an advantage.

Time and money will decide this race, as they do most races. For now, both are on the side of Blackburn who has six years of incumbency behind her and close to one-million dollars in campaign cash before her. Leatherwood, just out of the gate, is already playing catch-up, working and organizing to raise the cash to get his message out this summer. At the time of this writing, Leatherwood was still gathering his finance team that will help with fundraising and his campaign web sit was still listed as “under construction”. He has a long ways to go in a short amount of time and the clock is ticking.

So perhaps Leatherwood waited too long to get in this race. That is what will be said if he loses the race. But if he wins – well then, he got in this race at just the right time.

That’s how politics goes.

May 2008, Vol. 32 Thu, 08 May 2008 01:58:13 +0000 Main Street Journal Main Street Journal is a monthly newsmagazine covering issues and culture in Memphis and Shelby County. Subscribe online - its safe and easy. Subscribe online — it’s safe and easy!

May 2008 Cover 150

Table of Contents: May 2008

On the River

Jonathan Lindberg: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Joe Saino: Monitoring Memphis Non-Profits

J. Ward Moorehouse: On the Stage

Judith’s Picks

Judith Conroy

Lead Article

Jonathan Lindberg: The Politics of Locality: How Shelby County could pose a problem for Marsha Blackburn

Feature Articles

Michael Roy Hollihan: Juneteenth: Can a festival bring racial unity to Memphis?

Op-Ed: Mike Ritz: Land Use in Big Shelby

Edward F. Williams III: Moss Hall

Ties That Bind

Dr. David Patterson: The Many Faces of Holocaust Denial

On the Shelf

Jason Middlekauff: The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever

On the Money

Chuck Bates: Solving the Violence Problem in our Community Part II

April 2008, Vol. 31 Mon, 14 Apr 2008 19:47:37 +0000 Main Street Journal Main Street Journal is a monthly newsmagazine covering issues and culture in Memphis and Shelby County. Subscribe online - its safe and easy. Subscribe online — it’s safe and easy!

April 2008 Cover 150

Table of Contents: April 2008

On the River

Jonathan Lindberg: The ReRace for Memphis Mayor: Part I

J. Ward Moorehouse: On Freedom

Joe Saino: March Madness

On Repeat

Jason Middlekauff: Counting Crows

Judith’s Picks

Judith Conroy

Lead Article

Richard Thompson: Sink or Swim: How the Commercial Appeal is Adapting to Survive

Feature Articles

Michael Roy Hollihan: Why Cordova Leadership Council is Optimistic About the Future

Op-Ed: Carol Chumney: Making Memphis Strong!

Edward F. Williams III: The Way Things Were: South Main & Peabody Place

Ties that Bind

Dr. David Patterson: An Open Letter to Christians

On the Shelf

Jonathan Lindberg: The Bridge of Sighs

On the Money

Chuck Bates: Solving the Violence Problem in Our Community

March 2008, Vol. 30 Mon, 10 Mar 2008 22:32:55 +0000 Main Street Journal Main Street Journal is a monthly newsmagazine covering issues and culture in Memphis and Shelby County. Subscribe online - its safe and easy. Subscribe online — it’s safe and easy!

March 2008 Cover 150

Table of Contents: March

On the River

Jonathan Lindberg: Peddling Hate

Joe Saino: Common Sense Solutions for a Bloated Budget

Michael Roy Hollihan: How Your Drinking Water May Change Part II

On the Road

Nicholas Carraway: Senator Hillary Clinton

Judith’s Picks

Judith Conroy

Lead Article

Jonathan Lindberg: Out of the Night: The Liberation of Nina Katz

Feature Articles

Nate Kellum: The Battle for Religious Freedom

Edward F. Williams III: The Way Things Were: Front Street Post Office

Ties that Bind

Dr. David Patterson: The Soul: A Tie that Binds Most Profoundly

On the Shelf

Michael Roy Hollihan: A Farewell to Alms: A brief economic history of the world

On the Money

Chuck Bates: What it takes to make your community a safe place for investment: Part IV

February 2008, Vol. 29 Thu, 07 Feb 2008 02:07:31 +0000 Main Street Journal Main Street Journal is a monthly newsmagazine covering issues and culture in Memphis and Shelby County. Subscribe online - its safe and easy. Subscribe online — it’s safe and easy!

February 2008 Cover 150

Table of Contents: February

On the River

Michael Roy Hollihan: How Your Drinking Water May Change

Shep Fargotstein: On Finances: Market Outlook 2008

Joe Saino: Do Memphis Citizens Have the Right to Petition Memphis Government?

On Repeat

Jason Middlekauff: Radiohead: In Rainbows

Judith’s Picks

Judith Conroy

Lead Article

Jonathan Lindberg: The Rise and Fall of Fred Thompson: How a presidential campaign came undone

Feature Articles

Opinion Editorial: A Good Day: Two Sensible Proposals on the Same Day

Edward F. Williams III: The Way Things Were: Court Square

Ties that Bind

Dr. David Patterson: The Biblical Reply to Environmental Paganism

On the Shelf

Jonathan Lindberg: Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu

On the Money

Chuck Bates: What it Takes to Make Your Community a Safe Place for Investment: Part III

January 2008, Vol. 28 Tue, 08 Jan 2008 23:32:10 +0000 Main Street Journal Main Street Journal is a monthly newsmagazine covering issues and culture in Memphis and Shelby County. Subscribe online - its safe and easy. Subscribe online — it’s safe and easy!

January 2008 Cover 150

Table of Contents: January

On the River

Jonathan Lindberg: Polling Polls

Michael Roy Hollihan: To the Scrap Yard

Joe Saino: Will 2008 Bring Real Change or More of the Same

Opinion Editorial

Opinion Editorial: Mayor Keith McDonald: Cooperation Not Consolidation

Judith’s Picks

Judith Conroy

Lead Article

Joe Saino: Bloated: How Mayor Herenton Has Been Able To Abuse His Appointment Power

Feature Articles

Daniel Johnson: The Triumph of Evil

Edward F. Williams III: The Way Things Were: Howard Hall

Ties that Bind

Dr. David Patterson: The Holiness of the Holy Land

On the Shelf

Jason Middlekauff: Starbucked

On the Money

Chuck Bates: What It Takes To Make Your Community a Safe Place For Investment: Part II

On the Money: What it Takes to Make Your Community a Safe Place for Investment? Fri, 21 Dec 2007 04:00:18 +0000 Main Street Journal Dollar Bill
The following is an excerpt from our December issue. Subscribe now.

by: Chuck Bates

Living in the same community we all have one issue in common that determines our future success or demise as a locality. We all want our community to survive economically. Whether someone is living in the most toney neighborhood or just in “the hood” we all have to make a living and in order to do that we have to attract capital to our community in the forms of new families and new businesses. Let’s face it everybody must feed, house and clothe themselves’ and that requires capital. But what does it take to retain that capital?

Capital looks for two things: 1.) Economic Stability and 2.) Political Stability. One need only look to other regions of the world to see the risk aversion of capital. Why are there no serious skyscraper lined cities in say Republic of Congo? Simply the risk to capital due to both economic and political instability overwhelms the potential reward for investing in the area. It is not due to a lack of natural resources as the nation is mineral rich. The problem lies specifically in the political upheavals and constant warring between factions thus destroying any hope of economic stability. But we don’t have to look to developing areas just look at Lebanon. Lebanon was at one point considered “The Riviera of the Middle East”. It was a business and banking center and today it is in constant turmoil due to political instability to the point new investment in such a place would be almost certain loss to the investor. Yugoslavia is another example of a nation that was on its way to modernization both politically and economically. The Winter Olympics were even held in the country but today it is a shell of a nation nowhere near where it was just two decades ago, all due to political instability and the subsequent flight of capital.

I mention all of this to bring us to our own community. Memphis and the surrounding area was once a very much booming community. Some would argue it has continued to boom based on all of the growth in the suburbs but in my estimation that is actually a sign of trouble more so than growth. Surely we have seen actual growth and some multinational corporations call Memphis home but how many have left the city and how many more are refusing to locate here due to both political and economic instability? I cannot tell you how many folks I have spoken with who are for lack of a better term “getting out of Dodge.” The flight to the suburbs was not necessarily all growth as much as it was transplanting capital out of the city proper over the last 16-20 years. Why the flight of capital, well again it gets back to economic and political stability. When you have political leadership that is willing to waste hundreds of millions of dollars and then call on the taxpayers to cough up more and more every time City Hall finds itself short on cash then that brings some hard choices to the individual. In many cases it forces them to leave so that they can afford to live and take care of their families. When the political leadership oversees the biggest expansion in taxes in the locales history, the biggest expansion of debt, the worst record in history in the number of failing schools and then to top it off the dubious distinction of staying on the top ten list of most dangerous and crime ridden areas per capita in the nation, then capital is bound to flee.

I’m sorry Mr. Mayor and the rest of the race baiters chalking the flight up to racism, that dog just won’t hunt anymore, namely because there are thousands upon thousands of African-American families fleeing as well.

Now we find ourselves faced with the very leaders who have been the overseers of the aforementioned failures seeking to expand that power via consolidation of city and county government. While there may indeed be some areas of the two distinct governments that are redundant the manner by which the local politicos seek to merge the areas is a nightmare ready to take place. Even a couple of republican commissioners are pushing the consolidation of governments starting with the Sheriff’s department. They are actually suggesting we take a failing city department that serves only at the pleasure of a dismal mayor and have it takeover a fairly efficiently run Sheriffs Department that is accountable to the people? I dare say that if such political instability continues in our community then we can guarantee the continued flight of both economic and human capital from our region.

Needless to say there is much more to this issue of consolidation and we will continue to examine it in our next issue.

The Consolidation Campaign Fri, 21 Dec 2007 03:57:19 +0000 Main Street Journal Pyramid & Roads 200
The following is an excerpt from our December issue. Subscribe now.

By: Michael Roy Hollihan

It began again at the well-attended Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast in October. This was Mayor Herenton’s highest profile appearance after his record-clinching fourth re-election. He had the ears of many of Memphis and Shelby County’s biggest and most powerful business leaders and politicians. Herenton announced a lot of things, but he made sure to note that consolidation of Memphis and Shelby County governments was high on his list of priorities in his coming term.

The mayor’s been lying low ever since but the bugle call to consolidation is echoing around.

This war has been going on for many years now, and consolidation is no closer than it’s ever been. But this time it looks as though the consolidation campaign might actually gain some ground. Three fronts have opened up: education, police and charters. Each may gain a foothold.

From a chance, offhand discussion at Legislative Plaza in Nashville, a proposal has been crystallizing that would freeze the Memphis and Shelby County school districts. By changing State law to re-allow “special school districts” the boundaries for both systems would be set for years to come, regardless of geographical changes in city/county status. Both school systems could end the tricky negotiations and over-long logistical planning that goes into deciding where to build new schools. The County would no longer have to build schools with half an eye to an encroaching, consuming Memphis.

How might this help consolidation? Wouldn’t it mean the two systems end the forced collaborations they’ve known up to now? And wouldn’t that mean they just go their own ways, parallel and separate?

Possibly, but it also means a source of jealousy and conflict is removed. The heat and spark go away; the two systems can see each other as colleagues and maybe even friends. Eventually, the continued growth of Memphis into Shelby County will mean more and more city children will be in county schools, and the impetus to adjust the situation might become a reasonable argument to consolidate, to sort it all out.

Second, Memphis and Shelby County put together a task force earlier this year to explore realigning the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. It’s been slow to meet and move forward but November’s action by task force member and County Commissioner Mike Carpenter prodding some reactions. Carpenter released a plan of action that outlines new, realigned duties for the police and sheriffs, and brings back some disbanded city-county crime-fighting units. It a first step of crime-fighting consolidation.

Predictably, there’s some territorial barking and nipping going on. But the MPD is the larger dog in this fight, and as growth continues it will only get bigger. While the County government is the base unit of local law enforcement under State law, it is over-matched by the behemoth that is Memphis. Nashville and Knoxville both sidestepped this imbalance by going metro years ago. Shelby County will walk the harder path.

Politics is a part of this discussion, as you’d expect. Some in Shelby County would prefer to see an elected and independent Sheriff in charge of law enforcement. Others believe a law enforcement chief accountable directly to the elected executive (City Mayor) – who can discharge him at will – means a more responsive police department. Both MPD Director Larry Godwin and Shelby County’s Mark Luttrell believe they should be the top dog and have the arguments to back that up. But Godwin is hitched to Herenton’s wagon (He stood right beside Herenton on election night, with a cat-eying-the-mouse grin.) and Herenton has promised consolidation.

These concerns can be addressed by the contiguous charter revision efforts going on in both Memphis and Shelby County.

Voters in Memphis elected and empowered representatives to the Charter Commission this year. Its brief is expansive and fundamental: it can recommend any changes to the City Charter (amendments to our city constitution, if you will) that it sees fit. It will be up to voters this Fall to approve or reject the proposals. Much is still being discussed, including the way proposed changes will be presented to voters, but if consolidation gains steam this Winter and Spring, don’t be surprised to see charter amendments bubble up that smooth the way for mergers.

At the same time, the Shelby County Commission is also exploring changes to Shelby County government. The County Commission’s work is less publicly known, and sometimes confused with the City Charter Commission, but it too is looking to make changes to how Shelby County government is structured. It may have been entirely innocent and coincidental, but the timing of the County Commission’s move following the steady, sensible and low-key progress of the Charter Commission does, to some consolidation supporters, seem felicitous. The County Commission’s work is in the earliest stages still, but come late Winter the tale will begin to unfold.

It’s the broad intermingling of political, legislative and law enforcement officials at the highest levels of Shelby County and Memphis, combined with the backing of both mayors, and the wide reach of these efforts that gives hope to supporters of consolidation that their time is come ’round at last. The beast may only be slouching along still, but it may yet rise to its feet and walk more quickly toward a combined Memphis – Shelby County metro government.

Watch this Spring to see if these buds bloom.

On the Shelf: The Preacher and the Presidents Fri, 14 Dec 2007 00:06:01 +0000 Main Street Journal Billy Graham
The following is an excerpt from our December issue. Subscribe now.

By: Jonathan Lindberg

In 1950, a young preacher named Billy Graham made his first trip to the White House to meet with President Harry Truman. Graham was already a rising star, having gained much notierity during his long-running and highly-successful Los Angeles Crusade the previous year. Now the young preacher was turning his attention to Washington. Graham had written Truman several times seeking an audience with the President.

After meeting with Truman for almost an hour, Graham and his team stopped on the White House lawn for a picture with the press, four men bowed in prayer. When the image of the young flashy preacher appeared in the newspapers the next day, Truman was furious. He figured Graham had used his visit to the White House to gain media attention. It was the last time Graham would ever visit with Truman while in office.

Though the incident ended his relationship with Truman, it also marked the beginning of the unmatched and at times limitless access Graham has enjoyed with every president since. No preacher has spent more time with more presidents than Graham. Long before the Religious Right or the Moral Majority came along, Graham became and remains the single most influential religious figure in American history.

But as Graham learned with Truman, high access comes with high costs.

In their new book, The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House (Center Street Books, 348 pages), Time magazine reporters Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy document the remarkable path to power that brought Billy Graham into the company of eleven sitting presidents, countless Senators, Governors, and an untold number of national leaders across the world. They also tell of the costly mistakes, the high price that Graham and his ministry paid for these relationships along the way.

What is clear is that Billy Graham, from the outset of his ministry, exhibited an intense fascination with politics, writing constant letters to lawmakers, seeking their company and influence, giving advice, and even weaving national and foreign policy statements into his sermons which have been broadcast around the world.

In 1952, Graham returned to Washington for a long-running crusade, attended by countless policymakers, Senators and Congressmen who were only beginning to understand the power that Graham wielded across the country.

It was during this time that Graham became a frequent guest of President Eisenhower, both in the White House and at the Presidents’ home at Gettysburg. Gibbs and Duffy tell of a personal Bible with notes and comments that Graham gave to Eisenhower, which the President kept at his bedside. It was Eisenhower who asked Graham, “How can I be sure I am saved?”

Graham has always viewed his role with Presidents and politicians as a ministry, guiding the language and hearts of world leaders. However, it was this role that nearly cost Graham his ministry.

And it was Richard Nixon that changed everything.

Of the eleven presidents Graham has known, Richard Nixon was the one with whom Graham became most involved. What is clear, in hindsight, is that Graham was in many ways used by his friend for political gain.

In 1960, Graham diverged from his nonpartisan stance by consulting Nixon on the handling of his campaign. That summer, Graham went as far as to pen an article for Life magazine endorsing Nixon, both his faith and character. It was only at the last moment that Graham had reservations and asked that the article not run.

Eight years later and Graham was at the height of his political power, having spent several years as counselor to Lyndon Johnson. In fact, Graham stayed as a guest of the President during Johnson’s last night in the White House, along with the following night as a guest of Nixon during his first.

It was only when the dark clouds of the Nixon presidency began to form that Graham realized what was happening. Graham had spent the past two decades defending a man and his faith. However, when Graham heard the Watergate tapes, everything changed. “I did misjudge him. It was a side to him that I never knew. He was just like a whole new person. I mean it was so ugly and so terrible, especially the cover-up and the language and all that. It was just something I never knew.”

After Watergate, Graham, his ministry damaged by his link to Nixon, pulled back, remerging years later with Reagan, Bush and Clinton in a much different role, one of spiritual advisor.

Though Preacher and the Presidents offers a truly fascinating look at Graham and his role in shaping American politics during the latter half of the twentieth century, one must keep in mind the tremendous impact Graham made at the same time with his preaching, his evangelism, and his writing. In perspective, Preacher and the Presidents is a major study on a minor part of Graham. However, the lessons found within are ones that our new breed of religious crusaders would do well to heed.

December 2007, Vol. 27 Tue, 11 Dec 2007 04:45:01 +0000 Main Street Journal The Main Street Journal is the fastest growing, full color, monthly news and culture magazine in Memphis and the Mid-South. Subscribe online — it’s safe and easy!

December 2007 cover 150

Table of Contents: December

On the River

Michael Roy Hollihan: The Consolidation Campaign

Joe Saino: The Reverse MLGW Christmas Carol

Redmond Wallace: Blues City Pastry Shop

On the Road

Nicholas Carraway: U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Judith’s Picks

Judith Conroy

Feature Articles

Dr. Thomas Lindberg: A Christmas I Will Never Forget

Dr. Ernie Frey: Culture Overboard: Drowning in a Sea of Good Choices

Senator Jim Kyle: Tough but Necessary Choices

Ties That Bind

Dr. David Patterson: Teachings on the Stranger

On the Shelf

Jonathan Lindberg: The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House

On the Money

Chuck Bates: On the Money: What it takes to make your Community a Safe Place for Investment