NewsPub Notes

Pub Notes

Well, the local Democrats roasted Doc last Thursday night. It took three hours, but they got him well done: Judge Lawton Stephens was as usual outrageously funny as MC, skewering each speaker, including Doc. Doc adeptly answered all the insults hurled at him. Gwen O’Looney recalled Doc as a commissioner described by a consultant as a good old boy who still dresses and acts as if he were in a fraternity locker room. Judge Patrick Haggard and Tom Hodgson produced anecdotes from growing up with Doc; Jane Kidd made Doc the butt of political jokes, as did Barbara Dooley (via video). Michael Thurmond, in a rousing finale, told how it fell to Doc and him to resolve the tensions on their high school football team resulting from racial integration, and how that forged their friendship.

In his own remarks, Doc departed from the humorous proceedings long enough to excoriate our legislative delegation (Bill Cowsert, Frank Ginn, Keith Heard and Doug McKillip) for taking it upon themselves to change our form of local government that we worked 40 years to put in place and perfect and which has withstood numerous approvals by the U.S. Justice Department. None of those legislators were there, though Regina Quick, the Republican attorney running against Rep. McKillip, was present and was warmly received among the Democrats. She was shadowed by McKillip’s political operative, Bo Mabry, who videotaped the proceedings for his master. Michael Thurmond told Mabry off from the podium, and he wasn’t kidding.

In case you missed it, here’s my own contribution to the affair, a takeoff on Shakespeare’s rendition of Marc Antony’s funeral oration re: his pal Julius Caesar. I took shameful liberties and portrayed Doc as Caesar and local progressives as Brutus, commemorating the time all us progressives turned against Doc and defeated him in his re-election bid for mayor. Fortunately, we can laugh about it now, though Doc’s smile is more of a grimace. The other orators were funnier and more biting, but they basically spoke from notes and extemporaneously—lost to posterity—unless Bo Mabry will sell you a tape. [Actually, the Democrats recorded the whole thing, too.]

If Not This, What?

Friends, Athenians, Democrats: lend me your ears; I come to roast Eldridge, not to praise him. The non-partisan elections that men do live after them; the New Urbanism is oft interred with their bones; so let it be with Eldridge. The noble Progressives have told you Eldridge was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault; and grievously hath Eldridge answered it. Here, under leave of the Progressives and the rest,—for the Progressives are honorable folk; so are they all, all honorable folk, come I to speak in Eldridge’s roast. He is my friend, faithful and just to me: but the Progressives say he is ambitious; and the Progressives are honorable folk. He hath brought many Walmarts home to Athens, whose cost did the general coffers empty. Did this in Eldridge seem ambitious? When the rich have cried, Eldridge hath wept: ambition should be made of sterner stuff:… You all did love him once—not without cause: What cause withholds you, then, to laugh with him? Bear with me; my heart is in the barbecue pit there with Eldridge…

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. You all do know this mantle. Look! In this place ran Flagpole’s dagger through. See what a rent the envious scandal-sheet made. Through this the well-beloved Bertis stabbed, and, as he plucked his cursed steel away, mark how the blood of Eldridge followed it… This was the most unkindest cut of all; for when the noble Eldridge saw them stab, ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms, quite vanquished him: then burst his mighty heart… and even at the base of Athena’s statue which all the while ran blood, great Eldridge fell.

Oh, what a fall was there, my Democrats!… I am no orator, as Edwards is, but as you know me all, a plain blunt man that love my friend, who while a Democrat was also a Republican—and now as a Republican, we can hope, still has some Democrat in him, making him a veritable political hermaphrodite…

Here was an Eldridge! When comes such another?

If not this, what?

Pete McCommons