Willie Herenton is a Stinkin’ Genius!

The general opinion in Memphis is that former mayor Willie Herenton has lost his mind. First, he retires from the post he’s held for 428 years (seems that long anyway), then he picks up paperwork Thursday to possibly throw his hat into the ring of a special election that must be held to replace him.


“I was hoping you  could look for his brain in Nashville” a friend told me, “because he clearly has misplaced it somewhere.”

Viewer comments to stories about the latest Herenton adventure have called him “unstable”, “meglomaniac”, “educated fool”, and just plain “sick”.

But I’ve come to realize that Willie Herenton is none of those things, he is a stinkin’ genius!

Many people, especially politicians, want to reach a level of immortality. They want to be remembered. Names on buildings, or stamps, or dollar bills.  They could simply shake hands, retire, speak at a few Civitan clubs and walk into the sunset. But a generation or so later, who’s going to remember them?

Not Willie Herenton though. He has reached that immortality through these almost insane rides. Run to replace himself and every newspaper in the world carries the story. Actually win (and who says he couldn’t?) and anybody in the country who follows the teeniest amount of politics will know the name Willie Herenton.

But I think to Herenton it’s more than just people knowing his name. He wants people to talk about him. In barber shops and newsrooms and farmers markets and church Sunday school classes. What’s that old saying? “It’s all good publicity as long as they spell your name right”.

Willie Herenton is “Tin Cup”.

Notice the similarities in what people are saying about Tin Cup and what people say about Herenton?

What the clip doesn’t include is Rene Russo’s line after Roy begins to realize what he’d done. “Nobody is going to remember who won the U.S Open years from now, but you Roy! They’ll remember you. You’re…well, it’s….immortal!”


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