Memphis Mayoral Mayhem – OMG and WTH

Robert Hodges, aka Prince Mongo, for Mayor?

Robert Hodges, aka Prince Mongo, for Mayor?

WMC-TV Channel 5 aired the first forum for the upcoming mayoral election tonight and I was fortunate enough to be one of three panelists.

Nine of the contenders for Memphis mayor were at Opera Memphis for the… circus.

Yep, circus. The CA’s story is here.

I’m all for the democratic process – and I understand that that means that some of the candidates may be weaker than others but Robert Hodges, aka Prince Mongo, was a disgrace.

I only met the man for the first time tonight, when pre-debate, I asked him why his legs (nekkid to the knee) were different colors.

The purple is because of his royalty, he explained, and the pink is the blood of the people. (I thought blood was red, but what do I know?)

He let me take a picture of him and told me I was pretty. He got pretty close when sharing that last tidbit, and what I had heard I can confirm: He smells like last week. (Or maybe last year. Either way, it’s not fresh.)

The Flyer’s Jackson Baker and The Main Street Journal’s Jonathan Lindberg were the other panelists and we’re a threesome on the debate scene, having worked together several times.

This may be my last forum, though, because after Hodges’ first rant – he was mad because Ch. 5’s producer was understandably not thrilled with his choice of clothing for the night’s festivities (bare feet, some sort of robe, a matted wig, shades, a fringe headband and…. wait for it… a rubber chicken hanging around his neck) – I was about to die laughing.

But I couldn’t laugh, because I’m sitting on stage and I have to ask Jerry Lawler (who is much brighter than I gave him credit for – my bad, Jerry) a question.

My parents TiVoed the forum, so I watched it at their house and saw how poorly I did at trying to keep it together. Anchor Joe Birch was fighting back laughter at points too, so if  a pro like him was about to lose it, at least I was in good company.

At past debates/forums, the camera usually zooms in on the panelist asking a question. Not so tonight. When any of us asked a question, all three of us were on camera.

All my grimaces, all the times I covered my face in prayer, all the times I was covering my mouth to stifle the laughter – the camera caught.

Sorry ‘bout that.

BUT – Prince Mongo had no business being there. Yeah, I know, he was hilarious, and I’m sure Wanda Halbert and Lawler, who sat on either side of the prince, can still smell him.

He is a joke. He is not going to win, he’s never won, and he’s a distraction. I don’t know how Ch. 5 could have legally kept him out – maybe a no shoes, no service rule? – because he did meet the qualifications to run for mayor, but seriously?

A year from now, what will I remember from this debate?

Mongo’s smell. His call to arm all citizens with Uzis. His declaration that no one can prepare for an earthquake, so you better say your prayers (which in itself, is not bad advice). His desire to flush the “turds” clogging the city’s political system than much else that was said. And his bare feet. And colored legs.

And the Memphis mayoral race is too important to be toyed with. I mean, we had a game player for long enough, it’s time to get SERIOUS.

For example, Lawler gave a pretty good showing – I certainly have a greater appreciation for his campaign now – but will anyone be talking about that in a week?

I think Halbert is spot-on when she says there are enough people in Memphis to fill the vacant police positions – but will we talk about that?

Wharton gave a good listing of the things he’s accomplished in his tenure – things I wasn’t aware he could take credit for (and will research whether he’s really responsible or not) – and that’s information I didn’t know before tonight.

Wharton, the ballot’s “tapioca,” also sparred a bit with the slimmed-down, hottie that Carol Chumney has morphed into – showing more cajones than I thought he had. Smart move – people needs to know he can go “Midtown” (I think that’s where he lives) when need be.

Sharon Webb…. bless her heart. Not. Ready. For. Prime. Time.

Charles Carpenter – didn’t impress me. Didn’t depress me either, but the jury is out on him.

Rev. Kenneth Whalum squandered a perfect opportunity to either explain what happened with the two lesbian women he had ejected from his church last Sunday – if he didn’t want to give details, he could have at least said his church is open to all who want to come and given a third plug for Bust-A-Move Mondays (the website for which hasn’t been updated in months).

Baker asked Whalum if he’d explain what happened at his church, and Whalum said absolutely not. That kind of reticence/secrecy/I ain’t telling you ish is EXACTLY what we need in an elected official. *Sarcasm. I mean, he didn’t even have the sense to spin it? Boooo. BOOO!

Can’t wait for the next debate, to learn more about the candidates. I’m not sure who is hosting it, but I’ll be sure to tune in. And in the meantime, here’s to praying that Mongo is not available for any other debates and/or the organizers find a way to keep him out.

Yeah, that may be trampling on the democratic process, but seriously. It’s time to get serious.

15 thoughts on “Memphis Mayoral Mayhem – OMG and WTH

  1. Wendi – I just finished watching the debate on channel 5’s website…and I think you did an admirable job of keeping it together…much better than I could ever have done. I’m afraid I might have literally been ROFL. I also agree with your analysis of the candidates. I’m still not sure who will get my vote, but I DEFINITELY know the ones who won’t! Good job!

  2. Wendi,
    You did a great job holding it together. I would have busted out laughing at Mongo at his first answer…the whole “ya’ll want me to be serious like the last administration” line was priceless.

  3. Wendi, I tuned in and was amazed that Mongo was there. I was also surprised at Lawler’s composure and intelligence! I don’t know who I am going to vote for yet (probably Wharton). Hey your attempts at hiding your mirth were great, btw. Surely some sort of residency requirement can disqualify Mongo from embarrassing us at any more of these events? Isn’t he really a resident of Fort Lauderdale? Oh yeah and poor poor Webb, what is she thinking? She was worse than Mongo.

  4. Oh man, I need to go back and watch it online with my mom when we visit her in the Ozarks this weekend. She’s going to absolutely lose it.

    Bust-A-Move DOT COM. If a man cannot bother keeping a website organized and updated, can he run city government? Not to mention, he is an arrogant jerk who believes he is way more with-it and intelligent that he will ever be. Tired of those types.

  5. Wendi, I’m watching the debate now and I’m laughing right along with you. Nothing to be too ashamed of there. Watch the look on Wanda Halbert’s face as Mongo answers his second question. She looked like she was trying to keep a squirrel from climbing out of her mouth!

  6. It’s good that Mongo was there. He has been around a long time for comic relief but this helped to 1) reintroduce him to the Memphis voting public and 2) to show what an idiot he really is.

    From here on out, I think the debates should include ONLY the top 4 or 5 in the polls. Let the others Squawk but at least we won’t be cluttered by those who have no chance of winning.

  7. Wendi, You’ve got to keep it together. 🙂 The debate didn’t bother me, it’s part of the process of picking leaders and is sometimes a messy affair.

  8. You did a great job, Wendi.

    It was SO MUCH FUN to keep up with the debate on Twitter too. You didn’t mention Chumney blinking out morse code, though, or the fact that Carpenter sounds like Cleveland from Family Guy. 😉

  9. I can honestly say that the only surprise last night was Lawler’s show of competence (maybe next to Mongo, anybody looks good). But with all the obvious “distractions” it’s hard to take this event seriously. Saturday Night Live would have a field day with this one!

  10. I know Hodges was a joke but he did keep me from getting mad at the other fools that were up there. You touched on it but Sharon Webb…wow. Really? I appreciate her being kind and saying “thank you” after every response (if you can call it an actual response). She just needs to realize her optimal job would be greeting people as they walk in to Wal-Mart. Whalum – ugh. I’m not going to his ridiculous Web sites, church and wherever he shops for his suits. Halbert – she may have given one good answer but can’t explain her points worth a dang.

    My point: Hodges is ridiculous but don’t waste your column describing him. Please point out that there less than 3 actual candidates that can start rebuilding Memphis and bring it back to what it used to be – before Herenton.

  11. Profiles of the Mayoral Candidates following 8/27/09 debate:
    If I were a Memphis Mayoral cartoon character candidate who would I be ?

    Charles Carpenter- Old campaign manger for former

    Mayor Willie Herenton. If you tear it down –They

    will come!!!… an attorney who has served as bond

    counsel for the city and county governments…said

    he would favor tearing down The Pyramid to clear

    the land for future development. –also get rid of that Blue Crush crap — sounds like a soft drink doesn’t it.

    Carol Chumney-“As mayor,(blink) it (blink) doesn’t

    matter (blink) to me (blink) if I’m (blink) liked,”

    Her response when talking about working with City

    Council members– or anybody else for that matter

    –her theme song should be “If I ruled the world”
    at Thursday’s 8/27/09 debate Chumney also

    repeated her story of how she put on her bullshit

    boots and single-handedly helped victims in a

    recent storm while the local government did

    nothing. As one blogger put it: Chumney came off

    with all the charm of that Russian chick from Rocky

    IV. And if she doesn’t win –she can always blink

    you to death.
    Wanda Halbert– awkward but sincere… on the

    lookout for corruption like an episode of CSI

    Memphis. Halbert is a City Council member who

    claims “illegal tactics” were used to rule out some

    applicants for jobs on the Memphis Police

    Department. Lowery basically called her a big fat

    Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges–smelly and dressed

    to kill with different colors of body paint, blond

    wig, some type of silly jeweled crown, goofy

    glasses, topped off with a rubber chicken and a

    fake skull.
    One of his ideas is to let the homeless live in

    the Pyramid. He also wants to arm all citizens with

    Uzis. When asked about earthquake preparation Mongo

    says: “go to church, say your prayers and stop

    stealin”! Mongo wants us to “flush the political

    turds down the toilet..we need new people”
    Jerry Lawler–ready to kick some ass in office and

    of course promote the city thru America’s favorite

    pastime –wrestling of course.
    “I’m not one of them,…I’m not a politician. I’m

    about telling people the truth.”
    Myron Lowery- hate it or love it the underdog’s on

    top… Mayor Pro Tempore following Herenton’s July

    resignation. Quick witted but slow to ward off the

    haters. Lowry says since he took over a month ago

    things have been “phenomenal.”
    He prides himself on carrying a big discipline

    stick while walking softly thru the city’s stinky

    garbage pickup situation.

    Sharon Webb-Memphis school board member:
    Her first language is idiot — second is English.

    Webb says: “I haven’t written a business plan for

    the city, but I have thought about writing

    one…..thank you” In the last mayoral race Webb says God told her that she was going to be elected to the position. God huh– that’s quite an endorsement. So –now she’s hearing voices too?
    Kenneth Whalum Jr. –like a well trained but God-

    fearing shark… likes to eat “chum”-ney and a nice

    bottle of kiante with his fava beans –oh and

    Whalum pledges a full audit of city government if

    elected. He also refused to discuss an incident at

    his church in which two women claim they were man-

    handled by church members because of their sexual

    Whalum commented that the women were “lying out of

    their behinds.” YEAH! –At 8/27/09 Thursday’s

    debate he told people to listen to his radio show

    if they wanted to know his beliefs — the political

    equivalent of “google me bitches” oh and do it on

    “Bust a Move Monday’s”
    A C Wharton Jr.–Shelby County Mayor –ready to run

    the city with an “S” on his chest. Don’t let those

    slick suits fool you. His plan is to take out guns,

    crack, and gangs. Amen Wharton…like Whitney said

    “crack is wack” or did she say Wharton?
    Wharton says “Far too many youngsters, particularly

    the gang members, are packing.” ..u say that like

    it’s a bad thing. Wharton is a close friend of

    former Mayor W. Herenton –A.C. says if his old

    friend wants the job back he won’t run.

  12. I’m glad Mongo was there. I mean, he’s part of the Memphis history. And dude, his rat/turd rant was flat-out funny. We need to have more debates sans hopeless candidates, but it was nice having Mongo show up for this one, IMO.

  13. It seems to me that a people who live in a representative republic have the luxury of playing with our future.They have become as the enemy,they despise.Their tolerance is weaked by defeat.When right is recognized they favor evil because it’s easy.

    Carol Chumney has demonstrated that she is the best candidate, and when the election comes the people who are sick and tired of the same old corruption will elect her as mayor.

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