Former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton seems to have done just that — or to have given the concept a good college try — in his letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, released Tuesday.
In the letter, which follows one to him from the U.S. Attorney's office formally confirming that he is a target of investigation, Herenton complains to Holder that the probe, into a business transaction of his involving the relocation of a Greyhound Bus terminal, represents “a well-orchestrated attempt to influence the outcome of the Congressional election next year.”
Herenton goes on to allege that “the involvement of law enforcement agencies and the Justice Department in local politics and in attempting to influence the outcome of an election is not only unethical but also crosses the line of acceptable political discourse."
The problem with this is that the first news reports of the Justice Department probe -- into Herenton’s complicated involvement for profit with the sale of the Greyhound property, which then mayor Herenton had advocated on public-policy grounds -- appeared in The Commercial Appeal in January, while the mayor’s declaration of a congressional candidacy did not come until April, a full three months later.
Until we see the former mayor’s proofs, we will have to take it on faith that he has indeed reversed the processes of causation and time, so that events under way in January were somehow brought into being by another event considerably later in time.
At such time as these proofs emerge, and in light of high honors recently won by other notable politicians (yes, we’re talking about President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize), we are prepared to insist, in all fairness, that our former mayor be given serious consideration for the Nobel Prize in physics.
Meanwhile, there are skeptics who would suggest that traidtional chronology should apply here, and that Herenton's accusation is in fact a red herring designed to discredit the federal investigation, or even that his announcement of a congressional race itself was such a red herring, desiged to deflect the consequences of an already ongoing investigation.
We would suggest that such skeptics should furnish their own proofs — with or without the assistance of the Justice Department.
And, er, yes, folks, this article is a spoof. Or at least we think we're kidding!
But former mayor Herenton is not. He made the claims reported here in dead seriousness.