As a general rule, a politician’s career ends on the day that his jailhouse mug shot appears in the local newspaper. Yet there are exceptions.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, has decided to use his arrest record – more than 40 times, the latest in 2009 – as a way to raise campaign cash for his Democratic primary race against former Fulton County judge Michael Johnson.
For $30, you can get an autographed poster marking Lewis’ visit to the Atlanta Police Department on Dec. 22, 1963. That arrest followed a sit-in at the local Toddle House – a grillery akin to today’s Waffle House – to protest its refusal to serve blacks.
(You can actually see a young Lewis, minutes away from his Toddle House arrest, in this archival footage from WSB-TV.)
In addition to raising cash, the jailhouse photo – offered on T-shirts and coffee mugs, too – serves as a reminder of Lewis’ past as a civil rights leader. And may give the 72-year-old congressman, who has held the 5th District seat since 1987, a touch of cool as well.
Beverly Isom, spokeswoman for the Lewis campaign, explained the slogan on the poster — “Getting into good trouble since 1960″ — as a corruption of advice Lewis’ mother gave him as a young lad. To stay out of trouble.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider