Friday, August 03, 2007

First Blush

The next horse-race is already under way. This morning's Tennessean
handicaps it this way:

The near-six-week sprint to the Sept. 11 runoff will contrast the candidates' differing visions: Clement's idea that Nashville is "at a crossroads" that will determine whether it goes "from good to great" against Dean's assertion that the city is already great and needs to build on its momentum.

Is it really that simple? Or artificial? Or meaningless?

What if I think the city is great but can and should get better? Don't both candidate sound-bites really support that idea? To think otherwise is to assume from Dean's perspective that Clement is a doomsayer who just can't stomach a progressive Nashville, OR from Clement's perspective that Dean is satisfied with good while Clement is striving for great. These simple and simplistic assertions and their implied criticism of each other will be around alot in the next few weeks. I hope that someone is willing to point out how unhelpful they are in deciding the real issues that confront our city. Can we dispense with the idea that these guys have conflicting visions about whether Nashville is good and whether we should strive to make it better or not? Neither could possibly disagree with either, and the whole silly mess will be nothing but a battle of meaningless semantics that will quickly turn to the personal attack since "real" evidence of the unprovable assertion cannot be found.

What is the issue? What does it all mean?

The Tennessean is willing to help us out. The ISSUES?:

The issues are: How will each candidate build a majority? How will they pick up enough votes from the David Briley, Buck Dozier and Howard Gentry campaigns to win?

WHAT?!?!?! Leaving aside the poor subject-verb agreement where are is used with only one actual issue, how can the horse race BE the issue???

Maybe I don't understand the term. My impression has always been that issues involved questions like what mass transit plan is better for Nashville and why? How will the mayor reduce dropout rates and make sure that our schools are the envy of the state?

In today's Tennessean the ISSUE of this election is how each will win the election? That's so circular my head spins.

I am going to call the campaigns' arguments for what they are. When I hear arguments that address the issues, I will lay those out for us to see and discuss. When I hear arguments that are just code for something I am supposed to feel, but which would be hard to say out loud, I intend to point that out.

Let's see where that leads us.

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