Always a tricky question since the debate faces so many diverse audience. Who won for me? Karl Dean...Hands down. He continued to miss numerous opportunities to show some of Clement's positions for the ridiculous and substance-free political plays they are, but he finally reversed the tax pledge question a bit. I am continuing to be curious about how all of those much more political positions that Clement is advancing will play against the more genuine positions that Dean puts forward. Dean could use better coaching, and he could be genuine will also being more political, but from the standpoint of this blog asking, What's the Matter with Tennessee, this election is a useful experiment. Here you have 2 democrats running fro an allegedly apolitical office. Clement is clearly assuming the traditional low tax, government bad positions that have worked so well in Kansas (see What's the Matter with Kansas) and other areas across the south and midwest. Dean is adopting the pragmatic managerial poasition that Bredesen, Purcell, and Clinton were able to make work in this area, but he has not scored the same kind of anti-Clement position that Purcell did with Fulton, or Clinton with Bush (I).
So, this election will let us see what's tha matter with Nashville? Will we as a city vote more for Clement and low tax pledges..Dean is right, these are gimmicks, but they are gimmicks that have worked repeatedly, OR will the city vote for the manager who will not play into gimmicks? Will the city trust a government official or vote for Clement because officials cannot really be trusted?
BTW - Isn't it ironic that Clement's arguments add up to an outsider, low tax, government bad campaign even as he claims 15 years in Congress?
This debate left me thinking that Bob Clement feels like his superior (read national/federal) experience will enable him to stoop down here and help the little people in Nashville deal with our situation. I don't agree. After this debate, I lean more toward Dean than ever.