The Debate

Mayoral Debate

The debate was on Saturday, and I attended. See Mary’s commentary for the only possible substantive commentary on the debate. Why? Here’s the thing. I like Karl Dean. Bob Clement drives me nuts. I feel that the direction Nashville will take under one differs greatly from the other. But you wouldn’t have known that from the debate. They started the debate talking about how much they differ, and then proceeded to spend most of the debate agreeing with one another. They both want to improve education (whoa nelly, slow down there, really??), they’re both in favor of the convention center, they both don’t want taxes to be raised (whatever that means). Folks, they both dove for the center so hard they’re gonna come away with a concussion.

Dean, though, at least manages to separate himself by offering actual ideas. This is what I always found so appealing about Briley — Clement (and to a lesser extent, the rest of the candidates) seem to talk about the possibility of new ideas, the theoretical possibility of future changes. Briley would get up there and rattle off ideas as fast as he could speak. Dean has picked up on this a little, and is apparently willing to, you know, actually talk about what he’s going to do. Clement, on the other hand, seems content to just give the Bob Dole thumbs up and repeat “Good to great” like a Chatty Cathy. Come on, Bob, seriously.

The questions were better than I expected, despite being vetted, typed, proofread and orchestrated for the readers (which is always a real tribute to democracy at work, right?). I got a unique birds’ eye view from the media area of this orchestration at work — it was pretty impressive, I tell you what. The funniest part of the night was probably the newschannel5 question that won, which was about the Ghost Ballet. I don’t remember the exact wording, but I think it was something like “Do you like the Ghost Ballet, or do you think it’s ugly and weird, and was it a good use of the money?” (paraphrased). Both candidates did a good job (good in the machiavellian sense, not the objective sense) of laughing off the question without really answering it. They poked fun at it a little, but then said they like it, and they support the arts. A brusque answer to a seemingly shallow question with a deeper subtext. Should the government be spending $330K on public art? Is there anything else they could have spent it on? Oh well, I guess we’ll never know.

So, all in all, it was a boring debate. I think Dean came away looking a lot better, but I’m obviously fairly biased. Angry Bob Clement was out in full force.. I am not sure if that plays well with a lot of people, but to me he just strikes me as trying a little too hard. It’s like there’s a little switch between “sugary southern Bob” and “angry little man” Bob.

Side note: They had an awesome media room for live-blogging the debate, with closed-circuit TV and wireless access. And no one was there. No one. Come to think of it, the Ingram hall auditorium was only half full. What gives? No one cares about the mayoral election, I think. Sad but true.

8 Comments so far

  1. Jay (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 9:12 pm

    Every time Clement opens his mouth and re-convinces me that he is slime, some group I strenuously oppose (the teacher’s union for example) comes out and endorses Dean. Can we start over with another group of candidadtes?

  2. Paul Nicholson (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

    Can’t speak for anyone else but i didn’t know about it until you started posting pictures. Then later heard about it on the news. Where is one supposed to hear about these things (Other than signing up on a candidates mailing list, which i am not about to do. I still get spam from signing up for a presidential candidates list in 1996)

  3. Chris Wage (unregistered) on August 27th, 2007 @ 9:27 pm

    Well, I could blame everyone else, but blogs just like this one could have done a better job of getting the word out.. I should have said something!

  4. jwhite (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 7:53 am

    Given Dean’s blubber problem, I am reluctant to describe these two with this term, but only one suits them both–lightweight. Even to compare Briley to Dean (let alone Clement) is a joke, as are both of these men. Don’t look for a courtesy re-election of either of these clueless fools come 2011.

  5. Chris Chamberlain (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 9:12 am

    My main objection to Karl Dean is that he never blinks while he answers questions. I’m convinced he’s a “Dem-Bot.”

    It’s kinda creepy…

  6. Jon (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 9:42 am

    Jay, shouldn’t you base your opinion on what you think rather than what someone else thinks?

  7. Jay (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 1:58 pm


    I wouldn’t vote for anyone endorsed by NAMBLA either.

    Since none of the candidates has actually said anything, we are forced to divine their intentions at least partially from the people that most want them elected.

  8. Andrew (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 3:59 pm

    Wish I had gotten back from vacation a couple days earlier to see the debate. But to make up for it, I’ll be telling everyone I know NOT to vote for Clement.

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