I am in a political quandry.
We all say it’s great that here in Nashville our elections are “non-partisan”, blah, blah, blah. I tend to agree, but it makes you work much harder to figure out which candidate fits your political philosophy, and even when you think you’ve got it figured out, there’s always that nagging doubt that you thought you were getting a Bredesen and instead you got a Boner.
I am politically conservative, but probably more moderate than your average Freeper. I really don’t want to argue this with you, I am what I am. I want to give you the framework of my quandry.
Because all political speech is bland and vanilla, the only way you can tell much about a politician is by looking at who is supporting him/her. For instance, my kids go to a private school near Vanderbilt, and the neighborhood surrounding the school is one of the most liberal in Nashville (if you go by the yard signs). Even before the Iraq war, there were lots of “War Is Not The Answer” signs in this neighborhood. Every now and then you’ll see a “Hate is Not a Family Value”, “Love Your Mother” or some other such slogan in the yards. This area is definitely not Bush country. So, when I drive through that neighborhood, I pretty much know who the most liberal candidate running in a election by the signs. This year, it appears to be Karl Dean.
I can likewise drive through Lynnwood Blvd in Belle Meade and see who the old money supports. This year, it’s Clement and Dozier. Sometimes I agree with Belle Meade-ians, sometimes not. Dozier would probably be OK, he understands the plumbing of Metro government. Clement, although I personally owe him a favor, is not my first choice, because he is a politician’s politician; he refuses to rock the boat – and sometimes, when your city is in transistion, that’s a recipe for disaster. Change is a-comin’, and we need a mayor who can manage it.
This is my quandry. I really like David Briley. I KNOW he’s a Democrat, but ALL the candidates are Democrats (welcome to the big city). But Briley says all the right things. He doesn’t seem to be a raging liberal. If you go by what he’s said in his campaign, he’s probably not going to turn Nashville into another San Fransisco. AND he’s very supportive of professional sports in Nashville, which is important to me.
Yet, many people who support him are quite liberal, and that gives me pause. So, in the back of my mind, I have to think, does he have some kind of secret agreement with the MoveOn.org types, where he’ll pretend to be moderate until he gets elected, then he’ll go to war with WalMart, open up an office of Needle-handing-out, double the property tax rate to pay for single-payer health insurance? (I know these ideas sound great to some of you, but, like I said, this is not a discussion of those things. This is about me and my preferences).
I’ll probably still pull the lever for Briley, but I’ll have a nagging feeling until after the runoff (if there is one).
Or maybe I’ll surprise myself and vote for Howard Gentry. But, without seeing a bunch of yard signs for him, I have no idea who is supporting him. And that scares me a little.
This is why I wish we had partisan elections in Nashville. Primaries force candidates to play to their base in varying degrees, and by the time the general election rolls around, you pretty much can map out how liberal or conservative a candidate is.
As it is, you REALLY have to have a lot of trust. After Bill Boner, Don Sundquist, Bill Clinton, and George Bush, trust towards politicians is not something that comes easily to me.