It’s all over but the whimpering. Election 2007, or at least the first phase of it, is sadly ending, and a mudslinging September runoff lurks around the corner like Ronnie Steine in the Target toy section. Why not take a moment to reflect on the happy times that have come before in this campaign? As you read the following—a sort of greatest hits from the Scene’s political coverage over the past few months—sing along in your head with us.... Mem’ries / Light the corners of my mind / Misty water-colored memories....
Even before the campaigning began, Bob Clement was maneuvering. He’s a lot craftier than people give him credit for.
“It seemed a little presumptuous at the time when I got the call. He said if I chose not to run, he would give me a job in his administration. My reply was that I wanted to be mayor of Nashville, and that’s where I would be at the end of all the campaigning.” —Buck Dozier, on a phone call from opponent Bob Clement
“I have not been offered anything with Clement, but I think it’s a sad throwback to an era of politics that we want to avoid. Nashville and the mayor’s office deserve better. The only job I want is the one that Clement wants.” —Candidate David Briley, commenting on Clement’s call to Dozier
Nearly 50 community forums for the mayoral candidates were held throughout the city. And how democracy did flower.
“With all due respect, the term ‘formidable debater’ does not spring forth when I hear Clement’s name. If I were him, I admit I’d probably insist on pre-imposed rules designed to overcome (1) the inability to think on my feet and (2) the inability to address topics in depth.” —A supporter of a rival campaign, commenting on Clement’s demand for questions in advance from forum organizers
“Cut the Clement campaign some slack. [Clement campaign chairman] Larry Woods can’t stick his hand up Clement’s ass and move his lips if he doesn’t know the questions in advance.” —An unidentified wag in a rival campaign
“I just love Nashville.” —Clement, pandering generally at the forums
“Cleanliness counts!” —Clement, advising West Nashvillians on how they can improve their economy
“Let’s turn lemons into lemonade!” —The unabashed Clement again, this time on what West Nashvillians should do about job losses
“I’m not a Messiah. I’m not coming as a Messiah.” —Dozier, apparently attempting to tamp down expectations for a Dozier administration
“As mayor, I will know the difference between north, south, west and east.” —Candidate Kenneth Eaton, inexplicably
“Let’s go in, let’s clean it up, let’s audit the books, let’s cut the garbage out and put the money where it needs to go.” —Eaton, a used car salesman, doing his Ross Perot act
“Antioch was a mistake.” —Howard Gentry, endearing himself to residents at an Antioch forum in response to a question about out-of-control development
“I’ve been color-blind all my life.” —Clement, trying to woo the mostly black audience at a Bordeaux forum
“The greasy wheel sometimes gets the noise.” —Dozier, getting confused
Karl Dean’s wife’s money
Before Dean put $950,000 of his wife’s money into his campaign, people were wondering whether she’d really let him do it.
“Without spending his wife’s money, he wouldn’t have a chance to win. That’s the bottom line.” —David Briley
“I’m running to win. That’s definitely why I’m in this.” —Dean, hinting that his wife wouldn’t mind if he spent her money
“Hi, I’m Karl Dean, running for mayor. I bet you’ve never heard of me before.” —Dean, at the start of his first 30-second commercial
“If Karl Dean’s got any sense, he’s planning on writing a check for his campaign. If he does, the probability of this race coming down to a Clement-Dean runoff is pretty high.” —Unidentified political operative with experience in Nashville mayoral campaigns
“We raised more this quarter than in any other financial period, which goes to show the momentum behind our campaign. I haven’t spent my career as a politician building name recognition. I’m doing what’s needed to run a successful campaign. I’m in this to win.” —Dean, when he had to publicly disclose how much of his wife’s money he was spending
“Dean’s spending is changing everything. When one guy outspends everyone else, a lot of shit happens you don’t plan on.” —An unidentified source in the Clement campaign
Hocking the house
While Dean merrily wrote checks from his joint account, the rest of the candidates were forced to try to compete the old-fashioned way. It’s not all about the money, you know. No, really, it’s not.
“I know you guys are going to obsess about the dollar sign. And that’s important. I don’t deny it. But the most important number is how many people are moved to give to you. To me, it’s more about passion than the purse.” —Briley campaign chairman Mike Jameson
“We’ll have what we need when we need to spend it.” —Dozier strategist Mike Kopp
“This is not a councilman at-large race. It’s a full-go, heavy-lifting campaign. You need some ammunition. There’s a level at which you’ve got to play or else you’re out of the game, and I just don’t see how these guys are getting there.” —Unidentified political operative
“I have loaned my campaign some funds—those funds were not from mortgaging my house. If I need to keep our TV up on the air while funds come in, I will use the line of credit I have on my house.” —Briley, on the possibility he might have to use his house as collateral to stay in the race
“Don’t mortgage the house, David. It’s not worth it. It sucks that politics is a game for the rich, but keep the moneyfor that cute kid. You’ll thank yourself in a few years for it.” —Commenter on the Scene’s Pith in the Wind blog
Clement cleverly tried to dispel any notion that he’s stupid. He wowed everybody with a veritable plethora of proposals, including an amazing 30 ideas in 30 days.
“Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh.” —Candidate Howard Gentry, on Clement’s proposal that Nashville bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics
“It sounds like an idea that comes from somebody who’s voted on a bunch of unbalanced budgets. It sounds to me kind of like a Washington mentality for decision-making. If we don’t balance our budget in Nashville, we lay people off. We don’t print new money.” —Briley, on Clement’s Olympics idea
“The only thing ‘green’ about Clement’s ideas is the fact that every idea so far has been recycled.” —Briley campaign manager Emily Passini, on Clement’s ideas to protect the environment
“Today, as idea No. 29, he announced that he will constantly solicit ideas from the people of Nashville.” —One of Clement’s better ideas in the “30 Ideas in 30 Days” rollout
“Ideas aren’t worth a plug nickel anymore in this campaign.” —An unidentified Clement staffer, revealing that the strategy behind the “30 Ideas in 30 Days” gimmick was to “devalue ideas” in the campaign by “flooding the market” with them
The righteous shall rule
Meanwhile, Bible thumpers aimed for the top, a dog turned up dead, Ronnie Steine bared his troubled soul and Willie Horton waited in the wings.
“The Bible says when the righteous rule, the people rejoice.” —Vice mayoral candidate Carolyn Baldwin Tucker, when asked to give her views on the separation of church and state
“They say I’m not a viable candidate because I’m not electable. I’ve heard that from a lot of people. It’s total disrespect. I’m at least as smart as the rest of these guys. Most of them are attorneys. I know all about attorneys. Give an attorney something to do and, before it’s over with, they’ll screw it up every time.”—Kenneth Eaton, complaining that he was excluded from some forums
“The silver lining in that sports jacket is that you’re still writing about my ad a week after it began airing.” —Dozier, after wearing a garish stripes-and-plaid outfit in his first TV commercial
“Every race I’ve run, there are people who think I can’t win because nobody who looks like me has won before.” —Gentry, playing the role of race victim during an interview with the Scene
“He’s desperate. How low can we get?” —Metro Council member Pam Murray, on accusations that she poisoned the dog of one of her opponents, Sam McCullough
“I have a German shepherd who comes to work with me every day. I don’t think I’ll leave her alone for a moment until this campaign is over.” —Metro Council member Anna Page, fearing similar campaign shenanigans
“That’s all you’re going to get from me on that. I’m ready to move forward. I’ve said all I’m going to say on it. I’ve been absolutely forthcoming. It’s nobody’s business. It’s done. I’ve laid it all out there.” —Metro Council at-large candidate Ronnie Steine, after giving the Scene conflicting stories about how many times he had been guilty of petty thievery
“When all this stuff happened, he blamed everybody else and went into a state of denial. Now he’s claiming he’s cured. He basically said, ‘I’ve seen the light and I’ve been to a therapist and I’m OK now.’ It’s bullshit.” —An unidentified acquaintance of Steine
“I think everybody deserves a second chance. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have such a thing as redemption in Christianity.” —Former Metro Council member Leo Waters, on Steine“We’ll see how he likes campaigning with Willie Horton as his running mate.” —An unidentified Clement staffer, on a possible runoff against Dean