So Nashville’s worst-kept secret—that detractors of Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce president Mike Neal were gunning for him—is out, at least by implication, as Tulsa World
and then Nashville media reported he was leaving the membership organization. Neal, a Monroe, La., native whose country-bumpkin shtick underwhelmed many of the starched stuffed shirts within Nashville’s business community, has taken preemptive action and landed safely—on his knees—at the Tulsa Metro Chamber.
In a press release issued this week, Chamber board chairman Darrell Freeman, who’s been bad-mouthing Neal all over town for months now, had this to say about Neal’s departure: “During Mike Neal’s tenure, Nashville has enjoyed unprecedented economic growth and success, and much of this success must be attributed to the great work at the Nashville Area Chamber. This was a good opportunity for Mike and his family, and we wish him the best in Tulsa.”
Another classic Nashville moment.
While Freeman wipes off that dagger he just pulled out of Neal’s back, we offer this translation of his comments: “I couldn’t understand a word that backwater Cajun boy had to say, what with all those allusions to opossums in a sack, crawfish and whatnot. Good riddance.”
In fairness, Freeman isn’t the only one around town whose public comments belie, or at least stray wildly, from private ones. Nashvillians are known more for superficial cordiality than candor and have their own version of “Blair, you’re my bitch. Now pass me another roll.”
How about the recent comment to NashvillePost.com
from Bob Clement for Mayor campaign spokesman Larry Woods. This, after another hopeful, Buck Dozier, announced last week that he’d raised $215,000 for the 2007 race: “Buck is a good man, and those are good numbers for him,” Woods said. “They aren’t as much as what Clement has, but good for Buck.”
What Woods, who went on to disclose that Clement has raised $334,000, really meant? “Bwaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Bible-totin’ poseur.”
Of course, there are the disingenuous comments and there are big, election-season misrepresentations (however legal). Allow us to translate a Clement campaign finance disclosure statement for you. Nine different political action committees that no one’s ever heard of—and that all have the same hackneyed names (e.g. “Stay in School” PAC) and Nashville P.O. Box address—gave a combined $40,100 to Clement’s campaign on the same day, June 29, just before the latest financial disclosure reporting period ended. As of the Scene
’s press time, the typically talkative Woods didn’t have anything to say about that. If, as it seems, those PACs were created simply to boost Clement’s fund-raising number and to engender a sense of heir apparency, Dozier isn’t really all that behind the former congressman. Props to “TruthDoc” ( http://bobwatch.blogspot.com/2006/07/clements-first-mayoral-finance.html
) for first pointing this out.
Meanwhile, the conservative Dozier, an at-large Metro Council member, offered this statement in announcing his mayoral campaign stash last Friday: “I hope this…demonstrates once and for all that I am serious about my bid for mayor and that I intend to garner whatever resources are needed to run a proactive, aggressive countywide campaign.”
Translation: “If I have to shake a queer’s hand, so be it. That’s why I carry Purell. Hate the sin, not the sinner, saith the Lord.”
And there’s this from NASCAR’s Darrell Waltrip, featured on a radio ad supporting GOP Senate candidate Ed Bryant: “You know, when there’s a lot at stake, it pays to have the most experienced driver behind the wheel…. Take it from old DW, Ed Bryant has the law-and-order experience it will take to secure our borders…. No wonder Ed Bryant is the only Senate candidate endorsed by Tennessee Right to Life and the American Council for Immigration Reform. I’m a Republican, I’m a conservative, and I’m going to vote for Ed Bryant.”
Translation: “Ed Bryant will keep the wetbacks out. Those Minutemen are pretty cool.”