TO: Steve Gill FROM: Your friends at the Scene RE: Phil Bredesen, 2006 and a crippled Tennessee Republican Party
Sure, when you’re on the air, you can be a pompous, know-it-all jackass who uses the standard right-wing templates to get your listeners’ adrenaline going. You often overlook important nuances and fall into step with the national voices of your ilk, even though you could do better. On the other hand, you’re smart, likeable (especially off the air when you don’t have to be in character) and have an enormous influence over the thought processes of voters. Unlike other notoriously conservative mouthpieces, you often demonstrate moments of admirable intellectual honesty, allowing dissent on your show and even booking interviews you know will draw it out.
We’re repulsed by unthinking, knee-jerk liberals just as much as you are and can even buy into your fiscal conservatism. It’s your gay-hating, anti-immigrant audience that freaks us out. But, frankly, we think your bark is bigger than your bite and that you’re a more moderate human being than you want the world to know.
It’s less than 11 months until Election Day, and the Tennessee Republican Party has plenty to run against in the 2006 gubernatorial race—just no one to do it. Let us be clear: there’s a lot to like about Gov. Phil Bredesen, but we think his policies and politics shouldn’t go without challenge. We don’t think that a guy who dismantles an indigent health care program after he campaigned to save it should get a free ride. We don’t think that a guy who’s characterized himself as a tough manager but who doesn’t have the foggiest clue what’s going on in his own government ought to have a comfortable reelection cycle. We don’t respect it when a guy believes gays should be able to adopt but is too politically cautious—or cowardly—to buck legislators trying to ban the practice.
We. Want. You. To. Run. Against. Him. We should disclose that we’d prefer to recruit Republican Bob Corker to run against Gov. Bredesen next year, but he’s buddies with Phil (BWF) and apparently hell-bent on spending two full years trying to convince people he’s not a raging liberal so he can get elected to the U.S. Senate. (We wish him luck, by the way, but don’t want to endorse him for fear that his right-of-attila-the-hun primary opponents would accuse him of hating Jesus.)
Steve, we don’t know that we’d vote for you, but dammit, we’d sure like the option. Please run. We’re begging you to save your pathetic party from having no one but “Two Feathers” on the ballot. We don’t want to forfeit this crucial democratic exercise just because Bredesen is well funded and sitting on some $100 million, give or take a few.
People know you, and you have a good mind. What’s more, you have intelligent thoughts about making health care affordable for people. You’ve published your ideas. With all respect to state Rep. Beth Harwell, whose name also has been floated as a possible Bredesen challenger, we think you’re the guy.
Sure, you’d have to take a leave from your job to do this. But you’ve got the stature to raise big money, to buy some significant media and take a Bredesen challenge to the voters. You’ll be on TV, so you don’t need to worry about video killing the radio star. The mic will still be there when it’s over.
That or the governor’s chair.
Just as we’d ceased wondering how WSMV general manager Elden Hale manages to walk upright, what with the missing backbone that led him to cave to irrational ravings and pull The Book of Daniel in Nashville, NBC up and announced Tuesday that it was canning the controversial drama altogether, citing a ratings disaster.
Imagine the Nashville Symphony without its string section, the Titans without their offensive line, the city’s meat-and-threes without the meat. The visual arts landscape of Nashville is facing a parallel prospect.
There are 70,000 students in our public schools, and most of us have been talking about director Pedro Garcia’s poor bedside manner or his elected board’s proclivity for divisiveness and concern with style over substance.