What would you think if the president decided to give his next State of the Union address to a lobby group gathering - say, the pharmaceutical industry association - with a hefty price tag charged for admission? This is precisely what Mayor Bill Purcell will be doing
Tuesday when he follows a disturbing precedent and delivers his State of Metro address at a Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast ($35 admission for Chamber members; $85 for everyone else). Make no mistake: The chamber is unambiguously a lobbying entity -- one whose issues and goals deserve to be heard like anyone else's, but let's not pretend that this maintains a healthy and appropriate distance between private interests and public policy.
Purcell didn't create this disagreeable precedent, but he certainly has the power to change it. Instead, we find his spokeswoman Molly Sudderth in this morning's Tennessean
blaming previous mayors and the chamber:
"We are following the tradition that Mayor Bredesen and all the mayors before him followed. This is a chamber event where the mayor is invited to deliver the speech, and that's what we do."
The bold, principled leadership on display here is almost too much to bear.