Well, Pith Nation, you may not be hearing from Liz Garrigan a lot the next few days. She's feeling a little down. The foul-mouthed Nashville Scene
editor has broken up with Gov. Phil Bredesen, writing him a Dear John letter
in which she complains that she simply doesn't know who he is anymore. We were all walking on egg shells here at the Scene
yesterday, but I can't say this was a surprise. I've seen it coming since the TennCare cuts.
They just didn't seem happy to me anymore, and in the office she's been constantly bad-mouthing him for everything from his lame Darfur comments to his refusal to denounce anti-gay adoption legislation. It's such a contrast from those exciting go-go '90s when the smart, dashing Phil was mayor, and the eager, aggressive Liz was penning her must-read "Pol Notes" column. Bredigan seemed to have it all.
Liz, then a young, attractive reporter, would—week after week—write pretty paeans to Phil's leadership style, favorably contrasting him to the other local pols, whom she would sternly lecture for their misstatements, ethical lapses and antiquated leadership. Phil, though, was different. A cool, savvy businessman who often showed outright disdain for the conventions of Southern politics, Phil easily won over Liz with his droll wit and pasty complexion. And Phil was clearly smitten with Liz. Even after she'd written the rare unfavorable story, she had no trouble getting him on the phone, and sometimes they would talk for minutes with Liz pushing her notebook away so she could soak up his words of wisdom, which invariably included running Metro like a business.
But that was a long time ago. They haven't been like that in ages. Yesterday Liz told me that she couldn't remember the last time Phil teasingly called her "full of crap." Then she called him an "insensitive son of a bitch" and ordered me out of her office, hurling a newspaper at my head.
I know a lot of times the first break-up doesn't really take, and I guess Phil and Liz could recover from this setback. But I wouldn't bet on it. Liz seems like she's really going to go through with this. I tried to console her yesterday, but I wasn't much help. I think she's just going to need some time here.