The fault may lie in ourselves for not looking dutifully enough under every stone. But there are, for whatever reason, too many mysteries left for voters to consider as they prepare to vote for a series of crucial positions on August 1st.
The first and most obvious question: Who is George Flinn? The enigmatic radiologist and broadcast entrepreneur, having come from nowhere as a public person, is asking us to elect him Shelby County mayor, in which office he would implicitly represent us for a four-year span and ask us to trust his judgment. With all due respect, has the good doctor -- not his handlers, mind you, but Flinn himself -- given us enough to go on?
Next question: What will A C Wharton do? The Democratic counterpart to the GOP's Flinn is as well known in the community as Flinn is a mystery. Most people who know the man have an intuitive confidence in him. But we must say that he has done a good job of veiling his intentions on the vital issues of the day. He seems to know all the alternatives; we just wish he'd pick a couple -- on consolidation and sprawl, for example -- and spell out his guidelines.
To continue in this vein: Just how would Phil Bredesen "manage" the now thoroughly distressed state of Tennessee? Having done what he could through his campaign rhetoric to scuttle the cause of tax reform in the most recent General Assembly, doesn't the no doubt highly capable ex-mayor of Nashville owe us something more than the six-letter word quoted above as an indication of what he would do in office?
We are loyal to the principle of the equal-time provision here, so Van Hilleary, he of the chipmunk smile and the indistinct agenda, is up next. What does the 4th District Republican congressman, who as the GOP's gubernatorial frontrunner unloosed even more verbal torpedoes at tax reform than did the slavishly imitative Bredesen, have in mind? It is all well and good to say he's for education -- who isn't? -- but his most recent proposal, a corps of unpaid volunteer parents who would do what they could to help around the old schoolhouse, doesn't exactly strike us as a master plan.
To proceed: Aside from the facts that they're both ambitious for the same office (U.S. senator) and that they don't like each other very much, just how do Lamar Alexander and Ed Bryant differ from each other and from the tiresomely repetitious GOP catechism of low taxes and less government? Especially at a time when they're competing so hard for the right to express shibboleths of loyalty to George W. Bush, what kinds of helpful thoughts will they offer when and if the president's economic policy -- if we can use such a patently oxymoronic phrase -- implodes?
And let's not even bother asking anything of the boys now competing with Marsha Blackburn (whose simplistic government-bashing positions are all too well known) for Congress in the 7th District. They're now fighting duels to the death over whether undeviating devotion to the posted precepts of the National Rifle Association is worth an A or an A+. (No, we're not making this up!)
All of which is to say almost nobody running for office this year has done a credible job of enlightening us, the electorate, as to their intentions. Now do you see why the Flyer doesn't endorse?