So, should mayors be voting to encourage the Bush Administration to find a "swift and prudent" means of redeployment? Absolutely. Should our Mayor be voting for it, given the impact of foreign policy on our local conditions? Absolutely. Polls show that Iraq is considered a war not worth fighting. And Mayors are as invested in that reality as the President is, if not more so.
Hence, Buck Dozier's response to the City Paper regarding Bill Purcell's recent vote on the Iraq War shows how much he lacks a considered grasp of the impact of federal policy on local governance:
The mayor’s not going to be focused on those kinds of issues … and, really, just to be frank with you, as a mayor, I want to focus on the things going on here. … Of all the issues that mayors have got in this country, I’m surprised they took the time to deal with that.To suggest that the Iraq War is not "going on here," is not affecting the daily lives of the people who live in Nashville, and is not of any significance for the Mayor's Office is naive and insular.
Crime and blight are positively turned around by block grant and other neighborhood development funds, which themselves are drying up because this President chooses to continue to transfer tanker loads of tax dollars down the black hole that is Iraq. Federal support is one less tool a Mayor has to run the city thanks to the Iraq War.
In the end the Dozier Disconnect ties the hands of the Mayor's Office. By his very logic, there is no need for Mayors to meet in conferences in order to develop comprehensive strategies for influencing federal policies to help rather than hinder cities. We have seen over and over again that the world is interconnected, not hived off into sheltered, impervious, and hermetically sealed cells. Those who do not claim a stake in federal policies and international issues fall behind.
A Mayor who would so confine himself to a cavity of limited influence is not a Mayor that could act on behalf of Nashville at any broader level. He's not the kind of Mayor we need today.