This morning's Tennessean ponders the unlikely coalition as it stands:
Hollin and Craddock are at the heart of a coalition of progressive and conservative council members who have regularly opposed Dean’s agenda on high-profile issues. It brings together pro-neighborhood, pro-environment council members like Emily Evans, Jason Holleman and Mike Jameson with social and fiscal conservatives like Eric Crafton, Jim Gotto and Robert Duvall, forming a vocal minority.
Evans said the pairing isn’t that surprising.
“The convention center (debate) was really about fiscal responsibility,” she said. “Being a fiscally responsible government tends to be a hallmark of both progressives and conservatives. I put myself in both categories. It’s just a common theme.”
The progressives Michael Cass lists in the story have generally been the ethical cream of the council bunch over time, even as unsubstantiated mud was slung at them in the print/online news media by the Courthouse innuendo hounds every time they dared to criticize a Dean plan. Cass also inventories the coalition--including the "progressives"--that appease and buckle to the Mayor's Office on every initiative that I can remember. Jerry Maynard and Ronnie Steine have had their ethical stumbles in the past and I'm not exactly inspired by the quality of their leadership even as the dogs of Dean give them a pass on any criticism.
That brings me to Dean spokesperson Janel Lacy's purported declination to "publicly criticize" the council's minority coalition. The Dean administration does not publicly criticize his critics because it does not have to. On just about every major policy initiative (the convention center being the most obvious), it has hired consultants and anonymous trolls to do the attacking for them. With a generally compliant news media, Karl Dean can take the high road and let the hatchet men do the dirty work. While the thugs and mercenaries have taken some below-the-belt shots at the council's independent progressives like Hollin, Jameson, Holleman, and Evans, the mud simply will not stick.