Purcell: the Turncoat Pol


So we haven't had a lot to say about former Mayor Bill Purcell ditching us for a cush job at Harvard, but doesn't it seem a little awkward? Here's a 10-year state lawmaker, and two-term mayor of Nashville who many tabbed as a candidate for governor, and now he's just packing his ratty bags and heading to Cambridge? Will we ever see him again? Should we be offended? Is it something we said? We elected Purcell twice to be mayor of our fair city and probably would have voted for him a third time—geez, if Dean could slip by Clement, Purcell wouldn't have had to campaign outside of Five Points—and he returns our love and affection by moving to a different time zone? Another thing: How is Purcell qualified for his new fancy-sounding gig as the director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government? So you outmaneuvered a Metro Council dominated by the likes of Eric Crafton and Charlie Tygard. How do you work that into a lecture about the art of negotiating a nuclear weapons treaty with North Korea? I wonder if Purcell is angling to run for mayor of Boston one day. I doubt it, but there's no real reason to rule it out. If our ex-mayor does have designs on that job, he might want to recall the wise words of William F. Buckley Jr. “I'd rather live in a society governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the 2,000 faculty members of Harvard University.” That's funny. I say the same thing about Vanderbilt.

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