Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
You, like me as of yesterday, may be vaguely aware that there's a little sibling to the debate over the mosque near Ground Zero. That would be the debate over a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. While Murfreesboro doesn't have much in the way of symbolic significance, the mosque there does seem to have some vocal local opposition. CNN.com offered a summary of the Murfreesboro situation if you want to catch up on some of the details.
As you'd expect, my interest in the matter was in relation to the Tennessee governor's race, where the primary is today. To the extent that the Tennessee race has gained national attention (well, other than for Basil Marceaux), it was for Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey's, suggestion that Islam might be a cult. But, I was more interested in how the more moderate candidates, Republican Bill Haslam and Democrat Mike McWherter, were negotiating the subject.
Luckily, all of the major candidates (Ramsey, Haslam, McWherter and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp), responded to a question about the mosque at a debate. From the moderates, what you get is a delicate balancing act. Here's the video, with Haslam speaking first, then McWherter, then Ramsey, then Wamp (and, yes, I wish I knew where to find the clip without the trippy music and graphics):
By the way, I searched in vain for some explanation of why Tennessee holds its primary on a Thursday. If anyone knows, your prize will be your name appearing on this very blog.
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