Bruce Barry

Bruce Barry

Bruce Barry is a professor of management at Vanderbilt University who teaches and writes about ethics, conflict, rights, politics, policy, and other things that pop into his head.

Historic Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Analysis: State of the Nashville mayor’s race

By: - May 2, 2023

Hey kids, with early voting in Nashville’s wide open mayoral race just two months away, let’s check in and see what’s what. The qualifying deadline is still a couple of weeks off, but the field is pretty much set, and forum season — that uniquely Nashville cumulus of collective dog-and-ponies before every possible civic organization […]

Nissan Stadium in Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Don’t look up

By: - April 10, 2023

Spring is a time of renewal in the Tennessee General Assembly: renewal of infatuated devotion to the widest possible access to firearms, renewal of rampant hostility aimed at those with the audacity to be something other than a white cisgender heterosexual Christian, renewal of fervent disdain for the notion that access to health care is […]

Metro Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Let’s get this party started

By: - March 9, 2023

John Cooper’s choice to forgo a second term as Nashville’s mayor is among the better things that have happened in this city in quite a while. At his 2019 inauguration he declared that “what our fellow citizens want from us is very clear: a focus on neighborhoods, a Nashville where tourism benefits residents, not the […]

Downtown Nashville on a typical night. (Photo: John Partipilo)

A tale of two cities

By: - January 30, 2023

Recent news that Music City tourism honcho Butch Spyridon will (sort of) retire this summer has me thinking about how Nashville has changed during his three decades leading what is essentially the city’s official tourism bureau, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.  Short answer: in just about every way. Longer answer: in some ways that […]

Nissan Stadium in Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Not ready for takeoff

By: - December 13, 2022

Eight weeks have blown by since Mayor John Cooper and the Tennessee Titans delivered unto Nashville a so-called term sheet (lawyer speak for “stuff we provisionally agree on”) with procedural and financial particulars for a proposed new East Bank stadium. Writing here at the time I called it a bad deal built on specious logic […]

Mayor John Cooper, left, with Tennessee Titans cheerleaders and mascots for Nashville's professional sports teams during a 2021 COVID vaccination event at Titans stadium. (Photo: John Partipilo)

A bad deal

By: - October 24, 2022

The prospect of a new $2.1 billion domed stadium for the Titans finally dropped from the ether to the table last week when Nashville Mayor John Cooper unveiled financial particulars that will go before the Metro Council for its approval. Cooper’s sales pitch — now being endlessly recycled on every media platform that will give […]

Rendering from Metro Nashville's "imagine eastbank" draft document. (Metro Nashville Planning Department)

The vision thing

By: - September 6, 2022

Am I the only one who finds all the hoo-ha over the recently released vision plan for the future of Nashville’s East Bank to be just a wee bit (by which I mean rather seriously) overblown? A 135-page report titled “imagine eastbank” (all lower case with the “eastbank” portmanteau for that perfect dose of stylish […]

Former 5th District congressional candidate Beth Harwell, photographed at the U.S.-Mexico border wall built under former President Donald Trump. (Photo: Beth Harwell for U.S. Congress)

Beth Harwell touts Trump’s influence in comeback attempt

By: - July 25, 2022

We knew back in the cooler times of early 2022 that the state legislature’s crusade to kill Davidson County’s blue congressional district by splitting it into three red districts would torpedo meaningful representation in Washington for much of Nashville. Two of the seats that have now gobbled up big chunks of Davidson—the 6th and 7th […]

The elephant in the room. (Photo illustration: Getty Images)

Commentary: Just say no to GOP convention

By: - June 29, 2022

The column below appeared here six months ago when Nashville emerged as a contender for the 2024 Republican National Convention. Music City is now in the final two cities under consideration—Milwaukee being the other—and next week Nashville’s Metro Council will begin to consider approving a contract with the RNC to host it. Approving the document […]

(Getty Images)

Commentary: State of insanity

By: - June 6, 2022

Middle Tennessee’s economic vitality is built in good measure on relocation: decisions by employers to move operations here. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s relocation pitch paints a picture of a region “defined by a diverse economy, low costs of living and doing business, a creative culture and a well-educated population.” The state of Tennessee’s […]

Tennessee Senate Republicans were responsible for the new maps they are now appealing. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: Original(ist) sin

By: - April 13, 2022

Shameless hypocrisy has been the Tennessee GOP’s calling card for a good while now, with no shortage of ready examples: a thirst for local control on education, except when choices made locally are deemed culturally or scientifically unacceptable; performative interest in expanding health care to needy Tennesseans, but stubborn rejection of federal dollars that might […]

Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: Dumbfounded

By: - February 10, 2022

For years rational Tennesseans have marveled at the breathtaking festival of puerility that the GOP-dominated state legislature convenes each spring. I’m not talking about things on which they and I might part company ideologically; with big majorities they do get to pursue their agenda. I’m talking about the stuff that moves well past the foothills […]