Wednesday, October 07, 2009

In Boston, it is still 1912

The Mayor runs for re-election of the number of pot-holes he has filled, the wedding receptions he has attended, the wakes he has gone to, the sheer dazzling increment of voters who have met him, his assiduous status as a success merchant in the economy of favors.
It is a pre-atomic mode of re-election and it occurs to me that Boston is one of the last urban communities in the West where this quaint approach still holds sway.
New York for example succumbed to celebrity politics a decade or more ago with that famously unstable camera-hound Rudy Giuliani.
Boston however holds firm in its old timey ways, and truly is there a politician in living memory better adapted to it than Tom Menino?
He is inarticulate at best, incoherent most of the time he never forgets a favor or a slight, he has been down your street, knows your state rep and has few enemies among the electorate when it comes time to open the polls.
He has no higher aspirations for office, indeed how could he? Tom Menino couldn't win office anywhere else in the country, not because he is manifestly incompetent or malevolent, far from it, he is schlumpy, mumbles too much and looks like a green-grocer from the 1930's for all his evident virtues.
So let that stand as an indictment of the current political zeitgeist in the USA, so if Menino is re-elected next month and likely he will be it is mostly because he has mastered the political arts of the pre World War One era.

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