At the end, he claimed he loves this stuff, talking to media including podcasters. Boston Mayor Tom Menino sure seemed to today.
He was on the Left Ahead! show and didn't exhibit any doubts or fears. On the other hand, I confess to multiple surprises. First, for someone with the reputation for avoiding commenting, he wasn't that hard to book. Second, for a man who used to bristle at anything remotely resembling criticism, he jumped right into subjects that suggest problems arose or worsened with him at the helm.
I had no intention of badgering or tricking him, but I figured I would have to educe candor. I had mis-prepared myself. He was in his element and surely could have taken much rougher questions.
Judge for yourself off the player below. Note that he was at a school function and joined in about ten and one-half minutes into the show.
Local political observers almost to a one give Menino a huge advantage over his three challengers in his election. They cite his $1.5 million or so campaign bag of cash as well as his large set of union, government employee and general supporter minions.
Plus, there's the inertia factor. Yeah, he's been there for 16 years, but he's that devil the voters know.
He has some hungry and capable challengers. Over at Left Ahead! we have also chatted with:
Menino was the last in the series. With his reputation, particularly in the Boston Globe, for avoiding debate, conflict and commenting on his record, I figured he'd be canny and evasive.
Instead, he foreshadowed his role in the two scheduled pre-primary debates. With us, he waded right into roiling waters. He admitted to numerous Boston flaws, such as uneven school quality, increased homelessness, and stalled development literally leaving holes in Downtown Crossing. Instead of being defensive, he had a two-prong response to our and his own points:
- He had numbers and trends showing improvements in each area of concern
- He did not accept his critics' claims that conditions had worsened
Setting aside the money and foot soldier advantages, consider how tough it will be to debate someone who refuses to let you advance your premises without struggle and contradiction. Again breaking stereotype, he might end up being the debate king or at least not losing.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, Boston, Menino, Yoon, debates, Flaherty, McCrea, mayor, Left Ahead!