Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Double Lightning Bolt in Boston

Since pre-dawn email from the Flaherty and Yoon folk, I've mused over this morning's pending announcement of their instant co-campaign. Over Scottish oats and banana, I saw the similar treat from the bland there.

I don't have to reprint mayoral run-off contender Michael Flaherty's announcement, which is here. Plus, Adam at UH ran the letter we all got here. First takes are numerous places, including the Globe, the Herald, and the Phoenix. As of 10:45 a.m., outside a certain city hall, the game is afoot.

The basic idea is that the pair of erstwhile rivals will run an artificial ticket (no legal status or ballot listing for that), with Sam Yoon as deputy mayor. The reality is that nearly half the voters smudged the ovals for candidates other than incumbent Mayor Tom Menino. The yoked team would hope to grab them all and not let disillusioned Yoon or Kevin McCrea voters sit out the election. (You want change; we got your change right here.)

If deputy mayor does not find a place in your brain pan, you may not have been alive or here for Mayor Kevin White's time (four terms, 1968-84). He had such deputy mayors Edward T. Sullivan and Robert Kiley and made up a vice mayor spot, which following Mayor Ray Flynn promptly spiked.

This time around, the first reaction from Menino's camp was very poor. From the Globe article:

Nick Martin, a spokesman for the Menino campaign, blasted the nascent ticket as an illegal gimmick. He said the position of deputy mayor does not exist in the city charter, so Yoon’s name could not appear on the ballot in the final election Nov. 3.

“This is a blatant attempt to confuse the voters of Boston, because implying that he’s going to run for deputy mayor is something that exists outside of the bounds of the law,’’ Martin said yesterday. “These are desperate tactics by a desperate individual. This seems to be both councilors saying if they can’t win their way, they’ll try to reinvent the rules.’’

What, you may well ask, did they expect from the challengers who have said from the beginning that they wanted to shake up City Hall? Menino should have been gracious and chisel chinned instead. "Put up your dukes. I'll flatten you!" would have been a far better response.

The facts include:
  • The team is still a long shot for the office, with Menino's popularity and cash.
  • The team has a much better chance than Flaherty did solo, nevertheless.
  • Flaherty seemed to many a mini-Menino, so this gives the change mongers and buyers a home.
  • The race is suddenly exciting again. Tom must have thought he'd coast downhill through November 3rd and suddenly will have to pedal.

This second race should both clarify the issues and give Menino the pressure to bring out his best arguments — and he has a ton of them. For us politics addicts, this is great stuff. It may be rough on Da Mare, but I love it.

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