Monday, October 19, 2009

October No Prize

Unlike the surprise we might expect from political mechanization, Michael Flaherty never seemed to have taken magic lessons. His last chance to pull a winning trick out is certainly this evening. Ta da?

On stage before your very eyes (assuming you are in Dot at the Kennedy library or watching NECN, WBUR or WGBH), the would-be and the wooden ply their trade from 7 p.m. in debate. Neither could earn a living teaching oration.

The Would-Be and the Wooden

Yet Mayor Tom Menino need only not fall up, down or off the stage. Councilor Flaherty figuratively must levitate and circle the hall.

He's had the spark of scandals this time. We don't seem to care much. What's a would-be to do?

Nothing so far indicates that the sincere and bright challenger has new or substantially improved tricks (a.k.a. reasons) to trip up Da Mare. His hopes instead seem to be that a horde of young voters will join the politically fatigued and the change-impatient on November 3rd.

After his last re-election and consistently since, I urged Menino to give it a rest. The city is not in such bad shape that residents want him to disappear. Yet, as the fallen and still standing challengers have clarified, four more years of stasis won't overcome the inertia that keeps Boston standing still. Menino, as the longest-serving mayor here should have graciously stepped aside, proclaiming, "Look at all we (I) have done is 16-plus years!"

Now, he surely will be more like the boxer or quarterback who stayed too long, leaving to harrumphs and even boos.

ExcelsiorJ'accuse!I Know Better
Tom Menino
Kevin McCreaMichael FlahertySam Yoon

In the name of Mike Curley, we know that we had real choices this time. We had a gadfly turned revolutionary in Kevin McCrea; he had your real change right there. We had the smart guy in Sam Yoon; he had the compelling path to the better, brighter Boston. We still have the little-bit-better mini-Menino in Flaherty; he offers enough but not too much change.

So far, we stay on our bar stools. The voting bloc seems to be the Inert for Tom.

As a relative political prostitute, I love the crisp debate and clarity it can bring. As Athenians all seem to pretend they are descended from and reveal Socrates and Aistotle, we here claim the likes of John Adams and William Lloyd Garrison. We say that we are or at least love the speechifiers, mind molders and soul stirrers.

In our defense:
  • Flaherty has been neither orator nor magician
  • Yoon was bright and often right, but demanded we pay close attention
  • McCrea was often abrasive and could seem a bit out there
Come 7 this evening, I'll sit with clipboard and a Leatherlips IPA (thanks, Bryn). Truth be told, I find Menino charming and adequate. Yet, the political and dramatic versions of me want the magic tonight. I want Flaherty on and enough out of character, aggressive but relaxed. I want lightning. I want enough excitement to make us go to the polls wondering who'll be our next mayor.

Tuesday Update: Comment on the debate is here.

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