Gladhanding Billy Bulger, I was my usual overly direct self, asking, "Does this mean you're endorsing Steve?" Without a pause, the former Senate President shouted, "Oh my, yes!"
So it was at the bottom of Fairmount Hill and over the Neponset. Steve Murphy, candidate for MA Treasurer was home and welcomed by political friends as well as supporters. He billed it has both a homecoming (after five days and 800 miles careering around the commonwealth) and his Countdown to Victory tour.
Locale Note: Murphy had the good taste to host at Townsend's. Owner Michael Tallon has a keen sense of great beers that go well with his fine food. I wasn't there to eat, although the plated noshes presented looked sapid enough. I do like the food there. I knew that my favorite ale, Dog Fish Head 60 Minute is normally on tap. Michael was pulling the taps but said he had 90 Minute on and 60 Minute returning next week. However, he did have the splendidly bitter Green Flash IPA. It fortified me for political talk and speeches.The hip to hip crowd of 150 or so were jolly enough. They all knew Steve it seemed and he grabbed those who had not already grabbed him. He's like Mayor Tom Menino — he loves this stuff.
The keynotes of the evening were in order mercifully brief and deliciously entertaining. They would be Bob Crane and Billy Bulger. The long-term Treasurer and originator of our lottery during his 1964-1991 tenure, Crane was there to imply that the legendary office holder approved of the would-be one. (He appears left of Murphy in the top pic.)
Of course, he was never the showman Bulger remains. In his six minutes, the former Senate President quieted the two open rooms of jolly eaters and drinkers, and joked and sang as though it was a St. Patrick's day event in that other Boston neighborhood.
Crane and Bulger charmed the crowd with tales of never having been to Hyde Park and enjoying the flight from South Boston. Bulger even said he wasn't sure his parachute would open on the way to Townsend's.
More seriously, he spoke of Murphy as the ordinary man in the race. Murphy's campaign site and his stump speeches make mild allusions to the money both Dem rival Steve Grossman and Republican nominee Karyn Polito have. Bulger pounded that theme between jokes. I'll be fascinated to see whether Murphy does the same in the month before the primary.
As Bulger put it, "We should not leave it to the people with the means to get their message across." He urged those assembled to counter ad budgets with hard work and electioneering. He said the office "should not and will not go to the rich."
Mostly though, he was simply on. Unlike former President Bill Clinton's self-loving campaigning for U.S. Rep. Steve Lynch last month, Bulger was really there for Murphy.
He even resurrected a 1952 Dem campaign song with the line, "What's a Republican promise worth." He's lost none of his voice or wit.
Not at the podium, but clearly offering support included one of the remaining young Turks on City Council, District 5's Bob Consalvo. Also, District 3's Maureen Feeney flitted about praising Murphy to all. As Councilor since 1993 and former body president, she still commands attention.
The three I didn't see included two Councilors, the activist John's — Tobin (West Roxbury/JP) on his way out and over to Northeastern, and Connolly (at-large). Surprisingly Hyde Park resident Menino was nowhere to be seen. He lives a mile or so away.
I got to ask Murphy when the candidates will debate. I think this race is crucial. He seems as impatient as I and has been agitating for face-offs. The distinctions among the three candidates are strong and need to be out the for voters' consideration.
The brief speeches by Murphy, Crane and Bulger were the only interruptions in the bonhomie of the evening. People were jolly before, during and after the interruptions. A campaign manger was pressed into service repeatedly though like at a wedding. A supporter would pass her an envelope. She turned to me and noted, "Never go to an event without pockets."
Tags: massmarrier, elections, Massachusetts, treasurer, primary, Murphy