Thursday, June 09, 2011

Pol Being Neighborly

As someone without the politician's gene and somewhat shy, I have long admired and envied the extroversion and confidence of many around me. Yet this weekend, I admired the decision of a pol not to campaign when he had a chance.

Steve Murphy came by the reception for one of my sons' wedding Sunday. He came as a neighbor who knows me and not as Boston City Council President seeking reelection to an at-large seat. Under the tent and milling around were numerous Bostonians, potential votes come November. No glad-handing occurred.

He visited from a couple of short blocks away with his girlfriend Bridget. They had already made a day of it campaigning, including the long, slow Dorchester Day parade, but were just there socially. When I asked whether he wanted to meet people, he said he was just there socially. Imagine that.

Coincidentally, one of the guests is a sales type, at least as out there as a politician. As of Sunday, I have solemnized three weddings and his was the first as he married a long-term friend of mine. He had long loved her and when he discovered she had divorced, he literally moved to Boston from the South to make the big sale, of himself to her. It took a few years, but he closed the deal.

He had experience. He was Bill Clinton's original campaign head in the gubernatorial race in Arkansas. He sold Clinton to the voters. He's done other things, like advertising, but all to his mind were sales. While in Boston, he sold me a Volvo when he worked at a dealership, as well. That prompted me to ask how he could deal with such diverse commodities, like politicians and sedans. He grinned and simply said, "Michael, I can sell anything."

That's not my personality. I recognize it and admire it in others, but I can't do it. I'm not always on and making a pitch to someone is tough for me. Now I can add a wrinkle for Steve Murphy, for being able to do it but choosing when to do so.

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