Dispatch from an Election Night Pub Crawl


Photo Credit:Melissa Ostrow 

The angry spirits that supervise Boston politics tried to silence this election coverage. Between a T-Mobile outage that put me behind every writer in this city (or at least those who are smart enough to distrust Catherine Zeta-Jones) – and the several hours I spent waiting for inadequate trains and buses – this mission was hobbled from the get-go. 

Divine sabotage ensued as I crashed the election party for Chuck Turner’s challenger, Carlos “Tony” Henriquez, in Roxbury, where, at 8:15pm, there were just a few supporters in the lobby outside Rudi’s bar and grill. The meager showing was understandable since field operatives were still scattered, but that’s no excuse for club management not having election coverage playing on any of the restaurant’s three screens.

From there I hit the new Jamaica Plain Milky Way to see Tomas Gonzalez, who wound up finishing second-to-last in the councilor-at-large race. Festivities were sweet – with lots of nice people plus beer and grub – but I was once again unable to secure a tube for the returns. One ignoramus (not with the Gonzalez camp) in particular insisted that we watch the Celtics game – even though Boston led by 21 points, while the mayoral race (at the moment) was neck-and-neck.

Sick of spot-watching results between jump shots, I left Gonzalez to hang with old pros and longtime Councilor-at-Large Steve Murphy at Doyle’s on Washington Street. I’m sure there were hometown hoops fans in that house, too, but BNN coverage was front and center on the back room television so folks could get the information that they needed.

Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway) – Murphy supporters were excited, jolly, unsurprised, and, in a few cases, red-faced. Despite my skepticism of his seemingly eternal incumbency, I was impressed by the relative diversity at Murphy’s celebration. Sure – there were old guys wearing suits with white sneakers, but there were also young women, one requisite postal worker, and even some black volunteers.

By the time I left Murphy, Tom Menino had been re-elected for his unprecedented 148th term as Boston’s mayor. I knew this not just from actual results, but from several text messages that I received from friends who were concerned that (and/or laughing because) my editors and I had favored his opponent, City Councilor-at-Large Michael Flaherty.

In regard to the mayoral outcome, my response is threefold: 1 – I’m a human being first, which affords me the right to an opinion; 2 – I’m a journalist second, which means I instinctually support those rivaling officials who tend to strategically guard information that reporters need (the Boston Globe, apparently, feels differently). And finally – I don’t really give a damn; I used to work campaigns for hopeless long-shot Dems, so my heart is hardly susceptible to strain.

That said – I did need to witness some joy, which I found upon entering James’s Gate on South Street just as at-large winner Felix G. Arroyo delivered his victory speech. It’s been no secret throughout this campaign that I think Arroyo has adequate potential to become a remarkable elected leader, and he affirmed that faith during his afterparty performance (which, it should be noted, included appropriate encore bangers from New Edition and Tony! Toni! Tone!).

Whether or not Arroyo truly believes that “winning is great [while] gloating is not,” he had no choice but to act humble in his special moment. When the fresh elect’s father, former City Councilor-at-Large Felix D. Arroyo, entered the room, young Felix cracked the widest grin political observers have seen since young Bush got to hang the man who tried to hurt his daddy.

I considered naming this dispatch “How Could 63,123 People Be So Dumb?” – in tribute to both the mayoral results and the legendary Daily Mirror (UK) headline regarding the 2004 US presidential election. But in a city that is so politically (a)pathetic, all active voters deserve respect – even if they tapped Hizzoner on the sole merit of incumbency. As I was reminded by Lou Ureneck’s poignant op-ed this past Monday, civic duty is an afterthought these days, and not just because morons prefer to watch grown men play with balls than to engage in processes that affect lives.

But how can I complain? At least this is not New Jersey or Virginia, where so many fools pulled for Republican scumbags in gubernatorial races. And at least I no longer live in New York City, where several million dolts were confused enough to reelect an out-of-touch billionaire. It would have been exciting if more Bostonians had the courage to support significant change, but it’s slightly comforting that the alternative – at least this time – was another four years from a dedicated public servant whose power trip is not merely an exercise in egomania.


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