Cowardly Anonymity Strikes Boston Politics!

Well, thank goodness we have a meaningless, manufactured controversy around which we can center tomorrow's city election. God forbid we should find ourselves talking about substance, issues, or experience.

Let's see if I can recap the events of the past several days.

John Connolly wishes to become an at-large city councilor, which right off the bat brings his judgment and mental acuity into question. Connolly had a chunk of money set aside for TV and radio ads, but rightly concluded that he'd be better off sending loads of mailers and fliers to the roughly 126 or so Bostonians who might actually vote. One of these mailers attacked an incumbent, a perfectly natural political act; specifically, it suggested that Stephen Murphy often seems more interested in finding his next job than doing the one he has.

The only sin there is lack of originality. But for some unknown and idiotic reason, the Connolly campaign chose not to identify itself on the mailer as the source of the piece. Then they played cute about it before fessing up to the authorship. This bizarre brain spasm on Connolly's part was an early Christmas gift to Murphy, who quickly leapt to the moral high ground and trumpeted a righteous plaint of Connolly's cowardly anonymity. Others in and around city politics are also expressing their shock and dismay over this dastardly scheme -- because Lord knows nobody in Boston politics has ever anonymously criticized another pol. As a journalist, I can personally attest that all of our local officeholders and their staffs insist on being named and fully identified whenever speaking ill of their colleagues; you should hear the umbrage when I suggest hiding their identities behind vague sourcing! No, never such cowardice for me!, they cry.

Then came a separate piece, from something called the "Parkway Coalition," which urged West Roxburians to bullet-vote Connolly. This refers to the strategy of using just one of the voter's four available selections, a shady and dishonorable practice that even the most inexperienced Boston operative knows you're supposed to encourage privately while denouncing publicly. The "Parkway Coalition" appears to be a front for the John Connolly campaign, seeing as they use the same permit number for political postage rate, so on this one Connolly seems to have combined two sins of stupidity: stating publicly something that he's supposed to only say privately; and hiding his culpability really really badly.

As with the attack on Murphy, I don't quite understand why Connolly and/or his people didn't want to be up front about the whole thing -- especially since the Boston Globe has, in effect, endorsed a Connolly bullet vote. So why not just say that?

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