Q&A #4 -- Will Flaherty Attack?

Ask Me Anything Day keeps rolling along! "Jake P." asks":

It is pretty clear that Flaherty will have to break his non-aggression pact with Yoon at the debate.  What will be his angle of attack? and how will Yoon counter?  

What will Menino do during all this?  Since expectations are low for his debate performance, could we be impressed?

I disagree. I don't think Flaherty will attack Yoon. If he does, I would guess it will be to compare and contrast their council records, to suggested that Flaherty has accomplished more and spent more time mastering city government processes.

Menino, in my opinion, is much better in these types of forums than people think. He'll be seeking to demonstrate A) a thorough, unmatched, down-to-the-details mastery of the city; B) forward-looking ideas to belie the notion that he's a relic of the past; and C) enthusiasm for the job.

I think one danger for the mayor is if he gets drawn into defending problems, like gun violence, cost-of-living, and development failures. To the extent that he can talk about what he's done, and is doing, on those things, and let the others talk about the negatives, I think he's fine. If he gets drawn into trying to explain why things aren't really bad or aren't his fault, he risks looking out-of-touch, imperious, or worse (even if he's right).

By the way, my understanding is that the forum will allow for some back-and-forth conversation among the candidates, which -- along with the impressive moderating skills of Jon Keller -- heightens the chances of Menino getting drawn into defensive mode.

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