Year Of Duds

From the perspective of a Boston-based political journalist, 2011 was the year of duds -- when all the potentially interesting, reader-generating story lines kinda failed to develop.

The scandals of the past couple of years played out in pretty straightforward fashion. No big new revelations -- or additional indictments -- came out of the Wilkerson, Turner, or DiMasi codas. (Except the Arthur Winn indictment, which may provide more fun in 2012.) The probation/patronage scandal kinda diasappeared behind grand jury work; one new arrest just came down, and this one too might pick back up next year. The casino bill passed with nothing like the wild drama of its previous failures. Redistricting seems to have been handled professionally, intelligently, and even legally, despite all expectations and precedent to the contrary. Michael Flaherty's comeback attempt fizzled out. The anticipated beginning of a Democratic battle for the US Senate nomination quickly turned into a see-you-next-year Warren-Brown race. And as for former Governor Mitt Romney's second stab at the brass ring... well, the year started with him as the nominal but uninspiring frontrunner, waiting to see if anyone could emerge as the anti-Romney to challenge him from the right, and the year ends the same way. 

There was certainly some conflict and drama, in those story lines and in such passing entertainments as the Dorchester District Council war. But consider what we've had in the past few years: the '06 and '10 governor races; the '09 mayoral; the late '09/early '10 US Senate special; the wide-open (in both parties) '07/'08 New Hampshire primary campaign; and Beacon Hill scandals aplenty. By comparison, 2011 has been a yawner.

So here's hoping for some fireworks in 2012 -- at least, from a Boston-based political journalist's perspective. 

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