Q&A #1: John Connolly's Maneuvers

Happy Ask Me Anything Day! We start with local politics, and a question from "MichaelK":

How do you imagine a John Connolly run for mayor would differ from Michael Flaherty's? More importantly, why do you think he's chosen this moment to put himself out there?

Let's start with the second question first. Connolly wants to differentiate himself on education issues, not just from Tom Menino but from all the non-Meninos who he'll be battling when the time comes to pick Menino's successor... whenever that might be. (It's also possible that he wants to improve the quality and accessibility of education for the city's children.)

Now, if Connolly does run against Menino....

Instead of getting too far into the neighborhood-by-neighborhood, demo-by-demo, issue-by-issue weeds, let me say this. Connolly has a lot of allies, supporters, and issues with which he could take Menino on directly in some key areas where Flaherty had a lot of trouble making headway -- most notably among Boston's black voters, but also throughout Dorchester, West Roxbury, Charlestown, Jamaica Plain and so on.

But would they actually be there with him? It's one thing for Linda Forry or Ayanna Pressley, or Ed Coppinger or Matt O'Malley, or various parents' leaders, to stand with Connolly on a school choice issue; it's another to stand with him in a direct putsch of the Menino regime.

And it's yet another to actually win those votes. But I do think a Connolly campaign would make more headway, and stir more energy and discussion, in more parts of the city than the Flaherty campaign did.

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