I was at a meeting at a construction site in Boston yesterday– a condo project in the South End, when a robo call came in (which we could hear on the answering machine) urging the resident to get out and vote for Charlotte Golar Richie. The message, essentially, was that it was time for Boston to elect not only its first black mayor, but its first woman mayor. And the call then went on to recite a few of the old canards about Richie that we used to hear when she served in the state house and in various flunky jobs in state and city government. Yeah, we know she has a masters degree from Columbia University, but the damn degree is in journalism. And the one job she held, and it was short-lived, was as a failed actress. After which she went to Kenya and found her husband, or something like that. Thin on credentials. Thin on real work experience. But she is a black woman community organizer who didn’t finish her elected term in the state house, so she should be mayor of Boston. Since all of us in that room were white men, one of the contractors chuckled and said. “wrong number.”
I still get regular solicitations from the Democratic House and Senate campaign organizations, and their strategy for retaking Congress and holding the Senate revolves around the notion of the “patchwork” legislature–that Congress and the Senate should reflect the ethnic diversity of America, and that all of the problems we currently face are the result of obstructionist white men in Congress. And Golar Richie was the first test, in ultra liberal Boston, of that strategy.
You know, the exit surveys in Boston yesterday were interesting. Both Connelly and Walsh were playing up their real life experience, and how it shapes their world views. And while Richie mustered a lot of votes from people who seemed to want the patchwork mayor, Golar Richie’s defeat really reflects a growing demand for competent, experienced and visionary leaders. A number of folks interviewed on WBUR last night commented that they understood the entire Golar Richie campaign to be about race, and of course Golar Richie’s supporters were the first to claim that racism still runs rampant in Boston.
Yet another example that the liberal-played race card doesn’t seem to be gaining traction, or maybe that Obama was a one hit wonder. Deval Patrick had real credentials, something that the Golar Richie campaign seems to forget. And if the Democrats can’t win by playing the race card in Boston, its unlikely to work anywhere else.