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Commentary: Boston's Mayoral Candidates Leave Much To Be Desired

This article is more than 10 years old.

For all of you who stubbornly cling to the 21st century:

dead blog v. tr. To wait until an event is over before writing about it.

So, the Boston mayoral debate Monday night between Mayor Tom Menino and City Councilor Michael Flaherty. Let’s start with the most important part of any televised debate: Cosmetics.

The doublewide podiums didn’t do much for either candidate. The sound went all Barry White at the beginning and the lighting was strictly Spooky World. But why get technical about it. It just goes to show what you can do when a consortium of four different media organizations sponsors one debate. (Your loss-of-consortium punchline goes here.)

The two anchors, WGBH’s Emily Rooney and NECN’s RD Sahl, and two reporters, the Boston Globe’s Scott Helman and WBUR’s Bob Oakes, had to divvy up the moderating/questioning chores, which had sort of a pinball effect on the proceedings. But that wasn’t the biggest problem Monday night.

The biggest problem was that the debate featured more bromides than an old-fashioned drugstore and needed to be close-captioned for the govspeak-impaired.

So a debate that should have provided some answers for Boston voters mostly left them with questions.

For example, which of these makes for a better bumper sticker — "Tom Menino: We haven’t been charged with anything" or "Under a Flaherty administration, we’ll have FiOS"?

Did most of the debate viewers/listeners have the foggiest idea what GIC, FOIA, and CORI stand for? If not (and that was a lot of them), they don’t know what Menino and Flaherty stand for.

Is it just me, or was Tom Menino more incoherent than usual Monday night? It felt like he was totally channeling James Joyce.

Was the most uncomfortable moment of the night when Menino was pressed about the lack of diversity in his administration by an all-white panel of journalists?

You call this a choice? Flaherty: We need financial literacy courses for Boston residents. Menino: I got your financial literacy courses right here. Flaherty: We need SAT prep for Boston high schoolers. Menino: I got your SAT prep right here.


This program aired on October 20, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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