So far, John Kerry has been an onlooker at his own convention.
Every day last week, the already- dark mood of his hometown grew surlier, as the extent of the convention's massive disruptions of daily life became ever more apparent. But the man who would lead the Free World essentially went MIA.
He spent several days in serene splendor at the $10-million oceanfront mansion on Nantucket that his second wife inherited from her first husband. The senator windsurfed by day and hobnobbed with the Beautiful People by night, pedaling his $8,000 Serotta bicycle into the village for dinner at one or another of the island's fancy restaurants.
Meanwhile, in the sweltering city, the heavy lifting of actually averting total chaos was left to two local pols Boston's Democratic Mayor Thomas Menino and GOP Gov. Mitt Romney.
It was the mayor who had to go toe-to-toe with an obdurate police union that was threatening to hamstring the entire convention with picket lines, to protest their lack of a contract. It was the governor who finally forced the union to the bargaining table when he replaced the foot-dragging chairman of a state labor board with a retired judge who immediately ordered the arbitration that resulted in a settlement.
Kerry's contribution to the contentious process? He refused to cross a police picket line to deliver a speech planned months in advance at a conference of mayors that Menino was hosting. On short notice, Romney stepped in for No-Show John as the featured speaker.
[i][b]Menino did not appreciate being hung out to dry by his ostensible ally. "If they ever name a street after Kerry," said one of the mayor's allies at City Hall, "it'll have to be one-way." [/b][/i]Kerry, meanwhile, sailed off Nantucket. In his spare moments, he worked on his Thursday-night acceptance speech not on a laptop, but in longhand.
While the mayor and the governor toiled on the security arrangements for Kerry's coronation, the senator did a little hang-gliding, and skipped a largely symbolic vote in the U.S. Senate on gay marriage.
"He thinks he's acting presidential," said one Democrat at the State House. "But the reality is, he's been ducking and everybody knows it. This is just reinforcing the impression that he's not an executive, he's a legislator. The only decision he ever has to make is what wine to order with dinner."
The Kerry campaign has finally realized just how disgruntled the local population now is with the convention. They've scheduled a special concert of the Boston Pops to "thank" the city, but their initial plans ran into trouble when the first organizer quit, claiming he couldn't get anyone in the campaign to pony up the necessary funds.
"They strung us along for weeks," he told the Boston Globe, "then days, then hours, and I finally had to say, 'It's lights out.' "
Meanwhile, the convention soirees get under way today clambake at Teddy's in Hyannis Port! Buses leave from the Four Seasons at noon! But for most Bostonians, there is only one must-have ticket this week: a ticket out of town.
Boston is going into near-total lockdown tonight. The flashing road signs say it all: EXPECT MAJOR DELAYS.
And not just on the highway. The major commuter-rail station closed Friday night. Many subway commuters will be dumped onto buses, which will then head out into utter gridlock.
Traffic helicopters are grounded. Even the commuter boats have been ordered to halt their runs.
Pregnant women have been told to find suburban hospitals for their deliveries. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments have been canceled, along with all elective surgery.
One newspaper asked restaurant managers how they expected to fare during the four days of the convention. Most were pessimistic, except for one wings joint near the FleetCenter that is predicting a 75 percent uptick in business: Hooters.
When Boston was awarded the convention 18 months ago, amid great fanfare and excitement, it was pointed out that the Hub had never hosted such an event before. After this week, it never will again at least if the people of the city have anything to say about it.
Howie Carr is a Boston Herald columnist and nationally syndicated talk-radio host.
And then there's the Pizza Shop owner that is being forced to
close down for the Convention so he puts up a Sign on his Shop
that says; Thanks alot DNC..Go Bush!! The DNC is forcing him to
take down his sign..I wonder if our 99% Conservative War Fish
will come to the aid of the Shop owner and his right to his sign?? :rolleyes: :P