The latest installment of the Raybo-hearts-Scotto show couldn’t have taken place at a more appropriate spot than Sullivan’s at Castle Island. Ray Flynn, the former Boston mayor, is hot-dogging the US Senate race for all it’s worth, and Saturday’s appearance with Scott Brown at the famed Southie hot dog stand was worth a big splash in Sunday’s Globe.
It’s been many years since Flynn, who railed against “the 1 percent” before many of last year’s Occupiers were even born, was crusading on behalf of the homeless and against the evils of Reaganomics as president of the US Conference of Mayors. The one-time Democratic populist backed George W. Bush over Al Gore, shunned John Kerry four years later, and is now the leading Democratic figure backing the state’s Republican junior senator.
Flynn would still describe himself as a union-friendly, lunch-bucket Democrat. So how do his views line up with Brown’s? “I didn’t go through his congressional record or roll call,” he told the Globe. “I don’t have time for that. People don’t have time for that. I am interested if the the guy is honest, that he has personal integrity.” Flynn used to have plenty of time for such things, which are usually referred to as determining your political alignment. But no matter.
Flynn says his backing of Brown — which includes a TV ad filmed in his South Boston living room — is “really a nonpolitical message about the man, rather than it is about politics or ideology.” That is exactly the message Brown is counting on, as he hopes to overcome the state’s Democratic leanings with an everyman persona that projects a basic decency and a more down-to-earth mien than his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School.
Noel describes well the 40 or so percent of the electorate that each party has claim to, voters that are not going to budge because of some new damaging revelation about Romney or Obama. In the Senate race, Brown and Warren each have a big chunk of the electorate locked up. These people don’t particularly care about Brown’s truck, Warren’s heritage, or any of the other atmospherics of the race. The campaign, of course, isn’t about them. It’s about those who think like Ray Flynn.
Voting the “person, not the party” has the allure of sounding like the actions of a someone who thinks for himself, an independent mind and not a dutiful party follower. It can tip many races, and could do so in the Senate contest. But that still doesn’t mean it makes sense.
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