MENINO SLAMS KERRY. Oh, my. Boston mayor Tom Menino is going public with his anger at Senator John Kerry. Kerry's been indecisive, to say the least, in trying to balance his desire not to offend the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association and his need to maintain a good relationship with Menino heading into the Democratic National Convention.
Today's Boston Herald lead story, by David Guarino and Noelle Straub, quotes Menino as calling Kerry's campaign "small-minded" and "incompetent." Menino, understandably, is exercised over Kerry's decision not to speak at a gathering of the US Conference of Mayors, hosted by Menino, rather than cross the police union's picket-line-that-isn't-really-a-picket-line. The mayor's also pissed at Kerry-camp leaks alleging that Menino hung up on Kerry sometime Sunday. Menino told the Herald:
Maybe they should use some of their energies to get their message across to the American people instead of trying to destroy the integrity of someone who is on their team, to try to discredit someone on their team. They have better things to do.
The only truly surprising thing is that Menino decided to unload even though media sentiment has been going his way, with most commentators castigating Kerry for refusing to stand up to a union whose aggressive tactics have been widely criticized.
In today's Boston Globe, for instance, Glen Johnson reports that Kerry's critics - and some supporters - think the senator's machinations over the mayors' conference were "protracted, messy, and guided by self-interest."
Globe columnist Scot Lehigh quotes Menino as saying that this could have been a "Sister Souljah" moment for Kerry - that is, an opportunity to stand up to an important Democratic constituency that's out of line, as Bill Clinton did in 1992 in speaking out against a rap singer who'd talked about killing white people.
With things going Menino's way, he could have just sat back and enjoyed it, and allowed Kerry to stew in a mess of his own making. But that's not how the mayor does things. He had to get it off his chest even though most people already agree with him.