Boston Mayor Tom Menino is anomaly in a world with 24-hour news cycles and sound-bite-sized remarks within those cycles. He has nearly no communication skills—his critics call him “Mumbles Menino”—yet he has been elected overwhelmingly each time he has run and is now in his fifth term. He is the longest-serving mayor in Boston’s history.
How does he do it? Retail politics. The Shad Saturday escorted two lovely ladies including one’s children (three of them under the age of seven) to the Halloween event at The Strand Theatre in Dorchester. I noticed this grandfatherly figure moving amongst the children and parents, saying “hi” and shaking hands. I looked a bit closer and realized it was Mayor Menino; no entourage, no bodyguards, just another grandfather making the rounds. As Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neil put it, “All politics is local.” Menino gets it.