When the Mayor's Away, the City Council Will Plot

Everyone's planning for a mayoral free-for-all ... except the mayor.

Photo credit: Dan4th via Flickr

When The Boston Globe reported Tuesday that Mayor Tom Menino’s hospitalization for a viral infection had been extended indefinitely due to back pain, reporter Andrew Ryan noted that “this string of illnesses may shatter Menino’s air of inevitability and encourage would-be challengers to prepare” for a mayoral run. According to today’s papers, this was prescient. According to both Globe and Herald columnists, the Boston City Council is acting (to be crass for a moment) like a bunch of vultures, vying for power in the hopes that there might be a mayoral free-for-all in 2013.

Actually, the Globe’s Brian McGrory thinks of them more like over-eager schoolchildren:

Today marks [Menino’s] 21st day at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which means that every member of that august legislative body known as the Boston City Council is plotting his or her own mayoral campaign for 2013. It’s a little scary when you consider that whenever anyone calls a recess at a City Council hearing, the entire group runs frantically for the doors to play kickball outside, juiceboxes in hand. Not that kind of recess, guys.

The Herald‘s Peter Gelzinis has the most comprehensive account of all the political intrigue going on:

With each day the mayor spends at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the presidency of the City Council suddenly looms larger and larger.

“No one will dare admit it right now,” said a council watcher, “but all of them know that this time, being council president might actually mean something.”

Why won’t anyone admit it? Because if there’s one person who isn’t counting on a mayoral free-for-all, it’s the Mayor. Gelzinis reports that Menino is annoyed about his hospital visit because it makes him look vulnerable. And the Globe notes that he’s been “aggressively” raising money for his run. It’s no wonder no one will go on the record to talk about these things just yet.