The Politics Of Southie Resentment

How the skeezy sludge dump over who hosts the annual South Boston St. Patrick's Day breakfast became very public.

It would not be unreasonable for Bill Linehan, the South Boston city councilor who pinch-hit as emcee at the most recent South Boston St. Patrick’s Day breakfast, to privately discuss his desire to continue in that role. I might even suggest that Linda Dorcena Forry, the Dorchester pol who recently won the state senate seat whose occupant traditionally performs that duty, would be wise to privately work out some arrangement to co-host with a Southie-residing office-holder.

But that’s got nothing to do with the skeezy sludge dump in the Globe today. Discussing this issue with a Globe reporter (a native of Southie by shocking coincidence!) in September is not a negotiation; it’s a campaign strategy.

Linehan is in a tough rematch with Suzanne Lee, who came within 100 votes of besting Linehan two years ago. Lee, as it so happens, is another lady type with funny skin color from outside Southie, just like Forry.

After the Forry victory, I can’t tell you how many people told me that Linehan’s bacon just might be saved by Southie residents banding together under the banner of “you can’t have this one too.”

That, from all appearances, is what today’s story is all about—it’s Linehan’s rallying cry to resentful old-time Southie residents.

And it’s why it is so important that the Tweedledum to Linehan’s Tweedledee in the article is none other than Nick Collins, the South Boston state representative who lost that special state senate election to Forry. Collins tells the Globe that Linehan should host, and if Linehan is voted out in November then Collins himself should host. Presumably if Collins couldn’t do it, the line of succession runs down from there, through the staff of St. Brigid’s, with Forry’s name coming just below “random guy at the L Street Bathhouse” on that list.

Collins, you might have noticed, endorsed John Connolly for mayor yesterday, which is thought to be a nice boost for his chances to get some of those resentful Southie votes—votes which have been considered likely to go in bulk to Marty Walsh, who, despite being a Dorchester guy, seems to resonate well with resentful Southie old-timers.

Or, used to. Connolly won that endorsement in no small part because, according to those I’ve spoken with who would know, Collins remains bitter at Marty Walsh for remaining neutral in the Collins-Forry race.

Connolly was also buddying up yesterday with Ed Flynn, son of the former mayor, and the Chief Marshall of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade—you know, the one that refuses to allow LGBT groups participate because it would be disruptive to have people carrying “Quarantine The Queers” signs lobbing smoke bombs.

Connolly himself has a strong record of refusing to participate in that parade. And, he has a good relationship with Forry. I’ve got a feeling he might not have talked a whole lot about that sort of thing in Southie yesterday with Nick and Ed by his side.