The Latest Anti-John Connolly Hit Piece Is Out Now

Coming soon to a mailbox near you.

A new mail piece hit Boston homes on Tuesday, sent from the Greater Boston Labor Council (which Marty Walsh used to work with), which does not mention Marty Walsh at all. It has a lot to say about John Connolly, though, and none of it is nice.

The front side shows “Jake M., Dorchester” (who I’m told is a member of Laborers Local #223, where Walsh was president), and a big quote: “John Connolly is trying to fool people—he’s from a wealthy political family and pretends to be something he’s not.”

The back calls him “son of privilege” and “corporate lawyer,” and includes some pretty misleading copy from an old Boston Globe article.

Most egregiously, the mailer claims that Connolly taught at “an elite New York private school,” which to my understanding is not just wrong but a gross insult to the many religious-based schools in Boston that have taught low-income children.

This is after Walsh publicly denounced exactly this kind of thing in no uncertain terms. To be fair, it may have been mailed before Walsh made that public statement. And Walsh cannot, by law, make groups do or stop doing anything.

In response to my inquiry, the Walsh campaign sent me the following statement:

“Marty has already spoken against such campaigning. He has always run on his record and on the issues facing Boston’s families. That is what he will continue to do in this campaign.”

I don’t particularly have a problem with Walsh and his supporters playing the class card a little bit—I predicted they would, right after the preliminary. But there are nice and not nice ways to do it, and this is an example of the not nice way.

A lot of Walsh supporters seem to have it in their heads that there is something malevolent about Connolly not emphasizing his law practice or his parents. Neither did Michael Flaherty when he ran for mayor. They also think Connolly has tried to hoodwink everybody into thinking he was a career teacher; I think there have been a few occasions the campaign has arguably done that, but he routinely says on the stump and to the media that he tried to be a teacher and failed at it.

None of that is “trying to fool people.” Candidates emphasize what they want to emphasize about their lives. Walsh has decided to talk a fair amount about his past drinking and his childhood bout with cancer, neither of which I had heard him talk about before—and he’s arguably talked about it more than he’s talked about his leadership of the GBLC.

The media, other candidates, and anyone else can and should look into the other parts of candidates’ lives and see if there’s anything there that people should know about. So far, I know of nothing that anybody has found that remotely suggests that there’s anything wrong or unseemly about Connolly’s practice of law.

You know, we’ve seen this kind of thing before. Quite recently. Scott Brown and his supporters sneered at Elizabeth Warren for being a professor and for being part of the Harvard elite.

At least in that case, it was true that Warren and her husband had accumulated a pretty decent amount of money—I just never understood what was supposed to be wrong with how she had done it. Voters didn’t understand either, I would suggest.

The Council sent me a brief statement, saying that in future the GBLC will do only positive, pro-Walsh mailings. But they would not answer my direct questions. I tried to ask: do they think they did anything wrong with this mailer? Do they stand by the claims? What is wrong, exactly, with John Connolly’s parents being successful public servants? What is wrong, exactly, with John Connolly’s practice of law? What, exactly, about his actions or policies betray this privileged life you think should be at the center of this campaign?

They should answer those questions.