Flashbacks: November 3, 2006

The Boston Phoenix has been covering the trends and events that shape our times since 1966.
By FLASHBACKS  |  November 1, 2006

Reilly to the rescue | 5 years ago | November 2, 2001 | Seth Gitell explored the possibility of Tom Reilly running for governor.
“In the days since September 11, Attorney General Tom Reilly has become a popular fellow. First, he teamed up with Governor Jane Swift in overruling Secretary of State William Galvin’s attempt to put off the day’s scheduled primary in the special election to replace Joe Moakley. Then he made a high-profile warning to Massachusetts residents to be sure that charities seeking donations in the wake of the disaster were legitimate. Standing side by side, Reilly and Mayor Tom Menino sought to allay public fears when an FBI warning of possible terrorist attacks on September 22 all but shut down the city. Finally, Senate president Tom Birmingham made sure Reilly was on hand when he introduced his anti-terrorism legislation on October 10.

“All this visibility is giving rise to talk among the chattering classes: could Reilly be positioning himself to run for higher office?  Say, the governor’s office?  ‘No,’ says Reilly spokesman Steve Bilafer. ‘He’s running for re-election.’

“Of course, Reilly’s high profile is the logical extension of his job as the state’s highest-ranking safety official. Still, some speculate that with security at the forefront of voter concerns, Reilly, a law-and-order pol, might make an ideal candidate for governor.

“With so many other candidates already in the race — Senate president Tom Birmingham, Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, Secretary of State William Galvin, businessman and former Democratic National Committee chairman Steve Grossman, and former Watertown state senator Warren Tolman — it might be too late for Reilly to throw in his hat, even if he wanted to.

“We’ll keep watching nonetheless.”

No show | 10 years ago | November 1, 1996 | Jordan Ellenberg scoped out Michael Moore’s somewhat disheartening appearance at Boston Common.
“The afternoon of October 29 is so brilliantly clear that Boston Common looks like a promotional poster for itself; the sun slants between the trees, hunky joggers do deep knee bends, and, on the steps of the State House, three dozen members of the Massachusetts New Party are waiting for Michael Moore. . . .

“Right now he’s just trying to preserve the crowd he has. The rally was supposed to have started 15 minutes ago, and prankster/filmmaker/provocationist Michael Moore, the main attraction, isn’t there. [Sandy] Pliskin’s playing the banjo and singing a song about the two-party system: ‘We know our figures can’t stand scrutiny/If the voters find out they will all mutiny.’ He finishes the song. ‘Somebody must have something to say . . . Alex, say something!’ Another member appears with a guitar and plays ‘This Land is Your Land.’ He’s pretty good. But it’s getting very cold.

“Moore arrives an hour late and tromps up the steps, followed by MNP members dressed as lobbyist ‘fat cats,’ with pillows under their shirts and fuzzy ears and bags of play money. Moore asks the fat cats what they want. ‘The best government money can buy!’ the head cat replies, sounding rehearsed. This could be awful, but soon Moore warms up, and it’s not. On his show TV Nation, he never really recaptured the easy charm of his 1989 documentary, Roger and Me — constantly at pains to remind his viewers what a fast one Moore was pulling on the networks, the show choked in smarminess. Here on the steps, with maybe 40 shivering people in front of him, and the sun setting, and two more appearances to make tonight, he looks exhausted and totally sincere. ‘Everybody has to keep a sense of humor,’ he says, ‘or we are going to get very depressed.’ ”

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