For better or for worse….I really miss the old Kevin White days in Boston. The days of down-and-dirty power politics ruled the landscape and somehow, it was all OK. The passing of Kevin Hagan White in Boston is really the end of an era in Boston politics that could be rivaled only perhaps by The “Honey Fitz” and Mayor Curley days.
I was a journeyman reporter throughout Kevin Whites career. He was my senior by about fifteen years, but we matured and even perhaps grew-up in the same political arena and in retrospect, it was a hoot and then some. He was a feisty, sometimes cantankerous s.o.b. who suffered no fools and winning him over was a full-time chore….particularly with some of the pompous asses who surrounded and protected him through his reign. He was the “Loner in Love with His City” and often time you’d find Hizzoner wandering down Newbury Street, his sport coat slung over his shoulder, just taking it all in, unaware that anyone might recognize him. Yuh right! He knew he was the most powerful big city Mayor in the country. He knew he should go on to bigger and better things, and for a while, it seemed like it would happen. If it hadn’t been for some of the people who surrounded him and protected him, Kevin may have gone further, but he would listen for just so long….and he was done listening. I liked Kevin personally. I can say now I tried to help him in parts of his personal and political pursuit, but it wasn’t meant to be. A big city Democrat Mayor trying to become Governor of the Commonwealth? Not as long as the Kennedys were around. A Democrat from Boston being picked as a Vice Presidential running mate by Presidential nominee George McGovern? Holy crap….that’s not gonna happen. Ted Kennedy put the whammy on that idea so fast it spun George McGovern’s head around, the South Dakota Senator wimped out, dumped Kevin and then dug-up Thomas Eagleton…apparently in the midst of Eagleton’s shock-therapy treatments. What a disaster. George McGovern, now a neighbor of mine in Florida told me personally within the past year….”dropping Kevin White was the biggest mistake of my life.”
The Kevin White stories are unending, the good, bad and the ugly, but the memories are cherished and Boston has lost another “classic.” Kevin “the schity of Bawstun” White. God Speed.