Of all the tidbits from last’s night’s post-mayoral-election consultancy tell-all, the conversation about McGinn’s tunnel “flip-flop” was the one I was looking forward to the most:
Just two weeks before the Nov. 3 election, McGinn shocked many by saying he would no longer oppose the controversial, $4.2 billion tunnel replacement. McGinn made his announcement immediately after a City Council vote to move forward with the project.
McGinn campaign guru Bill Broadhead said his candidate made his statement after what he said was a surprise council vote, and McGinn wanted to emphasize he [would] “honor agreements.”
“He didn’t flip,” Broadhead said.
McGinn did flip, and he flipped his way into the mayor’s office, Neuman said.
“It was a brilliant move, genius,” said Neuman, who added she initially thought McGinn’s “flip/flop” would hurt him. “For the first five minutes, I thought, ‘yep, this is my Christmas present.’ Five minutes later, I thought, ‘oh, fill in the blank with your favorite four-letter word.’ This could really work for him. Flip-flopping is an inside baseball game. And Mike McGinn is no John Kerry, he can articulate things very well.”
And what did I write at the time?
McGinn’s admission that a 9-0 council vote (not to mention the pro-tunnel stance of the governor and the legislature) is not something a mayor is likely to overcome shows a pragmatic side that I wasn’t sure he had coming into this campaign, and should help assuage the concerns of some who feared a vote for McGinn would be a vote for gridlock, both figuratively and literally.
I’d previously argued that McGinn had “overestimated the breadth and depth of popular opposition to the tunnel,” and that if he ended up losing, this was the issue that might have done him in. So I’m feeling kinda smart right about now.
I think the tunnel has always been a much more nuanced issue than it is usually made out to be. And in the end, voters turned out to be pretty damn nuanced as well. Who’d a thunk?