“Carlo believes he can’t be beaten.”– The mayor’s Blue Suit talking with Josh Resnek
By JOSH RESNEK
The Blue Suit was waxing eloquent to me as we ate a lovely meal at Abbondanza Ristorante on Main Street last weekend.
The Blue Suit started out with Rolatini di Melanzane – eggplant stuffed with ricotta and spinach, baked in plum tomato sauce, and topped with mozzarella.
I got the shrimp starter, Gamberi Grand Marnier – fresh jumbo shrimp sauteed in a francese batter, sweet soppressata, and assorted fried peppers.
I love soppressata.
While we devoured the starters, we talked.
“He and his supporters truly believe he cannot lose. They are convinced he cannot lose. In their minds, and I know many of them, they believe he has already won. The election isn’t really necessary,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“God, I love eggplant,” he said to me.
“Did you hear me?” he asked.
“Yes. I heard you,” I answered.
“What do you think of that?” he asked me.
His people should not be talking or thinking like that. It’s bad luck. That being said, I can tell you this, the mayor is a tough guy to beat. There are no illusions about this.”
“You know his polling shows him with a wide lead over Adrien and Capone,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“To hell with that. Let’s order dinner,” I said.
The Blue Suit ordered a double helping of Rigatoni all’ Amatriciana. That’s homemade rigatoni tossed with sautéed pancetta, onions, red peppers in a spicy cherry tomato sauce.
“You must be hungry,” I said.
“I’m always hungry,” he answered.
I felt like veal. I ordered a veal marsala – veal sautéed with mushrooms and ham in sweet marsala wine sauce served over pasta.
We talked about Carlo again.
“Carlo doesn’t believe Adrien can get 1200 votes,” he said. “He believes her candidacy is a bust,” he said.
Most of Carlo’s inside supporters try to make the case that no one is going to vote for Adrien – when in fact – she was the top vote-getter in the city last time around in the at-large race.
“I think Carlo is way off,” I suggested. “There’s a lot of bluster going on with the people who owe him for their jobs and who do as he orders them. Adrien is working hard and smart. She’s organized. She’s hustling. The numbers he’s see- ing in his polling don’t include the first-generation Blacks and Browns who are going to vote for her in high numbers. There are thousands of these people who know of her, who are being organized by her supporters, and who will come out on Primary Day to vote for her. Carlo may think his relationship with Reverend Brown is a big deal – but Haitians aren’t going to vote for Carlo, they going to vote for Adrien, en masse,” I said. “That’s more than 1200 votes right there,” I added.
Back to the food.
“God, this marsala is delicious,” I exclaimed quietly to the Blue Suit scraping the last bit of veal from my plate into my mouth.
I watched the Blue Suit finish off his rigatoni.
“How could you possibly get all of that down?” I asked him. “I’ve had a great deal of experience with gluttony working for Carlo. Carlo is an expert at overeating, overspending, gambling, and cheating whenever necessary to get what he is after. I know that sounds harsh but that’s Carlo,” the Blue Suit told me.
We were both done with our meals.
“What does Carlo think of Capone?” I asked the Blue Suit. “Capone is a distraction for him. He believes Capone will
score more votes than Adrien and that he will meet him in the November finale,” the Blue Suit explained.
“Does he believe Capone will hurt his vote?” I asked.
“Carlo doesn’t believe anyone, or anything is going to hurt his vote. As he so likes to say, he’s the mayor forever, Josh. How can anyone beat the mayor forever?” he asked me.
I have been trying to figure what is going to happen when the votes are counted on primary night and the finish is announced. I keep sensing that Carlo’s time might be up. I have said time and again, and I have witnessed this time and again, when a politician’s time is up, he cannot win. No matter what he spends. No matter how many signs he has. No matter how much money he raises and how much money he spends and how smart his campaign appears to have been when the votes are counted…he is finished, done for, kaput. It is all over for him. Adrien walks in. Capone walks in and Carlo doesn’t finish in the money in the primary.”
The Blue Suit grabbed my arm as walked out of the restaurant.
“Could that happen, Josh? Is that possible?”
“Yes, it is,” I shot back.
“After 14 years or however many years he has been mayor, Carlo has made a lot of enemies. The city is a different place. The population is not in his pocket and will not do as he demands,” I said. “Even the city employees are tired of him. Why should they be intimidated by his rubbish threats and demands for campaign contributions? There are cracks in the Carlo dam everywhere. But the outright desertions haven’t yet taken place. When the desertions start taking place, it is like a boat flooding with water while at the same time the bilge pump isn’t working. In a short while, the boat sinks,” I said.
“You really think so Josh?” the Blue Suit asked me.
“All I know and can see and feel tells me this time around Carlo has a fight on his hands. He may continue his boast that he cannot lose, that he will be the mayor forever, but politics just doesn’t work this way. Adrien and Capone are gunning for him. He hasn’t had an opponent gun for him in longer than a decade. I know. I know. He’s got hundreds of signs, tens of thousands of dollars, hundreds of city employees…but this time he’s also got two highly motivated and well-funded candidates wanting to join him at his city hall trough and to exile him from drinking out of it.”
We were both thoughtful for a moment.
“Do you think that can happen, Josh?” the Blue Suit asked me sincerely.
“Yes. I think it is happening right now,” I told him. The Blue Suit became serious.
“You mean I might be out of a job on primary night?” “It’s possible,” I said.
“What would happen then?” he asked.
“You’d move out of Everett with Carlo to Wellesley. He’d rather be there anyway.”
“You’re right about that, Josh.”
“Thanks for dinner,” he added.
“The next one is on me,” the Blue Suit promised.