Boston Democratic politicos are sanguine to greater or lesser degrees today; but they seem to wear an expression of healthy ebulliance as they utter the last familiar gasps of the campaign all over the city. Nobody was in at the Kennedy Headquarters on Tremont Street. "They're all down at the Boston Garden," said the elevator boy, "getting ready for the next President of the United States." And a Ward campaign manager added: "President Kennedy."
The center for the campaign of Joseph P. Ward for Governor and Edward F. McLaughlin for Lieuten ant-Governor was not a festive place: the posters were rumpled, the population was reduced to a few somnolent cigar smokers, and the carton on the front desk was full of lapelless Ward buttons--although a worker remarked that they'd run out of Kennedy buttons several days ago. "I think we've got a Kennedy hat left around here somewhere," she said.
Charley O'Brien, the man in charge, is short and brush-haired, and holds his cigarette in a clenched fist. He had not bothered to take off his trench-coat. "Ward's a shoo-in," he stated, "because Kennedy's gonna win Massachusetts by 500,000 votes for sure." He spread out a Boston Globe on one of the six empty tables in the headquarters. "Look at that--the Herald, the Globe, and the Traveler have all gone back on their accusation that Ward's name is printed heavier on the ballot."
He wasn't so sure about the chances of Tom O'Connor, the Democratic candidate for Senator, whose picture is blown up in a headquarters window. The Globe has an ad today put in by an independent group in Spring-field that's gonna hurt him on his claim that he reduced taxes." He lowered his voice: "Besides, he's been hitting Saltonstall pretty low. A big mistake. You don't attack a gentleman like that. You know what I mean?"
At noon the Democratic rally, a traditional part of the day before an election, began in front of the State Court House in Pemberton Square. It was a small and private affair at the beginning. "High Hopes" blasted uncertainly from speakers decorated with "Have a Heart, Vote Ward" posters. "You'd have to have a hole in your head," muttered someone. He was in the minority; by one o'clock about two hundred people were gathered around the emblazoned campaign trucks--a few of them with Kennedy, Ward, McLaughlin, White, McCormack, Driscoll, and Buckley ribbons down their chests.
Most of the participants in the rally were judges, attorneys, and messenger boys, not too happy about the 35-degree cold and giving up their lunch-hours, but full of Democratic jocularity. "Attaboy, Julius," somebody cried as Julius Ansel, State Representative from the 14th Ward, got up to speak. "The dirtiest approach ever," he called Volpe's tactics. "He advocates closing the Boston Hospital while he sits in his mansion in Winchester, enjoying his wealth. SHAME on that man." As for Volpe's allegations concerning Ward, he had only to say, "There sit Ward's seven daughters at home; how do you think they feel about their father?" He closed by calling for "a fulfilment of the destiny of this great father. God will sustain us--all God's children can move forward together."
"Oh, he's the greatest orator since Curley," whispered an avid woman attorney. "I used to introduce Curley, right here, same time, same occasion. He was the greatest statesman of them all. Sometimes he did things that didn't look good, but he sure did the best things for Boston. And he was a great orator. . . ."
The speakers eventually returned to musical fare, and the cold leftovers of the crowd drifted off down towards the Common and back into the Court House, their black cashmere coats and trench-coats up about their ears.
The politicos and their electorate seemed to have heard what they wanted to hear, for Powers et. al. had put up a good show of being right-eously indignant, and there's no show Boston likes better.