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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
2 Dec 2023
Howie Carr

NextImg:Howie Carr: If it were anybody but Shannon O’Brien, I might feel a little sympathy

Is this all there is?

That was my first thought when I read about the bitter dispute between those two ditzy Democrat dowagers, Treasurer Deb Goldberg and former Treasurer Shannon O’Brien.

It’s always sad, a hack-on-hack attack. It’s even worse when it’s two old ladies approaching the checkout counter trying to rip each other’s eyes out.

For the record, Goldberg turns 70 in May, and Shannon will be 65 a month earlier.

In their dotage, they should be playing canasta together, showing one another pictures of their grandchildren, complaining about the upcoming paltry COLA increases in their Social Security checks and making plans to meet for lunch at the Golden Corral in Delray Beach after New Year’s.

Instead, they’re battling it out in court. In case you haven’t been following their antics, Goldberg appointed her predecessor to a $181,722-a-year sinecure at the Cannabis Control Commission.

As one Internet wag observed yesterday:

“Would it be inappropriate to call this a catfight? Asking for a friend.”

Deb’s decision to give Shannon the job was charity, let’s be honest. Shannon needed something to fatten up her pension.

She’s a fourth-generation hack married to a hack, living in Whitman for God’s sake. Both she and her ex-state rep husband retired from elective politics due to ill health — the voters got sick of them.

You know, treasurer may be the most underrated job in the hackerama. Tons of power, cash, hack jobs, and no one looking over your shoulder.

Yet for 25 years, payroll patriots who should have known better kept trying to use the Treasury as a steppingstone to run for governor. First Joe Malone, then Shannon, followed by Tim Cahill and finally Steve Grossman.

They went a combined 0–4. Trying to go up or out, they all went out.

Deb Goldberg was the first treasurer since Bob Crane to realize that with her election, she’d died and gone to heaven.

So she took pity on poor Shannon, handing her a five-year appointment to the Weed Commission, a joke job at a joke agency.

And yet Shannon blew it. Somehow she crossed her patron. We still don’t really know what happened, but there’s got to be more to it than the charges of “racism” that surfaced in court filings Friday.

Shannon, it is charged, referred to Asians as “yellow.” Her version is that she referred to “black, brown and yellow people,” a poor choice of words perhaps but nothing sinister.

In her desperation to keep her snout firmly inserted in the trough, Shannon alibied that she was merely quoting a “well-known and respected African-American real estate developer.”

In other words, the black guy did it! How very Charles Stuart-esque of Shannon to blame the black guy.

According to the filings, Shannon defended herself by saying, “I guess you’re not allowed to say yellow anymore… It’s difficult sometimes to know how to say the right thing.”

She’s a graduate of Yale, by the way.

Even the woke lynch mob online couldn’t get that worked up about such thin gruel. About the worst slur they could come up with yesterday was to call her “Klannon O’Brien.”

Shannon is also accused of engaging in “distressing yelling episodes” against the staff, which is never acceptable. But even though I’m not excusing Shannon’s entitled behavior, isn’t it possible that some of the finger-pointers are envious staffers who wanted the big-money job themselves, and now it’s payback time?

In addition, Shannon is charged with disparaging the male chief of staff for his lengthy “paternity leave.” In other words, Shannon had the same reaction as almost all bosses to this latest legally entitled excuse for hired hands to goof off for months at a time, with pay.

But because she’s in a woke hothouse, such skepticism can now be used against Shannon.

If it were anybody but Shannon O’Brien being railroaded like this, I might feel a little sympathy for her.

Instead, my reaction is, “Pass the popcorn!”

By the way, she’s still on the Weed Commission payroll. Death, where is thy sting? Every week O’Brien remains on the dole, her eventual kiss in the mail gets a little fatter, much like Shannon herself these days.

In his filing to stop the hearing about her suspension, Shannon’s attorney Max Stern said that if Goldberg gets to convene her kangaroo court next week, “(O’Brien) will not only lose her job but will go down in history as the former Treasurer and Commissioner who was fired for making racist statements. And she will probably never work again.”

Never work again? How much has O’Brien ever worked, period? She was elected to the legislature at age 27, not bad on the eyes back then, at least by the dismal standards of Beacon Hill.

But let’s say Shannon wins the case, and gets to retain her gainful unemployment as czarina of the Weed Commission until 2027.

In that case, what will she “go down in history” for? I would argue it will be for her immortal statement in 2002 at the televised Halloween debate for governor against Mitt Romney, moderated by the late Tim Russert.

She showed up in a slinky black dress, looking like a red-haired Elvira Mistress of the Dark. And when asked about something or other, Shannon blurted out to Russert:

“Would you like to see my tattoo?”

Er, no. By that point, in 2002, no matter how she had looked when she first arrived at the State House, nobody was interested in seeing Shannon’s tattoo, wherever it might have been.

So Mr. Stern, I’m going to respectfully disagree with you. Whatever happens this week, the first line of Shannon’s obituary will not be about the Weed Commission, it will concern what Romney later described as her “unseemly” comment about the tattoo.

And if you’re wondering, Shannon, no, we still don’t want to see your tattoo.

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