Fitzgerald: Ex-Democrat didn’t leave party, it left him

May 10, 2017 GMT

So there she was on his TV screen, a whining Hillary Clinton singing the blues to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, blaming everyone but herself for having lost to Donald Trump.

As a contemptuous Bobby Callahan looked on he again found himself wondering what, exactly, is a Democrat these days?

Still nicknamed Sauce by boyhood pals from Roxbury, there was a time when Bobby, now 67, would have been seen as the personification of a yellow dog, working-class Democrat.

For 25 years he was a rubbish collector. Then he got into the building trades, mixing mortar, and moved from there to track construction with the MBTA, where he eventually became the business agent for Local 589, the Carmen’s Union.

You can’t get more blue-collar than that.

Nor can you have more of Boston in your DNA. His parents, Buster and Kay, raised 13 kids in the Orchard Park projects and managed to send each one of them to parochial schools.

Indeed they modeled marriage so effectively that Sauce and Katie are now in the 47th year of their own marriage, grandparents 13 times.

“We bought a place in Savin Hill when we got hitched and we’re still living in it,” he said. “I never wanted to leave this city.”

Nor did he ever plan to leave the Democratic Party, though he insists that’s not what happened.

“The party left me,” he said. “That’s why I’m now an independent voter.”

He had been a quintessential Boston Democrat, serving on ward committees, attending conventions, gathering signatures and holding signs for the likes of Billy Bulger, Steve Lynch, Marty Walsh and the late Joe Moakley.

“I knew these guys,” he said. “It’s easier for me to speak like this than it would be for them, because they’re still in the game, but right now we’re as different as night and day.

“Believe me, it wasn’t a Hillary Clinton or an Elizabeth Warren that got me excited about politics. I find them both disgraceful.

“Did you hear either one of them object when (HBO’s) Bill Maher hinted Trump had an inappropriate relationship with his daughter? That’s so despicable. But because it demeaned Trump it was OK with them?

“If that were my daughter being spoken about that way he’d get an old-fashioned ass-kicking, the beating of his life. Tell me, what father would find that funny? Not the fathers where I came from.”

But the world Sauce came from no longer exists, nor does that party that ignited a fire within him a long, long time ago.