A vitriolic—though intermittently entertaining—political diatribe aimed at Massachusetts.
Keller, a political commentator on Boston’s CBS affiliate, argues that the politics of “the bluest state” are a flawed template for the national Democratic Party. He conflates the Republican electoral victory in 2004 and what he considers to be the failures of the State Democratic leadership, reserving his most vehement criticism for Ted Kennedy, whom he considers the éminence grise. Keller relies heavily on interviews and anecdotes to make the case that Massachusetts Democrats have led their state into economic disaster because of their callous disregard for the bulk of the electorate: blue-collar workers. He accuses Kennedy Democrats of mouthing liberal rhetoric but ignoring the effects of high taxes, escalating real-estate values and loss of jobs on the average working man, and he faults former Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney for signing the Democratic-sponsored universal health-coverage bill. Readers unfamiliar with the Massachusetts political terrain will have to take much of the author’s argument on good faith, since the book is light on balanced reportage and heavy on political polemic. The author displays a knack for delivering witty one-liners, but it often leads him into questionable territory—especially his combined swipe at Massachusetts’s first black governor, Deval Patrick, and Barack Obama: “While the nation contemplates taking a chance on Barack Obama, an erudite black Harvard Law grad, we’ve already taken the plunge with our own mini-Obama.” While Keller’s major attack is against his fellow Democrats, he also targets “boomer liberalism” and calls the uproar surrounding former Harvard President Larry Summers’ remarks about women scientists a “liberal jihad.” The author claims that he is a liberal Democrat, but his jabs at the Massachusetts power elite rely heavily on conservative, Republican rhetoric.
A weak effort to capitalize on the 2008 campaign debate.