Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sick, sick Massachusetts

Massachusetts incubates the "viruses" that afflict the Democratic Party
I just love this headline!

Veteran Boston political reporter Jon Keller also invites us to behold his native state . . . and shudder in dismay. In "The Bluest State," he argues that, although Massachusetts does not suffer alone from its notorious affection for liberalism, it is the incubator for "Massachusetts viruses" that infect the national Democratic Party. The viruses come in many forms: "addiction to tax revenues and a raging edifice complex couched in disrespect to wage earners; phony identity politics without real results for women and minorities; reflexive anti-Americanism in foreign affairs; vain indulgence in obnoxious political correctness; self-serving featherbedding; NIMBYism; authoritarian distortion of the balance of governmental power, all simmered in a broth of hypocritical paternalism."

When Democrats fight off the viruses and run more centrist campaigns, Mr. Keller says, they can prosper, as they did in 2006. But the infection is always lurking--and could be the party's undoing next year. It should be noted that "The Bluest State" is not a book by a Republican cheerleader; Mr. Keller can be withering about the GOP. I know, because I have listened to his morning radio commentaries for years. But Republicans are largely beside the point when it comes to Massachusetts. Despite winning four out of the past five elections for governor, Republicans hold by far a smaller share of legislative seats--one out of six--than in any other state. Only next-door Rhode Island is even close.

Massachusetts is one of the few states losing population--230,000 fled the Bay State between 2000 and 2005. It has not regained the 150,000 technical jobs that it lost in the bursting of the dot-com bubble. Job growth has been flat since 1999.

I grew up listening to "Keller At Large" - I gotta get this book!

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