Jon Keller has one of those gigs that frosts writers who have to turn out 20,000 words or more a week to make a living. He does 60- and 90-second political commentaries very occasionally for news radio station WBZ in Boston under the title, “Keller at Large.” You know the format, because every city of any size has one. The station runs the same news menu every ten minutes (“traffic on the threes, weather on the tens”), broken up every now and then with specials like “The Osgood File” or “The WBZ Medical Minute.”
In this format, Keller performs no worse, but scarcely any better, than the usual AM radio news jock. So what does he do in the long (long!) intervals between his infrequent appearances actually on the job? Well, gratifyingly, by the evidence of his book, The Bluest State, he attends political events of every size and dimension, from the significant to the boring. He pays attention. He asks bothersome questions, and frequently sticks his nose in where he is not wanted.
Plus, he writes well. So you settle down to enjoy a good skewering of Massachusetts Democrat follies, and, for the most part, you get it.
KELLER HAS THE Massachusetts Boomer liberal nailed. AM radio sharp, he puts the picture in five words: “Aloofness. Arrogance. Entitlement. Condescension. Hypocrisy.”
He draws an unsparing portrait of a single-party fiefdom that cares only about who’s an insider and who’s an outsider (unfortunately, this includes most of the Commonwealth’s few Republicans, too), and where, as another Boston writer, Howie Carr, has said, “Everything is a deal. No deal is too small.”
Thus we get the Big Dig, at more than $14 billion the nation’s biggest public works program, with relatives and cronies of elected officials doing high-wage jobs, mostly very badly, and theft rampant from top to (leaky) bottom. We get restrictive land use and zoning laws passed by the propertied well-to-do, so housing prices stay near the highest in the nation.
Massachusetts pols aiming for higher office adopt an absolutist position pro abortion, afraid to cross their radical constituencies. Quite often, they lose, like former State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, who followed the absolutist line right over a cliff in her final gubernatorial debate with opponent Mitt Romney.
The western portion of the state, as Keller rightly says, amounts to a Route 9 Tobacco Road. From Deerfield to Fitchburg after 5 p.m., not a light burns, not a business stays open in the winter. In some of the most beautiful country in the nation, grinding poverty prevails. Massachusetts preserves its benefits for the already well-to-do. The lower orders? Well, they can just leave — and they do. Massachusetts is one of very few states to actually lose population in two consecutive census periods.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?