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IT’S ALL TRUE. But something leaves you just a little unsatisfied. Keller describes John Kerry’s 1971 appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In this “career-making speech,” Keller writes, “Kerry led off his remarks…by recounting the testimony he had heard — and obviously believed — from Vietnam veterans at an event publicizing atrocities allegedly committed by U.S. troops.”
“Obviously believed”? Keller gives Kerry the all-too-willing benefit of doubt. As became evident during the 2004 Presidential campaign, a great many veterans were unwilling to do that. To those vets, Kerry served as the witting public relations agent for a hoax, a slander.
Keller writes a clever chapter about “the most popular politician in Massachusetts” without naming the man. He notes the pol’s listed phone number, which rings incessantly, and which the man himself often answers. He describes how Beacon Hill liberals look down on the man, who was a stutterer in his youth, and who still stutters in his public speech.
So who is this paragon of blue-collar virtue? When you find out it’s Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a mensch but a mediocrity through and through, you’re tempted to break out laughing.
Keller builds his chapter on the gay marriage controversy around what is perhaps the only known right-on-left piece of violence (a man pushed a woman down and she hit her head) in the whole imbroglio. He does not even mention the town of Lexington jailing the father of a second grader. The man had simply wanted to be informed of curriculum material of the Heather Has Two Mommies variety.
TAKEN ALL IN ALL, The Bluest State provides high quality reporting at an expert level of detail. Readers outside Massachusetts will probably learn a great deal.
At the end, we all learn, as Keller puts it, “In most states, I’d be considered a card carrying liberal.” But he also describes himself as “a liberal who’s been mugged.” And then, in a wonderful peroration, he sums up the faults of the Massachusetts political model:
“…addiction to tax revenues…disrespect for wage earners…phony identity politics…reflexive anti-Americanism..obnoxious political correctness…featherbedding…NIMBYism…authoritarian distortion of the balance of government power…”
Unfortunately, he thinks that liberal policies like racial and gender quotas, gay marriage, judicial intrusion into schools, dovish responses to foreign policy challenges, and welfare are all just fine. It’s just the execution that messes them up.
In this, he resembles no one so much as the old-time committed Marxist who claims that communism has never really been tried properly, never mind all those dead people. No, Mr. Keller, all those faults, so lovingly and perfectly described? That’s what liberalism is, not the way it’s gone wrong. That’s what government does. It churns out people like John Kerry and Michael Dukakis.
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?