1. I got near the end before I realized how cleverly titled was this book, for I felt terribly blue (as opposed to Blue) throughout it.
2. It is the most powerful statement on the massive failures of American liberal politics and policy that I have read. Particularly well observed: how our regional groupthink suppresses critical thought, and the irrelevance of Democratic/Republican labels here (eg Cellucci/Swift).
3. I detected only 2 opportunities for improvement:
- Jon's conclusions that legislators and other policy types might listen is terribly inadequate to change. The ecosystem in which Globe editorialists, university idealogues, progressive suburbaanites and state legislators all coexist works well enough for its inhabitants already - why should they listen?
- The appellation 'boomer' applied to almost everything bad in Massachusetts politics over the last 25 years feels right but is insufficient to explain why changes for the better alternate between fleeting and impossible. It's the Hack-Progressive Alliance that makes it impossible to untie or even cut the Gordian knots of high taxes / expensive programs / mediocre performance of Mass public institutions.
Many Boomers are Hacks, but Hackdom came before the Boomers Idealistic Self-Absorportion and will live on after the Boomers have gone. The Boomers have often given the Hacks intellectual cover and even 'respectability.' A chapter on the strange case of Bill Weld might have been instructive here.
The fiddle-playing continues. Thank goodness for Jon's truthtelling and for writing this depressing but instructive book... the challenge, as Keller notes in another context - "What do we do now?"