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Bay Staters Will Appreciate This One
on December 16, 2000
Former Massachusetts state legislator John McDonough takes readers from the theory to reality of practical politics in a surprisingly unegotistical fashion. He uses various theories about why and why political actors do what they do as they go about their business to introduce his own experiences.
The obligatory academics (the book is a valuable text book as well as a good read) are clear and easy to get through. The political stories are particularly informative and of great interest to people who want to know some of the 15,000 ways and by-ways that bills can travel to become law.
Experiencing Politics is instructive and should be required reading for zealots who'd rather make a point than make a difference. Of particular interest to all the victims of Narcissistic Advocates Personality Disorder (the Nader types, the zealots, the self righteous as only the Boston/Cambridge axis can breed) are McDonough's experiences and observations as an advocate for housing and as one who tried to ameliorate the impact of the loss of rent control.
Massachusetts political junkies and students of legislative process should love this book. McDonough doesn't describe his role as that of savior or saint, but as an interested student and practitioner of practical progressive politics who wants to be a player in his legislature.