He didn 't steal money, go to jail, become embroiled in a personal scandal, or appoint a pack of thieves to high office, as other Massachusetts politicians have on occasion. But his fall was as dramatic as if he had done any or all of the above. From winning reelection in 1986 with 69 percent ofthe vote, then capturing the Democrats' presidential nomination, his fortunes sank like a stone.

Michael Stanley Dukakis, the stoic son of Greek immigrants, became a figure of ridicule in his third term. Thanks to the regional economy's sharp recession and the lingering effects of the negative radiation he absorbed in the presidential campaign, Dukakis plummeted in public esteem.

From the wand-waver of the "Massachusetts Miracle" to the dehumanized and demonized Nowhere Man of 1990, the governor and his travails are traced by a newspaper columnist who has chronicled his career.

This saga of sadness and remorse says something about Dukakis, the defining figure of Massachusetts politics over the past two decades. But it says something more about the state we are in, and the state it is in. And that, by and large, is not very complimentary.



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