Monday, November 19, 2012
Sandy and the Failures of Blue-Statism !
The damage goes well past the obvious embarrassments. Those include Mayor Bloomberg's initial resistance that a yuppie marathon in Manhattan proceed -- requiring a massive police and sanitation presence, as well as power sources -- even as citizens on Staten Island were pleading for disaster relief. The embarrassments surely ought to include Mr Obama's 2008 campaign vow that his election would slow the rise of the oceans and so many suckers believed him.
The silliness of those episodes speaks to a serious point about the great vulnerability of 21st-century American liberalism: an inability to set the priorities necessary for good government. As a result, government grows both bigger and less capable (as Romney pointed out), especially for people who do not have the resources to fund other options. As Walter Russell Mead argued recently on his blog ''The American Interest'', America's biggest cities represent ''a colossal failure of blue social policy to create sustainable lower middle class prosperity.'' Mr Mead was writing in reference to the hell that the inner cities have become for many African-Americans (better know as Blacks). But the failure is larger than that, because so many of the government agencies that citizens depend on have morphed into jobs programs, where pensions take priority over performance. Compare, for example, the response of Verizon -- which within 24 hours of Sandy's landfall had 95% of its cell service up and running--with glaring lack of hard information from the government for people shivering in cold homes without power.
In their own ways, Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama embody the obsessions of modern liberalism. Each holds an advanced Ivy League degree. Each believes he would make better choices for others than they could make for themselves. Bloomberg has avoided the modest (but unglamorous) improvements that might have better prepared, say, Staten Island for a dangerous storm. These leaders prefer instead the shiny and large, like the Mayor's huge and costly 2nd Avenue subway project. For all the talk about infrastructure, it never seems to get the repairs or upgrades it needs. For all the talk about public education, it's the racial minorities and the poor who still suffer from a failing school system. What do they get instead? New Yorkers get a mayor who makes war on Big Glup sodas while proving himself inept at basic government functions such as clearing snow.
At the national level, we get a president who vows to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy even though some of them might not be without power if the environmental asskisser regulators in Washington and New York hadn't been making the environment so hostile to new investment. And for all the talk about how the GOP wants to deny Granny her federal entitlements, it was the conservative Republican in the national race, Rep. Paul Ryan, who actually has put forward a highly workable plan that would keep Social Security and Medicare alive for coming generations.
The Way I See It....much of the nation's best new infrastructure --roads, bridges, airports and posts -- have been built in ''red'' cities on the Gulf Coast and Great Plains. By contrast, I'm astounded by the kind of stupid liberalism in California that votes to spend money it doesn't have for a high-speed rail it can't afford. More glamour and glitz! While New York's mayor, who jets down to his mansion in the Bahamas on weekends, tells working-and-middle-class New Yorkers that they really shouldn't be driving to work or living in single-family homes. In many ways, liberalism is increasingly Big Brother meets Blue Nose.
The irony is that modern American liberalism has become a movement grounded less in practical politics than a sort of religious fervor -- and often requiring the same strong faith in the face of disappointment and failure. The difference, of course, is while religions often promise to deliver in the next world, government is supposed to do it in this one.