Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Hi, Steve M. here; I'm far west of the mess in New York (though it's snowing where I am and the roads are a mess, so karma is catching up with me). I see via Blue Texan that Charlotte Hays of National Review has a bizarre theory about the snow-removal shortcomings in my town:

... The blizzard reveals something basic: Liberals in government want to tell us what to eat, counsel us about how and when to die, and in general attempt to engineer our lives. But when reality knocks, they can't do the basic stuff such as clearing the streets so that newborns don't die in bloody apartment-building lobbies. Mayor Bloomberg may be receiving an unfair amount of criticism for his lackluster performance in coping with Mother Nature, given the almost unprecedented nature of the storm, but the unplowed city streets provide a metaphor for the nanny state: It can order us to do anything, but it can't take care of the basic obligations of government.

I don't get it -- what is Hays's argument? That the plows aren't out because the drivers, or the trucks themselves, are too busy monitoring trans-fat levels in pastries at the deli? Bloomberg has changed city policy on diet and smoking and the transportation mix, but how does that preclude getting the damn streets plowed? Why does focusing on one inevitably prevent the other? What's the connection?

I'd argue that it's the opposite problem: that Bloomberg is crying poverty and deferring the effective delivery of city services even as the #1 industry in his city -- finance -- is making money hand over fist. This is where Bloomberg is no liberal -- he's whinged about the Democrats' (not particularly rough) treatment of Wall Street; he backed the "leave Wall Street aloooone!" Senate candidacy (fortunately abortive) of Harold Ford. City services have been suffering and Bloomberg hasn't demanded that the people who've emerged from the downturn with flying colors pony up more; his deference to his fellow plutocrats makes Obama look like Hugo Chavez.

The problem here is the indifference of a real elitist, born in part of a let-them-eat-cake plutocrat remove from ordinary citizens' concerns and in part from an unwillingness to get services paid for by the people who can pay for them. That ain't liberalism.


AND: It should go without saying that New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is one of Hays's heroes, is also falling down on the snowplowing job, mostle because he decamped to Disney World just as the snow was about to hit. No one would accuse him of running a nanny state, though like Bloomberg he is exquisitely sensitive to the delicate sensibilities of the rich.

(And now back to Zandar -- I'll be back for real in a couple of days....)

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