Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Most of us small "d" democrats believe in both smaller government and a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" ethos. Smaller government is a good principle in general, although our faith in it isn't dogmatic. We also believe that success begets success, and that success begets opportunity. Thus we believe social castes calcify over time, and that that's a bad thing, because access to opportunity should be egalitarian (although not outcomes--there's a marked difference between the two).

The examples you chose as basic Republican mantras are a little ironic though, since the current incarnation of the Republican party believes in neither smaller government nor good old fashioned elbow grease. The first point is fairly self-evident, this is big bacon meets Boss Tweed government at its worst, coupled with a knack for cutting relatively inexpensive social programs for effect. Although I don't fault you for believing GOP somehow still represents you on this issue, since even small government luminaries like Stephen Moore and Grover Norquist remain willfully blind to the very obvious in this respect.

Secondly, the Republican party believes in rewarding wealth, not work, which hardly jives with the whole idea of "picking yourself up by your bootstraps".

I don't want to dwell on New Orleans, but I thought we should mention it. This page should be casual, but not culturally tone deaf. While I agree with you that things have moved along at a reasonable pace after a chaotic start, I don't think that's what's angered so many Americans. There are two problems that are the federal government's fault, and they embody everything that's wrong with the Bush Administration.

The first is flagrant cronyism. "Brownie" is an old friend of Bush's, Joe Allbaugh's college roommate, and a heavyhitting fundraiser. And he may be the nicest guy in the world for all I know. It's irrelevant. Having been a lifeguard for 5 years, I personally am more qualified to run FEMA than Brown. He was forced out of his job as a horse lawyer, so Bush put him up at some government agency where he wouldn't attract that much attention--or so he thought.

The other is sheer fiscal recklessness. Everyone who studies these things knew the levees needed repair, and that it had to be a priority. But, in an attempt to appease the small government crowd with some symbolic cuts amid the build-up to the Iraq war, Bush gutted the requisite funding. Of course, fixing the levees would have cost hundreds of times less than this clean-up will, although probably more than the aforementioned bridge to nowhere in Alaska that doesn't seem to bother you, or Grover.

Liberals are not trying to blame the hurricane on Bush. That's a pretty basic Rove-style misrepresentation of the reality-based community's position. While the hurricane does raise questions about global warming, responsibility to future generations, and the like, they are beyond the scope of this post. But we are saying that this didn't have to happen like it did. Sober, rational funding decisions, in conjunction with political appointments based on merit, not who your roommate in college was, would have saved thousands of lives.

2 Comments:

At Wed Sep 07, 07:29:00 PM GMT-5, Blogger Logan said...

Isn't it the responsability of the state and local governments to be the first in response. Shouldn't the mayor and the governor shoulder some of the blame? I am not trying to defend Bush or FEMA but it seems like to me that this was an utter failure on every level and should be treated as such.

 
At Wed Sep 07, 09:46:00 PM GMT-5, Blogger Gabe said...

I agree, and nowhere in this post do I say otherwise. That doesn't mean serious failures specific to federal government shouldn't be pointed out.

 

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