Thursday, March 20, 2014

Washington’s Clueless Elite on Road to Ruin

Louis XV
Conservative political wonk Michael Barone recently compared the debacle Obamacare poses for Democrats to the French Army’s situation in 1940--stunned, and out of options following the Nazis’ surprise panzer blitz through the Ardennes.

But to me, the France analogy Washington Democrats face today is not to war. It is to an earlier French era marked by decadence in the capital, poverty elsewhere. It is to the 18th century collapse of France’s Ancien Régime, which led to revolution.

Here is the city (Washington = Paris), described by Georgetown resident George Will in his hometown newspaper:
D.C. is awesomely wealthy, full of fine clothes, sumptuous food, gleaming restaurants, and . . .attractive people. . . The recession missed Washington, a town that produces nothing except problems for the rest of America yet is better off than anywhere else in America.
We spend $1 trillion annually on federal welfare programs, decades after Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that if one-third of the money for poverty programs was given directly to the poor, there would be no poor. But there also would be no unionized poverty bureaucrats prospering and paying dues that fund the campaigns of Democratic politicians theatrically heartsick about inequality.
Corruption 2014 style, versus corrupt France in 1789.

Will himself places liberal Washingtonians in British country estates more than in French chateaus, a minor difference considering how debt and taxes overwhelmed both:
“Downton Abbey” . . . is a languid appreciation of a class structure supposedly tempered by the paternalism of the privileged. And if progressivism prevails, the United States will be Downton Abbey: Upstairs, the administrators of the regulatory state will, with a feudal sense of noblesse oblige, assume responsibility for the lower orders downstairs, gently protecting them. [P]eople smitten by “Downton Abbey” hope to live upstairs during a future reign of gentry progressivism.
Of course, there is a television show that purports to capture the actual lifestyle of today’s Washington, and the conservative City Journal’s Andrew Klavan notes the show’s popularity with the left is a surprise, given its damning message:
"House of Cards" relentlessly and continuously undermines the left-wing narrative, whether it intends to or not. In its heightened way, it shows the government as exactly what it is: a power center, inspiring all the soulless perfidy and amoral ambition that any power center is prone to inspire.
This is devastating to left-wing philosophy, because the central flaw of leftism is not its ceaseless cynicism about business, individualism, religion, or the common man—it’s that its cynicism evaporates into unicorn-and-rainbow stupidity when it comes to government. Insurance companies are too greedy to handle health care, but not the government. Individuals are too reckless to own guns, but not the government. Religion is too corrupt to preach morals, but not the government. The people are too foolish to know their own good, but not our old friend Uncle Government.
The liberal elite running Washington, you see, remain clueless about the bad job they are doing, much as were the 18th century French nobility. Again, George Will:
it is so sublime to be a liberal nowadays. Viewed through the proper prism, most liberal policies succeed because they can hardly fail. Each achieves one or both of two objectives — making liberals feel good about themselves and being good to liberal candidates. [In this respect,] Obama’s proposed $1 billion “climate resilience fund”. . . will succeed. It will enhance liberals’ self-esteem — planet-saving heroism is not chopped liver — and will energize the climate-alarmist portion of the Democratic base for November’s elections.
Don’t buy this portrait of a rich, indifferent upper class, mismanaging the country down the path to revolution? Then at least listen to Sean Blanda of 99U (a website for young creatives), who tells us "How Barack Obama Gets Things Done:"
The president wakes up at seven o'clock. He works out 45 minutes a day every day, not including his regular basketball games. He watches a lot of "SportsCenter." Dinner each night with his family. To limit "decision fatigue," he likes to set policy via memos where he can check the box on "agree," "disagree," or "let's discuss."
Or, as France’s Louis XV supposedly said, “Après moi le déluge.”

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