Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Big (Bronx) Cheer for Big Government

There was an initial outpouring of ideological cant on behalf of big government when Sandy's devastation was fully known late Wednesday-with the NY Times leading the way in typical knee jerk fashion. As HuffPo reports: "The New York Times captured the dominant meme in its first post-Sandy editorial : "A Big Storm Requires Big Government": "Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of "big government..."

Now, almost a week later, it would be a grand idea if the climate scaremongers and the big government aficionados would re-think this indefensible position. Put simply, the government response to Sandy-from FEMA to the Bloomberg Court-is abysmal and underscores just why you can't depend on government for your safety and well-being. The NY Post captures the failure of the city's emergency response by focusing on those marathon generators left stranded in Central Park:

"City Hall dithered, storm victims shivered — and so Mike Bloomberg’s main man was compelled to scurry off into the dark last night to try to make things right. As best he could.

Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson was patrolling Central Park after sunset, searching out space heaters, bottled water and such — and, with Post City Hall Bureau Chief David Seifman standing witness, loading what he found into a city-owned SUV for transport to Staten Island.

Wolfson had pledged Friday afternoon, while emotively announcing the cancellation of the New York City Marathon, that “all of the assets that this marathon currently has — generators, other equipment, food, water — will be redeployed to people who need it.”

Rudy Giuliani, no stranger to disaster, excoriates the FEMA response-and President Obama for leaving the scene of the crime right after getting his media pat on the back. As Politico reports (via Contentions):

The response since the time the president got all this praise and credit and press ops has been abysmal,” Giuliani said on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom.” “FEMA is as much a failure now as at the time of Katrina.”

Giuliani, a 2008 presidential candidate, said that he did not “understand” why New York was facing water, generators and gas shortages.“It’s quite obvious they didn’t pre-plan for water, they didn’t pre-plan for the generators, they didn’t pre-plan for the gasoline,” he said.

He bashed Obama for losing “focus” on the subject.“The president getting all this credit so early, maybe the first day or two he was paying attention, but the minute he got his credit, the minute he got his pat on his back, we had the same situation as we had in Benghazi,” Giuliani said. “He loses focus. He goes back to being campaigner-in-chief rather than commander-in-chief.”

What we have here are the two biggest acolytes of an enlarged government demonstrating just how foolish it is to cheer for this kind of a failed philosophical approach. Government does have a role to play but it should be played in conjunction with a robust civil society-religious and fraternal organizations mobilized to help. In addition, what is desperately needed is an equally robust sense of individual self reliance among the citizenry-and not a passive dependence on the kind of Nanny state that the mayor and the president have been trying to foist upon us.

Has government on any level demonstrated competence through the early stages of this ordeal? But ideological blinders do, well, blind their holders to the reality right before their eyes. Take Jeffrey Toobin (please). CNN's legal analyst let loose with this brilliant observation:

"When you talk about you know, government as being evil and government as a negative force in people’s lives, it takes an event like this to remind people – we need government. We need government to help us when things are bad. And I think FEMA and all the government support that’s going to the people that are hurting now is a reminder of how we should politicize these events, not pretend that they happen in a vacuum."

So the village idiot wants to politicize Sandy to demonstrate the benefits of big government? Has he seen the coverage of devastation in Staten Island and the Rockaways? We'll see Toobin a politicization and raise him one. Sandy dramatically underscores the limits and not the grandeur of government-but when you view the world through an ideological lens you want to look at Sandy from the standpoint of the bear hug between Obama and Christie. Everything after that is uninteresting.

Perhaps Toobin and his fraternity brothers in the media should have accompanied Mike Bloomberg to the Rockaways. We'll give the Post the last word:

"And so on Staten Island, the Rockaways and at Breezy Point, people grew very cold, very hungry — and very, very impatient.The mayor got a taste of that when he made an unannounced visit to the Rockaways, where residents lack clean water and other basic supplies.

“When are we going to get some help?” pleaded one woman — so enraged that she had to be restrained by the mayor’s security detail. Good question.

True enough, much of the city has returned to something resembling normal.But not all of it.Not the part most grievously injured — not the part that needed help the most, not the folks who would have benefited from the ice-cold idle generators that Howard Wolfson so emptily promised, and whose shameful absence Mike Bloomberg considers to be “not a story.”