Patterico's Pontifications


We Knew it: Washington DC is a Federal Disaster Area

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 8:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mark Steyn is always clever but his column regarding the declaration of Washington D.C. as a federal disaster area (because of Obama’s Inauguration) is especially good:

The proposition that a new federal administration is itself a federal emergency is almost too perfect an emblem of American government in the 21st century. FEMA was created in the 1970s initially to coordinate the emergency response to catastrophic events such as a nuclear attack. But there weren’t a lot of those even in the Carter years, so, as is the way with bureaucracies, FEMA just growed like Topsy. In his first year in office, Bill Clinton declared a then record-setting 58 federal emergencies. By the end of the ’90s, Mother Nature was finding it hard to come up with a meteorological phenomenon that didn’t qualify as a federal emergency: Heavy rain in the Midwest? Call FEMA! Light snow in Vermont? FEMA! Fifty-seven degrees under cloudy skies in California? Let those FEMA trailers roll!”

Most of Steyn’s column focuses on the comedy of calling everything a disaster that government should fix, but he also reserves a few words for the tragic consequences of expecting government to fix everything:

I’m not worried about “change” so much as creep. The Obama administration doesn’t have to do anything terribly transformative — overnight socialization of health care, etc. In fact, it doesn’t have to do anything at all. It could just sit there, and America would still drift remorselessly, incrementally left, inch by inch. Eventually, you reach a tipping point: At some point in the next four years, we will reach a situation where the majority of Americans pay no federal income tax but are able to vote themselves more goodies from those who do. The most basic of conservative principles is that if you reward bad behavior you get more of it. We now have a government offering trillion-dollar rewards for bad behavior to the financial system, to the housing market, to the auto unions, and to individual voters.”

It doesn’t matter what your political beliefs are, every parent understands rewarding bad behavior leads to more bad behavior. Every time we deal with a 2-year-old’s public tantrum over a toy or candy, we learn that giving in means it will happen again and again. How can people so easily grasp this fact in their everyday lives and not realize it also applies to society?


26 Responses to “We Knew it: Washington DC is a Federal Disaster Area”

  1. How can people so easily grasp this fact in their everyday lives and not realize it also applies to society?

    It’s known as a lack of basic, fundamental common sense. And, in general, there is less of that — if not far, far less of that — found on one side of the ideological spectrum or political aisle.

    Mark (411533)

  2. How can people so easily grasp this fact in their everyday lives and not realize it also applies to society?

    It’s because most people are the tantrum throwing toddlers, not the reasonable loving but firm parents setting limits.

    How else to explain todays world of instant gratification, buy now pay later, do it if it feels good, fashionably late if at all, my self esteem is defined by what I drive and the shoes I wear instead of my character, what can you do for me with the least amount of effort in return, mentality?

    tango (37c6bc)

  3. America would still drift remorselessly, incrementally left, inch by inch.

    We have been drifting left, inch by inch for the past 30 years. So much so that there has, in fact, been a huge fundamental shift to the left. What used to be the Democrat’s position back in the 70’s and 80’s is now the Republican (Dem Lite) position. What used to be radical liberal socialism has now become mainstream Liberal Democratic principles. What used to be mainstream Republican principles are now seen as extreme right wing “fring” positions. Everything has shifted dramatically to the left. Fact, not opinion, Fact.

    Unfortunately, I believe the Republican party is in its death throws. Modern day Republicans have sold themselves out by supporting bigger government, higher spending etc. They have tried to beat the Dems at their own game, but never will be able to outspend the Dems.

    America needs a New Conservative Party. I’ve looked at the “Conservative Party of America” which has some potential. But I think we need a new party even bolder, stronger on fundamental right wing conservative issues.

    Is there a “New Christian Conservative Party?” It is time for Christian Conservatives to stand up and stop cowering in the corner and letting the libs run the freakin show. I’m freakin angry at the way our society has gone these last 30 years. But what to do with the anger? Use it to start something new.

    Now, some may say, if you’re a Christian you can’t be angry. Bullshit. The Bible says “In your anger do not sin.” It doesn’t say don’t be angry. Even Jesus got angry. Remember the tax collectors and money changers in the Temple? What did Jesus do? Did he talk to them? Try to reason with them? NO! He fricken turned over their tables and drove them out of the temple.

    It is time for Christian Conservatives to stand up and route the modern day tax collectors and money changers from our governmental positions of power and control. They will only drive us deeper into the pit, if we let them. And for far too long we have been letting them take us further and further left by passively sitting back and watching as they take us ever further left, inch by bloody inch until we’ve seen a complete and total shift to the left of center.

    It is time for the pendulum to swing back to the Right! Let the Revolution Begin Today! What about it? How about a New Conservative Party, one that’s not afraid to call it like it is: “The New Christian Conservative Party of America!”


    J. Raymond Wright (d83ab3)

  4. Wright on Raymond!!! Count me in.

    rab (7a9e13)

  5. We certainly need to do something before this happens here.

    AD (8f1f13)

  6. On this day, the day America swears in the single most unqualified person evah for president, the single most radically liberal socialist president evah, the Right needs to come up with a new game plan to ensure that the damage that will surely be done by such a presidency, is limited to four years, and does not get eight years to wreck its havoc on our society, economy, industry and educational institutions.

    The “New Christian Conservative Party of America” (“NCCPA”) is born this 20th day of January, 2009.

    If we are going to dream, we will dream big! People will look back, years from now, at this day and not remember it as the day Socialist President Obama was sworn in, rather, they will remember this day as the day of rebirth of conservative christian values in America. The first day of a new era in American Politics. The day the Right stopped hiding in the corner sniveling and holding a pity-party for itself and decided to stand up and fight back against the forces of liberalism to try to win back America. The day christian conservatives overturned the tables of the tax collectors and money changers and drove them from the temples of power. Or, we can continue to hide in the corner, sniveling and feeling sorry for ourselves as the left takes us further and further left. We do have a choice. We still are free (at least for now). Silence and smiveling; or, ACTION!

    Oh Bluto, they’re to strong for us, they’re too powerful for us….

    Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell No! Let’s Do IT!!!

    J. Raymond Wright (d83ab3)

  7. Happy Inauguration Day Disaster. Here’s my Obama joke:

    Cartoon of BHO sitting at a desk. Oval Office. Behind him, planes are crashing into buildings with bombs lighting up. Obama’s yelling into the phone, “O’Reilly said what about my beach shots ?”

    Vermont Neighbor (ab0837)

  8. Here’s another Pulitzer Prize loser. Obama working at desk, smoking a joint, talking to a CNN bunny. Two kids (one black one white, of course) look in through the Rose Garden window and say, “I’ll have what he’s having.”

    It’s going to be 4 years of Tina Fey resurrecting Sarah Palin.

    Vermont Neighbor (ab0837)

  9. Is terrorism funny, Vermont Neighbor?

    Ed from PA (5550d5)

  10. Come on, Ed. Pretend it’s Bush or Palin and just dig in. Share a laugh or two, try to prove you don’t plan to bow to this dictator. Btw… is his Secret Service code name really EGO ?

    Vermont Neighbor (ab0837)

  11. Dateline January 20th: The American Ego Has Landed!*

    *product made in Kenya

    Vermont Neighbor (ab0837)

  12. Comment by J. Raymond Wright — 1/20/2009 @ 8:57 am

    Just a note, the Germans didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor.

    Soronel Haetir (cabedb)

  13. Soronel – Forget about it. He is on a roll.

    JD (8ed545)

  14. Just a note, the Germans didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor.
    Comment by Soronel Haetir — 1/20/2009 @ 11:16 am

    Then why did we “elect” to go to war against them if they never attacked us?

    AD (8f1f13)

  15. Because the American Left wanted to help their fellow Communists first. The Japanese weren’t attacking the Rodina.

    SDN (eca8d2)

  16. Soronel, its a popular culture reference.

    SPQR (72771e)

  17. He’s on a roll.

    JD (8ed545)

  18. How can people so easily grasp this fact in their everyday lives and not realize it also applies to society?

    Politically, it’s cuz it’s an incentive trap. If we elect a reformer in our district who won’t waste money, that just leaves more money for the other districts to squander, and we become the subsidizing saps. Only if a strong majority cooperate rather than defect can govt be reined in.

    True reform must arrive en masse, which is why fake reformers (e.g. the RINOs) are so destructive; they prevent real reformers from reaching critical mass and the populace decides that if it’s gonna be a govt of thieves anyway, they better pick a thief as their own representative, else be saps.

    ras (20bd5b)

  19. JD, just so long as he doesn’t put on a toga.

    SPQR (72771e)


    JD (8ed545)

  21. I thought that “Oh Bluto” would have given it away. A true american classic. Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Caddyshack, Stripes, that crew out of SNL made some pretty funny movies for a while. Then they all went radical libtard.

    I remember the dark ages, back in college (heavily influenced by liberal professors no doubt) when I was a radical activist libtard myself. When I finally had to work a real job, pay real bills and basically grow up and be a productive American citizen I got wise to the reality of the fecklessness of the lib mentality and latched on to the truth and righteousness of the “Classical Liberal” i.e. Conservative game plan.

    We gotta go, eye yi yi yi

    J. Raymond Wright (d83ab3)

  22. Welcome our new Commander in Chief. President Barack Obama.
    Mission Accomplished. Or has it just begun?
    Congratulations everybody.

    Emperor7 (0c8c2c)

  23. Where is your post on this historic moment. Come on folks, don’t take it like that. Here’s a topic: Obama’s Moment.

    Emperor7 (0c8c2c)

  24. You said it, sistah.

    And as soon as you can, please share your thank-you note to our outgoing Commander in Chief. For keeping us safe, sticking by his principles, choosing the tough decisions that protected us, working with the UN to keep terrorists off American soil… you know, guiding Iraq to success despite the day’s polls.

    Got a chance to read Bradley J. Fikes’ excellent wrap-up over at Mike K’s blog. I believe that history will remember our 43rd president much differently than we see from today’s media.

    Bush Did Good
    January 19th, 2009
    Bradley J. Fikes

    I’ve never been a supporter of George W. Bush, but as the handoff nears, Bush the Younger’s record of opposing terrorism and the terrorist apologists in the media and elsewhere is starting to look pretty good.

    President Obama will face challenges from terrorist-supporting states like Iran and non-state terrorists like Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah. Nothing in Obama’s record suggests he’ll have the strength of will to stand up to them. Bush did.

    During Israel’s recent war against the terrorist group Hamas, Bush stood firmly behind Israel, while Obama ducked the spotlight. Given his long association with the Hamas-loving Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama can be reasonably assumed not be be strongly opposed to Hamas. At least he never said so at the time.


    Vermont Neighbor (ab0837)

  25. Empiric love,

    Please copy & paste your email of thanks to our outgoing CIC, asap. Thanks.

    Vermont Neighbor (ab0837)

  26. […] from Patterico: Washing D.C. is a disaster Area and the comedy of errors over New York’s next […]

    Chew on this: The Return of the Chew « Chockblock’s blog (054690)

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