The Corner

Marie Antoinette Watch

Catching up after a trip to yet another undisclosed location… More cash for the NEA? Good grief. Everytime you think that it’s impossible for George W Bush to spring another rat from his hat, he goes and does it again, but, to take some recent instances, what else can you expect from a president who signs laws he believes to be unconstitutional, proposes a vast guestworker program in the middle of difficult times for blue collar America, recruits Jules Verne as a science advisor, squanders a SOTU driveling on about steroids, and as for the budget…

Now there’s the NEA. Roger Kimball makes the best case that can be made for the White House’s decision to hurl money the country doesn’t have at an institution the country doesn’t need, but he’s being far too kind. Even if it is agreed that government should be directly funding ‘culture’ (I don’t think government should, but that’s a different debate), the president’s decision is bound to backfire. Remember O’Sullivan’s law. Any organization that is not explicitly conservative will ultimately end up in the hands of the left. Dana Gioia may indeed be doing splendid work at the moment, but neither he nor George W. Bush will be in office forever. At some point in the future, maybe under a future Democratic administration or maybe just as a result of bureaucratic drift, the NEA will inevitably fall back into its old, bad habits – only this time on a much bigger budget.

As one seems to be saying more and more these days: thanks for nothing, Mr. President.