The Corner

Motorcade of Lemmings

Michael, re the imperial entourage, I made a similar point a couple of weeks back when the citizen-executive was graciously blessing the simple-minded folk of Iowa with a glimpse of his weaponized Canadian bus. Since your aphorism “The smaller the man, the greater the motorcade” seems to be grating on some of your commenters, let me in a bipartisan spirit agree that at international summits there has always been something faintly ridiculous about the president of the United States having a bigger entourage than all other attendees combined. It is conceivable, I suppose, that in certain circumstances a 40-car motorcade communicates might. But not anymore. When you’re the Brokest Nation in History and you’re taking 40 cars to visit an ice-cream parlor on Martha’s Vineyard, you’re not communicating might but only the fact that you’re a joke that’s lost all sense of proportion.

The Democrat model of government is to spend $4 trillion while only raising $2 trillion. That gap can never be closed. And once you notice it, it’s odd how almost every glimpse of U.S. government expenditure seems at least twice as expensive as it ought to be. That’s true of the new multimillion-dollar rural border posts in the middle of the woods in Vermont, which likewise communicate not the awesome power of the imperial state but only an absurd loss of proportion. And it’s also true of the presidential motorcade, which is at least twice as long as it needs to be, and, when it descends on an American municipality, closes at least twice as many streets as it ought to close.

 David Pryce-Jones pointed out over in his corner of the NR ummah a few weeks ago (can’t find the link) that for the least worst period in its history (the six decades or so before 1956) Sudan, a vast land of 500 tribes of different ethnicities and languages, was governed by about 200 British civil servants. That’s fewer public employees than the president of the United States takes to visit a town in his own country. This is not just unrepublican but, as the eco-bores like to say, unsustainable. If this nation is to survive, American government is going to have to learn to do more with less.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.