The Corner


I think those are all fine and legitimate points — and are very similar to points I heard from another muckety-muck today.

But, it’s worth noting that Congress is Republican too; And Bush is the head of the Party; And Congress can change the laws. I’m not saying that the federal government could or should be completely off-the-hook for reconstruction. And, I actually favor rebuilding New Orleans. But as I said in the first days of the disaster, it would be nice if this was at least considered a serious political question to be debated and discussed by our political leaders. We are going to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on all of this and there hasn’t been an election or an actual debate. Dennis Hastert did something intellectually sensible but politically foolish when he said maybe we should rethink building New Orleans below sea level. He was immediately crushed for it and now the GOP at all levels is overcompensating for his gaffe and for the perception that Bush was slow to respond.

I will offer one quibble. The Muckety-Muck below says it’s simply ill-informed to say that the government is involved in a spending spree because the law requires the government to be involved in a spending spree. I’m not aware that spending-sprees are never in fact spending sprees when they are required by law. The Great Society was, in fact, required by law. So was the New Deal. They were also spending sprees. The law also requires all sorts of environmental safeguards, which were sensibly waived in order to clean-up New Orleans as fast as possible. The law also requires that FEMA volunteers spend an outrageous amount of time getting “trained” on how not to make insensitive racial jokes while rescuing people. These laws were not waived.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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