Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Beginning of the End?

Alarm is spreading pretty rapidly among the righties. They recognize the political tsunami Katrina brought in her wake, and the usual prescriptions have backfired: blaming the victims, blaming the state and local government, lying about the facts, and so on. Now the plan seems to be to find the scapegoat and crush him, and of course Michael Brown, Kerik-like in his incompetence, is a welcome target.

But despite dire fear on the left that the populace will never wake up, and arrogance on the right that they will never be out of power, fissures among the GOP (David Brooks excoriating the incompetence of the President, for example) and more importantly, among the red-state NASCAR folks who watched the unspinable horror unfold in real time, suggest the opposite.

I think Jonah Goldberg, of all people, hits the central problem:

For years, Democrats complained that we needed to spend more on "first-responders." I took this for what it often was: an attempt to pad municipal budgets with pork. But, one must concede it wasn't entirely about that either. And while it's likely this disaster would have presented many if not most of the challenges we're seeing this week, even if all that money had been spent as the Democrats wanted, it remains hard to dispute that it would have been better spent than much of the garbage in recent budgets.

If Jonah Goldberg can see this, is there any chance that those in the red swaths of rural America don't also see it? We've seen tax cuts that haven't benefited them, a war they've had to wage for no reason, an attack on their Social Security checks, and now, when the payoff for all these sacrifices comes--domestic disaster--the "war president" doesn't even realize it. (Later, his mother said the "underprivileged" were "doing very well" by the state because of the largesse that now flows their way.)

I'm the worst at predicting what Americans will do, but this looks to me like the catastrophe that may eventually end the GOP's dominance.


Sandra said...

I hope you're right, but I don't know. That stuff with the firefighters hasn't gone over very well, that's for sure. And everyone loves firefighters.

absent mindful said...

I'd like to see Barbara camp out in the Astrodome and see how well the evacuees are really doing.

Jeff Alworth said...

I also check out the letters to the editor in the Oregonian, and I've been seeing a lot of very harsh criticism from folks in rural locations, not just SE Portland. That began with Cindy Sheehan. I recognize Oregonians are more iconoclastic than southern Republicans, but it's been pretty amazing to see.

I actually meant to reference that in the post.