Thursday, December 30, 2010
Bloomberg's Snow Job
Had Mayor Bloomberg spent as much time preparing for a massive snowfall, as he did promoting the construction of the Ground Zero Mosque, New Yorkers might have been able to get to work, receive emergency help and be able to walk down the street without injury. But the Mayor who spent the summer lecturing us on everything from the salt content of our food to the evils of Islamophobia--ignored the one thing he should have actually been preparing for. Winter.
It's possible that Bloomberg's ideology fooled him into thinking that winter just wasn't coming this year. Back in 2008, he had compared Global Warming to the threat of terrorism, and focused the city's resources on buying into the eco-scam. Last winter, in response to his special Global Warming panel's alarmist claims of coastal flooding and higher temperatures in the city by 2080, the Mayor said, "We cannot wait until after our infrastructure has been compromised to begin to plan for the effects of climate change now." And so last winter, instead of planning for the next winter, Bloomy began planning for the apocalyptic New York City of 2080, where everyone has to live on melted ice floes and battle for parking spots with marauding polar bears.
Bloomberg's incompetence highlights the danger of decision makers falling under the influence of the Global Warming scam. And now a woman is dead and many more are injured because municipal resources were diverted from preparing for an entirely predictable snowstorm, to preparing for an imaginary disaster toward the end of the century. We had ample warning, when the Mayor of the city that suffered the worst terrorist attack in the nation's history, announced in all seriousness that Global Warming was just as dangerous as terrorism. Now we have suffered a snowstorm, and we found out that city was unprepared. What happens if we were to suffer another 9/11. Does anyone seriously think that an administration obsessed with Global Warming will be ready?
And New York's example might scale up to the whole country and the world, as we stop to consider how many resources were diverted from planning for preventable disasters and terrorist attacks to hold conferences on global warming. How many schoolchildren have lost educational time memorizing environmentalist dogma, instead of learning to explore science as a field, rather than a dogma. No wonder American students are falling behind in mathematics and science, in an educational environment where rainbow colored globes matter more than actual knowledge. Soviet science was not second-rate because of a lack of resources or education, but because of its dogmatic indoctrination which inhibited independent thinking and exploration. In the name of Global Warming, we dismantled NASA, suppressed scientific dissent and destroyed the potential of a generation of our children. That certainly puts a snowstorm into perspective.
But it's not just about Global Warming, it's about the attitude of the political elite in a nanny state.
While Bloomberg's administration made nanny state causes like nutrition, global warming and public schools its priority-- it failed abysmally at its core mission. Crime has gone up. Services have gone down. The World Trade Center has not been rebuilt. And now even in the face of a predictable snowstorm, instead of showing leadership, Bloomberg tried to show off his liberal side, by going on television and delivering an announcement in his best High School Spanish. It was an embarrassing moment not just for him, but for that whole arrogant elite which presumes to dictate the minutiae of everyone's behavior, yet can't do the job it was elected to do.
Like so many politicians, Bloomberg mistook his role overseeing a municipality that provides taxpayer funded services, for a role as urban moralist, social critic and dispenser of condescending liberal platitudes. And somehow in between mandating that restaurants display calories on their menus and trying to control their ingredients-- he didn't bother preparing for a severe winter. What's the difference? The difference is one of self-image.
Providing services during a winter emergency is something that garbage men are supposed to do. It's not something that an elitist like Bloomberg wants to be bothered with. Bloomberg didn't spend a fortune getting elected three times, in order to oversee a giant snow plow operation. He did it on a Linday-esque quest to teach New Yorkers to be better people. To manage them, the way he had managed his employees. The Mayor never saw himself as a public servant, but as a reluctant master tasked with educating and taking care of a bunch of imbeciles, who would eat themselves fat, stone mosques and emit carbon from their big mouths, if someone like him didn't step forward to pat them on the head and tell them what to do.
New Yorkers never liked Bloomberg, but they tolerated him for the one and only good quality that he had going for him. His competence. Unlike his Democratic rivals, he had come out of the business world and knew how to run a large operation. But Bloomberg liked that part of himself the least. Inside his broad suits and horsey face, beneath the cold tones and patrician dignity of a mortician, beat the heart of a man certain that he was destined for great things. Being a billionaire wasn't enough. Neither was being mayor. Unlike Giuliani, Bloomberg was never cursed with any love for the city, or concern for its inhabitants. They were just stepping stones on his way up to bigger things.
After teasing a run for the White House, auditioning to be Obama's new treasury secretary, and spending the fall advocating furiously for the Ground Zero Mosque-- the snowstorm of late December made it clear that he had completely neglected his responsibilities. Bloomberg appointed himself the conscience of the city and the nation, but he forgot that he wasn't elected to be our conscience, but to see that our streets were clean.
That's the humiliating lesson that American democracy regularly serves up to arrogant politicians who act like messiahs and gurus, only to discover what we really think of them when the laundry doesn't get done. After the fortune spent on turning Obama into the "Hope of All Mankind", he was shocked to learn that the country was mad at him because the economy was bad. And all those people, whom he thought loved and adored him, really just wanted to be able to buy a new pair of pants at the mall, without worrying about upcoming layoffs.
Months later, the media is still slowly processing the revelation that most Americans did not vote for him in order to be inspired by his teleprompter addresses, but because they accepted the idea that a leader from a new party might be able to fix the economy, where the leader from the last party had failed. And the humiliation of that revelation is incalculable. Far from being some grand coronation and the ushering in of a new age-- the election really came down to a job interview, in which one candidate passed because he seemed like a young, ambitious and energetic go-getter.
But that's the way America has always been. We are not North Korea. We don't elect politicians in order to be inspired by their speechmaking, and we certainly don't elect them so that they can tell us what to do every minute of the day. We certainly don't elect them in order to worship them. We do it so they can keep the city, the state and the country running. We don't remember leaders because they inspire us, but because they get the job done. Had the United States divided permanently on Lincoln's watch, or ceded Hawaii to Japan under FDR or turned over Europe to the Soviet Union on Reagan's-- none of these men would have been viewed as inspiring leaders. But as tragic failures. And we have no use for leaders who think that doing the job we elected them for is beneath them. No use at all.
Obama has found that out the hard way. Now so has Bloomberg. And liberal politicians will go on finding it out over and over again, when they insist on treating their elected office as a platform to show their disdain for the common man.
For Bloomberg, Global Warming and the Ground Zero Mosque were moral crusades pitting him against an apathetic and ignorant citizenry. On the other hand cleaning the streets? Feh. That kind of grunt work is beneath the mayor's dignity. Let the slobs get out shovels and dig for themselves, while the snow plows focus on the important areas, like the street that Bloomberg lives on and Times Square in preparation for his big New Year's Eve event. And that is the other problem with the nanny state.
A system run by people who disdain the title of "public servant" will ultimately fail at meeting the basic needs of the people. And nanny states have a way of overextending themselves into doing everything, while actually doing nothing. The more a nanny state tries to do, the more things it does badly. And eventually it stops being able to do anything at all, except to maintain its own grip on power. The city can tightly regulate public nutrition if it so chooses, but don't expect it to be ready when a snow emergency comes. Because no matter what the press releases say, resources are finite. And so is the attention span of those in charge.
Before the snowstorm made the streets of New York undriveable, Bloomberg had already made much of Manhattan undriveable by narrowing and whittling away entire streets to create bicycle lanes and pedestrian areas, all part of his 2030 plan to fight Global Warming by forcing residents to use public transportation. But Global Warming did not come. Instead the cold and the snow fell. While the city was busy putting up bus stop ads warning about the flooding dangers from Global Warming, the winter came and did what winters so often do. Because winters don't pay attention to Global Warming conferences or the best biased evidence of researchers looking to score some grant money by promoting an imaginary threat. They don't care about the nutritional agenda of an out of touch billionaire. Unlike regulations, research studies and the media-- they are not manipulatable. They just are.
In the midst of Bloomberg's snow job, we have an opportunity to remember what it is we hire politicians to do. And that politicians who go off the reservation and begin doing a job they weren't asked to do-- are not just abusing their power, but neglecting their duties. This week a woman died, because of a liberal mayor who promoted Global Warming, controlled restaurant menus and championed a mosque-- but didn't get around to planning for a snowstorm.