Monday, December 19, 2005

Banquet of Liars (continued)

Tonight, we here in New York are scrambling to plan around a situation that has been created and defined by poor—that is, absent—planning. And once again, G.O.P. political leaders are also absent at a critical time: our Governor, the quintessentially lame George Pataki, ran away to New Hampshire to develop his 2008 presidential bid, as the situation between the MTA and the Transit Workers' Union deteriorated. New York City's Mayor, billionaire and plutocrat Mike Bloomberg—the man who sees more importance in giving away MTA property at firesale prices to his billionaire buddies for the purpose of building football stadiums (yes—football stadiums)—why he's been pitching in adroitly, delivering stern messages to the Union not to strike. Which, of course, has had exactly the effect you would predict of a whiny-mouthed, schoolmarmish order given to an already angry mass.

I always thought the G.O.P. was the party of the strong-armed, back-room-deal type of character; the leader who could step into a fray that had spun out of control and restore order through a combination of threat and emolument. Clearly, Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg were out sick when that class convened at the G.O.P. schoolhouse. These guys instead resort to blaming everything on the union and then walking away shaking their fingers.

Now I don't see a halo over anybody's head in this scenario, whether it's a union leader or the MTA's drones. These guys have all failed—failed because they ignored their own weaknesses, refused to admit their mistakes (sound familiar, W?), and showed positively zero vision, both for the disaster potential in ideological concretism and for the full range of possible solutions that lay before them. Instead, everything has once again (as in the run-up to the Iraq War) been reduced to an either-or / my-way-or-the-gridlocked-highway dichotomy.

So there will very likely be disaster, just as there was for the G.O.P. in Iraq. Hospitals will be short-staffed and critical services will be compromised or lost; hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and productivity will be sacrificed; and guess what—the potential for an actual terrorist slipping into this sea of chaos and precipitating a truly cataclysmic disaster will be ramped up by an unknown but considerable factor.

But the bottom line for the Republican leaders involved will be the same as it has been for the Bushies re. Iraq: the blame will be properly externalized, spread far from themselves, and appropriately fed to the unions, the liberal media, and the short-sightedness of previous administrations. Because when you're a Republican, it's never your fault.

No comments: