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P.J. O'Rourke: Two, Three, Many Katrinas (Rita disappoints the liberals)
The Weekly Standard ^ | October 10, 2005 | P.J. O'Rourke

Posted on 10/01/2005 2:43:16 PM PDT by RWR8189

CHIEF AMONG THE MARVELOUS QUALITIES of liberalism is its ability to see the good in human suffering--and make a good thing of it. How like the early Christians, if the early Christians had been in politics. Hurricane Katrina was a blessing to liberals, a consecrated opportunity to make advocates of small government look small, to enlarge largess with a public dole of private goods, to expand the elemental purview of politics to include earth, water, air, and (with gas at $3) fire, and to shrink the reputation of a despised president. Hurricane Rita, with its sensible actions by state and city officials, orderly evacuations, lack of looting and minimal loss of life, was not a blessing. One's heart went out to liberals, watching their disappointment as Rita failed to destroy Galveston, flood Houston, or wipe Crawford off the map. How can liberals make sure that America never experiences another Rita?

Onward and upward is the maxim of the politically progressive. Liberals need to go straight to the top if they want more Katrina disasters. Where conservatives perceive only molehills of individual responsibility, liberals can make mountains of government accountability. Disasters are fostered by moving the responsibility for things up and away, as far from the things themselves as possible. Look what the Soviet Union's Himalaya of a government was able to do with atomic power at Chernobyl.

To elevate government, add layers of bureaucracy. Bush's creation of the Department of Homeland Security helped ensure FEMA's high-altitude performance--cold, remote, and oxygen-deprived. But FEMA, it must be proudly remembered, was a brainchild of the Carter administration.

The lowly, distant concept of private property ought to be ignored. Recent decisions have made the Supreme Court's position on property rights clear, and liberals need fear no judicial opposition on this point. But what if the New Orleans levees had been owned by the people whose property the levees protected? Rather than supplying proven reserves of liberal outrage, New Orleans would have been a dry hole. What if the New Orleans taxpayers, instead of the nation's taxpayers, had borne the expense of those levees? There would have been no difficulty getting people from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. They would have been there already. And making flood insurance a federal program was a brilliant stroke. That way homeowners didn't apply for it, since federal government services arrive whether requested or not--the Internal Revenue Service, for example.

Speaking of where tax dollars go, criminals and thugs played an important role in the Katrina debacle. Liberals must continue to build a lively and energetic underclass. Fortunately, in New Orleans, welfare reform wasn't working well--people were still on welfare. But the Republican gutting of the welfare system may be causing a dire loss of lumpen proletariat elsewhere in the country. It behooves liberals to remember that the political is the personal. The underclass can be nurtured by encouraging people to lead dissolute personal lives. Those who are too busy balancing the demands of career and child care can give attention and approbation to the dissolute lives of others. Be sure to buy Vanity Fair.

Is the woeful contraction of the underclass to blame for America's precipitous decline in municipal corruption? New Orleans, as Katrina made clear, has escaped this trend, but its effects are painfully evident in New York, Washington, even Baltimore. No really serious long-term effects from a natural disaster can be expected without local wire-pulling, jobbery, and graft. Maybe this is an issue on which liberals can make bipartisan efforts. Supporting a stricter immigration policy would deter the incursions of ambitious, entrepreneurial types into inner cities. Strengthening the No Child Left Behind Act could give middle class urban dwellers better information on public school failures to hasten their exodus to the suburbs. And tougher drug laws might increase drug-dealing profits and the influence of organized crime in municipal affairs.

On a more activist front, it is vital that liberals build their support base in places most prone to the effects of natural disasters, especially in those places where the population is incapable of taking care of itself. The location of Hollywood on a major earthquake fault is an example of this kind of planning at its best. (Note that America's Founders positioned the U.S. capital on a malarial flood plain.) A further possibility would be to move Howard Dean, Al Sharpton, Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, the headquarters of MoveOn.org, and the principal contributors to EMILY's List into house trailers in Kansas during tornado season.

But bad weather cannot be left simply to do the job on its own. The Sierra Club, Earth First! and other ecology-minded groups have proven it's not true that "everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it." Global warming is a fact. Now it's up to liberals to make it a reality. Hence there is crucial importance in preventing powerful, greedy free market forces from getting in the way of worsening storms and rising sea levels. The Kyoto Accord is a good first step.

If liberals organize and work together to increase public awareness and help voters grow as persons, America can be assured of many future edifying spectacles such as that seen in New Orleans. People were stuck in the mire, they lost everything, they drowned, but liberals took the high ground.

 

 

P.J. O'Rourke is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author, most recently, of Peace Kills (Atlantic Monthly Press).


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: katrina; kayak; liberalmedia; orourke; pjorourke; rita

1 posted on 10/01/2005 2:43:16 PM PDT by RWR8189
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To: RWR8189

P.J.in rare form today.


2 posted on 10/01/2005 2:48:33 PM PDT by calrighty (`Nobody)
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To: RWR8189

Great article!


3 posted on 10/01/2005 2:48:45 PM PDT by jcb8199
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To: FBD

fyi


4 posted on 10/01/2005 2:57:18 PM PDT by jla
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To: RWR8189

I hate it when P.J. gets serious and mad.. Much less humor..


5 posted on 10/01/2005 3:11:06 PM PDT by hosepipe (This Propaganda has been edited to include not a small amount of Hyperbole..)
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To: RWR8189

bttt


6 posted on 10/01/2005 3:32:53 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: RWR8189

Here is Wisdom.


7 posted on 10/01/2005 3:37:59 PM PDT by Chairman Fred (@mousiedung.commie)
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To: RWR8189
What if the New Orleans taxpayers, instead of the nation's taxpayers, had borne the expense of those levees? There would have been no difficulty getting people from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. They would have been there already.

Bump that, P.J.

8 posted on 10/01/2005 5:45:40 PM PDT by Tax-chick (When bad things happen, conservatives get over it!)
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To: RWR8189

Love this!


9 posted on 10/01/2005 5:48:16 PM PDT by ladyinred (It is all my fault okay?)
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To: ladyinred; fallujah-nuker

I saw an excellent picture of a N.O. carpet store owner in the Everett Herald with a sign on his store that said:

DON'T TRY IT
I'M ASLEEP INSIDE WITH
A BIG DOG
AN UGLY WOMAN
TWO SHOTGUNS
AND A CLAW HAMMER

I bet he didn't have a problem with looters.


10 posted on 10/01/2005 6:21:42 PM PDT by neutronsgalore (Bullets are cheap...living criminals are costly.)
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To: hosepipe
Oh no sir, that was screamingly funny. Your wit needs to be toweled off a bit, that is all.
11 posted on 10/01/2005 6:33:06 PM PDT by JasonC
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To: RWR8189; TheBigB; Brucifer

Republican Party Reptile bump


12 posted on 10/01/2005 6:44:59 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas!)
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To: RWR8189

PJ O'Rourke bump


13 posted on 10/01/2005 7:03:19 PM PDT by mountainfolk (God bless President George Bush)
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To: RWR8189
P.J O'Rourke is downright funny. Liberals aren't laughing.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
14 posted on 10/01/2005 7:22:22 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: jla

Hey jla,
thanks for the ping... you recall that I'm a huge PJ O'Rourke fan!

BTTT^


15 posted on 10/01/2005 8:50:50 PM PDT by FBD (make April 15th just another day! www.fairtax.org)
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To: neutronsgalore

No joke - a few days later he added another sign. It said:

WOMAN'S GONE.
I'M STILL HERE.
COOKING A BIG
POT OF DOG GUMBO.


16 posted on 10/01/2005 9:04:06 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows (It took 6 grand juries to indict Tom Delay. That's 5 more than it takes to indict a ham sandwich.)
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To: neverdem; Zacs Mom; MeekOneGOP; PhilDragoo; Happy2BMe; potlatch; ntnychik; Smartass; Boazo; ...

read this ping


17 posted on 10/02/2005 7:43:43 AM PDT by bitt ('It is a good thing the Commander in Chief is tough as nails.' (FR))
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To: bitt

Thanks for the ping!


18 posted on 10/02/2005 8:18:23 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: ladyinred
It still steams me that Gov. Blanco could testify before a senate sub-committee and expect not to get asked about her accountability, and get none from gutless republican senators.

Yet we can strip the FEMA director of his duties and these same people can puff out their chests and stand proud.

This whole thing has gotten absurd.

19 posted on 10/02/2005 9:10:39 AM PDT by Northern Yankee (Freedom Needs A Soldier)
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To: RWR8189; ladyinred
Global warming is a fact. Now it's up to liberals to make it a reality. Hence there is crucial importance in preventing powerful, greedy free market forces from getting in the way of worsening storms and rising sea levels. The Kyoto Accord is a good first step.

Am I missing something here, or is he being sarcastic?

20 posted on 10/02/2005 9:16:58 AM PDT by Northern Yankee (Freedom Needs A Soldier)
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To: RWR8189
P.J. is the guy who turned me into a Republican Party Reptile.

L

21 posted on 10/02/2005 9:18:06 AM PDT by Lurker (Reality cannot be changed by wishful thinking, good intentions, or legislation.)
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To: bitt

Thanks. One of those moral clarity pieces.


22 posted on 10/02/2005 10:07:38 AM PDT by ForGod'sSake (ABCNNBCBS: An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.)
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To: RWR8189
Musing on Liberal Fraud Arts

About suffering it’s the same sing-song,
Tired old Liberals; how quick, they abuse
Its human condition; how loud they wail
“Bush is a disaster!” when a wretch winces from tight shoes or
just gets a nose bleed from too dry air;
How, when Nagin and Blanco were angrily, insistently waiting
For FEMA to wipe their wet noses, they knew in their bones
That Karl Rove did not specially want it to happen, laughing
As he did as he packed shaped charges on the levees
Just above the poor places of town:
They always believe
That even Calypso Louie’s tinfoil theories will outlast earth.
Anyway, in New Orleans, that waterlogged spot
Where the decadence parade goes on as preplanned, and Sean Penn’s
Dinghy floats aimlessly curbside on St. Charles.
In a west Texas ditch, meanwhile, how everyone turns quite quickly
From the onion-eyed hippie; the mainstream media most
Surely heard her cry, the forsaken pout,
But for them, Katrina is a most welcome relief; the chiggers bite
As they are wont to on liberal pink flesh seeking shade from hot bright
Sun; and Soros in his expensive ozone-depleting conveyance
Hallucinates a heaven: "George W. Bush impeached!"
And trundles giddily on.

23 posted on 10/02/2005 10:30:19 AM PDT by JCEccles
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To: All

Bump


24 posted on 10/02/2005 10:44:13 AM PDT by JCEccles
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To: Northern Yankee

"It still steams me that Gov. Blanco could testify before a senate sub-committee and expect not to get asked about her accountability, and get none from gutless republican senators."

Yeah, GOP spinelessness has hit new levels. When she went begging for money they should've torn her apart and told her that she's not fit to handle it.


25 posted on 10/02/2005 1:04:19 PM PDT by neutronsgalore (Bullets are cheap...living criminals are costly.)
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To: TheBigB

PJ ping


26 posted on 10/02/2005 1:29:47 PM PDT by perfect stranger ("Hell Bent for Election" by Warburg)
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To: RWR8189

bttt


27 posted on 10/02/2005 10:09:09 PM PDT by Pagey (The Clintons ARE the true definition of the word WRETCHED!)
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