Obamaville City Limits

As I read founder of Creators Syndicates Rick Newcombe's explanation of why he is moving his business out of the increasingly corrupt confines of Los Angeles and the anti growth policies of California in general, I had to wonder.  Business aren't the only one who relocate to get away from high taxes and arbitrary, out of control bureaucrats. 

Americans have been voting with their feet for decades now.  During the last half of the 20th century, all across America, married people with children voted with their feet rather than take on the dirty job of trying to reform the nation's corrupt urban political systems and the seemingly impossible task of fixing urban school systems.  

It was do that, or shell out a small fortune in local taxes and then pay private school tuition for your children's education on top of it. 

Mayor Daley, a consummate political survivor, now rules Chicago from a much different power base than the largely white blue collar machine he inherited from his father. First he helped minority factions get their own share of the patronage spoils. Then he co-opted the white progressives faction that so actively opposed his father, and courted professional singles and empty nesters who wanted a clean, orderly and crime free Lakefront full of sidewalk cafes, median planters and wrought iron fences. 

In the process, he encouraged real estate development that priced the working class families that were the backbone of his father's coalition out of many parts of the city.  I suspect a great many of the children of the people who actively supported him in the 1983 election now live in the burgeoning exurb of Oswego.  One sign of this change was when Daley himself in the mid 90s moved his official residence from a Bridgeport bungalow to a Lakefront townhouse.  (A lot of detractors say both Mayors Daley may have spent more time in a family compound in the lovely little vacation hamlet of Grand Beach, Michigan than at their official residences.) 

Whole states can seem to empty out when things get too bad.  A headline in the Detroit News earlier this year noted Eight-year population exodus staggers state

"Migration is good for the migrants but bad for the state they're leaving," said Mark Partridge, an economics professor at Ohio State University who specializes in the study of migration patterns. "It's a vicious downward cycle; the best and brightest leave; entrepreneurs don't come to the state because the best and brightest are elsewhere; as more people leave, that leaves fewer people to pay for services. Neither one will make Michigan a very appealing place." 

This tendency to vote with one's feet can lull the politicians and bureaucrats who helped create the mess into a false sense of security, as those with the greatest stake in vigorously pursuing a different policy course can often be the first to leave for greener pastures.  Our urban political machines have survived counterproductive policies of over-regulation and over spending largely because most people who don't like their methods find it easier to move to a community where like-minded people are clearly in the majority than to stand and fight. This includes politicians. For every Rudy Guiliani who has a genuine love for the city, there are many other Republican politicians who moved to the suburbs to begin their political careers in earnest after living in Americas cities for a while after college.  

In Obama we have a President who is bringing the methods of the Daley political machine to national government.  It is there in the transfer of power to "czars" to consolidate power in the White House. It is there in the move against the Inspectors General. It is there in the spending pattern of the so called stimulus bill, which benefits counties who elect Democrats two dollars to every one spent elsewhere. 

Unfortunately for Obama, the nation's political base is largely in the suburbs.  I recall reading an analysis many years ago that George H.W. Bush would have won in 1988 without a single vote from inside any of the nation's major cities.  In 1992, it was the suburban voters, betrayed by Bush 41 on taxes and unsure of Clinton's Arkansas reputation for corrupt government and personal sleaze, that rallied to Ross Perot.  Over the years, the Democrat Party had begun to make inroads among these voters, often because the Republicans had not lived up to their own rhetoric on smaller and more honest government.  One reason John McCain selected Sarah Palin as a running mate is because she is the classic "go-gooer", the derisive term corrupt politicians and jaded reporters use for those who run on the platform of good government and then actually do try to reform the system. 

Many suburbanites voted for Obama out of a mixture of white guilt and the hope that he meant what he said about a post racial world, honest transparent government and no tax increases. Such voters do not see themselves as racists for fleeing the cities in the first place.  They see themselves as realists who were not willing to risk their own children's future on the social experiment of court ordered integration. They voted for what Obama promised, not what he is delivering.  It's not just the rising unemployment and exploding deficit that bothers these people.  They don't like what they are seeing in stimulus dollars going to prop up government employee unions. The support for a Supreme Court candidate who is definitely not color blind has plummeted among political independents.  

In Barack Obama's world, married people with children regularly do pay $5,000 and $10,000 a year in property taxes, then shell out private school tuition at Francis Parker, the Latin School and the Lab School, all the while looking down their noses at the philistines who live in the suburbs.  In unguarded moments on the campaign trail, you could see some of Hyde Park's disdain for suburban living. 

Obama is starting to find out that suburban voters are going to balk at his proposals.  It began with the Tea Parties, a small city and suburban movement. It is continuing with protests on health care reform. Protest marches are unusual activities for middle class people with private sector jobs, who as a rule do not like messy politics.  But they will fight because unlike the situation Obama knew in Chicago, there is no alternative. No Henderson, Nevada, Oswego, Illinois or Derry, New Hampshire lies beckoning just across the city limits from Obamaville.
As I read founder of Creators Syndicates Rick Newcombe's explanation of why he is moving his business out of the increasingly corrupt confines of Los Angeles and the anti growth policies of California in general, I had to wonder.  Business aren't the only one who relocate to get away from high taxes and arbitrary, out of control bureaucrats. 

Americans have been voting with their feet for decades now.  During the last half of the 20th century, all across America, married people with children voted with their feet rather than take on the dirty job of trying to reform the nation's corrupt urban political systems and the seemingly impossible task of fixing urban school systems.  

It was do that, or shell out a small fortune in local taxes and then pay private school tuition for your children's education on top of it. 

Mayor Daley, a consummate political survivor, now rules Chicago from a much different power base than the largely white blue collar machine he inherited from his father. First he helped minority factions get their own share of the patronage spoils. Then he co-opted the white progressives faction that so actively opposed his father, and courted professional singles and empty nesters who wanted a clean, orderly and crime free Lakefront full of sidewalk cafes, median planters and wrought iron fences. 

In the process, he encouraged real estate development that priced the working class families that were the backbone of his father's coalition out of many parts of the city.  I suspect a great many of the children of the people who actively supported him in the 1983 election now live in the burgeoning exurb of Oswego.  One sign of this change was when Daley himself in the mid 90s moved his official residence from a Bridgeport bungalow to a Lakefront townhouse.  (A lot of detractors say both Mayors Daley may have spent more time in a family compound in the lovely little vacation hamlet of Grand Beach, Michigan than at their official residences.) 

Whole states can seem to empty out when things get too bad.  A headline in the Detroit News earlier this year noted Eight-year population exodus staggers state

"Migration is good for the migrants but bad for the state they're leaving," said Mark Partridge, an economics professor at Ohio State University who specializes in the study of migration patterns. "It's a vicious downward cycle; the best and brightest leave; entrepreneurs don't come to the state because the best and brightest are elsewhere; as more people leave, that leaves fewer people to pay for services. Neither one will make Michigan a very appealing place." 

This tendency to vote with one's feet can lull the politicians and bureaucrats who helped create the mess into a false sense of security, as those with the greatest stake in vigorously pursuing a different policy course can often be the first to leave for greener pastures.  Our urban political machines have survived counterproductive policies of over-regulation and over spending largely because most people who don't like their methods find it easier to move to a community where like-minded people are clearly in the majority than to stand and fight. This includes politicians. For every Rudy Guiliani who has a genuine love for the city, there are many other Republican politicians who moved to the suburbs to begin their political careers in earnest after living in Americas cities for a while after college.  

In Obama we have a President who is bringing the methods of the Daley political machine to national government.  It is there in the transfer of power to "czars" to consolidate power in the White House. It is there in the move against the Inspectors General. It is there in the spending pattern of the so called stimulus bill, which benefits counties who elect Democrats two dollars to every one spent elsewhere. 

Unfortunately for Obama, the nation's political base is largely in the suburbs.  I recall reading an analysis many years ago that George H.W. Bush would have won in 1988 without a single vote from inside any of the nation's major cities.  In 1992, it was the suburban voters, betrayed by Bush 41 on taxes and unsure of Clinton's Arkansas reputation for corrupt government and personal sleaze, that rallied to Ross Perot.  Over the years, the Democrat Party had begun to make inroads among these voters, often because the Republicans had not lived up to their own rhetoric on smaller and more honest government.  One reason John McCain selected Sarah Palin as a running mate is because she is the classic "go-gooer", the derisive term corrupt politicians and jaded reporters use for those who run on the platform of good government and then actually do try to reform the system. 

Many suburbanites voted for Obama out of a mixture of white guilt and the hope that he meant what he said about a post racial world, honest transparent government and no tax increases. Such voters do not see themselves as racists for fleeing the cities in the first place.  They see themselves as realists who were not willing to risk their own children's future on the social experiment of court ordered integration. They voted for what Obama promised, not what he is delivering.  It's not just the rising unemployment and exploding deficit that bothers these people.  They don't like what they are seeing in stimulus dollars going to prop up government employee unions. The support for a Supreme Court candidate who is definitely not color blind has plummeted among political independents.  

In Barack Obama's world, married people with children regularly do pay $5,000 and $10,000 a year in property taxes, then shell out private school tuition at Francis Parker, the Latin School and the Lab School, all the while looking down their noses at the philistines who live in the suburbs.  In unguarded moments on the campaign trail, you could see some of Hyde Park's disdain for suburban living. 

Obama is starting to find out that suburban voters are going to balk at his proposals.  It began with the Tea Parties, a small city and suburban movement. It is continuing with protests on health care reform. Protest marches are unusual activities for middle class people with private sector jobs, who as a rule do not like messy politics.  But they will fight because unlike the situation Obama knew in Chicago, there is no alternative. No Henderson, Nevada, Oswego, Illinois or Derry, New Hampshire lies beckoning just across the city limits from Obamaville.