Republicans' advantage: People like cities that work

Kevin D. Williamson at National Review had an excellent item the other day in N.R. on what it takes to run a city:

... Detroit in 1960 was on top of the world — it was the highest-income city in the United States. ... Detroit was not done in by lack of clever industrial policy or by shortage of some other species of cleverness.  It was done in by corrupt and ineffective government and a local political culture that went from bad to worse to much worse to Coleman Young. ...

What was true for Detroit is true for the United States as a whole.  The first step toward success in government is avoiding failure[.] ... [It] must do a lot of relatively simple things well. ... [F]ix the potholes, balance the books, keep order on the streets, see to the schools, and keep the city agencies orderly and honest and effective.  Without that, all of Detroit's productive capital — physical, financial, and human — was devalued and ultimately dispersed.

The Italians summed it up well when asked why they fell for Mussolini in the first place.  Benito wasn't always a jerk.  "He made the trains run on time."  He was the first time around for fascism, so nobody had any clue where he might take Italy.  To be sure, neither did he; he was playing it by ear and thought falling in with the Austro-Germano-Aryan guy might make him look good.

Bad idea.

He did prove that well run government benefits everybody, including bad guys, but even more, it benefits good guys.  People aren't afraid to go out.  They walk in the parks and go for rides in the country.  Kids play in the streets.  Traffic runs properly and safely.  A culture of lawfulness takes hold.  Courtesy prevails.  Civic pride breaks out.  Business and tourism thrive.  That was Mussolini's Italy in the twenties.

Fast-forward 70 years to America.  Rudy Giuliani proved the pattern in New York City when he fixed the police department by installing no-nonsense actual cops and cleared the books of stupid policies that kept cops from doing their jobs.  Seeing that the mayor was serious, judges in town got serious.  Crime just sort of withered away.  No longer afraid, the city blossomed.  A business renaissance took hold — all based on getting the little things right.  "Broken windows policing" and all that.

Leadership matters.  It matters a lot.

Since then, Michael Bloomberg and now Bill de Blasio have undone the policy fixes and focused instead on nonsense.  Bloomberg was a mother hen, worried about people's calorie intake and anything associated with sugar.  De Blasio is out to prove that communism can always make things worse, no matter how bad they may be.  NYC is back to being Detroit again, where nothing works, especially the little things, and going from bad to worse to much worse and headed for David Dinkins territory.

If the silly exercise going on right now in Congress proves anything, it proves how corrupt Democrats have become.  They are so incompetent that they can't even win a contemptibly rigged election or a grotesquely rigged impeachment.  They can't even do the little things right.  Everywhere they rule the streets is well- nigh undrivable, city services suck, civic pride does not exist, and people are afraid to go out at night.  In San Francisco, the citizenry is ashamed to have visitors and reluctant to stroll the sidewalks.

To be sure, Republicans as a whole aren't much better.  Pub-run cities do work better than Dem-run cities, and one suspects that, for whatever reason, it's because corruption hasn't penetrated as deeply.  No one is under any illusion that Republicans in general have clean hands, but the effective ones are at least getting the little things right.  Their cities function and don't have people dodging turds on the sidewalk.

Watching Matt Gaetz get after the liars and cheats the other day with their pathetic fibs and weak excuses and word-parsing and paper-thin defenses and drool, my faith in the system got a boost.  There are other good guys.  Ted Cruz.  Tom Cotton.  There are guys who are largely on our side even if they aren't necessarily all that good themselves, such as Mitch McConnell.

And of course the biggest guy, Donald Trump.

Don't lose faith.  We can beat these crooks.

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