Anne Applebaum is the Washington Post’s version of Nicholas Kristoff — she counts as a liberal because she’s not a movement conservative, but she’s the kind of token liberal who feels obligated to balance every liberal piece with a contrarian anti-liberal piece.
She outdid herself just now. To her, the message of the New Orleans disaster is that the private sector outperforms the public sector.
In other words, Grover Norquist’s boy is President now, and Grover Norquist’s boy fucked up royally. And this proves that Norquist was right all along — government is just no damn good.
Many of us have suspected all along that the Bush administration is deliberately sabotaging the government they were elected to run, but Applebaum is the first non-wacko writer to swallow the bait hook, line, and sinker.
It’s the same old message — big government liberalism is dead. But Louisiana Democrats are not big government liberals either. They’re low-tax, low-service conservatives, totally controlled by oil and other special interests and famous for their corruption.
Note that Applebaum was only talking about immediate disaster relief, where bake sales and private charity supplemented the weak government efforts. One doubts that bake sales will raise enough to rebuild New Orleans, but the anti-government ideologues Applebaum is pandering to have already suggested that New Orleans shouldn’t be rebuilt at all.
Here’s the liberal part of what she said:
“I’m not calling for the abolition of FEMA, and I certainly think there’s a role for government in disaster and evacuation planning.”
I’m glad she cleared that up.
UPDATE: Bush’s actual response to Katrina, managed by Karl Rove, will probably end up being the biggest porkbarrel handout in human history. This time Anne certainly zigged where she should have zagged — her attempt to suck up to the Republicans made the mistake of assuming that the Republicans are not complete opportunists, but have core political principles of some kind.