Jonah Goldberg also has a column thwacking Time magazine's new cover package on Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mike Bloomberg, the "New Action Heroes" changing America while the beltway dithers. That's them on the right, looking like Rev. Run and DMC soaked in a vat of bleach.
Goldberg's beef is that Grunwald's idea of pathbreaking politicians are rather unremarkable liberals.
[T]hey're both fighting global warming, natch. And Arnold's fighting for embryo-destroying stem-cell research while Bloomberg, Grunwald gushes, has implemented "America's most draconian smoking ban and the first big-city trans-fat ban."
Aaaand cue the Simpsons references. Matt Yglesias mutters that Time's "lavish praise of moderate Republicans indicates a center-right bias in favor of the moderately conservative," but that isn't really true: Nothing Bloomberg and Schwarzegger do is moderate or conservative. Yes, right, Arnold reversed a car tax and hasn't raised any taxes, but he's been an incredibly liberal spender on health care, infrastructure, scientific research, etc. etc., papering over the gaps with enormous bonds. Bloomberg is an ex-Democrat who hasn't done anything particularly mod/con since he rescued the city from Mark Green.
I was all set to whine about how Time only wants to hear how liberals are breaking the molds out in the states and say something like "Hey, what about guys like Steve Goldsmith?" when I see Grunwald go and quote Steve Goldsmith:
As D.C. politics has become more of a zero-sum partisan game, Mayors and Governors in both parties have taken on predatory lending, obesity, energy, health care and even immigration. "It's innovation by necessity," says Stephen Goldsmith, a former Republican mayor of Indianapolis who oversees Harvard's Innovations in American Government awards. This year hardly any federal programs applied. "Very unusual," Goldsmith says.
It's obscured in Grunwald's "OMG Bloomberg should totally be president LOLZ!" frame, but there's an interesting story here. Cities and states were churning out free-market policies and reforms in the 1980s and 1990s that were adapted by Washington. That isn't happening anymore. The reverse is happening.