News & Criticism

Establishmentarian Watch

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Continuing our ongoing series about elite rescue bailout discourse, the Washington Post's editorial board is calling yesterday's economic PATRIOT Act "America's second chance," saying of the House's upcoming vote: "in a responsible legislature, the vote would not be close." (Related but tangential note: Remember when lefties had to support the Iraq War in order to be deemed "responsible"? Ah, memories.)

Still at the WashPost, "Washington Sketch" columnist Dana Milbank saw the vote as downright providential:

As if touched by the hand of God, Senate leaders abandoned their partisan ways and declared a new day of harmony and togetherness. […]

The United States Senate turning into an amen chorus? Miraculous. And it was a reassuring sign that Congress still can act in the national interest -- once it has exhausted all other possibilities.

Time magazine bemoaned America's lost faith in its leaders, in an article so drenched in elitist lament that, well, here's a sentence:

If the experts are right, the nation now risks great financial hardship, because there was no one to stand up and explain the situation.

And L.A. Times columnist Rosa Brooks wants a new FDR:

We established its basic contours in 1789, half forgot about it until the Civil War and Reconstruction, practically abolished it during the Gilded Age, remembered it again during the Depression and then, during the reign of Reagan the Great Communicator, forgot about it once more.

The government, I mean. It comes in handy in times of crisis, but somehow we just keep misplacing it.

And now, with our economy teetering, we're frantically searching for it again, finally hauling it out from the basement along with some dried-out duct tape and leaky batteries. But after all those years on the shelf, don't be too surprised if it's a little rusty.

I'll let the historians among us address Brooks' People's History lite, but I can point out to my former colleague that federal spending per household, adjusted for inflation, was around $12,500 from 1971-75, and even after all that dirty Great Communicatoritis it vaulted up to nearly $19,000 in Bush's first term. Unless she's just making the point that government is inherently unproductive…though somehow I doubt that.