Now THAT was a superb piece on New Orleans by my colleague Quin Hillyer. In 1986 it fell to me (oh woe was me — it was part of my job) to accompany the site selection committee of the RNC to cities wanting to host the 1988 convention. This meant a trip to New Orleans. I’d already passed through once, long enough for a quick dinner, and was enchanted. This second visit sealed it. We were feted by the town fathers, and under the astute tutelage of my then-colleague (and current Governor of Mississippi), drank and danced the night away at some Bourbon Street place of interest. I barely made the flight out the next morning, as I recall, as Haley Barbour’s teaching seminar did not end until somewhere south of five a.m. I get a hangover every time I think of it.
Inspired by discussing serious issues in a decidedly wonderful city, I secured election as a member of the Pennsylvania delegation to the ‘88 Republican convention and proceeded to enjoy myself thoroughly again between the serious stuff, rewarded this time with a bag of goodies that included a New Orleans cookbook that I still use. It would be a crime against American culture and history if we don’t restore this real jewel so it can move on, better than ever.
Conservatives are right, however, to raise serious policy issues as the rebuilding of New Orleans proceeds. The failure laid bare in New Orleans with Katrina was not, and is not, limited to, much less unique to, New Orleans. Decades of liberal policy proscriptions for America’s cities — cities run almost exclusively by Democrats — have categorically proved themselves to be failures. Much is made, by Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and many others, of the post-Katrina problems of New Orleans’ 9th Ward.
The conservative question should be: Where were these people like Mr. Edwards BEFORE Katrina? And why was the 9th Ward in such bad shape to begin with? The answer to these questions can be found in other cities in America — like Barack Obama’s Chicago or here in my own state of Pennsylvania in sections of Philadelphia or any number of other urban areas, including the city of Washington, D.C., outside the sections dominated by the federal government and the monuments. Millions were squandered on so-called “housing developments” that became squalid infestations of crime and drug addiction. The public education system was/is held hostage to greedy unions and mediocrity, millions of taxpayer dollars producing badly educated kids. Corruption among bureaucratic officials, occasionally reaching right into various city halls, was/is rampant. And always the answer is to raise taxes higher, the money getting wasted on more bad policy almost as soon as it arrives in the coffers of big city X.
Although I’ve made no endorsement of any GOP presidential nominee, it’s easy to see why former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is doing so well in the run-up to 2008 for just his pre-9/11 New York record alone. He rarely flinched in challenging the liberal conventional wisdom of how to govern a city, and the results are now remarkably clear. Anyone who was familiar with, to take one famous example, the condition of Times Square pre-Giuliani and post-Giuliani can see a difference as stark as used to be seen between what was once East Berlin and West Berlin. And for precisely the same reasons.p>So here’s a cheer for Mr. Hillyer and a city that is, as he eloquently illustrates, a true American treasure. The challenge facing the restoration of New Orleans is, in a very real sense, a challenge to a lot of American cities. One hopes that a serious-minded fan of New Orleans like historian Douglas Brinkley, an ardent Bush-Katrina critic, takes note. br> — Jeffrey Lord br> Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?