Busy, Busy, Busy writes:
Shorter David Brooks: The Bursting Point: We are witnessing a disastrous failure to perform by America's governing institutions, most of which are administered by a leader, party and philosophy whose names elude me at the moment.
It's twue! It's twue! David Brooks manages to write his entire column on September 4 about Katrina and other "governance failures" without mentioning the name of a single politician or government official other than Rudi Giuliani:
Last week in New Orleans, by contrast, nobody took control. Authority was diffuse and action was ineffective. The rich escaped while the poor were abandoned. Leaders spun while looters rampaged. Partisans squabbled while the nation was ashamed. The first rule of the social fabric - that in times of crisis you protect the vulnerable - was trampled. Leaving the poor in New Orleans was the moral equivalent of leaving the injured on the battlefield. No wonder confidence in civic institutions is plummeting.
And the key fact to understanding why this is such a huge cultural moment is this: Last week's national humiliation comes at the end of a string of confidence-shaking institutional failures that have cumulatively changed the nation's psyche. Over the past few years, we have seen intelligence failures in the inability to prevent Sept. 11 and find W.M.D.'s in Iraq. We have seen incompetent postwar planning. We have seen the collapse of Enron and corruption scandals on Wall Street. We have seen scandals at our leading magazines and newspapers, steroids in baseball, the horror of Abu Ghraib.
Public confidence has been shaken too by the steady rain of suicide bombings, the grisly horror of Beslan and the world's inability to do anything about rising oil prices. Each institutional failure and sign of helplessness is another blow to national morale. The sour mood builds on itself, the outraged and defensive reaction to one event serving as the emotional groundwork for the next...