Some people cite Walter Russell Mead as an intellectual. These people don’t understand intellectualism.
The Bard College professor has filed a number of articles over the past year lamenting the “Blue Model,” claiming that the basic social contract of the last 70 years has failed. These articles are little more than playground insults, without any serious analysis.
Take, for instance, his latest article describing the flagging budgetary situation in San Bernadino, California. San Bernadino is out of money and unable to cover its pension obligations and now is on the brink of slashing their police force in a city riddled with criminals. Mead suggests that this is the natural conclusion of liberal spending policies.
This is the dystopia where blue ultimately leads. As money gets tight, cities have to choose between paying pensioners or paying for vital services.
At no point in the article does Mead even pay lip service to the massive tax cuts that have plagued California since the 1970s. California’s ballot measure process allowed voters to gut the tax base dating back to the infamous Prop 13 measure. This hijacking of representative democracy by radical anti-tax protesters can only fairly be described as the “anti-Blue model,” arising from policies instituted over the heads of elected Democrats.
Blaming pension programs for San Bernadino is the political equivalent of asking a kid to “stop hitting yourself.”
Declining tax revenue is widely cited as the cause of the San Bernadino bankruptcy (along with some allegations of poor discretionary spending decisions by the Mayor). Mead’s silence on this point is embarrassing — he doesn’t have the decency to offer even a half-hearted response. At least that would be respectable.