View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, October 09, 2003

George Will

Maybe we're wrong, and he's right, bu it's evident that this morning's George Will column was written before the Cubs win last night. His basic point is correct, and is much the same as the one Steve Lopez made in yesterday's superficially obnoxious LA Times (registration required) commentary. That the people of California had been asleep at the switch, and didn't care about politics until their car taxes went up.

Look, most people are not members of the political class. Most people have lives to live, budgets to live within, jobs, kids, their own hopes, and can't be spending every spare moment checking to see if their governor is rifling through the Clinton Files, even when it comes to policy. People pay attention to politics about once every other year. The rest of the time, they're busy living their lives. One can reasonably argue that in an era when the government is so pervasive, this is irresponsible. But it's also human. Even employees of companies with stock-option plans don't go home every night to read the footnotes to the company's 10-Q filing.

Therefore, when the Governor whacks them with a car tax to fix a deficit that he claimed didn't exist, people are going to be a little peeved. As government becomes more complicated, that part of citizenship required to police it also becomes more time-consuming. At least part of this requires imagination, an ability to believe that things can be different from what they are now. When articles about having beaten the business cycle started to appear in 2000, we should have dug up those same articles from 1989.

I'm not sure we can reasonably expect people to combat potential threats, be they military or economic. So we at least expect our elected officials to do so. That Davis failed to do so does indeed make him, in Will's words, "obviously incompetent."

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