Infrastructure Discourse Follies

I like to think of myself as a reasonably good ‘conservative moment anticipator’, in that I usually have a pretty good understanding of what they’ll do next and why. But I’ll admit I didn’t even imagine the Republican attack strategy of ‘water pipes aren’t infrastructure.’ I really didn’t see that one coming (thankfully, Transportation Secretary Buttigieg did*).

What’s worse is the national political press corps is taking this line of attack, as ludicrous as it is, seriously. George Stephanopoulos, dutiful stenographer that he is, regurgitated this talking point at Buttigieg, who handled it well. But why take this seriously?

There’s a cynical element to this: much of the political press corps needs controversy, so Republican talking points are taken seriously in order to create conflict. There’s also a deeper structural problem at work.

The Republican Party has descended into Ayn Randian batshitloonitarianism, which is often neglected given the prominence of the Republican Party’s white Christian nationalism. There are criticisms, valid ones, of the infrastructure bill, but those are to be found on the left because the batshitloonitarians simply don’t believe in most government programs (except Freedom Bombs). So we’re left with the neo-liberal plaints about TEH DEFICITZ!!, which even ideologue Sen. Joe Manchin isn’t too worried about, or left-ish policy critiques. Not only are most political reporters too ignorant of policy, but they also can’t stand much of the left at a personal level: I’m not sure that enjoying David Gergen’s company more than some lefty Democrat’s is exactly a human credential, but I don’t want to kinkshame. They just don’t like the left, construed broadly. Not Very Serious People.

Anyway, just don’t watch that crap.

*Buttigieg and Sanders, each in his own way, are the only two Democratic politicians who are capable of appearing on Fox News and eating the lunch of their in-house propagandists. It’s a remarkable skill.

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4 Responses to Infrastructure Discourse Follies

  1. Joe Shelby says:

    And related to piping isn’t just lead issues from the ancient past. There’s also, as you noted in your discussions of suburbia over the past few years, the matter that the piping that exists is aging and simply going to break down, causing more water main breaks and sewage failures.

    My parent’s previous house was built in the mid 90s, but the pipes and power/phone lines were laid down by the ACE (Army Corp of Engineers) back in the 50s. Those pipes are starting to crack, and one break blew out 1/3rd of the house’s front yard. Naturally, insurance didn’t cover it, considering it a “flood” which they didn’t have flood insurance for because they were on a hillside and nowhere near a flood plane.

    It isn’t just building existing – it is running all of the tests to look for flaws in the existing.

  2. Joe Shelby says:

    sorry last sentence typed in a hurry –

    It isn’t just building new stuff – it is …

  3. kaleberg says:

    Infrastructure is a big suburban problem. Depreciation on infrastructure in sparsely populated areas like many suburbs is much higher than tax revenue, and a lot of that infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life. Meanwhile, the more densely populated urban areas are getting tired of subsidizing the suburbs.

    • Bern says:

      See for instance Omaha, with the formerly-paved subdivision roads (previously outside city limits) now reverting to gravel as the city says ‘your road, your problem” (not that I’m picking on Omaha, just that I have some local knowledge.)

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