Introducing yet another new feature here at BBS: Debates with Myself, or MasterDebates, wherein I break down the issues that are important to me, debate them with myself and provide new insights to me. Today's topic:

Politicizing the 35W Bridge Collapse: Too Soon?

Our MasterDebaters today are Bellamy Grant and Grant Bellamy. Gentlemen.

BG: Good morning, Marc.
GB: Great to be here, Mr. Conklin.

Let's just get right into it. Everyone knows what happened to the bridge. The next day, liberal columnist Nick Coleman wrote an article blaming conservatives for being too cheap, while conservative radio talk show host Jason Lewis blamed liberals for diverting funds to transit. Your take, Mr. Grant.

BG: I have to admit, as soon as I saw the Nick Coleman headline, I rolled my eyes. The usual disaster cycle of grieve, calm down, investigate, assign blame then fix the problem just seems to have gotten way out of hand. We're already pointing fingers the next day? Come on. And the same goes for Jason Lewis. I'm only surprised that he didn't somehow blame Bill Clinton, environmentalists, former President Clinton, activist judges or William Jefferson Clinton.

GB: I disagree. There's a fine line between "pointing fingers" and "holding people accountable." The unfortunate reality today is that whoever gets to the media first, that's what sticks with the public. You can sit back and try and be noble. But someone on the other side of the aisle is going to have no qualms about going out there and saying, "Homosexuality is responsible for the bridge collapse." And guess what the Fox news ticker is going to say five minutes later: "Gays: Bad for Bridges?"

BG: Fox is going to do that anyway. You can talk about harsh media realities and being a political pragmatist, but I think it's a long-term loser. In the end, people want sanity. They want someone who will say, look, this is complicated. It's crazy to come out the very next day and start politicizing death.

GB: What about Katrina?

BG: What about it?

GB: The blame for that was immediate, and I don't remember you complaining.

BG: That's different.

He's got a point there...

BG: No, it was wrong to assign easy blame for the collapse of the levees. I'm sure over time there were hundreds of idiots responsible for that. But blame for the lack of response, that's a no-brainer.

But should it have gone all the way to the President?

BG: The President assigned an Arabian horse trader to head FEMA. If I may coin an analogy, that's a little like hiring an Arabian horse trader to head FEMA.

GB: I'd have to agree with that.

BG: Thank you.

But back to the bridge. Someone has to be accountable, right? The families of the people who died or were injured want answers immediately, so what's wrong with asking the next day versus asking the next week or month?

GB: That's a great point, Mr. Conklin. The underlying question for anyone under the microscope is, "What are you afraid of?" Politics is a full-contact sport. If you're the governor, you think you're not going to have people trying to blame you for something you're ultimately accountable for? Same goes for the head of MnDOT and every legislator from both parties who's ever cast a transportation-related vote. You can't take it, go do something cushy, like selling China-produced goods for a 500 percent markup and acting like a business genius.

BG: But that's what causes the underlying cycle. If that's the way politicians have to be, then politics only attracts the kinds of people who go out and do this crap. And those people are precisely the lazy, ADD, reactionary anti-intellectuals who are driving us into the ground.

GB: Are you saying someone can't be tough and smart at the same time?

BG: No, I didn't mean to imply that--

GB: Hey, I'm one of the five people who actually read your blog, and you just fell for your own trap. You're saying intellectuals aren't real men. Did you hear that, Mr. Conklin?

He's got a point there...

BG: No, he doesn't. That's a typical straw man argument, and I... he... doesn't like those either--

GB: Chicken.

BG: What?


BG: Are you actually resorting to Third Grade playground techniques to call me... who is really you... a chicken?

GB: Stop me. What are you afraid of? BAWK B-GAWK!!!

BG: Cut it out!


BG: Marc, can you please do something about this?

He's got a point there...

BG: Oh, shut the hell up.


BG: Not you, too.


BG: We're out of here.



"...hiring an Arabian horse trader to head FEMA..."
Vegas Gopher said…
This is the best debate segment since "Even Steven." More, more, more! The only thing missing was where you call yourself an ignorant slut.
Anonymous said…
Hey! You started a blog!


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