“HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY to the Panama Canal. I wonder if we could do anything like it today?
In contrast, contemporary liberals seem more concerned about controlling soda consumption and choo-chooing back to 19th-century urbanism. This poverty of ambition hurts Democrats outside the urban centers. For example, when I met with mayors from small, traditionally Democratic cities in Kentucky and asked what the stimulus had done for them, almost uniformly they said it accomplished little or nothing.
A more traditional liberal approach might have focused on improvements that could leave tangible markers of progress across the nation. The New Deal’s major infrastructure projects — ports, airports, hydroelectric systems, road networks — transformed large parts of the country, notably in the West and South, from backwaters to thriving modern economies.
When FDR commissioned projects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, he literally brought light to darkened regions. The loyalty created by FDR and Truman built a base of support for liberalism that lasted for nearly a half-century.
Today’s liberals don’t show enthusiasm for airports or dams — or anything that may kick up some dirt. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior Deanna Archuleta, for example, promised a Las Vegas audience: “You will never see another federal dam.”
Harold Ickes, FDR’s enterprising interior secretary, must be turning over in his grave.
—Joel Kotkin, “How Liberalism self-destructed,” the Politico, November 19, 2010.
If you’ll “never see another federal dam,” at least under leftwing administrations such as Mr. Obamas, how can canals be built?
And the Left have been in stasis mode for quite some time now, as this 2004 post — which links to a 1999 article — attests.