DOT Secretary on Infrastructure/And The Germans

By August 14, 2007Infrastructure

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters was on CNN’s Late Edition on Sunday, speaking with substitute host Joe Johns. Nothing too exciting, but it’s good to see the Administration addressing infrastructure issues directly. In an interview that spent a lot of time on earmarks, Peters framed the underlying question as President Bush has: Are infrastructure dollars being spent the right way? From the CNN transcript:

Joe, I’ve often said that I’ve never see a politician getting misty-eyed cutting a ribbon on a maintenance project. Most of them don’t want to do those. But I think the bridge collapse, this terrible tragedy — and our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers continue to be with those in Minnesota — is keying up a very, very important discussion that we need to have about infrastructure in the United States.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the German elites find the bridge collapse an excuse for another round of Ami-bashing. From Davidsmedienkritik, the leading media criticism site in Germany.

It wasn’t entirely unpredictable. When the bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, we at Medienkritik realized it was only a matter of time before members of the German media would attempt to interpret the tragedy much as they interpreted the New York power outage several years ago: As a sign that America is in a state of total collapse and decay.

Well – we didn’t have to wait long for the disingenuous sensationalism to materialize. SPIEGEL ONLINE’s Marc Pitzke – the anti-American hack-of-hacks – quickly came out with a piece that headlines: “Collapse of the US Infrastructure.” The article features a seven-part photo series entitled: “US Infrastructure: Decayed, Ailing, Defective.”

Not only is this headline beyond constructive criticism – it is more of the same cynical bashing that we have grown accustomed to in German media. It is nothing more than the usual – cheap and arrogant – hatred that German media consumers keep slurping down and sucking up. Deep down people like Marc Pitzke want to prove to themselves – at a highly visceral, ideological level – that the American system of capitalism is inherently inferior to their own statist, socialist model. So any opportunity to claim that America is in a state of total decay and collapse is taken with great relish.

Actually, some of the elite German criticism resembles the more condemnatory critiques we’ve seen here in the United States; in both cases, the criticism is more a matter of counting political coup than offering a constructive course of action.

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