Last March, I found myself talking to David Rothkopf, an international energy consultant and writer who was a bigwig in the Clinton White House. I was describing President Obama’s strategy for reviving American cities: Hamstrung by Tea Partiers in the House of Representatives, the Obama administration had set up what amounted to a set of demonstration projects designed to prove that smart policies on inner-city schools, transportation, and urban development could get dramatic results -- and save taxpayer money at the same time.
There was the Promise Neighborhoods program, which created “children’s zones” to give kids in some of the nation’s hardest-hit urban communities a fighting chance. The Department of Transportation’s TIGER grants funded innovative “multimodal” transportation projects (read: bike and pedestrian paths, streetcars, rail, etc.). The Partnership for Sustainable Communities brought together officials from federal environment, housing, and transportation agencies to support local smart growth initiatives.
Wise moves, I figured: If the GOP doesn’t let you play the game, at least practice your shots and show the coach (in this case, the American public) that you’ve got what it takes, so you’re ready to jump in if and when the opportunity arises.
“There’s another word for that,” Rothkopf said: “Bullshit.”