Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Trouble with Washington

I was back at GW the last few days for a conference the George Washington Institute for Public Policy put on with the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy on Local Government Autonomy in the United States.

Overall, it was a great event. I was priveleged to discuss a Bill Fischel paper (Bill knows more about property taxes than just about anyone), and the quality of the discussion was excellent. But when people asked me whether I missed Washington, I had to say "no," but I couldn't quite put my finger on why. Washington is a beautiful city, with wonderful cultural amenities. It is diverse, it has many people there I like very much (and whom I do miss), and I got to read while riding Metro to work in the morning, afther which I would have a pleasant walk from Dupont Circle to Foggy Bottom.

I then came across the following quotes on mydd (h/t to atrios) this morning:

"It's eerie -- I read the news from the Beltway, and there's this disconnect with the polls from the Midwest that I see all around me," said Ann Seltzer, the authoritative Iowa pollster who works throughout the Midwest.


"I don't think he's lost anything in terms of overall job approval or favorability," said Andy Smith, a pollster at the University of New Hampshire. "That's just the a perception inside the Beltway that everybody outside Washington pays attention to politics and eats and lives politics the way you guys do down there."

I think these quites sum up the trouble with Washington quite well. It is a city full of self-important naval gazers. The biggest difference between DC and LA is that the first question you get asked in DC is "what's your title," while the first question you get asked in LA (outside of Hollywood, anyway) is "how bad was the traffic on your drive here?"


Anthony Flint said...

It's the Lincoln Institute OF Land Policy, a longstanding partner of George Washington. Think-tank in Cambridge, Mass.

EcornerLearning said...

They should have gave earlier solution than just doing nothing on this one. Could have been better somehow.

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