Bullet train’s cruel charade: getting up the hopes of Orange County’s dopes

I roared with laughter when I saw the alert saying the geniuses at the California High-Speed Rail Authority had changed their minds and added a direct Orange County line back to their revised business plan. All that praise for being realistic and for bringing the mythical cost down to $68 billion and the kudos from Sen. Feinstein for smartly avoiding construction in crowded urban areas? Never mind. It’s back to the selling of the bullet train as political pork once again. Yo, Edmund G. “Jerry” — thanks for the guffaws. That extra layer of spectacle and silliness you’ve added to this mess since going all-in last year? It’s been a treat!

But there is a downside here. For at least four reasons — starting with the new theory about the CTA semi-coming to the rescue that I debuted Wednesday — I doubt the bullet train comes close to getting built. So what is the point of promising people in Orange County something that they of course will never get?

I know, I know — political kabuki requires all Dem hands on board, etc. This is President Obama’s grand vision! We mustn’t let him down!

But at a very basic level, it’s kind of cruel. They’re taunting the rail cultists in Orange County who are actually dumb enough to believe they’ll ever have a 200-mph train regularly paying their area a visit.

These people are already doomed to troubled lives — stunted cognition and congenital naivete are not a recipe for personal and professional success. Now they’re being led on by political con men. How mean can the CHSRA get? Sheesh.

Success has a dozen fathers, and defeat is an orphan. I understand that. But we need to have one person to blame most of all for the bullet-train insanity, and there’s only one candidate: Arnold.

The guy who got elected in 2003 on the grounds that he would bring fiscal conservative smarts and basic common sense to Sacramento — and who was skeptical about the bullet train his first four years on the job — ended up as a key proponent for the bullet train in 2008, leading the campaign for Proposition 1A. The measure narrowly won. Thanks for nothing, Arnold.

It was amazing to watch Arnold shift into legacy mode after getting thumped in the 2005 special election. It wasn’t just the bullet train and AB 32. People forget that he tried to bring Romneycare/Obamacare to California throughout 2007 and actually got it through the Assembly, only to have Don Perata and Senate Dems point out there was no money at all to pay for it.

I’ve never seen a more desperate, frantic hunt for a legacy. It yielded two mega-fiascos in AB 32 and the bullet train. But at least it allows Arnold to circumnavigate the globe to the huzzahs of green true believers. If you live in California and aren’t a rail or green cultist, hisses are more in order.

One thought on “Bullet train’s cruel charade: getting up the hopes of Orange County’s dopes

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