Inauguration and Secession

The secession meme is back, courtesy, we suspect, of the president they’re inaugurating today down in Washington D.C.

The idea takes various forms: that New York City secede from the state, or from the nation. Pro-slavery types pushed it in 1861; the Mailer-Breslin campaign embraced it in 1969. City Councilman Peter Vallone has been talking about it for a while, and is at it again. This summer, New York Magazine played around with it last summer (Defense? Mitchell Moss suggests we rent the Israeli Army.) and the doubly alternative New York Press has recently turned it into a deranged crusade.

But why dance around the point? We’ve already seceded.

How much attention are you paying to the inaugural festivities? Two New Yorkers, Rudy and George, are down in Washington with their aides. But we’ve begun to suspect that they’re mostly practicing their accents, hoping to fit in.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of, say, an exiled monarchy, we’ve set up our own West Wing on the Hudson. Two Democrats of unequaled national stature, Spitzer and Hillary Clinton, occupy statewide office, and Mrs. Clinton is married to a third. Race for Attorney General looking a bit messy? Toss in a Kennedy. Meanwhile, our parochial little mayor’s race — which does not include a serious and genuine Republican candidate — is absorbing local attention.

Some take the logic of turning inward one step further. New York has little to lose from a seriously conservative presidency, goes an argument we’ve heard more than once. Liberals can sip their wine and complain about the tax cuts while they count their money, as a Times op-ed suggests today. In the meantime, the consequences of sustained conservative control of Washington are much more likely to be felt in Mississippi than in New York. That’s where most of the soldiers come from. That’s where they send the taxes they’ve been cutting. And that’s where they might outlaw abortion if Roe were overturned.

So we won’t be down in Washington today. We were asked “Why go?” by our editor and couldn’t think of a good reason.