The Potemkin pothole

Yes, it’s true: Aaahnuld had a road crew dig a pothole so the cameras could film him filling it in.

An otherwise trivial event can make a major impression on the public if it encapsulates an important truth. I hope that turns out to be the case with Schwartenegger’s Synthetic Pothole. Digging a hole in a road in order to fill it in for the TV cameras is as perfect a metaphor for the idea-poor, bullsh*t-rich Gropenfuerer regime as the Democrats could ask for.

What used to be said of Hollywood is true of the Gubernator: once you peel away the fake tinsel on the surface, you expose the real tinsel at the core.

Hat tip to Cory Doctorow, who came up with the “Potemkin pothole” label. Too bad not more than 2% of the California electorate would get the reference.

Footnote If you want to be picky, a Potemkin village was originally a deception practiced on the ruler, not by the ruler. Moreover, there seems to be doubt that Prince Potemkin actually went so far as to construct artificial villages. But “Potemkin pothole” is still a lovely phrase, isn’t it?

Update: Two readers defend the appropriateness of the Potemkin-village analogy. Just as Prince Potemkin (allegedly) tried to deceive the sovereign Emperess about the province he governed as her appointee, so Aaaahnul (definitely) tried to deceive the sovereign voters about the state he governs as their appointee. Sounds right to me.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: