Kevin Williamson writes at National Review Online about “our backwards government.”

Even genuinely needful things, like the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, end up getting done in a backward and counterproductive manner. The Biden administration can engage in all the moralistic huffery and puffery it likes, but it’s still messing things up …

… As the presidency (and, to a lesser extent, politics at large) becomes more ceremonial and histrionic, slowly degenerating into a neo-pagan sacral kingship, government grows less effective. The world-bestriding status of the presidency never has been higher, but its practical efficacy has been in decline for decades. Congress, for its part, is so impotent and gormless that Republican senators couldn’t figure out how to take their own side in a fight — rarely has an institution had so little self-respect while displaying so much self-importance. We require less courtship and more competency.

A theme emerges from the past 20 years of American government. Meaning no disrespect to the people who died on September 11, 2001, and none to the brave soldiers and others who responded, al-Qaeda was a backward gang of pissant fanatics hiding under the skirts of the Taliban, an even more backward gang of slightly less pissant fanatics. They were savages with box-cutters. We were lucky that the worst enemy we had at the turn of the century was al-Qaeda. Similarly, and meaning no callousness to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died of COVID-19, we are positively lucky that we were not hit with a much nastier epidemic than this one. September 11 could have been a lot worse, and COVID-19 could have been a lot worse. And this relatively minor winter storm that has shut down Texas could have been a hell of a lot worse.

We’re getting beat silly by the junior varsities of national crises. Pray we don’t find ourselves facing a big-league opponent before we rediscover ourselves.