'Washington Totally Can't Handle Snow'

We get it already: where you come from, they have more snow plows

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Winter is full of one-upmanship, with certain types of braggarts flaunting their resistance to the cold, and others always saying they've seen worse. A Washington-centric species of this sentiment was on display this weekend, when a blizzard dumped well over a foot and shut down the city. Outsiders were shocked that the response of the quasi-Southern city was incompetent compared to Chicago, Detroit, or Des Moines.

Admittedly, street-clearing was so slow that the federal government was compelled to shut down on Monday. But if D.C. kept a supply of plows at the ready for a once-a-decade storm, the complaints would hardly be any quieter. A sampling of pundits who noticed D.C.'s failing:

  • "Just got to DC. Jesus. Do they even try to plow here?" Jacob Weisberg, Slate

  • "This (former) Chicagoan, btw, is laughing at DC's inability to handle a little snow." Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos
  • "[Washington] doesn't have the equipment to handle it; and beyond that, people have no idea whatsoever how to deal with it, especially how to drive in it. There is, for example, the apparent belief that if your car is stuck, you respond by spinning your wheels until you grind down to pavement ..." Paul Krugman, The New York Times
  • "Snow: Not that big a deal, is it?" Duncan Black (in Philly), Atrios
  • "The roads in D.C. are treacherous. Washington has never known what to do with snow." Elliott Holt, One Story magazine
  • "The snow that overwhelmed the Washington area yesterday has left behind great beauty as well as an indicator of what is essentially wrong with American society." Tamar Abrams, the Huffington Post
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.