Posted with permission from The Washington Times

Most of the talk after the Republican debates last week has been focusing on individual personalities, who seemed presidential (Fiorina), who was angriest (Paul), and funniest (Huckabee). While I still disagree with Chris Christie's policies and general attitude, he did rather well as a focused and steady bureaucratic manager, even when being confronted by the Angriest Candidate in the World, Rand Paul.

It's easy to get caught up in the minutia of the personalities, but something else very important happened on debate night: Viewers saw a collection of interesting, accomplished people representing the Republican Party.

Whether they were describing their principles, visions, expressing their faith or love for this country, what viewers were treated to was an illustration of the massive difference between conservatives who love the country and the liberals currently driving her into the ground.

One of those main differences Republicans offer is an actual interest in and desire to govern versus the liberal fixation on using power to gain control over individual citizens.

Case in point: New York City, where everyone has been appalled at a cluster of deaths and illnesses due to Legionnaires' Disease, a lung infection which can lead to pneumonia. Older people, those with weakened immune systems, and smokers, among others, are particularly vulnerable to the bacteria. As I write this, there are now 10 deaths and over 100 sickened. Already the biggest outbreak in the history of New York City, infections can take 10 days to incubate raising concerns that this is just the beginning.

New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio is defending the city's response to the outbreak, but he can't explain away what the spread of this preventable infection really illustrates: the failure of liberal leadership to actually govern.

Instead, today's bombastic, controlling liberal elite fixate on how to control the most intimate details of your lives because for them it's not about making life better, it's about pounding into you who's boss.

So instead of proactively dealing with the known breeding grounds of Legionella in urban areas, like water cooling towers, liberal so-called leadership obsessed on trying to ban Big Gulp sodas, salt and Styrofoam containers.

Even after Mr. Bloomberg's attempt to ban the drinks was struck down by New York's highest court last year, Mr. de Blasio was still trying to get the city council to ban 16 ounce "sugary" drinks.

If only liberals obsessed with "health initiatives" had been as interested in going after a deadly bacteria from the city's water cooling towers. But that's just so... mundane compared to controlling what people are allowed to consume. Talking cooling towers also doesn't get you as much attention.

But now the mayor has attention, the unwanted kind. At a press conference Mr. de Blasio was making excuses about why this outbreak seems out of control, saying there was no evidence the cooling towers were a problem. But The New York Times refuted that, noting, "a study published last year by researchers in the city's health department documented the rapid increase in cases of the disease and pointed to cooling towers as one of the risk factors in outbreaks. The study also noted that the disease was often concentrated in impoverished neighborhoods..."

Former Mayor Bloomberg's penchant for expanding the Nanny State wasn't limited to Big Gulps. Throughout his tenure, the liberal focused on micro-managing just about everything including sodium, trans-fats, loud headphones, black roofs, non "fuel-efficient" cabs, styrofoam packaging, to name just a few.

Mr. de Blasio is also 'governing' in a way that is propelling New York City back to the bad-old days. The murder rate is up 20 percent, subway delays are up 45 percent, bums are everywhere, and policing remains more difficult and restricted than ever.

But the bums do like Mr. de Blasio. According to the New York Post, "Bums across the city hailed Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday for relaxing enforcement against homeless panhandlers, saying it hasn't been this good for them in years," reported the paper. "I want to thank de Blasio for taking it easy on us... Because of him, nobody bothers me..." said one bum "who was hanging out ...with several sacks of belongings... Directly under the tracks nearby, about two dozen other homeless people were sleeping in or stumbling around an encampment littered with layers of cardboard, a stained futon and rotting food remnants. The gross spectacle outraged local residents and commuters at the station."

For liberals, their "health" agenda is an excuse to control a city's population, while ironically making people's health worse through inaction on what matters and bloated incompetence with everything else. Then when people's health and the quality of life begin to collapse, the politicians make excuses and point fingers.

As the Legionella tragedy continues to unfold, Fox News reports, "The city's Health Department on Thursday ordered that within the next 14 days, all buildings with cooling towers be tested and any found contaminated be disinfected. Failure to comply would be a misdemeanor."

And all it took was 10 dead people and over 100 sickened over something that had nothing to do with sodas, salt, or Styrofoam, proving there is something very dangerous to the health of every single one of us: liberalism and its political henchmen.

⦁ Tammy Bruce is a radio talk show host.