A Government of People
One constant with the Obama administration has been the taint of scandal. Of course, the news media has been particularly exercised over the past ten days or so. Beginning with Benghazi, continuing through the IRS mess and right into the Justice Department’s spying on the AP, the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have been deluged by the media feeding frenzy. But the reality is this: Team Obama has faced a seemingly endless run of scandals throughout this Presidency. There was the lack of “shovel-ready” jobs, the “green energy” debacles of Solyndra and Fiskar, the notoriously inept “Fast and Furious” gun running operation, the “recess appointments” of NRLB directors, the Corporation for National and Community Center misuse of funds. This is also the administration that sees no problem with killing Americans overseas, has pushed for expanding the Patriot Act to allow warrantless spying on virtually anyone (the root of the AP scandal), pushed hard for the authority to indefinitely detain anyone, appointed committed communist Van Jones to a federal post, created the “czar” positions and has overseen the overwhelming ammunition purchases by the Department of Homeland Security. There are plenty more, of course, but you get the idea – this is an administration that kicks up dirt with every step.
The current narrative is that all of this proves that the Obama administration has a bunch of rotten eggs, some who are outwardly corrupt and that the lack of managerial skill in the White House is the primary culprit for all this nonsense. Well, yes – but don’t get sucked into that storyline. The real scandal is not malfeasance by government officials, nor is it the nature of Washington politics. It is not the politicization of every detail (sorry, Mrs. Pelosi) or Republican complicity with a dastardly administration (sorry, Mr. Limbaugh).
The real scandal is that everything that has happened was going to happen under this President, regardless of Congressional oversight or public outcry. No matter how many times the administration stubs its big toe, it will continue on the path they set upon in January, 2009. This is not because the President or his chief lieutenants are corrupt by nature. Instead, it is because of the overriding belief that government can solve all problems, tackle every issue and bring peace and harmony throughout the land.
On its face, this isn’t a terrible idea. It would be wonderful if there were an entity that could wave a magic wand and make every problem disappear. It is the basic thought behind every liberal policy position. But it is scandalous, if only because it is an idea that has been tried many times before and never with any success. In some cases, the result of attempts at government interventions are humorous (such as the toilet paper shortage in Venezuela). But far more often, the results are disastrous. If you’re at a loss for why this is, all you need to do is look at the people around you.
The preamble to our Constitution established a “Government of the People, by the People and for the People.” What the Founding Fathers failed to verbalize is that as with all governments, it would also be a government OF people. That is to say, at all levels of government, there are people making decisions daily; decisions which affect their fellow citizens’ daily lives. What liberals (or progressives) fail, time and again to recognize is that people are not infallible. Quite the contrary, people make mistakes. And a person who believes in the infallibility of government is going to be far less vigilant in looking for the fallibilities in government employees than one who knows better. The Founders understood that bureaucrats generally lack common sense, which is why they spent more time writing into the Constitution the things government is not allowed to do than conferring powers to the bureaucracy. Not so sure on this point? Stop to ask yourself how many of those people around you would you trust with intimate details of your life. Then realize that one out of every ten Americans is currently receiving a paycheck from your taxes – and you’ll begin to understand why government is not the beneficent giant liberals want you to believe in.
This is not to say government is inherently evil. However, when the people employed by the government are in charge of the government, bad things tend to happen. It isn’t a lesson that Barack Obama seems to have learned – and it’s why he is not fit (and never was) to be the Chief Executive of the United States.