Quote and question of the day:
This election season’s primary results, in particular Mitch McConnell’s lopsided trouncing yesterday of Matt Bevin, have produced their share of obituaries for the Tea Party. But the experience so far of Tea Party and other insurgent showdowns against the GOP establishment just goes to show that candidates and campaigns still matter – and that’s not likely to change. While both “Establishment” and Tea Party campaigns have gotten savvier in learning how to play the primary game, we are likely for the foreseeable future to see Tea Party challengers win when they are good candidates, with some prior political experience, talent and funding – and lose when they lack one or more of those attributes. I’d like to look here in particular at the importance of political experience, and whether Tea Party campaigns has been losing races because it was running complete political novices. — Red State.
After last week’s primary, the ‘net abounded with articles that proclaimed the Tea Party was dead. McConnell bragged about his win over Matt Bevin and other RINOs facing primary opposition took heart. They conveniently overlook Tea Party wins such as Ben Sasse in Nebraska and Alex Moony in West Virginia. The battle between the GOP establishment and the grassroot reformers, collectively called the Tea Party, is not over.
Democrats claim government cannot be accountable. What a despicable statement. Everyone, every organization is accountable—if we make them so.
If government is not accountable, then what are we? What is our relationship with government? Are we serfs? Peasants? Have we no rights? The Constitution says otherwise. That is why the liberals hate it.
John Hayward |
No sooner did I encourage Republicans to make accountability one of their primary campaign themes then I came across Ron Fournier at National Journal tearing into lefty Ezra Klein for arguing that accountable government is a superhero fantasy:
“Presidents consistently overpromise and underdeliver,” he begins, a fair start. Surely, the editor-in-chief of Vox is going to make the obvious point that presidents and presidential candidates should know enough about the political process (including the limits on the executive branch) to avoid such a breach of trust.
Klein is a data guy. He must know that the public’s faith in government and poltics is on a decades-long slide, a dangerous trend due in no small part to the fact that candidates make promises they know they can’t keep. In Washington, we call it pandering. In the rest of the country, it’s called a lie. Klein yawns.
Klein is basically asking us to accept all of Obama’s lies and failures because we need to understand that politicians promise a lot of stuff they can’t deliver. Presumably we’re supposed to smile and clap when a slick character like Obama does an especially good job of tricking us into believing he can deliver the moon and stars, but it’s extremely rude and unrealistic to complain when those celestial goodies aren’t delivered on schedule.
Fournier is having none of it: “A Harvard-trained lawyer and Constitutional scholar like Obama didn’t stumble into the 2008 presidential campaign unaware of the balance of powers, the polarization of politics, the right-ward march of the GOP and other structural limits on the presidency. He made those promises because he thought those goals were neither unreasonable nor unattainable. Either that, or he was lying.” He goes on to note how eagerly Klein tries to separate Obama from his promises, writing as if some non-human entity called The Obama Campaign made all those inconvenient commitments to stuff like improving the Department of Veterans Affairs.
It’s not exactly new for Obama apologists to claim that running the mega-government they support is effectively impossible, a task too difficult even for the super-genius messiah they adore. Obama himself is making that argument, every time he claims he learned what his Administration is up to by reading yesterday’s newspaper. One of his efforts to avoid responsible for the ObamaCare launch debacle involved him whining that government agencies are “outdated” and “not designed properly,” which would seem difficult to square with his enthusiasm for making government ever larger. His adviser David Axelrod said Obama should be let off the hook for all responsibility in the IRS scandal because “part of being President is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know, because the government is so vast.”
In order for Obama to save his own hide, and protect his top appointees – which is part of saving his hide, because he believes firing anyone, over anything, would make it difficult for the media to ignore his scandals to death – he’s basically making the accountability argument for Republicans. All you have to do is quote his endless evasions and childish tantrums. What good does it do the victims of bureaucracy to hear that Barack Obama’s super-angry about what happened to them, when all he does is order the offending agency to investigate itself, and maybe get back to him after the next election with the results?
It’s the Left that keeps inadvertently dropping these killer soundbites, and writing these op-ed screeds, to make the case that their beloved Big Government is inherently corrupt and out of control. They’re doing a great job of indicting their philosophy, in order to protect their heroes from consequence. They’re so wrapped up in personalized politics that they don’t realize how much their excuse-making is eroding public confidence in government. They’re essentially telling the American people that nobody will ever be held responsible for anything that goes wrong, because the system has grown so powerful that it no longer fears the wrath of its subjects.
…it’s not good enough to simply restore the oversight functions of the press, by electing someone they’re not in love with. The system itself has to be whittled down to size. The quest for accountability is a crusade with bipartisan appeal, because a lot of rank-and-file Democrat voters expect it too. Some of them believe in government control precisely because it thinks bureaucrats and politicians are more accountable than the robber barons of the private sector. They are hideously mistaken, and the Obama years have given us plenty of examples to prove it. Start with the VA scandal, but don’t stop there. Go through the whole sorry mess, and ask voters if they can point to a single act of genuine responsibility from Obama’s government.
Not only has it become impossible for the public to hold any high official responsible for his actions, but there’s no way to escape from the broken system. You can’t demand new management, you can’t escape from lousy “deals” that bear little resemblance to what you were promised, and you can’t stop paying for the government’s mistakes. All of this is going to get a lot worse, as the power and reach of government grows, and more of its unsustainable plans collapse.
People are suckers for Big Government because they think the bums can be thrown out of office if they mess up. The Obama years offer enduring proof that this belief is hopelessly naive. Where do you go to vote the permanent bureaucracy out of office? How do you hold a politician accountable for his errors, when he’s got an army of constituents hungry for more of the favors he dispenses?
But don’t take it from me. Just listen to the liberal politicians and pundits who are increasingly insistent that no one can be held responsible for the failures of the Leviathan State, because no hand is strong enough to hold Leviathan’s reins.
To an extent, the liberals are correct in that a change of leadership will not return accountability to government. Any leadership change that want to limit government and constrict its growth and power, must have an internal house-cleaning from top to the very bottom. The abuses of regulations and the federal agencies is not possible without the willing compliance of all, to the lowest employee. Replacing the patronage appointees will do nothing to impose change. Only wholesale disbandment of those agencies and their regulations can achieve what this country needs.
When there are more unemployed federal workers than private sector workers, only then will we achieve any of our goals.