Whatever your party ideology is, whatever the ideals — left or right — you profess as critical to the understanding of how America’s ongoing experiment in free Constitutional Republicanism will continually emerge successful, you have to hew to what you believe.
Elected leaders whose explanations of their vision for the Nation resonated with enough voters to put them in office actually have to enact their visions, or at least do things, once in office, that don’t subvert the principles they sold to the people at the time they campaigned for their favor.
President Barack Obama had a lot of political raw material to work with in 2008, positioning himself as a transparent, open and accessible answer to the cultivated perception of the George W. Bush White House as a devilish, secretive, power-mad boys’ club — a pillaging cabal of Statists who appeared on TV news shows as guys who reveled in the expansion of power to achieve honorable aims by sinister, ignoble, illegal means.
Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Ari Fleischer, Condoleezza Rice: The names still conjure, in the memory, the indelible image of the unique power culture that emerged in the W. era.
So what if you have to give up your privacy? Did you see what just happened to those two towers, all those people? So what if you’re inconvenienced by a little roughhousing at the airport? Don’t you want to play even a passive role in securing the homeland? So what if there weren’t any weapons of mass destruction? We ended up taking out a real bad guy, didn’t we? Hey, we don’t make the weather; but don’t you want the Federal Emergency Management Agency to nail things down while the Corps of Engineers hires some guys I know to make sure your polluted, depressed industrial corridor doesn’t have to be relocated to the Atchafalaya basin? And so it goes.
But none of that surprised anyone. The Republican White House of 2000-2008 walked as it talked. If the Feds wanted to snoop on you and if they wanted you to bleed a little for the greater good, Fleischer and Scott McClellan got out in front of a Presidential Seal symbol and told you why their boss thought it was a good idea. In so many ways, they said: “This is the President’s agenda, and this is why he thinks it’s the best thing for the Nation. We know we’ve got the power; now watch us use it.”
Nothing remotely approaching even that degree of openness has emanated from the White House since 2008, when Obama said this to the leaders of Federal agencies:
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
With each snoop scandal; with each cover-up; with each wiretap amendment or backdoor cybersurveillance revelation; with each executive order to keep documents classified; with each internal memo telling department heads to make spending cuts painful on Americans; with every silence on whether Americans are fair game for drone strikes; with each coordinated attack on the 2nd Amendment or quiet assault on the firearms free market; with each inexplicable concession to the Saudi terrorist-birthing regime; with each flush of a Freedom of Information Act request down the toilet; with each unresolved, unaddressed lie about what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was doing tracking guns in Mexico: With each of these revelations, and more, the Obama White House adds another spectacular dollop of hypocrisy to a crooked Presidential legacy unparalleled, so far as we know, since the administration of Richard Nixon.
Obama does not walk his talk. The message is diametrically opposed to the deed. And there is no way on Earth it’s inadvertent, no way to cobble together an apology of such hypocrisy as simple misplaced idealism or the seeking of noble goals by ignoble means. Hell, no one — but no one — knows what the goals are anymore. Talking points are hollow.
And it’s gotten too egregious to seem rooted in rationality. The inconsistencies between talk and action are just too perplexing. The delusional pathology presents similarly to that of an addict or a drunk.
On Monday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told FOX News:
I think of what Lincoln said. He said … if you really want to test a man, give him power.
I think, in that sense, the president is failing that test of power, because he has extraordinary power and he’s supposed to be able to be wise enough to restrain himself.
But he’s using the power of government to investigate his enemies. He’s tapping the phones of the press. And it turns out last year he signed legislation that allows him to detain an American without a trial and send them to Guantanamo Bay.
This sounds like a president somewhat drunk on power — not cautious about how he uses his power.
Can a bender this wild last four more years?