Scandals are nothing new in Washington. Just about every president has faced an accusation of misconduct, whether moral or criminal. It should be no surprise that the Obama administration would find itself in the midst of one, well actually three at present.
Many Republicans have been quick to declare this the end of President Obama, even calling for impeachment. However, these scandals are not the personal failings of the president himself; rather they are the failings of the liberal philosophy which he and his entire administration espouse.
In case you were out camping without a cellphone for the past week, here is a brief recap in order of appearance:
Benghazi — the White House has been accused of failure to act and misleading the public about the events surrounding the 9/11/12 attack on the U.S. Consulate resulting in the death of Ambassador Stevens.
IRS — conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status were targeted for extra scrutiny, beginning shortly after Scott Brown's special election victory in 2010 through the 2012 presidential campaign. Also, confidential tax documents of prominent conservatives were leaked to the media.
Associated Press (AP) wiretapped — the Department of Justice tapped the phones of AP reporters and offices for two months in an effort to locate an administration leak.
APgate is troubling, but the problem for the Republicans is that it's legal and part of the Patriot Act. Any attempts to role this particular part of the legislation back has been convincingly voted down by both parties. Suddenly, the Republicans realize that an overreaching Patriot Act may not have been a good thing, but it feels politically rather than ideologically driven.
The IRS scandal is the most relatable and represents the most immediate problem for our country. Only a fool would believe that two to four field workers took it upon themselves to single-handedly institute a policy of red-taping conservative groups. It rises higher, but I seriously doubt the president directed such actions.
Finally, we have Benghazi. It was a tragedy; of that there is no doubt. Was there negligence involved? Yes. Was there a poor attempt at PR misdirection? Most definitely. Were different department figure pointing at each other? As sure as the sun shines. Is anything that happened impeachable? No. More than anything Benghazi is another example of an administration getting caught flat-footed and stumbling to fudge the facts for fear that the American people could not handle the truth, especially so close to the elections.
And that, my dear readers, gets to the heart of what the week was really about: the competence of a government ruled by a party that believes the solution to every problem is more government.
This is not about Obama the man, or even about Obama the president. This is not even about Republicans and Democrats. This is about the fundamental failure of progressive liberal ideology.
Logistics alone make it impossible for a government to solve every citizen’s problem. Yet, a bigger government is expected to do just that.
Big government is inflexible; it cannot respond to priorities because, over time, there are too many competing priorities. The greater the bureaucracy grows the more it becomes impersonal, wasteful, over-stretched, and difficult to reign in.
Furthermore, big government does not trust you to know how best to run your life, yet other imperfect beings are somehow capable of properly directing your life as soon as they are employed by the government. People are fallible, and so is the state.
If liberals are right about the role of government, then how did these scandals happen? Do we truly need more government to stop these things from happening?
In Benghazi, should even more officials have debated whether to send troops to save our people? Should there have been more security?
Perhaps there should not have been a consulate in a hot zone in the first place, especially one so ill-protected. How effective can an isolated diplomatic post on lockdown really be? It seems more prudent to have a smaller footprint in the extreme conflict areas (especially when our military is not in the field), which would save more lives and treasure.
Regarding the IRS, do auditors need more laws and supervisors to prevent such abuse? What happened is already illegal.
Then again, maybe a simpler tax code would solve the issue. If the law is so simple even a caveman can do it, then less IRS agents are needed, or conversely, it would free up existing agents to more quickly process paperwork.
And finally, regarding the DOJ wiretapping the AP — do we need more Patriot Act provisions to protect the U.S. by suspecting every citizen and stopping potential whistleblowers? Does the government need more power to track everyone’s movements and communications now that modern technology gives them the ability to do so?
I think we need to take a serious look at the Patriot Act and begin rolling it back. Our government was founded on the belief that we are all “innocent until proven guilty” and should be afforded due process. In order for our republic to function, we must be able to trust the government to faithfully protect our rights and privacy.
However, treating everyone like a suspected criminal only weakens our confidence in the government’s willingness to safeguard our liberties. A government dedicated to civil rights is more trusting and less invasive, which compels it to be smaller.
Sometimes, no matter how sound an idea is, both rationally and emotionally, no amount of debate will convince an opponent of the inherent fallacy of his position. In such cases, it is sometimes better to let our adversaries have their way so they can inadvertently hang themselves with their own errant ideas. This week is a perfect example of that.
More government would never have solved these issues, nor many others faced by administrations past and present.
This is not the end of the Obama presidency (unless a bombshell drops), and cries of impeachment by certain Republicans only hurt conservatives who are focused on winning the wars of ideas, not scoring short-term political points against a man that will not be on the ballot in three years.
As Americans, we all want our country to be the shining city on the hill, but once again events prove that big government liberal ideology is not the right path.
Armstrong Williams is an African-American political commentator who writes a conservative newspaper column, hosts a nationally syndicated TV program called “The Right Side,” and hosts a daily radio show on Sirius/XM Power 128 (7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m.) Monday through Friday. Read more reports from Armstrong Williams — Click Here Now.
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