Ron Fournier, a liberal at National Journal reluctantly agrees that the incompetence and turpitude of this administration have pretty much put the kibosh on the argument that government is a good thing and that the more of it there is the better it is for everyone.
I like government. I don't like what the fallout from these past few weeks might do to the public's faith in it.He goes on to elaborate on a half-dozen of what he calls "clichés," but which a conservative might call obvious truths amply verified by history. They are, in his words, that big government is intrusive, Orwellian, incompetent, corrupt, complicated, heartless, secretive, and untrustworthy. He explains how the events of the past few weeks have confirmed each element of this unfortunate indictment of the Leviathan state. The essay is very much worth reading. Fournier's disappointment and disillusionment with the current administration and the punch it has delivered to the solar plexus of his liberal faith in government are keenly felt.
The core argument of President Obama's rise to power, and a uniting belief of his coalition of young, minority and well-educated voters, is that government can do good things -- and do them well.
[But] look at what ... the past few weeks wrought.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this and similar laments from those on the port side of the ideological ship is that they often express consternation that someone as savvy, intelligent, knowledgeable, and virtuous as is President Obama could have allowed all this to happen. Those who were somehow seduced by Mr. Obama's rhetorical charms just can't bring themselves to believe that it was all a fraud.
But when the conclusion - in this case that our government has massively screwed up - is obviously true but doesn't follow from the premise - i.e., that our nation is led by a nearly omnicompetent man of dazzling brilliance and goodness - there's usually something wrong with the premise.
Bad things happen in the administration of highly competent and ethical individuals, to be sure, but when so much bad happens - not only the most recent scandals, but the scandals surrounding Fast and Furious, the Solyndra cronyism, the abysmal employment picture, and at least a half dozen lesser disgraces - one eventually has to reexamine one's assumption that we really are being led by highly competent and ethical individuals.