So... what, exactly, does Barack Obama "preside" over? He claims to have learned about the IRS scandal by watching the evening news last Friday. He's got no idea what those crazy rogue operatives in the State Department and intelligence community were doing when the Benghazi consulate was attacked, or during the crucial news cycles that followed. He's got nothing to do with the economy - he wishes for jobs with all his heart when his head hits the pillow each night, but they never come. The sequester he insisted on suddenly became a conspiracy to short-circuit his beloved super-government by trimming a few bucks off future spending increases. Why, Mr. Obama was even helpless to keep the White House open for tours!
Reporting on the Benghazi and IRS scandals, NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander wailed, "Some observers are already asking if Mr. Obama is falling victim to the second-term curse." Falling victim to a curse? Leaving aside for a moment the inconvenient detail that Benghazi happened at the end of Obama's first term, the idea that he's some hapless doomed victim of malicious second-term evil spirits is pathetic. He's a bystander to his own presidency now. It's a crappy reality show he watches on TV.
Obama is keen to expand government, but he wants nothing do with administering it. Which is too bad, because he's part of a lavishly funded operation called "The Obama Administration." But he's not even keen on discussing what the Obama Administration does. After he allegedly discovered the IRS scandal by watching TV on Friday night, he said nothing until the sole question permitted during his joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron broached the subject. Only then did Obama weigh in on a massive, rapidly developing scandal that threatens the very foundations of American government. He doesn't even preside over his own mouth.
The spectacle of a non-President loosely associating himself with an un-Administration that doesn't take responsibility for anything is particularly troubling in combination with Obama's vision of the all-powerful super-State. Watch the Administration blather about "low level employees in Cincinnati" somehow unleashing a wave of politicized tax audits, then ask yourself how carefully the ObamaCare complaint box is likely to be monitored. The same people who targeted Obama's political opponents for audits will be the enforcement arm of a health-care plan that's already coming apart at the seams... a plan that grants insane levels of "discretion" to the iron-fisted bureaucracy that will be enforcing scores of mandates against millions of individuals and business entities.
Even the combination of huge deficits plus non-budgeted federal spending is an evasion of accountability. There's no requirement to sacrifice money from old programs to pay for new ones. Everyone can be promised everything. Fraud and abuse become permanent fixtures of the Leviathan State, because none of its dependents are expected to sacrifice a nickel after scam artists scurry away with billions of dollars. Politicians score points by promising to crack down on problems that never get addressed, because their failure to actually address the problem is not hurting any vengeful constituencies. It's easy to talk about accountability when you know you'll never be forced to eat your words at the ballot box buffet.
Obama's vision of the total State requires an enormous level of trust from populace. The whole idea is to trade liberty for security, which the Founding Fathers did not view as a wise transaction. The State is supposed to be wiser, more compassionate, and more accountable than those horrid private-sector robber barons. People must be protected from both the ambitions of others, and the consequences of their own decisions.
That's always been a ridiculous notion. The government's lack of wisdom is laid bare in the ruins of Solyndra, or countless other scandals. Granting it credit for its compassion amounts to writing a blank check for endless "well-meaning" failures, and it's foolish to criticize private industry for its alleged greed while ignoring the politician's obvious lust for power and money. As for accountability, nothing ensures it better than a competitive environment in which dissatisfied customers can walk away. Supposedly we can keep the political class honest by threatening to vote it out of office, but that opportunity comes very infrequently, politicians have plenty of tools for escaping the wrath of angry voters, and they're constantly telling us we have no real chance to vote against permanent "fixtures" like the progressive tax system or ObamaCare.
Isn't it funny how "progressives" are always taking steps toward bigger government, which they insist can never be retraced... while simultaneously assuring voters they can be held accountable at the ballot box? How do you hold someone "accountable" for a disaster that can never be cleaned up? Why does anyone fall for that?
We find ourselves with an Administration that can no longer earn the minimal level of trust that would be required for a trim libertarian government, let alone reach the highly improbable level of transparency and accountability that would make Obama-sized government seem vaguely reasonable. Scandal after scandal rocks this Administration, but none of its power players are ever held to account. No one admits wrongdoing; nobody gets fired. Bloody disasters from Benghazi to Boston are portrayed as stunning surprises nobody could have anticipated, but then we learn of countless red flags that were ignored... by the same government that devotes very special levels of scrutiny to law-abiding domestic political opponents. We are told to accept the authority of those who recognize no authority. We can be punished for failing to comply with their agenda, even when obedience violates our conscience, but no dereliction of duty on their part is unacceptable.
But notice that they love using the word "unacceptable." It's the frowny-face emoticon of political irresponsibility, a meaningless verbal gesture from people who very much expect us to accept their failures and lies.