Congress is currently convulsed in a titanic struggle over immigration reform... a topic that rarely cracks the top-10 list of top concerns for the American people, and never gets into the top 5. Border security polls far higher than anything else in the "comprehensive immigration reform" basket, particularly among those Americans who actually live along the border, but that's the one thing the ruling class most certainly does not care about. The Senate just gunned down a resolution to put border security first.
The gap between the ruling class agenda, and the things most Americans really care about, has never been more clear. If you're a legal immigrant or native citizen, Congress has nothing to say to you right now. Not all of the floor speeches are being delivered in English. Democrats want their new imported Big Government-friendly voters. Republicans are terrified of alienating the Hispanic constituency in general. Business interests want the cheap labor. The media likes to tell simple stories about compassionate activists versus heartless racists. The permanent bureaucracy absolutely does not want to address a concrete problem like border security - the sort of endeavor at which it could be judged an objective failure.
Yes, those business interests and the media are part of the ruling class. No one who spends time listening to big media stars talk about themselves can doubt that they see themselves that way, and quite a few of those media stars used to be government officials. Some of them hope to be government officials again. Big Business pays a great deal of money to obtain political influence, and Washington is quite happy to treat them as partners in government. Look at the relationship between the Obama Administration and companies like G.E. and Google.
Besides the opportunity to alter the composition of the American electorate, the ruling class is concerned with the parts of immigration reform that would enhance its power. Border security requirements are a restriction - a task that must be accomplished, or there will be consequences. That's no fun. But a ten-thousand page immigration bill with a pile of 200-page amendments that creates an entirely new class of citizenship, which must be interfaced with our titanic regulatory and welfare states in countless complicated ways? Now you're talking!
The top issue for Americans is generally economic health and job creation. In the Rasmussen issues survey, these are treated as separate issues, although most Americans probably don't see them as such. The economy came out on top, while job creation was number 3. Rounding out the top five issues were health care, government ethics, and government spending. The bottom five issues were immigration, national security, energy, the environment, and the war in Afghanistan. That's an almost perfect inversion of ruling class priorities. They view many issues as being far more important than job creation. Immigration, transforming America's energy sector, and environmentalism certainly rank among them. And they have absolutely no interest in putting government accountability, transparency, or fiscal restraint higher on the list than anything else they care about.
Congress is once again complaining about how they can't survive under the same ObamaCare disaster they dropped on the rest of us. "The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive," says today's Politico piece. "If the issue isn’t resolved, and massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of weighty issues - like fights over the Tax Code and immigration reform."
Oh, the horror! We might have a "brain drain" that wipes out the very same fools, cowards, and con artists who inflicted ObamaCare on the rest of us! The ruling class didn't care one little bit about the exact same complaints when they came from hard-working small businessmen. Those people were told to suck it up and stop complaining, because their selfish little gripes could not be allowed to derail the great health care revolution. When business owners warned that they would begin laying off full-time employees and delaying expansion plans because of ObamaCare costs, the ruling class and its faithful left-wing media attack dogs savaged them as greedy cads who didn't know how to run their own companies properly. But now the pain of ObamaCare has seeped inside the Beltway, and the howls of agony are deafening.
The ruling class is concerned with the establishment of programs, not the solution of problems. What actually happens after the program is launched makes little difference... unless, of course, the opportunity to "fix" problems with even more legislation and government spending arises. There is absolutely no problem that can be solved by making government smaller and returning liberty to the people. Think about that for a second. When was the last time you heard anyone in the Washington establishment - not the Tea Party upstart types, but the mighty dinosaur lords of Congress and their Big Media courtiers- seriously propose handing some issue back to the people and their free markets, because the government has not handled it well? Isn't it funny how that never, ever happens? Not even in a situation like job creation - the top priority of the American people - where the private sector is obviously better at creating private-sector jobs than the State? But no, the ruling class still pretends it's just a question of giving them more power and money to work private industries over, until the desired number of jobs are beaten out of them.
The ruling class doesn't really care about the IRS scandal. They're trying to bury it as fast as they can. Notice they're not falling all over themselves to identify the miscreants and get them the hell away from American citizens and their confidential data. Even the odious Lois Lerner, on "paid administrative leave" after coordinating the abuse of U.S. citizens, indisputably lying to cover it up (remember her "low level employees in Cincinnati" jive?) and taking the Fifth to evade congressional oversight, still has access to IRS computer systems, and she's using it. There's now a full-court Democrat-media press to declare the IRS story over, from House Oversight saboteur Elijah Cummings' blustery insistence that the problems have been "solved," to the sudden evaporation of network news coverage. To be brutally frank, a lot of establishment Republicans didn't really like the groups the IRS was targeting, and not many of them will get behind the sort of reforms that would actually dismantle the easily abused machinery of Internal Revenue, such as the Fair Tax.
When Cummings ran into pushback over his "problem solved" comments, he walked them back and insisted he really meant the "witch hunt" to link Barack Obama to the scandal had failed - a judgment he is, of course, very quick to make. But the same sentiment was expressed in a Bloomberg Businessweek column that ruled the House Oversight investigation led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) was "falling apart" because he hasn't been able to find any smoking guns in the White House. What a perfect example of the ruling class mindset! It's all a game, with the score kept in damage to political careers, and if one side can't manage checkmate, they lose. For the rest of us, this was never about "getting" Obama, or any other individual politician. It's about a haywire government that's out to get us.
Calling it "Beltway fever" diminishes the extent of the problem. The ruling-class mindset reaches far beyond Washington, D.C. It's found in boardrooms and editorial meetings, as well as state capitols and houses of Congress. It is fostered by a system we should have begun dismantling long ago. But that system has ways of protecting itself, and persuading voters to forget about everything that really matters to them.