President Obama went to great lengths to associate himself with the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, going so far as to use the same Bible as Lincoln used for the oath of office. The media chimed in with lots of fluffy comparisons about the two and we all waited with eagerness to see what would unfold.
Before the celebration of President Lincoln’s birthday, we found out what to expect. Honesty is a 19th century virtue; it has no place in modern politics. When President Obama makes promises to ‘spend the public’s money wisely’ and to provide transparency and time for public input, we now know that he really doesn’t mean it. Unlike “Honest Abe,” the President doesn’t appear to worry about saying one thing and doing another.
The whole course of action to enact the stimulus bill was filled with misdirection, misinformation and apparently deliberate lies. The biggest stretch of the truth happened in two ways: 1) that we’re in a crisis where action must happen fast or we will be unable to recover and 2) that the bill will actually stimulate the economy. The result is that our Congress and Senate have committed the country to spend more money than ever before on a list of things that few apparently really knows for sure, and even fewer believe it will improve the economy.
This mindless and reckless behavior on the part of the Congress, Senate and the President will have an impact on our lives for many years, and yet they couldn’t take the time to actually read and understand the bill. The nation would not have gone broke over the weekend; no one was in personal peril; no war was imminent; this rush to action was a manufactured falsehood.
But the larger question is: If we can’t trust the Congress and the President with this important issue, what else is at risk? The answer, I believe, is clear: Everything. They cannot be allowed to change anything else: the Fairness Doctrine, Health Care, Education, Gun ownership, or any other of the issues that arose in the campaign.
These folks are relentless and uncompromising. They are not interested in bipartisanship or common solutions; negotiations will be useless until the cost of not negotiating is more than they are willing to bear. If we care about any of the other issues, we must meet their relentlessness with our own.