Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 9, 2013

Stumptalk: Our failing government

By Ted LaVaque
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — Obama’s May 5 Ohio State commencement speech was, for the most part, cliché’-ridden and predictable, a long Civics 101 lecture about “citizenship” with tired laugh lines about students sleeping late. The paragraph that, to me, required attention and was a real jaw-dropper was this: “Unfortunately, you have grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that is the source of all of our problems; some of these voices are doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.” Gosh, big government is our friend.

Let us compare that to Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural Address on January 20, 1981: "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." James Madison wrote, “The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.” An early sentiment that may or may not have been written by Jefferson in 1825 but is first found in print in 1914 (John Basil Barnhill), "Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty." "It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government." — Thomas Paine.

Most clearly our whole war for Independence was to free our society from the tyranny of British aristocracy. Our Constitution carefully details the powers that the federal government may exercise but more importantly what powers the federal government does not have and may not exercise. Obama snidely calls those prohibitions “negative liberties,” thus demonstrating his apparent or purposeful ignorance of our revolutionary history and the very reason for the Constitution. Obama has called the Constitution a “flawed document.” The whole purpose of our Constitution is to legally protect all citizens from the tyrannical over-reach of government. Our unique “experiment in self-rule” is precisely being turned into a sham because of the ineptitude of our congressional representatives, permitting Obama to exercise powers far beyond that of purely executive function.

It is not his role or power to legislate, but he is clearly taking over that role, with awful consequences. Ironically, Obama recognized that himself, but placed the burden elsewhere, as is his habit. In his speech he said, “The founders trusted us (i.e. citizens) with this awesome responsibility. We should trust ourselves with it, too. Because when we don’t, when we turn away and get discouraged and cynical, and abdicate that authority, we grant our silent consent to someone who will gladly claim it.” While he claimed the power went to lobbyists, Obama was already in the process of usurping legislative function via the EPA bureaucracy that has destroyed the coal industry and many jobs, is at war with the oil industry, and is destroying our energy independence and security under the guise of environmental concerns.

Obama is very ready to usurp power left by the vacuum of Congressional inactivity and incompetence. Obama is a failure as a political executive leader. He is unwilling or unable to present a meaningful executive agenda or budget to obtain meaningful outcomes. He is quite satisfied with the legislative gridlock because the vacuum allows him to operate pretty much without interference. He currently is in the process of destroying America’s energy and financial independence while spending billions to assist the oil industry in Brazil. Meanwhile, Congress is in a scrum about abortion and IRS corruption, NSA corruption, and has so far failed to provide any meaningful report about Obama’s betrayal of our people in Benghazi. Congress definitely has given no effective direction to Obama, leaving him free to run off to Africa on a $100 million jaunt to soak up the adulation he is now missing at home. That trip reflected no national political purpose or benefit to the United States. Obama is right about one thing, however. The ultimate blame for our failure as a nation rests on the citizen’s back because we let it happen. (Psst. Guys! Does anybody know if Congresswoman Diane Black reads this paper…?).