Socializing with friends recently, political topics always come up and the one common theme is the escalating fear that our country is being torn apart by partisanship and overall ignorance of our fellow citizens. I know, my critics frequently like to claim I mislead readers with my opinions, but honestly, are there any folks left that truly believe everything the Media tells them when it comes to foreign and domestic affairs, especially political ones? Isn't it time to rally together to insists our Media do its job of pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of our political leaders? Isn't it also time to recognize how the Media twists the news and corrupts the fine line between actual news reporting and punditry geared to influence? Of course it is and remedying the problem cannot come too soon!
Case in point. Pew Research recently revealed the results of a study entitled "Beyond Trust: How Americans View Their Government" (see http://www.people-press.org/2015/11/23/beyond-distrust-how-americans-view-their-government/), wherein only 19% of Americans polled really trust the government. That's right, only 19% of the American public have any sense of real satisfaction towards our government. On top of this, the poll found that 55% of Americans actually think they themselves would do a better job in government than those currently elected. But the most telling aspect of the study reveals that 80% of Republicans and those Independents "leaning" Republican mistrust the government so much that they prefer "smaller government with fewer services" while the number of Democrats with similar feelings top out at 31%. But the real irony in the research is the fact that when actually asked what services they expect the government to provide, Americans from both sides of the political aisle support the very same things - address major matters from terrorism to disaster relief. In fact, most Americans polled also demand their government deal with everyday issues like preserving the integrity of food safety, quality education, managing immigration, strengthening the economy, and ensuring basic income for those over the age of 65. So what gives when so many Americans actually state a belief in the role of the government, while at the same time express a deep distrust for it? I'll give it a shot. Could it be that Media has distorted the role of our government so badly that Americans no longer have a clear understanding of what it does? Is it possible that the Ideologically Oriented For Profit Media is hell bent on perpetuating the loss of faith by Americans in our government in an effort to manipulate political support for "favored" politicians? Ya' think? What else could explain the tremendous loss of political efficacy represented by this new study? Why else would there be so many angry voters casting blame for issues that conflict with their own stated interests? Because the Media is more interested in dividing than uniting. Isn't it obvious?
Take a look at two recent articles about our government. One article authored by William Poole in the Wall Street Journal (see: http://www.wsj.com/articles/dont-blame-the-fed-for-low-rates-1448405652) claims that the real reason interest rates have been kept low is not due to actions of the Federal Reserve, but because of Obama. Yep, check it out. "The Obama Administration has created one disincentive after another. One is the failure to pursue tax reform and the president's insistence on higher tax rates." This may ring the bell of an American looking to blame Obama for everything, except any student of American Political Science can tell you that tax rates are exclusively the province of the House of Representatives with amendments by the Senate (Article I, Section 7, US Constitution). And which party has maintained control of the House since 2010? You guessed it, the Republican Party. And who has controlled the Senate since 2014? Yep, the very same Party. But who does Mr. Poole of the Right Wing Cato Institute blame? Obama of course (he even includes the Keystone Pipeline as an additional example of failed leadership from the White House)! So much for proposing ways to fix the economy and instead cast blame to fan the flames of political division!
Yet another article recently published by George Will seems to blame Congress for abdicating it legislative role to the president, without mentioning that such activity has been going on for decades upon decades (see:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/battling-the-modern-administrative-state/2015/11/27/a1c639ba-9392-11e5-8aa0-5d0946560a97_story.html). The reason Will provides no real historical context to his argument (other than to blame the New Deal)? To avoid disclosing that such realities have nothing to do with our current president. Why spoil the pot of angst against our government when you can stir it up instead. According to Will (a former supporter of Rick Perry for President...enough said), Clarence Thomas (yes that Clarence Thomas of SCOTUS fame) is urging the judicial branch limit the legislative branch's practice of delegating its power to the executive branch. Why? Because according to Thomas believes that delegating authority to the executive "erases the distinction between 'making law, and putting it into effect...that effectively permit the president to define some or all of the content."
Whom does Will invoke as an expert to reflect upon this alleged horrendous abuse? None other than Charles J. Cooper. Who is he? Some writer for the National Affairs Quarterly. Why does that matter? I am not sure, except Will ensures that you know that Cooper served in Ronald Reagan's Justice Department, so he must be an awesome individual. I mean, anyone that worked in any executive department under Reagan has his bona fides, right? Who is Will kidding? The practice of delegating the promulgation of rules and the enforcement of said rules has been ongoing for decades! Again, any student of American Political Science can tell you this long ago led to the creation of the "Quasi-Legislative/Quasi-Judicial" nature of our bureaucracy. So why now does it appear to be so important that Will makes this argument? In order to cast a "Conservative" view without admitting Conservative political leaders are just as much to blame for the problem. Think I am wrong? Will goes on to write; "this state (referring to the delegation of Congressional authority to the Executive Branch), so inimical to conservatism's aspiration for government limited by constitutional structure of rival branches, depends on something conservatives too frequently and reflexively praise. It depends on judicial deference to the majoritarian institution of Congress even when Congress delegates legislative powers to unaccountable agencies." But what does this statement mean? Will loves to use lofty rhetoric to make himself look authoritative, but the bottom line is his thinly veiled attempt to attack Congress for acting in non-conservative ways. And to state that the Courts should determine "political" issues that define what is legislative and what is not, flies in the face of Will's earlier arguments that the Supreme Court has routinely "over-reached" in its opinions. Could it be that Will suggests Congress and the High Court act in certain ways for certain things and not on others? Could this not be a suggestion with the highest form of hypocrisy?
Ironically, I agree with Will that Congress has for far too long deferred difficult decision making to the executive - all in an effort to rally against that executive when the time seems appropriate (like around election time). Yet where is Will to comment about Congress working even less days next year than ever? How is it the executives' fault for imposing so many rules while Congress is on perpetual vacation/re-election mode (less than 111 full days in session in 2016...please Mr. Will, explain you position on this fact)? My point is that pundits like Will "cherry pick" arguments to make themselves appear concerned about America when in fact, his arguments are solidly rooted in dividing Americans along partisan party lines. Can any of my readers ever accuse me of being "soft" on Congress? Attack Congress Mr. Will. Congress has a lot of explaining to do and We The People don't need Courts to decide for us. But doesn't the Media decide for us instead? Far too many Americans are influenced by partisan Media. Why else would Will cite conservatives for support? Why else would he select "experts" with "Reagan linked" credentials?
So as we continue celebrating our holiday season, perhaps a bit more attention should be given to uniting instead of dividing us for political gain. As President Dwight D. Eisenhower once wrote; "I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center." Isn't it past the time to begin to distrust our Media and its pundits? Isn't it high time we find real centrist leaders that care more about our mutual and collective interests instead of their ideological and partisan ones? Have a great week!