Big Government

JAMES TARANTO: Let’s Get Cynical: Why should we trust the government–especially now?

“An old friend who has been active in politics for more than 30 years tells me he’s giving up,” claims Robert Reich in a Puffington Host post: ” ‘I can’t stomach what’s going on in Washington anymore,’ he says. ‘The hell with all of them. I have better things to do with my life.’ ”

Reich is a proven fabulist, so one has to assume any story he tells is a tall tale. But we’re interested in the supposed moral of the parable of Reich’s Disgusted Imaginary Friend: “My friend is falling exactly into the trap that the extreme right wants all of us to fall into–such disgust and cynicism that we all give up on politics.” The “Tea Bag Republicans,” as the homophobic Reich calls them, “want to sow even greater cynicism about the capacity of government to do much of anything.”

In reality, nobody is more disgusted or cynical about government than Tea Party activists themselves–and they have much to be cynical about. The Washington Examiner reports that TeaParty.net “has finally received its tax-exempt status after a three-year delay” caused by the repurposing of the Internal Revenue Service into a political operation aimed at suppressing opposition to Barack Obama’s re-election campaign . . . .

Ronald Reagan was the last president who had a basic skepticism of Big Government, but Barack Obama may end up having done more than any of his predecessors to promote that feeling among the public.

 

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