They say that history shall be the judge. The further removed we become from the Bush administration and the deeper we get into the current administration, the kinder history is becoming to George Bush. A new Gallup poll shows that for the first time since April 2005, the American people view Bush more favorably than unfavorably. The timing of this happens to coincide with this period of scandal in Washington. While George Bush did his fair share of expanding the government, Barack Obama has taken that to unprecedented levels. All the more frustrating is Obama's hypocrisy on countless issues, which I believe has truly damaged his credibility. Even the Politico points out that Obama's “trust me … I've got this” approach isn't going over very well, even with members of his own party. Today's article reads in part: “Obama’s call for trust, patience and near blanket secrecy is increasingly falling on deaf ears in his own party, spurring a backlash among Democrats who say it’s time for the 'most transparent president in history' to provide the American people with a comprehensive explanation of a secret program that dragnets most phone records and much of the Internet.”
The NSA story continues to expand. I want to give you some of the latest updates, but then I want to get into the real issue involving all of these issues/scandals: Big government at its worst.
- The ACLU has now filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration, claiming that the NSA phone surveillance program is a violation of our Constitutional rights to privacy and free speech.
- A new CBS poll found the following: “58% of Americans disapprove of the federal government collecting phone records of ordinary Americans, while 75% approve of the records being collected of those who are suspected of terrorism. 59% have some level of concern about government efforts to fight terrorism infringing on their privacy rights.”
- A key NSA official is in Washington today testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee. While the session had been scheduled before the NSA scandal exploded, this will be the first time we've heard testimony from anyone at the NSA since the news broke. Army Gen. Keith Alexander, National Security Agency director and head of U.S. Cyber Command, is the official in Washington today.
- Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has called out Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for testimony he gave in March regarding the NSA, where Clapper said that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions of Americans. Wyden gave Clapper prior notice of the question and even sought Clapper after the hearing to give him the chance to amend his statement. Clapper himself has since said that he gave Congress "the most truthful, or least untruthful" response he could. The Washington Post has given this issue Three Pinocchios.
- While the whereabouts of Edward Snowden remain a mystery, a new report from a Hong Kong newspaper quotes Snowden as saying that he is “neither a traitor nor hero. I’m an American.” He says he's not hiding from justice in Hong Kong, “I am here to reveal criminality.”
- In a Fox News exclusive, Google says that it is as shocked as everyone else is about the NSA revelations. The company has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller, asking them to allow Google to release more information about the secret FISA requests it had received so Google can prove it has nothing to hide.
This NSA scandal is just one in a series of explosive stories to come out of Washington over the last few months. Between Benghazi, the IRS, DOJ snooping on journalists, ObamaCare, the EPA, and now the NSA, I believe that what we are witnessing is the product of big government at its absolute worst. As a registered conservative, this troubles me because I believe in limited government and greater freedom for all Americans. It was Thomas Paine who once said, "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."
What we are witnessing right now is the underbelly of big, bloated government. But how did we get here? Americans have somehow been conditioned to believe that it is the role of government to provide for you everything beyond protection of your freedom from healthcare to daycare to food stamps. Americans are also naïve enough to think that we can continue living this way without making sacrifices. We cannot sacrifice freedom for the sake of security, economic security included. I don't believe that's right. We are going to rue the day we allowed our nation to grow to this bloated level of government reliance because I truly believe that it cannot be sustained, and it is our children and grandchildren who will ultimately pay the price literally, as well as figuratively by diminishing their opportunities and freedoms.
So I'm looking at all of these stories and scandals and I've come to the conclusion that there are no conservative principles being implemented in our government today. Government has essentially become a giant college frat party where anything goes and there's no responsibility. Government has become so big, so involved, so intrusive that now they are monitoring every aspect of your life. Something's got to give here.
Here are a series of incidences that prove that big government isn't working. Are you ready?
Today we learned of more potential abuse conducted by the IRS: A lawsuit alleges that the IRS improperly seized millions of personal medical records in California. Isn't that wonderful? So what are we going to do? Hand over MORE power to the IRS, specifically to manage our healthcare plans and compliance with big government.
This week we've learned of yet another scandal involving extremely inappropriate and possibly illegal behavior on the part of State Department officials, soliciting prostitutes and even minors. It's disgusting. What's worse is that internal investigations into this type of behavior were halted by State Department officials, and one person has named Hillary Clinton's Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills as responsible for stopping the investigation into at least one of these cases. In other words, they tried to cover it up. Why would we cover up this type of behavior? That's big government not working.
Did you know that there are currently four different scandals swirling around the EPA? Talk about a government that is too big, too bloated and out of control.
Here's another one: At least 436 employees at the Department of Health and Human Services received advanced notice of large and pricey Medicare decision. Now there's an investigation into whether or not insider trading took place. Big government mixed with big business means big benefits for those who are in the know. That's not good.
It doesn't get any more “big government” than ObamaCare. Last week we learned that premiums in California are going to skyrocket by up to 146%. This week it's Ohio, which has reported that it will see rate increases of up to 88%. Then there's the on-going issue we are seeing where company after company is cutting back on workers hours to get under the 30 hour threshold for full-time work, which requires large companies to provide health insurance. Is that government working for you? Doesn't sound like it.
We could go on and on … the examples are literally endless. That's what is so frustrating.
Conservatives in Congress need to offer another vision for America that is diametrically opposed to what we are currently experiencing, which is control of every single aspect of our lives from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. One of the fundamental principles of our Republic is that the role of government be limited: Protect our safety, provide a military, construct roads and bridges and then get out of virtually every other aspect of our lives.
I fear that this country will collapse under its own weight if we cannot get the majority of Americans to see that government is the problem, not the solution. This must resonate with the public. Now don't get me wrong, we still need a safety net; We are too wealthy a country to allow children to go to bed hungry. But what we currently have isn't working. We are still the greatest country on the Earth, but I worry about our future status. With all the ways our government has become more and more a central focus in our lives … and now we see that our government is spying on us, targeting people based on their political beliefs, going after freedom of speech and the press, the lack of honesty and clarity on Benghazi – All of these weird things add up to my dreadful conclusion that America is changing and it's not for the better.
We get the government we deserve. Again, Thomas Paine said, "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." I urge you: Take the path of freedom over security and we'll all be better off.