After so many years of institutional corruption from the top down, is Barack Obama going to be the president caught holding the bag? Or is there something even bigger going on right now?
The media is now replete with scandals, and everyone loves a good train wreck. Whenever a scandal breaks, there is always a wave of antsy twitter that precedes the pitchfork-wielding by folks who are out for blood. And the whole process makes for good television, whether there is a real story or just one fueled by political rhetoric.
Buried beneath the kerfuffle of the Benghazi story, for example, is a lesson of what lies ahead in the arena of politics. Suffice it to say it is indeed a very good sign for Libertarianism.
While the right clamored for the president to admit the attack on the embassy in Benghazi was a terrorist attack and that he, therefore, displayed a lack of leadership, Obama and his supporters simply accused the opposition of politicizing a tragedy. Politics as usual, it seemed.
But both sides are beguiling the nation by misleading the discussion entirely. The real story has been buried for quite some time, and it just might be getting its day in the sun, thanks to a couple of whistle blowers. This not only bothers the Administration, it is really upsetting the apple cart for well-established political fat cats on the right as well.
While John McCain rails on the President for political gain, he reveals himself to be a hypocrite, as he was not only in favor of arming Libyan rebels two years ago but actually instrumental in doing so. And it was this action which most likely led to the run on the consulate.
In his opening statement on the whistle-blower hearings, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa began with a scathing indictment of the President for being incredibly uncooperative in its investigations regarding the attack. It set the tone for what will likely be a very busy year for the Committee that is, at this point in time, likely to serve a vital role in the restoration of our liberty.
The House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee, for those not familiar, is the Committee responsible for making sure the government is not doing anything it isn’t supposed to be doing. While it doesn’t do much in terms of sentencing or even passing and changing laws, the Chairman does have the power to issue subpoenas whenever they are investigating potential corruption, and they look at all three branches.
The tension was likely palpable among committee members on the one side who no doubt wanted to confine the remarks of these whistle blowers to nothing that would seriously impugn the president, and others who begged eagerly like a dog awaiting table scraps for any juicy details that might feed the political machine on the right.
With great aplomb, diplomat Gregory Hicks resisted them both and stuck to the facts. After telling a jaw-dropping tale of heroism, and without pointing any fingers or fighting with anyone in particular, did admit to feeling a great degree of embarrassment after seeing Susan Rice blame the attacks on an anti-Islamic video. That she would promote a story that is provably false, and leaving out the remarks of the then-highest-ranking American official in Libya is one of the clearest lies ever told by the Administration.
We not only learned from the hearings that Susan Rice lied, but also that the military was told to stand down. We also learned that the only person who could grant a waiver for personnel occupying a foreign facility that is classified as “critical or high threat level” under the GAO guidelines is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Up and up we see Jack climbing the beanstalk, and there is the sense that this is only just the beginning.
Elsewhere, Tea Party groups and other friends of liberty turn out to have been targeted for undue scrutiny. It is possible that this did not go all the way up to the top, but the resignation of the IRS Commissioner would certainly shed doubt on that theory. But even still, consider the implications of thousands of low-ranking government officials who all have the power to make trouble for people, and that those people seem to be friends of Liberty.
It would suggest that the problem is cultural and systemic, not top-down. Fortunately, this scandal is concurrent with another scandal involving the targeting of the press.
The very people who looked the other way when FOX 19 broke the IRS story in Ohio over a year ago are now, themselves, targets of government scrutiny. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
Now, there is nothing left but to watch it all play out as it shall. At the very moment people are beginning to question a major scandal in Washington, the seed has now also been sown that the solution is bigger than anyone realized, yet it has been in our power all along.
And it is just the beginning.
Pretty soon, leaks will come from every corner of the government, and whistle blowers will step forward en mass, and there will be no stopping them. Not even Obama’s War on Whistleblowers will be able to stop it.
Pretty soon, the whistle blowers won’t even be seen as whistle blowers, but merely active participants in the righting of a ship that is currently bound for treacherous waters.
The partial audit of the fed we received a year and a half ago – which revealed (among other such abuses) that $16 Trillion in bailout funds had gone to foreign banks – will one day become a full audit, opening up a whole can of worms there.
CIA involvement in drug-running, FDA complicity in the profiteering and protectionism of pharmaceutical companies and GMO manufacturers, and the nebulous blob of TSA expansion are all areas where another paradigm-shifting change might occur as the result of a whistle blower waiting in the shadows.
As Libertarians, we tend to relish in the sorts of scandals that speak truth to power and lead, through the collection of evidence and the courage of a few brave souls, to an understanding that some great damage has occurred as a result of handing the reigns over to charismatic ideologues with a thousand ideas of how to control every aspect of your life.
The opposition is fast at work trying to put out one fire after another, making excuses for their guy, right after his hand has been found in the cookie jar.
Yet some might say, quite cynically, that this is simply par for the course, and that no real change will come of this. Dissatisfaction with the status quo reached its peak with Nixon, so they might say, and after that, people just plain didn’t care anymore. They react no differently than a cow prodded by its owner. She might grumble and even cry out, trot over to the other side of the pen and return to her routine, lacking any passion or hope for changing her situation.
So why is the current slate of scandals any different? Two reasons: Momentum and Scale.
Much like the past year’s wave of mass shootings has given us the impression, however falsely, that they are on the rise, these scandals are happening much more closely together in time, and it is changing the discussion.
They also raise the stakes because they are bigger. It is not just one government program that received money it shouldn’t have, but did so through political connections. These are system-wide problems, and that draws into question who, if not our never-to-be-attacked president, is flying the plane? Who is held accountable when things go wrong?
Liberals everywhere must be doing some soul-searching about this, because every one of their big-government policies hinges on the belief that it is possible for agencies to get bigger without becoming either inefficient or corrupt.
And defense hawks on the right will likewise be asked more and more every day to answer for policies which provably cause blow back. Their talk of tactical differences with the president on the War on Terror ring increasingly hollow to those who actually stand on principles.
Things are different now. People are detaching themselves from binary political thinking, and they are recognizing that more nuanced political positions exist on every issue.
These days, abortion doctors are getting charged with murder with little protest, states are pushing back on unwanted health-care requirements like the Medicare expansion, parents are more able and willing to become involved in the education of their kids, and citizens are leaving in droves from fiscal death spiral states like California for the greener pastures of states like Texas.
In other words, people are feeling the effects of corruption and over-taxation, and are nauseous from the agitation of political policy. They are now beyond talking, and are now taking action.
One reason why the scandals that are breaking right now are different from how they have been in the past is precisely because they have less to do with Obama. We blame him because that is fun and easy, and because we believe the buck really does stop with him.
On some things, that is true. Benghazi is certainly going to rightly fall on his doorstep. He is the Commander-in-Chief. But the IRS vs. the Tea Party, as well as the AP phone records scandal, are stories that should better be framed in light of not one particular president, but a long evolution of ever-expanding powers the government never should have had in the first place. It should not matter who was in office at the time.
If there is a system in place that knowingly accepts that some measures can and should be taken, however invasive or detrimental to liberty they may be argued to be, then it is that system that is the problem.
But I am ever the optimist, as I believe we are witnessing the free market of ideas flourish. It is saying, perhaps in the biggest way we’ve ever seen it, that enough is enough.
Lest anyone forget, only 25% of the people voted for the sitting president, and almost as many voted for the other guy. About a million voted for Gary Johnson, so that leaves 49% of the people who didn’t vote at all.
That number has been getting bigger every year. There may come a time when the government is so restrained that voting will matter less than it already does, and this is because of what is possible when the free market is truly free.
That is not to say political activism is not in dire need right now, because the ones flying the plane can still crash it if they so choose.
But every new market that comes along is one more market for the already-sluggish government to fight to control. These markets are forming on their own, and there is no way for the government to control them all. Home-schooling, for example, is one of those emerging markets that is going to become very interesting in the coming years, precisely because it will grow faster than an already spent and tied up government can follow.
Nevertheless, until then, the Libertarian Party will be the home for those who wish to get fast to work at downsizing the bloated, over-fed bureaucracy that currently silences members of its own who wish to transform the government into a place of accountability and service to the people. It is still the best network for those who share these principles to get us back on the right track sooner rather than later.