By Chris Stirewalt
In the little that President Obama has said publicly about his administration’s recently exposed domestic surveillance programs he has returned to the overall motif of his presidency: warning against excessive distrust of the federal government.
While hawks wait anxiously to see if Obama can summon the political courage to defend the programs he has expanded despite his onetime opposition, the president has so far used the occasion to preach against what he seems to believe is a virus of anti-government sentiment in the nation.
(At this moment it appears more likely that Obama will mostly leave it to Republicans to defend his programs, as he and they did with his war in Afghanistan and his flying killer robots. But who knows? The stakes are so huge here that even Obama may not be immune to political risk taking.)
Obama’s commencement speech this year at Ohio State, his 2011 reprise of fellow liberal icon Theodore Roosevelt’s “New Nationalism” speech and many others, particularly his off-the-cuff comments on those who “get bitter and cling…” have been musings on the theme that the deep distrust of government in the United States is not just harmful but artificial – that moneyed corporate interests are behind these sentiments.
Obama’s argument in concentrate is that rich people play on the fears and prejudices of the working class in order to block government from fulfilling its rightful role as regulator and protector. This is a particularly unhappy view of the condition of the American experiment arguing as it does that the majority of the citizenry has been bamboozled into mistrusting their own protector.
Whatever the dark impulses and manipulations Obama believes lay at the heart of American disdain for government, the effect is that the president does not often deign to honestly engage the critics of his agenda and worldview. If he thinks that the Koch Brothers and Exxon lurk behind every critic of big, powerful government (apparently a view shared by many in the IRS), why would Obama give them the time of day? Continue reading via Fox News...