Who would be so naïve as to offer hope that we can trust government when our Washington bureaucracy repeatedly proves it has minimal oversight over its activities and doesn’t even trust itself? Our president, promoting trust, openness, and transparency:
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.1
The bigger question is who would be so naïve as to believe him?
Trust government while Obama heavy hitters jump ship?
Two more Obama administration VIPs have been added to the White House casualty list, Press Secretary Jay Carney and scapegoat Eric Shinseki. Meanwhile, scandals at the IRS and elsewhere remain unanswered, cloaked in vague assurances about accountability that imply we can trust government. Is partisanship to blame for the lack of oversight, or for administration PR nightmares like the Benghazi killings that Press Secretary Carney blamed on Republicans?
What we have seen since hours after the attack, beginning with a statement by the Republican nominee for President, is an attempt by Republicans to politicize a tragedy — and that continues today and yesterday.2
Founding Father Samuel Adams talked about not allowing anyone to be placed in office who is not wise and virtuous. The President’s Cabinet is not elected. It is chosen, subject to the approval of members of the Senate who also ask us to trust government and tend to rely on blame after the fact, not oversight (see: Cabinet Members Should be Held Accountable).
The roster of wise and virtuous Cabinet officials who jumped Obama’s ship includes our Benghazi-embattled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obamacare-challenged Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and now Veterans Affairs’ Eric Shinseki, doomed by problems that have languished and were spun by the White House as coming from a lack of information:
And I think he is deeply disappointed in the fact that bad news did not get to him, and that the structures weren’t in place for him to identify this problem quickly and fix it. His priority now is to make sure that happens, and he felt like new leadership would be — would serve our veterans best. And I agree with him.3
The record speaks otherwise (see: Veterans Affairs Scandal Will Only Help Politicians). How can we trust government when Washington ignores problems, makes promises, dodges scandals, and in the end does nothing?
Trust government blindly, or is our government blind?
Holding officials accountable usually means dealing with problems after the fact and then only when they are made public. Soon to be ex-Press Secretary Carney still sounds hopeful:
If inappropriate action, illegal action, wrong action is discovered, it needs to be corrected and people need to be held accountable. And that is what this President has said, and that is what he will instruct others to make sure happens.4
Holding those accountable means the damage has already been done. That’s why we need oversight. Only a fool would trust government without it.