Corrupt politicians are not the ones who do the most damage. Sure, they undermine our confidence in government and stir up lots of anger and resentment, but once we root them out and the gears of justice start cranking we get rid of them. It’s not like we haven’t had lots of practice.
Corruption is not the worst confidence killer
The really bad actors in government are not the crooks and the thieves, but the ones who erode our trust and confidence without breaking the law, or at least not in a way that can be easily prosecuted. These are the politicians who know the game, have staying power, and put ambition and favors before the will of the people.
Americans continually show that they don’t like Congress and don’t have confidence in government (see: Pew Research Center, Public Trust in Government: 1958-2014). Given what we have seen in Washington lately it doesn’t seem that the government has much confidence in itself, either. When our community organizing commander-in-chief is looking to Republicans to seal his newest trade deal while Democrats turn their backs something has gone horribly wrong.
It doesn’t just seem like things on Capitol Hill are worse than usual, or that the White House is having more than its fair share of problems. The political process in America is in a shambles.
Confidence in government destroyed 19 ways
Confidence in government is a misnomer. Our system of government works just fine. This problem is all about people, our bad leaders, their unresolved scandals, and agenda-laden policy that overrides fiscal and ethical sanity and can’t help but deal a death blow to the nation’s dwindling trust.
Will 2016 be another angry no confidence vote? Nothing undermines an election mandate, leadership, and confidence in government like voting out of anger. That doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty to be angry about. Here are nineteen problems and scandals lawmakers and the White House have created and then ignored or outright refused to fix:
Benghazi scandal: Americans left dead and unavenged and not a believable story to be had.
Anti-conservative scandal at the IRS: unresolved and unpunished.
Obama’s Iran deal: yes, we negotiate with terrorists.
Ruptured ties with Israel: no, we don’t negotiate with Netanyahu.
White House affinity for Muslims: Obama is trying way too hard to please these people.
Immigration policy: lies, lies, and more lies.
Obama executive amnesty: guess who has designs on your Social Security contributions?
Border security: still more lies and a surge we can thank Obama for.
State Department email scandal: long before the Democrats’ darling announced her intention to rule the free world she was hiding what she was doing.
An ugly green, politically correct business scandal: remember Solyndra?
Fast and furious: U.S. guns in Mexico. Eric, weren’t we paying you to uphold the law?
Scandals at the Veteran’s Administration: we support our vets. Sure we do.
Racial tensions manipulated by the Justice Department and the White House for political gain.
Health care shenanigans: pass the law and let the White House toy with the provisions later.
Secret Service lapses: we know it’s just Obama, but he is the president.
Problems for a Democrat:
Robert Menendez indictment: outrageous and inexcusable whether guilty or innocent.
… and three standout Republicans:
Aaron Schock: PBS may not be the best place to get taxpayer-affordable decorating suggestions and voters may not be the best ones to fund them.*
John Boehner: do you spell it sell out, sellout, or sell-out?
John McCain: enough about Rand Paul. You are a lapdog. Now shut up and go away.
Now ask yourself, why did tar and feathering go out of style?
UPDATE November 17, 2016: it’s not the best way to avoid federal indictments, either, as we found out last week.