You know the old joke about seeing a lawyer’s lips move? Here’s another one: how do you know when Washington is lying? When politicians talk about the American people.
Our government is supposed to be all about representing our interests, but when we hear appeals on behalf of the American people something else is going on (see: Government Sells Failure With Lies and Blame). For example, the president promised A Smarter, More Innovative Government for the American People and affirmed that:
For the first time in history, the Administration opened up huge amounts of government data to the American people, and put it on the internet for free.1
The information probably doesn’t include the data we would really like to get our hands on, like which of our emails came under NSA scrutiny. Fortunately, there are other ways Washington sees to it that we get what we want. The Senate gave us S. 744 because we insisted on immigration reform:
It reflects the will of the American people who, in poll after poll, have demanded comprehensive immigration reform.2
We won’t call Americans lusting after amnesty a Washington lie, perhaps just an exaggeration, like the president’s promise that he would be Protecting the American People with New Wall Street Reforms.3 The protections of the Affordable Care Act are all about us, too. Harry Reid hailed the Washington health care takeover as a landmark event for the people, something you need to remember when your company health plan is cancelled or your work hours have been slashed below 30 per week, the Obamacare magic number:
Almost immediately, the American people will see the benefits of this historic legislation.4
The legislation will become historic for the parts that are delayed and the parts that will never work. No matter. Congress is used to our frustration, like our aggravation with the auto industry before the government bailed it out:
Democrats share the American people’s frustration with the failed management of the “Big Three” auto companies, but we also share their belief that major steps must be taken to prevent our nation from falling into a deeper recession.5
There has been a lot of credit taken for saving the American people from another depression, an easy thing to do since no one can prove what would have happened had we done something different. The vice president thanked Barack Obama for letting him help prevent economic catastrophe. He could not have known how many of his flock would still be jobless years after the recession ended:
I want to thank you for the confidence you showed in giving me this important task and I believe that we have served the American people well.6
The biggest Washington lie of all is being told now.
With Congress out of town on vacation the White House has been getting whipped up to do something drastic, dangerous, and unwarranted in Syria. Even Democrats are suggesting that the American people might not be in favor of whacking another Arab nation:
The decision to go to war — and we should be clear, launching a military strike on another country, justified or not, is an act of war — is reserved by the Constitution to the American people acting through their elected representatives in Congress.7
That’s something for Barack Obama to think about. Even with all the great things our government is doing on the American people’s behalf, the president’s approval rating is sagging and Congress’s is perilously close to single digits. Will a military conflict based on the Washington lie of representative government in the Middle East make those numbers look better?