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Draining Washington's Swamp, Fred Thompson-Style

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 10
Publish Date: 
Thu, 11/12/2015

 

“I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood,” joked Sen. Fred Thompson, the “Law & Order” star who died recently. A real-life prosecutor and Watergate counsel, Thompson formulated the famous question that hastened Richard Nixon’s downfall: “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”

 

If you believe this question still delivers political accountability, Think Again. Alas, the Watergate era’s bipartisan commitment to equal and impartial justice has been rendered obsolete by lawmakers who often operate lawlessly. Capturing the hypocrisy, comedian Bill Murray tweeted “So, if we lie to the government, it’s a felony. But if they lie to us its politics…”

 

Bernie Sanders is right. A few rich people shouldn’t run the country. But neither should entitled politicians, as America’s founders understood. That’s because “even good people do bad things,” Thompson lamented, observing, “Some of our folks went to Washington to drain the swamp and made partnership with the alligators instead.”

 

Designed to limit and restrain power-hungry alligators, our liberty-preserving system reflected our founders’ insight that “men are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious,” as Alexander Hamilton put it.  “Let no more be heard of confidence in man,” Thomas Jefferson argued, “but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

 

Yet so politicized is Washington, even institutions charged with equal enforcement of laws (the Justice Department and the IRS) ride a merry-go-round of evasion and unaccountability, abetted by politicians who defend the indefensible, and a political media whose untrustworthiness rivals that of Congress.

 

Not surprisingly, Americans are searching for “anti-politicians” and rejecting the herd-like media’s monopoly. Witness Ben Carson’s recent $4-million fundraising haul from small donors. Viewing the media as more interested in discrediting than investigating, the concern isn’t media scrutiny but its unequal application.

 

Comparing the IRS and Benghazi scandals to Watergate, journalistic sleuths Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein have criticized the media for abandoning its role to safeguard the people from the government, appearing instead to protect government officials from Americans.

 

Unlike Watergate, both controversies were dismissed as political witch-hunts. Virtually unnoticed was last month’s Justice Department decision to drop charges against IRS officials – notably Lois Lerner – for abuses of power. Will the FBI criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s classified information violations also be whitewashed, unlike the cases of two former CIA directors who were held accountable for similar violations?

 

Also headed for history’s dustbin is the Benghazi tragedy that resulted in four American deaths. After Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi last month, reporters marveled at her lawyerly obfuscations, calling her testimony a “political victory.”

 

Though the hearings established what Clinton knew and when she knew it, reporters noted instead her calm demeanor under questioning. Imagine Woodward and Bernstein covering Nixon’s burglars as if they were Broadway performers.

 

Her never-before-seen emails confirmed that she intentionally lied when she publicly blamed an anti-Muslim video for what she simultaneously told her family was a premeditated al-Qaeda-like attack on our consulate.

 

But as Clinton once asked, “What difference at this point does it make?” Do the incompetence, avoidable deaths, lied-to victims’ families, stonewalling, covert server, and unaccountability really not matter?

 

National Journal pundit Ron Fournier, a longtime Clinton-fan, thinks “it makes all the difference” to an electorate that’s lost trust in government and politics. About Clinton – whose honesty rating in the Quinnipiac poll is the lowest among presidential candidates – Fournier wrote, “Only the most blindly loyal and partisan voters will accept her word and ignore the serial deception.”

 

Voters also feel deceived by Congress, especially after former House Speaker John Boehner’s last official act – the secretly negotiated, accounting gimmick-laden budget bill that passed in the dead of night, without review or debate.

 

Suspending the debt ceiling and painstakingly negotiated spending caps, this deal means that by 2017, Congress will have authorized an additional $15 trillion in debt since George W. Bush’s 2001 inauguration. That’s three times more debt in 16 years than was accumulated the prior 200 years.

 

Touted as bipartisan, the irresponsible budget deal confirms retired Sen. Tom Coburn’s insight: the problem isn’t that politicians can’t agree, it’s that they’ve agreed for decades “to borrow and spend far beyond our means” and the Constitution’s boundaries. It’s “the very problem our founders sought to avoid – a deeply indebted government that’s threatening the survival of our republic.”

 

Absent Constitutional guardrails, a shared belief that no one is above the law, and a watchdog media that enforces accountability, Nixon-like alligators now rule Washington.  Thompson was onto the solution when he joked that should scientists ever learn to resurrect extinct species, we “might want to start with the Founding Fathers.”

 

Think Again – while we can’t bring back our Founders, we can restrain Washington’s alligators by being informed and engaged citizens, and by heeding Jefferson’s warning: “The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution.”

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How low have we Americans

How low have we Americans sunk morally that a person who has knowingly lied about the deaths of Americans could become our president. While we investigate that tragedy we must investigate ourselves.

Bill Murray's tweet is

Bill Murray's tweet is certainly witty. Juan Williams proved it right when he made exactly the argument -- "it's just politics" -- vigorously on FNC's "The Five." Regarding the lies, deliberate lies, told by Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Barack Obama about the terrorist attack in Benghazi -- "it's just politics."

The inevitable increasing

The inevitable increasing polarization between the political right and left -- or the appearance of it -- is the product of carefully staged and organized movements designed to chip away at our constitution resulting in a marginalized and successfully crippled economy, a distinct upper and lower class, an overreaching lawless government whose first rule is self preservation.

This will lead to our demise.

We are facing a mindset in future leaders with no life experiences in self sacrifice or hardships. All conflicts, morals, and ethical issues are relative. It's a world where" feelings" of protection and sensitivity are coveted but are, sadly, not reality. Probably the most alarming is a fear based inability to consider both sides of the issue, or more precisely, a staunch unwillingness to consider.

Draining the swamp is being hindered by a dam downstream. Miss you Fred Thompson.

Absolutely loved and agreed

Absolutely loved and agreed with every word of your column outlining H. Clinton's lies.

Most importantly I wholly agree with your assessment that the cascading debt "threatens the republic." It's hard to take positions like yours in the RF Valley. Keep up the good work.

I believe she is accurate in

I believe she is accurate in her assessment but incorrect in her forecast. We're done. Behind the curve. Critical mass.

Obama/Hillary/Bernie stand at the head of an army that doesn't care how they get what they want, only that they get it. This makes principles, laws, and rights irrelevant. I think conservatives may surge and win the next presidential election, but the cancer of entitlement will continue to spread nonetheless, and with it a tolerance of lawlessness for ends justifying means.

Consider that it seems a

Consider that it seems a majority of Democrat voters don't care about anything but race & gender. The Rule of Law is, to them, an anachronism; honesty is no more than quaint. The establishment GOP - demonstrably - no longer cares about limited government, their ostensible raison d'etre. And the media refers to those who support the Constitution's limits on government as rabid partisans and "the antediluvian base" (WSJ this morning). It's tough to get back to the rule of law and Constitutional government when neither party has any intention of so doing, and when the primary education system for adults - the media - is actively hostile.

Then take a look at the infantilism of Yale and Mizzou - which now is spreading (Boston Univ is having a "Privilege Walk" this weekend, complete with mental health counselors for the little bedwetters who find themselves unable to deal with even their campus peers, let alone the real world), and ask yourself: What can the future possibly hold if we reject the Rule of Law, elect president as kings, and raise kids who refuse to mature past kindergarten?

My view is that the divider is kids. Look at Red State v Blue State fertility: Basically those who vote left (here and in europe, japan, etc.) do not reproduce (3 - tiny - Blue States are above replacement: HI, NM, NV; 3 Red States - KY, WV, AL - are below replacement). Yet they saddled other people's kids with policies leading to less liberty and freedom, and the bills to pay for them. Try to imagine the bedwetters at Mizzou and Yale as parents...

If one doesn't beleive in the future enough to populate it, why would that one be expected to care about how free - or un-free - or debt-ridden - that future is?

It is - far past - time for secession by those who believe in law, liberty and the future, from those who do not, and it is time for us to stop paying the bills of those who won't participate in the results of the anti-liberty policies those bills create.

Yugoslavia broke up. Scotland wants to secede. Catalonia is seceding. Quebec often makes noise about doing so. The Information Age (what is driving the new populism, and giving us the information we recently lacked about what our governmnent is doing) can only result in the recognition that massive industrial states built in the industrial age are a hindrance - not a helper - to future liberty. It's time to break them up.

I never was given a job by a

I never was given a job by a poor person.

And I certainly would never endorse a potential leader who was not fiscally astute or who had accomplished little in their personal life. Our government officials can indeed corrupt our system with abuse of their positions and profit unethically, but if someone has acquired significant personal wealth and influence through intelligence, hard work, sacrifice, and ambition, that is the kind of person I WANT in charge.

Actually, Bernie Sanders' socialist idealism necessarily implies an elite group running the show. That is why socialism has failed. Our system has a structure of checks and balances, but if it is ignored, as it has been, it can't work well either.

If only there actually were

If only there actually were chains of the Constitution. Human nature, being what it is, magnifies the liked clauses, and ignores what is not liked.

Government loves the Commerce Clause, or the General Welfare, both of which are interpreted to allow the feds to do all manner of things. Others, such as the 10th Amendment, are completely ignored. They imagine a Separation of Church and State from the 1st Amendment, which is just the opposite of its meaning of Freedom of Religion.

Thompson was right. Compared to politicians, the federal government and Washington, D.C., Hollywood is indeed a model of realism and sincerity.

The constitution was

The constitution was nullified by the courts roughly 80 years ago.

We are experiencing the acceleration and consolidation of power in the federal political class that began with the "Three Musketeers and the Two Stooges" decision in Helvering v. Davis - the Supreme Court decision that overthrew the plain language of the General Welfare clause.

The consequence is that we now live in a time when there are no limits to what the Federal Government deems necessary and requires funding, when our elected officials openly admit they don't read legislation, and when the people are constantly shielded from information because big federal agencies deem everything secret.

How could we think we'd built anything but a swamp on top of a swamp?

Melanie, what a sad tale that

Melanie, what a sad tale that we must describe Washington as a swamp but.....it was to be expected, as Benjamin Franklin did: "I think with you, that nothing is of more importance for the public weal than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue..........bad habits and vices of the mind being, like diseases of the body, more easily prevented (in youth) than cured (in adults).

This Franklin quote haunts us since in our schools we have set aside moral education (such as is described in the Bible) to be replaced with the moving target of ethics. Here we are with adults, whose ethics and morality are firmly planted in mid-air, running our government.

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