Yet more proof that Americans love a big government: “According to the latest Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted with the Pew Research Center, 46 percent said Obama’s path would do more to improve economic conditions in the next few years, compared to 29 percent who said policies put in place by Bush would.”
Don’t take my statement vis-a-vis statism to mean that Bush was less one than is Obama. Not true. The two men exist on the same continuum of statism. Obama has picked up where his buddy Bush left off. My point is simply this: Americans have no aversion to the president who is perceived as more of a big government guy, and is certainly no less of a central planner than was Bush.
“…When, through a series of flukes, a crazy person smuggled explosives onto a plane at Christmas, the public bayed for blood and held the White House responsible. When, thanks to bad luck and planning mistakes, an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the public bayed for blood and held the White House responsible again.
In fact, the crazy person was stopped by an alert passenger, not the federal government, and if the oil rig is ever fixed, it will be through the efforts of a private company. Nevertheless, each one of these kinds of events sets off a chain reaction: A new government program is created, experts are hired, new machines are ordered for the airports, and new monitors are sent beneath the ocean. This is how we got the Kafkaesque security network that an extraordinary Washington Post investigation this week calls, quite conservatively, ‘A hidden world, growing beyond control.'”
…this hidden world, with its 1,271 different government security and intelligence organizations and its 854,000 people with top-secret security clearance, is not the creation of a secretive totalitarian cabal; it has been set up in response to public demand. It’s true that the French want to retire early and that the British think health care should be free, but when things go wrong, Americans also write to their representatives in Congress and their commander in chief demanding action. And precisely because this is a democracy [when it was meant to be a republic], Congress and the president respond, pass a law, put up a building.”
Applebaum’s position, it goes without saying, has been my own for as long as I can remember.