Benghazi. The IRS. AP phone records. The failures for which Barack Obama will be remembered are not just those of one man or one administration. They are the failures of an old idea, that big, old, dumb, top-down, factory style government can manage the complexities of modern times. The institutions of the past had their day but can't keep up with the hyper-connected, adaptive society we see emerging.This is the latest in Republican thinking, via GOP strategist Alex Castellanos, writing at CNN. He says that these various matters represent "the constant and consistent failure of 'progressive government.'"
Maybe I'm just not sophisticated enough, "adaptive" or "hyper-connected" enough to understand this new-fangled Republican thinking. Maybe I'm stuck in "big, old, dumb, top-down" ways of thinking.
Nah. This guy's just a hack. But let's engage with Castellanos' ideas seriously for a minute. We can all agree that progressive philosophy centers on a larger role for government in the economy than that which laissez-faire, right-wing conservatives imagine. Fine.
So what in the world does that have to do with the scandal at the IRS -- a non-ideological, non-partisan organization that enforces rather than makes tax policy? And what does it have to do with the surveillance of AP reporters? Are we seriously going to pretend that conservatives haven't gone overboard at times by overzealously enforcing the law in the name of national security? Warrantless wiretaps anyone? And as for Benghazi (!), I'm not going to try and figure out how even the craziest of Republicans could say that their worst-case projection of what happened there has something to do with progressive philosophies on governance.
Let's call this op-ed article what it is. Unadulterated nonsense.
PS-Please check out my new book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity, published by Potomac Books, where I discuss Barack Obama's ideas on racial, ethnic, and national identity in detail, and contrast his inclusive vision to language coming from Mitt Romney, Rush Limbaugh and (some) others on the right. You can read a review by DailyKos's own Greg Dworkin here.